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Requesting a evaluation for dysgraphia


Starshine970

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So it is my plan to request an evaluation for dysgraphia at an upcoming IEP meeting. My child is a first grader he has shown a fine motor delay since age 2 1/2 years old. He received OT services for approximately a little over two years which we voluntarily stopped. At that time my child was receiving Ot, Pt, and behavioral therapy weekly in addition to a school day. He was emotionally fried and the OT and PT services ended up just decompressing him from the school day. So we ended the services to remove something off of his plate. Throughout his entire Pre-K year (at a public school) they had to put a lot of effort and energy into getting him to just put pencil to paper. Asking him to scribble on a paper would cause emotional outbursts on him. Flash forward to my almost 7 year old first grader who is forgetting what his letters he's known since age 3 look like, writing them backwards, still struggling with his pencil grip, has great protest at any assignment involving hand writing. Now what I have ran into in the past is that they want to "wait and see" as he is still young. So requesting a evaluation for dysgraphia is that an immature request at this grade level? My concerns is my son has high anxiety and a known perfectionist. I don't want to wait too long and he begins to become behind in his academics. He is a bright child I've had many teachers comment that he is most likely going to be considered gifted. 

My other concern is I don't want to be faced with the "lets do these activities to strengthen his hand muscles" as that has been the approach going on four years now. While they can certainly benefit him. The demand in school for handwriting is just going to increase. And I think this is a service the school can intend offer if he qualifies (which I believe he should) I would like for them to provide it. Instead of becoming another therapy I need to attempt to arrange around his school day.  As well as support him in this. 

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This is absolutely NOT an immature request for a first grader.  I would request a dysgraphia evaluation immediately.  If you wait too long, then the school district argues that "the habits are too ingrained and can't be remedied at this point."  However, since dysgraphia is not as well researched as dyslexia and dyscalculia, it is doubtful the school district will first, do a decent evaluation and second, offer the services he really needs for this.  So you may be looking at requesting an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) from a provider who is more familiar with this area and can make recommendations.  

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With anything you ask for on an IEP, it's always the "is this the hill I'm going to die on?" Schools can, and often do, say no.

Then you have to decide if you have the data and documentation to proceed further. Or, just take care of this issue privately at your own expense.

Every family has different things to consider. 

Here is more information on dysgraphia from one of our OT contributors who specializes in it. Link to buy her book on it is in the post I think: https://adayinourshoes.com/dysgraphia/

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On 8/19/2023 at 1:10 PM, Carolyn Rowlett said:

This is absolutely NOT an immature request for a first grader.  I would request a dysgraphia evaluation immediately.  If you wait too long, then the school district argues that "the habits are too ingrained and can't be remedied at this point."  However, since dysgraphia is not as well researched as dyslexia and dyscalculia, it is doubtful the school district will first, do a decent evaluation and second, offer the services he really needs for this.  So you may be looking at requesting an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) from a provider who is more familiar with this area and can make recommendations.  

Okay thank you. My son's OT is going to do an evaluation (tomorrow) in those areas she can not make the official diagnosis but she can said she can do an assessment in those areas. His teacher did say that handwriting is an area that causes him great frustrations. So I think I am going to take the OT's assessment and push for a IEE if that is necessary. What resources would I look into in finding someone who could do an IEE? Is that me going to someone the school offers or would I need to do the footwork in finding one? 

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BTDT.  I requested that my son be evaluated for dysgraphia a few times throughout his school career.  The school OT said no - he's not dysgraphic.  Fast forward to 11th grade and the issues he has aren't well explained by the evals the school has done so I requested a neuropsych evaluation.  The neuropsych said he was dysgraphic & I think this is something outside of what a OT can diagnose.

In a perfect world, an IEE is where you find the evaluator w/o looking at the school's list.  That said, the school sometimes has some good people on their list.  The neuropsych that evaluated by son was contracted by the school for when parents made a request like I did.  IMO, the eval was as good as if I had picked the evaluator.  It was a school eval - not an IEE - but it got the results my child needed.

I would also make sure he's accommodated for this.  He might need a scribe or Assistive Technology if his handwriting is delayed.  He needs to have what he needs so he has access to school.  If he cannot write, he needs accommodations for this.

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On 8/24/2023 at 10:16 AM, Lisa Lightner said:

With anything you ask for on an IEP, it's always the "is this the hill I'm going to die on?" Schools can, and often do, say no.

Then you have to decide if you have the data and documentation to proceed further. Or, just take care of this issue privately at your own expense.

Every family has different things to consider. 

Here is more information on dysgraphia from one of our OT contributors who specializes in it. Link to buy her book on it is in the post I think: https://adayinourshoes.com/dysgraphia/

Thank you so much. I used that site to help craft a bullet point in reasons as to why I feel like this is an appropriate request for the team to consider. 

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