Getting Son Evaluated

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  • Jennifer

    Hello!  I have a couple of questions for you brilliant ladies!  First off, I have a 10 year old son who seems to struggle with retention and focus.  We have worked on learning to pay attention and focusing, but I don’t see any improvement.  In fact, things that he has learned in the past now seem to be lost to him.  For instance, he has a hard time telling me what a verb is.  He was in public school through 2nd grade and made straight A’s.  I don’t know if this is an issue with him not respecting me as a teacher or if he truly has reached a point in school where he is struggling.  All that to say, if I wanted to get him evaluated for learning disabilities, where would I go to do that since he is not in the public schools?  Would his pediatrician be the one to ask?  He does have OCD and though it hasn’t been diagnosed, i think he has sensory issues (tactile).

    My next question is, what do I do about kids who just don’t like to go outside!? We live in the country!  We have a whole beautiful world around us, but all three of my kids have to be forced to go outside!  I try to model a love of nature by going outside myself, gardening, drawing, pointing out interesting things about nature, but they couldn’t care less.  They say they are bored when they go outside, they all hate bugs and worms and being hot or being cold, and they can’t seem to find things to do (and don’t like my suggestions).  Any advice?  Should I concentrate on lessons on nature that we can do inside?  I feel like they are wasting their childhood!  Sorry this is so long!


    There are several options for getting evaluated.  It depends on your goals for testing.  Do you suspect medical issues?  Autism?  Do you want a documented diagnosis for possible college accommodations in the future?

    Or are you looking merely for educational help?

    We have local Brain Balance centers and dyslexia and struggling learning centers. They do evaluations, but push their program.

    There are some homeschool friendly evaluators that do consultations. HSLDA should have referrals for that.

    “The Right Side of Normal ” by, Cindy Gaddis and ” Upside down Brilliance ” by ? may help.

    For the outdoors issue you could take family walks or bike rides.

    Do they like outdoor games? My husband leads a family gym class two nights a week with the kids.

    A bird feeder at the window is another idea, or tracking the weather on a calendar.


    First of all, to get evaluated, a developmental neuropsychologist would be the place to go. The pediatrician could direct you to one.

    As far as going outdoors, it sounds like an attitude problem. With my daughter, it just the opposite. She would rather go outside and play in the dirt than do bookwork. She’s 14! She does have a learning disability, so in some ways she is more like a 10yo. She has focusing problems when it is something she thinks is too hard or something that doesn’t interest her. She started piano lessons again a month ago. She has the talent, but getting her to practice consistently is the problem. I think electronics is the problem with a lot of kids. They don’t enjoy the outdoors like we did when we were kids. We were outside all the time. You are the one in charge, first as mother, then as teacher. Either way you look at it, if your kids are not spending time wisely, like too much electronics, you can schedule outdoor time, and let them know that there will be no computer, TV, etc. until school work is done, including outdoor time. I have to do that with my daughter to get schoolwork and piano done.

    I have been focusing a lot on character and Bible study this year. It is very important to know what God’s Word says about disobedience, complaining, or any other area any of us struggle with. I’m learning right along with my daughter, because there are some areas I struggle with, like impatience. If I don’t set an example for my daughter, I can’t expect her to do any better. But, our children need to obey and respect us, just because it is the right thing to do.


    Just attended the most amazing conference this week. Although the homeschool mom/adult daughter duo are based in Colorado, they do Skype and phone consults, sending videos, support thru 1 school year after consultation. They trained with Diane Craft. The descriptions of signs of stress was like reading a bio of my children without their name on it, I had no idea. They focus on crossing the midline exercises, simple individualized (doable) nutrition plan, teaching ideas to help them not just cope but improve the root issues. I am encouraged that there is something I can do to really help them!


    Quick question, what are your kids doing when they are inside?

    Take baby steps to get outside. Start with 20-30 minutes and some structure (you can wean yourself out in time). Have you heard of the One Small Square books? Picnic lunches and lessons outside…let kids wander. Strew nature picture books around…a favorite The Raft – have to run…


    We limit electronics, but still have trouble sometimes of them wanting to go outside.  I let them know ahead of time, at least a few hours.  I have the most trouble if it has been awhile since they played outdoors.  We spend a minimum of one hour, but sometimes they get into an activity and don’t want to go inside yet, so we stay longer.  It helps if I am involved with them, at least at first, to get them started.  We have outdoor toys and sometimes I require each to take something with them.

    Jump ropes

    Balls: bouncy, soccer, basketball, etc.

    Sidewalk chalks


    Hula hoops

    Small digging tools and garden gloves

    Butterfly nets



    Charlotte Mason suggested croquet and badminton sets.

    Sometimes I direct them in a game of Mother May I or Simon Says.  I direct races, “Walk backwards to the tree.  Walk around the tree three times.  Do 4 jumping jacks and race back flapping your arms like a bird (or a plane).”  This also helps to increase listening skills, attention, memory, and direction-following.  Sometimes I call one of them to give the directions.  More ideas: Swimming, rowing a boat, pretend to be this or that animal.  This calls for some creativity.  We might do the hokey pokey or similar activities in a circle together.  I get ideas from Great Big Book of Children’s Games.

    We also like to go to a variety of park playgrounds to play or take a walk.


    Not much time to post, but just wanted to suggest a pediatric OT that does reflex integration, and not getting your son labeled if it’s not necessary.  I don’t like labels on my kid’s insurance, it will be there forever even if they improve.  Someone mentioned Brain Balance, and it’s along the same lines, my daughter’s OT said she has 2 clients that went through Brain Balance and didn’t see any improvement despite a large cost.  My daughter has always struggled with focus/retention, she’s 10 and still can’t remember the difference between a country vs state/continent/city,  or nouns/verbs, math facts, and so on.  She has a lot of sensory issues.

    My daughter has seen the OT for about 2 months, and I’m finally seeing some results, she can tie shoes better now, and tell me a story that makes sense without fumbling for words.  Hope you find something that helps!


    I was told that because you are in the school’s district regardless of whether you attend, your child is entitled to be assessed, now the cost is on you, not the school district and the treatment costs as well. I personally didn’t do that. I call a couple of teachers I knew and trusted and told them I believed my son was Dyslexic and they gave me a woman’s number who would test outside of the school for a minimal cost. I had been told the assessment can be around $600-1,000 and that isn’t even the costs for the treatment or remedial. The woman tested him at our local library and sent me a 32 page report that included her credentials. I have used this document to get him signed up with Bookshare so he has access to audio books. If he ever does standardized testing, I can use the document to get him accommodations for the test, if he wants. I have been able to provide him with tools he needs to learn how to use that will forever help him navigate this world with Dyslexia.  I have another lady, whose name I was given by a homeschooling friend, who is qualified to test for Erlins, so not everyone is qualified to test for everything, so you can begin with your Doctor, who then can refer you on as well.

    I recently saw this when I was purchasing our language arts program for next year and found it interesting.

    Best of Luck.

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