Q:Are there any non-language assessments
that could be given to our son?
We adopted a 7 year old boy from Russia. He
successfully takes Ritelin for attention and hyperactivity
and is doing "well" in a small private school
where there are 7 children (grades 3-5 in his class). His
teacher is not trained in special education, but has taken
workshops on ADD/ADHD and on learning styles. However, we
are wondering about his learning style. He easily memorizes
how to spell words, but seems to forget how to spell them
several weeks later. The teacher also feels he ought to
remember multiplication tables and points of grammar better.
When you call his name, our son does not immediately
respond. This is the same when you ask him a question or
make a comment directly to him. There is a delay in responding.
Yet he has clearly heard what you have said when asked about
it. Are there any non-language
assessments that could be given to our son? He has
probably forgotten his Russian or is so "shy"
that he will not talk/listen to a native speaking it. He
is our only child and has not been around any Russians for
2 years. Even when he first came to the US and we interacted
with a Russian family that spoke Russian and English, he
would speak in English. What has been your experience with
other children, adopted 4 years ago at around age 6/7? How
do you interact with them if they refuse to interact with
someone speaking Russian? (He never learned to read in Russian).
Also he recently has developed tics (Tourettes Syndrome)
and is taking clonidine for this as well as lesser amounts
of Ritelin (which he still needs for attention in the morning
in school). He also can be quick to anger and at home can
have a real rage (especially if on no medicine).
There are plenty of non-language
psychological instruments, among them UNIT, TONI-2, Leiter Scale
(just recently re-standardized), CTONI. The best one on the market
is UNIT (Universal Non-Verbal Intelligence Test). It surpasses any
other non-verbal test in practically all aspects, including psychometric
properties, diversity of the measured cognitive abilities, and relevancy
to school performance. I use all the existing non-verbal tests with
IA children, and my personal professional preference is for UNIT
as the most appropriate instrument for IA children. The big, really
big problem with all non-verbal tests (including my favorite UNIT,
although to a lesser degree) is that they have a relatively weak
predictive validity (from .4 to .7) for academic functioning, which
is mostly language-based. Would you buy a thermometer that shows
a correct temperature in only 40 to 70 percent of all measurements?
But I am not sure why you ask for a non-verbal assessment.
Have you ever heard about Sensory Integration Therapy? I do not
want to endorse it, but I heard from many patients and professionals
that it may work wonders with children who have the very same
range of symptoms that your son has. You may find a lot of information
about this therapy on the Internet. Again, it is not an endorsement
of SI, just a suggestion to look at it.