I Didn’t Make My Goal.

Many people don’t “believe in” vision processing disorder. It’s a relatively new “disorder” and it’s easier just to say, “It’s like dyslexia” as explanation.

But it’s not dyslexia. It’s treatable. And we treated Shane – at great financial and emotional cost – for many years.

So when, in the past six months or so, Shane started reading words aloud (again) that didn’t make any sense, I was mildly concerned. He seemed to be flipping syllables. When he got a lower-than-expected score on his PARCC test last spring – only in reading – it added to my concern. And when I realized Shane had “forgotten” his multiplication tables and couldn’t remember how to multiply fractions or use negative numbers in equations, I worried a little bit more.

Then I noticed that Shane had also started reading comics again – something he did before he learned to read, because he could guess the words easier with assistance from the pictures. And he started listening to talking CDs instead of reading books during his nightly reading time.

Then, last week, Shane came home from school after the MAP-R, another standardized reading assessment.

He said, “I didn’t make my goal,” and I started to freak out a little.

“What do you mean?” I asked with all the calm I could muster.

Shane said, “The goals ranged from 239 to 249 and I only got a 232. I didn’t even meet the minimum goal.” This low test score was – again – in the one subject most affected by a vision processing disorder: reading. Shane said he did fine on the MAP-M, which is the equivalent test for math. But I didn’t stop thinking about his reading score.

Two days later, I was still thinking about it.

No one knows about vision processing disorder, I thought. Treatment is practically still in the experimental stages.

And: How do we know whether or not he will regress?

So I wrote down my thoughts for the special education coordinator at his school. I explained all of my fears – the CDs, the comics, the math, the PARCC test, the possibility of regression, the flipping of words when he reads aloud. And I asked if we could see the MAP-R, to see what he’d done incorrectly, to gauge whether or not he was struggling again.

In response, she wrote the following:

I am uncertain why your son Shane felt he did not meet his goal for MAPR.  His most recent score was a 232, which is in the 87th percentile, and well above what the cut score was for 7th grade.  His MAPM was a 241, also in the 87th percentile. I don’t think you have anything to be concerned about!

And yet, here I sit – still concerned.

Yes, he’s smart. I am fine – even happy – with how well he did on his test. But I don’t only care that he is in the 87th percentile. I care that he didn’t meet the minimum number in the one test that evaluates reading. I care that his eyes might not be working with his brain again. I care that he might be slipping – might need help – might need more than just intelligence to get what he needs in school – and in life.

I care that he cares, and if he needs help again, I want to get it for him.

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