Help with a Child with a Possible Learning Disability

Updated on April 26, 2008
D.G. asks from Carrollton, GA
9 answers

Since my six year old son has been able to talk, he has always had difficulty in pronouncing certain letters and words. At the age of 3 my husband and I decided to take him to a speech therapist. The results were that his speech was normal for his age. Now he is 6, at times, his speech is still difficult to understand. He stutters when he gets excited and he is stil having difficulty grasping phonics and reading. My husband has dyslexia and I asked my pediatrican about that and his speech. The doctor sought the advice of his teacher who says that my son is excelling and is on pace with the average 6 year old. As a result the doctor will not refer me to a therapist or have him tested for the learning disability. My next step is to pursue this on my own. I want to make sure that there isn't anything wrong with him, and if there is I want to correct it now instead of waiting until it gets worse. What do any of you think that I should do? If you are in my area, do you know the name of any good speech therapist and somewhere I can get him tested for learning disabilities?

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So What Happened?

I am sorry I have not been in contact with anyone. First and foremost I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your advice. I have contacted the school and according to them they will not evaluate my son for speech unless he is having trouble academically, which he is not. As far as the possibility of him having dyslexia, his teacher have to evaluate him first then they will refer him to the counselor on the premises for further testing. I will keep you all informed about the results of the evalutions. Once again thank you and God bless.

More Answers

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J.P.

answers from Atlanta on

D.,

We also have four children ages 13, 10, 9, and 7. A girl first and then three boys. Our youngest didn't babble or talk until he was three. We were able to get help from babies cant wait through the state with a speech therapist. He is in first grade now and continues to get help with speech.

Our child David had -severe- speech issues as a preschooler. His fine motor skills were also noticably less developed than his three older siblings at the preschool age. He is doing GREAT in the first grade. I am so glad I didn't pursue testing and investigating about things that might be wrong with him. He has read the most books of anyone in his class. He was also tested for the gifted program and was accepted. If I had only known I would not have worried so much. We have to be real careful to balance help and therapy without assuming something is "wrong" and digging for a lable. Of course you are the only one who knows best for your own child but find hope in the fact that our child is doing great.

I was primarily concerned with the same things that you've expressed concern about - learning disabilities ect. I also put him in preschool (I had taught two of my others to read before they entered school). But preschool was good for his language development.

I opted not to have all the testing done and just see how he developed naturally. If he was having "trouble" at school then I would cross that bridge when we came to it. (Having four children helps us to stay busy). I will pray for your family.

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N.J.

answers from Atlanta on

Hi D. -
It sounds like you are doing all the right things in pursuing answers for your son. I am a school counselor and educational consultant, and my advice to you is to go back to the school with your concerns. You don't need your dr. to refer you for help. If your son is in any public school in Georgia (I am not sure where you are), there is a committee called SST - Student Support Team or Students Study Team. This group is comprised of administrators, counselors, classroom teachers, special education teachers, and sometimes the school psychologist. The purpose of this committee is to address teacher and parent concerns about learning and behavior. You can request through the SST coordinator (often an administrator or counselor) to have a meeting to share your concerns. Your son's progress in class is certainly encouraging, but does not rule out dyslexia and/or a learning disability. Very bright children can have a learning deficit in a particular area. It may be that the committee can refer you to the speech pathologist at your school for an evaluation (which is free). When you had him evaluated at 3, he could have been within the "normal" limits, and if his stuttering and difficulty to understand are as pronounced as you think, he could be beyond the "normal" limit for his age now. If he does have a speech issue and is diagnosed through the school, he should be able to receive services through the school system at no cost to you. Without knowing your son's school history, it is of course impossible for me to say that it does sound like or does not sound like he has an issue with dyslexia and/or learning disabilities. I will tell you that at 6, he is still within the "normal" range for children learning to read and decode phonics. If he was 8 and still struggling, that might be different. If, like your husband, he does end up having dyslexia, he will struggle with reading and decoding until it is treated. If you remain concerned once school starts, you may want to consider a full pyschoeducational eval. Again, this may be able to be done through the SST at your school, but if they are unwilling or not moving quickly enough for you, you can pursue it on your own without a referral from your dr. There are tons of psychologists who perform these tests, and if you are in Atlanta, I can help you locate some. The tests are expensive but when completed, you will know everything about how your son learns, what his strengths and weaknesses are, if he has any disabilities and if so, what needs to be done to treat them, etc. It's a fantastic way to know everything about your son's learning styles! Anyway - sorry for the long response but there was no short answer from me. Let me know if you want more details! Good luck!
N.

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S.P.

answers from Atlanta on

We found a visit to a developmental pediatrician to be of great help when we were in a similar situation. Our experience is that regular peds. don't really want to be involved in this area, they just want to treat your child's ear infection. But the developmental ped.'s job is to look at all aspects of your child, his health and development, and they will administer tests to determine if everything is OK, or if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

We saw Dr. Sonia Georgia Bussy at Woodlawn Developmental Pediatrics ###-###-####. She's in Marietta. Her office will explain the testing and the visits when you call. We did have to wait several months to get in, but it was well worth it. And, my son LOVED her!

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J.M.

answers from Atlanta on

I would be very careful with this. You don't want to have a label attached to your son at such a young age. This will follow him for the rest of his life. Some children use it as an excuse not to do well, others find it depressing to think they are different or as they would put it dumb. I worked with children with learning disablilities in both the public and private schools. If my child was having learning problems I would go outside of the public school to get help. Once a child is labeled in most public schools they are put on a different tract, taken out of the classroom for remediation. I found that once a child was diagnosed and put in the 'program' they actually slowed their progress. I would suggest finding a speech program outside of the school and if his academics begin to suffer I would look for a tutor after school. I think this would be the best solution and the best for his self esteem. It is so embarrassing for a child to have to get up out of the classroom to see the special ed teacher. I think teachers have good intentions in mind it is just so hard when so many children are being put into special programs.

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M.F.

answers from Atlanta on

I'm sorry your doctor is not listening to you have had that problem before and went to another doctor. My one child has had speech therapy from KoolKidz, Inc office # ###-###-#### website koolkidzpt.com they have therapist for ot, speech and phsy therapy. They are very nice I've had 2 times for 2 children different situations the owner and his office support staff are very kind and helpful. Call them see if they can help. Also you can get speech therapy from the public schools. I needed a referal from my doctors office for the evaluation for any therapy and then they (the therapist) got the rx written for it once they did a diag.. That's how insurance pays for it with most insurance companies. The teacher unless has a degree in special ed can't always tell what a child needs. Now the public schools aren't always correct either they said my son didn't need ot and a developmental doctor said (wrong) he did and we got it not from the school it was private insurance. Best of luck to you, you are your childs only advocate and best one do what you feel is best for your child don't let a doctor or anyone else make you second guess yourself.

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M.D.

answers from Atlanta on

If your child is in public school all you have to do is tell them that you want your child evaulated and they are suppose to do that and find out IF there are any issues. I have been there and done that. Good luck! M.

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M.M.

answers from Atlanta on

If his only problem is his speech then try the speech therapist at his school. i had to go two times a week to the speech therapist from 1st grade thru 4th. it wasn't a big deal and helped with my stuttering and correct pronunciation. i would try that for like half a year and if you see improvement then stick with it. and good luck with your accounting bba. e-mail me if you need anything or help. i have a bba in acct, finance, and my mpacc. If you are going to west ga i saved most of my reports and stuff for study guides. [email protected]____.com

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D.C.

answers from Atlanta on

D.,
Your questions got cut off.... Just wanted to let you know in case you didn't realize.

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B.J.

answers from Atlanta on

Hey D.,

Romes Harbin Clinic has a department called Behavior Science. The doctors there are really great. They do all kind of testing there from ADHD/ADD to learning Disabilities. So if you in the NW georgia area you could call there. Hope this helps. Your school should also be able to help you with this bring your concerns to the principles or his teachers attention and she should take the proper procedures to see if he needs the services at school.

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