So, I wrote previously that we had our parental consultation for my oldest’s Vision Therapy evaluation. The results mostly indicated my child was on par with her peers with only a few “red flag” areas, in their opinion. Sections in quotes are taken directly from the letter they wrote to us.
Visual Motor Integration– Her VMI is below normal. This is then broken down into three parts to see where the further problem can be pinpointed. Visual – Her brain processes what she sees fine. Integration – She is within the average range (albeit low) in how her brain communicates what she sees to action. Motor – Her (fine) motor skills are definitely below average.
Other tests confirm that fine motor skills (showing up for me in drawing, coloring, and handwriting) are below normal range. These results are consistent with what I see every day. You could say she is “just messy” and assign more practice. But this would be torture for some, especially if they truly have a developmental issue.
One test checked her knowledge of rights and lefts for her own self and others (mirror image and 90/270° orientation). She doesn’t have this skill set down and is behind her peers developmentally because of it, according to this test.
They tested balance with eyes open and closed. She scored more than a year and a half beyond her age group in these balance tests. However, her bilateral integration is that of someone more than a year younger. She has limited ability to use both sides of her body in a coordinated manner.
This means that if she was in dance or gymnastics, she wouldn’t be very good at it. Swimming strokes are difficult for her to execute properly. Some other sports activities would be challenging because of her bilateral limitations.
These deficiencies could be addressed by physical therapists, they told us, but they cover them as part of the whole package.
Dyslexia Determination Test
They defined dyslexia as a written language coding dysfunction that results in a secondary comprehension problem. They break up the decoding process into two areas – “phonetic word analysis” and “eidetic word analysis.” If your angular gyrus says it knows the word already, they say you process it as a “whole word.” Unfamiliar words require the help of “wernicke’s area” where phonetic analysis takes place.
Their testing requires the child to read sets of words that are normed by grade level. Once they determine what level of words the child can no longer “decode” (read correctly?), they give a spelling test on all the “phonetically irregular” words that their testing said were “sight words” (defined by them as words read correctly within 1-2 seconds). If a child performs poorly on this section, they believe this shows a problem in the angular gyrus section of the brain because the child “cannot visualize the words as a whole.”
“Next, the child writes the words they could not identify by sight or phonemic decoding.” So, any words she pronounced wrong or said she didn’t know, she was asked to write “the way they sound” (Note: not with correct spelling. “Calf” would “correctly” be written for this tests as “kaf.”) This is their test of Wernicke’s area of the brain for problems with “phonemic decoding.”
On this test, she showed that she can decode two grade levels above her peers (one grade level above where I have her in homeschool). Her spelling was atrocious. Her phonetic versions of mispronounced words were graded as correct. This meant they scored her “sight word encoding” as being mildly deficient and her “phonemic encoding” as being above normal.
They also tested silent word reading without the requirement of pronunciation. Then, they used two subtests to check “sight word” and “phonemic decoding” to see how quickly and accurately she could pronounce printed words (real and made-up). Her silent word reading score (test 2) was slightly above average. Her sight word efficiency and phonemic efficiency scores (test 3) were also slightly above average.
I am no expert, but these three tests taken together showed mixed results. The Vision Therapy experts interpreted them to mean she has “mild visualization deficits and no phonetic word analysis deficits.”
In the next post, I will outline other tests they performed & my observations as well as their overall summary and suggested plan for therapy. I will also have a post specifically about the dyslexia determination and what happened with the VT doctor when we were discussing the results of that test. Finally, I will lay out our plan.