When he was still a preschooler, he was very smart -- highly verbal and independent at a very early age. In kindergarten he had a vocabulary of an 11th grader. He astounded people with songs, poems and acting out parts of fairy tales all by himself.
Now he is 17. All of his school years have been a constant struggle and he is currently failing several subjects. I want him to be well educated and to get a good job, but I am very worried. What can I do to help him? Shall I take him to a neuropsychologist? I have taken him to an education specialist, who tested him but offered nothing to help him. His IQ tested at 99. He is terrible on standardized tests. Thank you.
At any rate, it is clear that your son has had difficulties learning, but also that he has some obvious strengths. It is very important to get your son a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation to identify his true potential, as well as identify any factors that may have been getting in the way of his learning. Since your son has had such a difficult past, an educational evaluation alone will not be sufficient. You can get the name of a good clinical neuropsychologist from your son's physician, or by calling the Board of Psychology in your state. You can also contact a children's hospital in your area, and ask them if they have a diagnostic clinic for older adolescents (or tell you where to go to have a young adult evaluated).
If your son has been identified as having a special need and has not graduated from high school, his school has an obligation to provide services to him until he is 21, so make sure they are involved. Even if he has already received a diploma, the guidance counselor at the high school might be able to offer some recommendations about programs for recent graduates with learning problems. Also contact the state office of the Learning Disabilities Association for information and referrals. The office of vocational training or rehabilitation in your state may offer both evaluations and training that would help your son get and keep a job appropriately suited to his skills. Above all, don't give up. There are agencies and services that can help your son.