Reading in 2nd grade- need some advice from any OTs/SLPs/Teachers/moms/etc etc etc

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by Leighann, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    One of my girls is struggling and I need to figure out how to help her. 
    So here is the scoop and I would really appreciate some advice.  My sweet girl is very smart when it comes to visual/spatial memory (we call her "map brain").  Her vocabulary has been off the charts since she was like 2, her math skills are above average for her age, and she can build or draw ANYTHING.  She is also a great story-teller with an active imagination. She love all things space and follows all the goings on with space rovers/Curiosity/ISS/NASA. She is also super attentive to detail and a great "out of the box" thinker and problem solver.  Alright I may be biased but IMO she is a super sweet, smart, and funny kid..  who is getting frustrated with 2nd grade because of her reading issues.  
    We just had our parent-teacher conference with her teacher today and its clear that something is contributing to her reading difficulties.  She has been seeing the reading specialist 3x/week since the beginning of first grade.  Her reading is improving, but very slowly.  When she reads she doesn't always recognize the sight words she already knows (or may have JUST read at the beginning of the page).  She will try to sound words out and she doesn't always start at the beginning of the word.  And while she can memorize 15 spelling words like nobody's business, she may not be able to read those same words.  My husband was working with her on her sight word flash cards and he noticed that if he quickly showed them to her and then covered it up, she could quickly tell him what the word was AND spell is correctly, but if it held it up for her to read, she struggled and went back to trying to sound it out.
    We are thinking it may be some sort of visual processing issue, maybe an inability to filter out extraneous information.  She seems to be having an issue with making that leap from seeing letters on the page, to seeing whole words.  Anyone have any experience with this?  Anything I can do to help her at home?  The school psychologist is going to evaluate her after the new year, and they may increase her visits to the reading specialist to 5x/week.  
  2. Oneplus2more

    Oneplus2more Well-Known Member

    I would have a complete vision screening done - not just "sight" (does she see 20/20 etc). Hannah has convergency insufficiency - it's about how the eyes team together. She doesn't wear glasses, her vision is fine. 

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  3. mommymauro

    mommymauro Well-Known Member

    I second the vision screening... my oldest had to go to an eye Dr twice a week for "eye Therapy" all of second grade... and we did 15 min a night "eye therapy" home work.  He was struggling too... he went from 5 % to 95% in the 6 months of eye training... he had an eye muscle issue... being my 1st born i had no clue it could effect his reading ... he had 20/20 vision.
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  4. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    A vision screen isn't a bad place to start, and I would suggest further evaluation.  Is there a reason why they are waiting until after the new year to begin her evaluation?  I would push to see if they could start it sooner.  There is a reason many Learning Disabilities aren't diagnosed until 2nd and 3rd grade.  It is because the smart ones can find tricks to help them cope, but around this time, the work gets hard enough that the tricks no longer work.  One thing I would try at home is to do activities that include as many senses as possible.  Have her read, hear, trace, a word etc.  The more senses that you use, the more you can engage her brain.
    Good luck!
    2 people like this.
  5. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    Apparently her "case" has to be brought up at a specific meeting before the school psychologist can start the testing process... and the next meeting isn't until December.  But DH and I were talking last night and have decided to schedule a meeting with the reading specialist and make an appointment with our pediatric ophthalmologist. Her teacher is also going to informally talk to the school psychologist next week to see if we can start some informal testing before she is approved for the more formal testing.
    I really appreciate all your replies.  Right now this child is working on mad libs with her sister, reading it all on her own, and correctly sounding out the spelling of words (like "president" and "stinky") and writing them in... So she can do this, but it just breaks my heart that she is getting upset in class when everyone reads more and faster than her.  And it doesn't help that she compares herself with her sister who is reading much above grade level (we never compare them except to say everyone has their strengths and struggles- her sister can't do a cartwheel like she can... etc etc etc).  
    Thank you again!!!
  6. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Don't let the school give you a run around.  I'm pretty sure if you say you want her tested and you put it in writing, there is a federal law that determines how long they have to complete the testing (wrights law)
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  7. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I don't think the school is giving her the run-around.  I know how things work at our school.  My daughter has an IEP for gifted and for speech services and a 504 for her kidney issues so I've been through the process. 
    Our school has the meetings once a month to look at issues like these.  That's because we share a school psychologist with at least 4 other schools.  So we have a dedicated day where we know she can make meetings with us.  We're already on Thanksgiving break and only have 15 school days in December AND (at least for the state of Kansas) the school has to provide a 10 day prior written notification of the meeting to parents.  By the time you get those 10 days, you may or may not make the December meeting.  The parent can waive the right to 10 day notice.  But there is a question of payment for testing done before any of those meetings.  Part of the paperwork I signed is authorizing the district to bill the state of Kansas for services my daughter receives.  If she were to start testing or anything before the meetings where I sign paperwork, the district doesn't get paid for her services and it takes money away from other students.  
    I get that the process is long and frustrating.  But it's there to protect you and the school.  After this 1st meeting I believe you'll be able to get the testing done and they'll continue documenting in-class interventions.  Here, you get 30 days of documented in-class interventions and testing.  After that 30 days they decide what services will be given and how to proceed. After that point, there's a once a year meeting to look at goals or the parent has the right to ask for a meeting at any time within the next 30 days to review goals. 
    2 people like this.
  8. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the insight Marissa.  Our school has always been super responsive for anything we've ever requested of them (the school psychologist has observed our other daughter for behavior issues in pre-k and 1st, and the guidance counselor was willing to keep her in friendship group at the end of last year, even though it was obvious she didn't "need" it anymore).  <- wow that was a long parenthetical statement.  Yikes.
    So I'm sure that whatever needs to happen to get M the help she needs, the school will make sure it happens in a timely manner.  I'm going to email the reading specialist on Monday and see if she can meet with DH and me at some point before the holiday break, and then we'll take it from there.  In the meantime I know my daughter is being supported in school by her classroom teacher and reading specialist... and by DH, our sitter, and me at home.  Everyone has their struggles (as I mentioned above, my other daughter has had her fair share of "learning experiences" in school), but that doesn't mean that it will always be a struggle for her.
    Thank you guys SOOOOO much!  I told DH that I came here and asked your advice and he replied "Oh good idea!"  :)
  9. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    Leighann, If you have not already done so, you can request an evaluation as a parent, in writing.  From that, they have 30 days to schedule and hold a meeting, by law--and that can get the ball rolling. All you need to do is write the request with the info you gave above.  That way you can short-cut the meeting.  Those meetings are ones that are based on just a teacher referral, and have a longer process.
    Good luck!
  10. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    Quick update- I met with the reading specialist and spoke briefly again with the classroom teacher.  She is being presented to the committee at the January meeting (because the December meeting was this last week and was full).  In the meantime both the reading specialist and classroom teacher will make sure she has everything she needs to feel supported in a comfortable in the classroom.  Any reading assessments that are in class can be completed at her own pace and the reading specialist said that they can complete them when she is in the small pull out group (only 4 kids) so M doesn't get upset if everyone else in the class is finishing before her.  
    I am going to write a letter (email) that will be circulated to the committee members about our concerns, and I will try to get her in for a full vision screening exam over winter break.  The reading teacher did say that she seemed notice any obvious tracking issues when she reads with M, but DH and I have both noticed that she is looking all over the page unless we are helping her move through the words with our finger.  So it may be that she needs more reinforcement with this and there isn't some vision or processing issue, but it will good to have it checked just in case. The reading teacher actually thinks that she is doing great (slow progress, but progress), and said that even though she is reading right now at a mid-first grade level, 10 years ago she would probably be considered on grade level.  She thinks she is on the cusp of everything "clicking" for M, but I don't see any reason to wait for that if there are things we can do to help her (especially since she is not displaying frustration).  Other suggestions for us to do at home we basically everything you all suggested :) Helping her with her sight words by using a variety of sensory activities, having her re-read books at or just below her level to build fluency and confidence, and lots of positive reinforcement and encouragement.
    Thanks again everyone.  
    1 person likes this.
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