Evaluating a kid for possible attention, sensory, & motor issues
December 27, 2013 2:26 PM Subscribe
My son's teacher, my spouse, and I have concerns about a few different, but possibly related, issues with my 9 year old son. What kind of place should we bring him to for an evaluation? I'm looking for suggestions either about general kinds of places you might bring a kid to get an evaluation or for specific places in Portland, Oregon. Any other input on these individual issues, including how they might be related, is welcome as well.
posted by bluedaisy to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
My son, "Jake," just turned 9 and is in third grade. Cognitively and socially, he seems fine.
We want to get him evaluated for a range of things, including possible delays in gross and fine motor skills, attention issues, and sensory issues, and I'd like to find a professional who can address this all comprehensively rather than trying to deal with each issue individually, in case we're missing something. Bonus points for a practitioner who understands how all of this can manifest differently in kids who were adopted.
Physical - large motor skills:
My son is pretty aggressive on his bike and scooter and has always been a climber, scaling the chain link fence in the yard at the age of 2. He's also always been a slow walker, even relative to his peers. The big concern is his awkward running gait. Even the least coordinated kids on his soccer team are more fluid than he is. His run looks more like younger kids. Maybe he's just not a runner? Or could this be a delay?
Physical - small motor skills:
His handwriting is pretty bad, even relative to his classmates. It's improved a lot this fall, and his teacher says she's seen big improvements with handwriting in third grade. However, he still starts his letters at the bottom of the page rather than the top. He will always eat with hands rather than a fork. Is this a possible delay? Or does he need more instruction and practice with writing? He's crazy about Legos and can make incredible pieces with lots of interesting little details, but I don't know if that's relevant.
Letters & numbers:
In addition to his poor handwriting, Jake sometimes writers letters and numbers backwards. The specialist at school said this isn't unusual for his age, however.
Jake is incredibly sensitive to seams in his socks (I have to buy special smooth toe socks) and tags in his shirts (we cut them out). If something is askew/doesn't feel right, he gets incredibly stressed and will pretty much freak out until it's fixed.
His second grade teacher basically told us he was an underachiever -- he didn't try very hard except on topics that interested him. This can happen with kids who aren't challenged enough, but this year he's in a full-time gifted program he just tested into, and he's still not trying hard. Now it seems like it's too hard to him. His current teacher says it takes him forever to get started on anything in class, and he's often off chatting with friends instead. She's having to spend a lot of time to get him to focus. We see a lot of typical ADD behavior at home as well. His current teacher is the one who suggested we get him evaluated for attention issues.
And an extra bit of complication: my husband and I adopted Jake (internationally) when he was one and half. I've read that kids who were adopted are more likely to be misdiagnosed with ADD and other things. So I feel like I need to make extra sure to get a comprehensive evaluation that covers a range of these issues, preferably with someone who has some experience with children who were adopted.
So, where do we go? What kind of facility or practitioner could best help us figure this all out? Our primary care physician recently left the practice and we haven't established a relationship with our new physician. We have worked with a therapist who specializes in adoption, but this isn't the kind of work she does (I will ask her for a suggestion too).
Suggestions for the kinds of places to go, or specific people/organizations in Portland, Oregon, are welcome. I'd also love to hear from parents or others who have experience dealing with any of these issues individually or together.