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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1768
Experience:  Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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My step son is a very bright boy. he is 7 1/2 years old and

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My step son is a very bright boy. he is 7 1/2 years old and in the 2nd grade. He excels in math, has an excellent vocabulary, is a fast reader and and manages to get his point across when he wants to, clearly and correctly. Lately it has come to our attention that Ryan is having trouble writing sentences when prompted to write in his journal or when trying to answer reading comprehension questions. He stalls and/or comes up with excuses such as headache, etc, both in class and at home, until time runs out. He gets stressed out to the point where he can't concentrate anymore and gets distracted or makes up silly answers. he manages to do his home work at the daycare center, but we found out recently that he cleverly found a way to get the counselors to pretty much spoon feed him the answers. we are having a hard time trying to figure out if this is just acting out, a creativity problem, lazyiness, or a bit of all. he claims he can't think of anhything to write and doesn't how to.
Hi and welcome,

Ryan sounds smart and manipulative! I Here are some suggestions for you to look at:
Have him tested. Just because he is reading fast, he may not be comprehending what he reads. If he can't write, there are tests that can assess this ability. You can request that the school give him a full educational evaluation. Put it in writing . You can ask verbally but if you put it in writing they have to do it within a certain time period, it differs in different states, but it's about 60 days.
If you want you can find a psychologist who does psycho-educational testing and have it done privately. They will test his Intelligence, his academic ability and if he has problems with writing you may want an individual test just in that area (TOWL) -Test of Written Language. The plus to this is that he will be tested in a different environment, not a school psychologist office and most times if a psychologist sees the child tiring, getting frustrated they can stop. In the school setting the school psychologist has many other responsibilities and testing kids becomes rote and there may not be any considerations for how the child is feeling, they just have to do it.
He is using every resource he can come up with to stall and it's causing him anxiety, that you can see by his silliness and lack of concentration. Tell the day care providers that they are not to help him by giving him answers, they are not doing him any favors. Be patient with him until you find out what is going on, he really can't help and he's telling you the truth as he sees it. He may be able to accomplish some writing but if he feels he can't do it, he really can't (learned helplessness)
It sounds like you are going to find something when the tests are done. He is not acting out, he is not lazy he has some learning issues that can be corrected when they are identified. You are catching this early which is a good thing, sometimes with children who are very bright they can compensate for the deficits until they reach middle school when they need to use more formal abstract thinking.
Then they crash and parents are surprised to learn there is a problem.
I hope this helps.
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you Dr Keane. That all makes sense and I think having him tested as you recommend would be the best thing we can do for him. Can you recommend someone in bergen county NJ?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I see you are In Summit, which is not that far from us. Do you do psycho-educational testing?

Glad you are going to have the testing done. As you probably guessed from my reply that I do test. I could find you someone closer if you'd like but I'd be more than happy to do it. What town are you in? You can find me online/phone book for a number to call. I cannot give that out due to my position here at just answer.
Sybil Keane, Summit, NJ
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ok, i will look you up online. We're in Bogota. It's not that far. Is the testing done in one session or several?

Most psychologists will block out two or three (maybe more if more evaluations are used) 1.5 hr sessions. It all depends on what issues the child is presenting, ability to focus, even time of day plays a role in how long each session will be.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok. . We will discuss the situation with Ryan's mom this evening and probably give you a call tomorrow to make an appointment. What are your hours of operation? Any saturday appointments?

Hi, good, but have to end this question so that I do not violate any of JA's rules. I hope you understand.