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Optometrist found problems with DD and suggested we get her assessed.

(11 Posts)
Downnotout Fri 09-Sep-11 21:21:48

DD2 is 9. Her music teacher picked up a problem with her eyesight. We took her for an eye test and she did indeed glasses. But the optometrist said there was "something else going on" and asked us to bring DD back for a longer examination where she did all sorts of tests with her on the computer and also with her handwriting and asked us about school work etc.
After nearly an hour of concentrating very hard DD became what I can only describe as "hyper". The optometrist said she wanted to refer us to a specialist in the 3D's, learning disabilities and autism. She says DD is working so hard to concentrate and process information that her brain starts whizzing and this is why she became so hyper.
I'm not entirely unfamiliar with learning difficulties. DD1 is dyslexic and so we've been through all that. But DD2 is completely different. She is bright (2 years above her age in reading and spelling) articulate, very sociable, she can remember the words of a song after hearing it once. Maths is good apart from tables which she just does not get. No backward bs and ds, 7s and 9s. She is co-ordinated and sporty.
No one at school has picked up on anything wrong except that she did not perform to her ability in her end of year exams and that she must try harder to concentrate.
The optometrist is a specialist in treating children with learning disabilities, we go to her because of DD1s problems. I trust her completely. But I am taken aback that DD2 also appears to have a problem and we haven't noticed!
Now I think about it she has always been very active, finds it hard to sit still or concentrate. Her mind jumps about all over the place. When we are talking she will come out with something completely unrelated because she has thought about something else and her brain has moved on but she doesn't realise the conversation hasn't and we don't know what she's talking about. She is, I think, a visual learner. History comes to life for her. Is artistic and will spend hours walking round an art gallery or museum. She's musical and passes her grades with distinction but she gets bored of books and often doesn't finish them. Over the last year though her writing has got sovsmall it is almost minuscule and she gets so close the page, even with her glasses on, it's almost as if she has to shut everything else out to concentrate.
I asked what was wrong, specifically. If it was dyslexia we would have seen the signs. But the opto just said she doesn't want to label her yet but that we are all "somewhere on the autistic spectrum"
so apologies for the long post but can anyone shed any light on this. Although she has referred us to this specialist centre, it is private, and the cost of assessment is £600. WithDD1 the assessment was done by the LEA.
Does anyone recognise any signs of anything in what I have said- it's a lot of money to spend and I want to be sure it's the right thing to do. It's just the "autistic spectrum " bit that's worrying me really.
By the way she now has coloured layover sheets which I thought were for dyslexia.

IndigoBell Fri 09-Sep-11 21:32:02

My take on it is that ASD, ADHD, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia are all part of the same family with so many overlapping symptoms that it's often not clear where one ends and the other begins.

Does the specialist centre he recommends do therapy? If so, I personally would do it.

I've spent a lot of money at therapy centres like that for my 2 - and it has helped enormously, and I'd highly recommend it.

The LEA can dx, but not do much else. Whereas these therapy centres actually try to treat the problems.

lisad123 Fri 09-Sep-11 21:52:02

Some of what you said reminds me of DD1 who is autistic. She has tiny very neat writing, terrible at getting so absored she shuts the world out, everything needs to be prefect, very clever, loves maths, very good at art but not keen on books (they require imagnation) but loves number plates blush
Shes very quiet but very anxious and nervous.

Im sure if she has got a form of ASD, she'd be high functioning as shes got this far, and tbh with dd1, who is nearly 9, things are getting worse for us here.

Downnotout Fri 09-Sep-11 21:59:02

Yes they do the therapy when they've done the diagnostic test.
I think I'm just stunned not to have picked up on anything myself. My other DDs learning difficulty was very obvious, still is, but she's just got into a brilliant uni, despite everything and after lots of hard work and I feel guilty that I've been so focussed on her that I haven't noticed what's going on with DD2.

Downnotout Fri 09-Sep-11 22:09:39

She does get highly stressed about making mistakes and if she does something wrong she has to start all over again. She also has separation anxiety and started having panic attacks when anybody leaves her although we have got that under control now. Didn't think any of this was related but I can see now it could be.
She also doesn't sleep much, never has, and is often awake past midnight.

lisad123 Fri 09-Sep-11 22:29:39

DD1 has seperation issues, and i can only leave her with dh, my mum, my sisters or my bf, and thats at a push.
Girls with ASD are very different to boys.
The sleep thing sounds like my dd2 who is also autistic (we like to share in our family)

dolfrog Sat 10-Sep-11 03:30:06


Dyslexia is a man made problem and developmental dyslexia has three cognitive subtypes: Auditory, Visual, and Attentional. So an auditory processing disorder, a visual processing disorder, an attention disorder or any combination of the three can cause the dyslexic symptom.
Developmental Dyslexia is about having cognitive problems decoding and recoding a man made communication system, the visual notation of speech, or the graphic symbols society chooses to represent the sounds of speech.
Autism , ASD, is currently diagnosed purely by behavior criteria, but recent research has identified both attention and auditory contributory causes.

The coloured acetates and / or lenses are recommended for those who have Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome which is an underlying cause of the dyslexic symptom. It can also have more important symptoms such as sensitivity to specific light frequencies and bright lights.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a listening disability, or not being able to process all that you hear, all sound based information which includes speech. Those who have APD have problems following conversations, multiple verbal instructions; problems processing the gaps between sounds, which can make up words, and the gaps between words in rapid speech; problems with low levels of background noise (pink sound); word recall problems (poor auditory memory), poor sequencing abilities. Coping wiht APD can also cause poor short term (working) memory problems.

Attention Deficit Disorder, which is now part of the ADHD spectrum, can cause attention and concentration problems. Dyspraxia - Developmental Coordination Disorder is more about motor issues.

You may find these CiteULike Research paper sharing groups provide more detailed information.
Reading: Acquiring and Developing the Skills and Abilities
Developmental Dyslexia
Audiology and Auditory Processing Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Claw3 Sat 10-Sep-11 10:01:00

Coloured overlay sheets are for Irlen syndrome, ds was tested for this, but found not to have it. He has Oculomotor defiencies type 2.

Claw3 Sat 10-Sep-11 10:08:13

If she suspects autism, why not take the letter to your GP and ask for a free referal?

Ds's dx of oculomotor defiencies was made by an NHS optometrist.

dolfrog Sat 10-Sep-11 15:49:36

Hi Claw3

Irlen and Mears where one of the first groups of researchers to identify these issues, which are all part of Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome. It took me quite a while to work out why I could not find much research under the heading of Irlen Syndrome, when i was looking for research papers about the various underlying issues that can cause dyslexia. And there are many other visual processing problems related to eye movements etc and visual attention which can also cause dyslexia.

Dyslexia should be assessed by a multi-discipline team and audiologist to assess for auditory processing problems, an optometrist to assess visual processing problems, and a psychiatrist to assess for attention problems. And from there there should be further specialised multi-discipline teams to diagnose each of the cognitive issues such as Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), which requires an audiologists to diagnose the APD issues, a speech and language pathologist to assess who the diagnosed APD issues affect speech and language, and a psychologist to assess the issues related to living with these APD issues on a daily basis. Currently in the UK we have the wrong professionals trying to diagnose issues, they are not qualified to diagnose, and which are realistically outside of the their professional remit.

So the whole system needs to change inline with the international research of the last decade or so, and unfortunately this revolution needs to be lead from the ground up, the top professional have too much retraining to do, lose of ego status, and most important of all possible lose of high income.

Claw3 Sat 10-Sep-11 16:18:05

Hi Dolfrog, i couldnt agree more. Similarly, most children are just labelled with a dx of autism and parents sent away to get on with it. I have had to fight to get each of the disorders, which imo make up the umberella term of autism recognised.

For example my ds has the ocolomotor defiencies, photophobia, sensory processing disorder, hypermobility, anxiety etc, etc, so far. He is probably dyslexic too as he complains about words being fuzzy and jumping around, but as this is not affecting his reading ability so far, his reading ability is advanced, it is not deemed a problem. No consideration is given to how much he must struggle to read and what a strain it must be for him to have to overcome his difficulties in order to do so.

I suspect there are many more, just like ds with a dx of autism, with lots of other difficulties going on to, if these were identified it could make their life and our lifes so much easier.

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