I don’t think I expected the amount of paperwork that having two adopted children would bring. Possibly it’s because they both have additional needs; but we have an awful lot of paperwork from the last 6 months alone.
Today we got a hefty piece of paperwork; extremely well written and well evidenced paperwork, but it contains 12 pages of analysis and a variety of different result grids. It is one of the most important bits of paperwork we’ve had and I know in future it will be pulled out on many occasions; following the meeting where we and the SENCO were given the document the SENCO basically said that we need to have an interim EHCP review to add the extra information. But I need to think about it a bit; hence this post.
The document basically concludes quite starkly that Boyo is neurodevelopmentally compromised because of a foetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The evidence is laid out in black and white; which gives some incredibly useful pointers for us and school (& importantly future schools).
It starts by looking at the cognitive assessment that was carried out. It looked at different areas including general cognitive ability, verbal ability, spatial ability and non-verbal reasoning. There were no real shocks with most of this; we knew his cognitive ability is on the low side. We knew his verbal ability is higher than the rest of his ability.
There was point at which the SENCO went ‘oh’ and ‘that makes sense’. There is a test of auditory working memory; where he scored with an age equivalent score of less than a 5 year old. His percentile on this test is terrifying low, basically if you ask/tell him to do something, he probably won’t remember what he has to do. He is much better when he is shown.
The psychologist who produced this report has developed over 30 years his own questionnaire that looks at the profile of the child. It looks at 5 different areas; fluency of communication, attention and organisation, flexibility and set shifting, time and consequences and unevenness and bias in cognitive ability. In all the areas school and us scored him very likely and possibly. It will probably be no surprise that the two areas that were scored as very likely by both us and school were attention and organisation and time and consequences.
There is also a section on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) which is a standard test used for other diagnosis as well. The key aspects from this are; that Boyo is seen by us and school as troubled by anxiety to a degree that would apply to less than 1% of his peers. Also that used as measure of inattention he was at the extreme end of the scale for hyperactivity.
There is a finally a section about developmental trauma. We all acknowledge (including the psychologist) that Boyo’s developmental trauma is having a massive impact on him, probably more than the FASD. The section talks about attachment and intersubjectivity. It explains why there is compliance at school and not at home.
Following all that there is a summary; in that he has a somewhat spiky profile, but not in the way that a typical FASD child might have. This could be due to general learning difficulties. There is a real identification that he is a visual learner. He has executive functioning deficits. He is very anxious and managing the anxiety can cause issues with learning.
There is mention of medication for reducing anxiety, but that is for future not now. We have a recommendation of Elvanse, but at the moment it is not something that we want to consider. Interesting we talked about melatonin; but he thought it actually wouldn’t help at the minute as Boyo has no real issues falling asleep (other than anxiety and needing one of us to stay with him); the problem is staying asleep.
We were told last year verbally that he was on the FASD spectrum. Today we received written confirmation of it. I am sad for him in the future, but equally very glad that we have the evidence.