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Help! 1st Meeting w/ school re: setting up IEP - Any advice?


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Joined: Sep 17, 2006
Posts: 5
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Posted Sep 21, 2006 at 12:13:49 AM
Subject: Help! 1st Meeting w/ school re: setting up IEP - Any advice?

Our 9 yo son is newly diagnosed w/ ADHD & dysgraphia, also testing in the gifted range for verbal intelligence. An experienced child psychologist did a whole bunch of tests with him & we just got these results. The child psychologist, principal, school psychologist (who doesn't seem to have a clue), his 4th grade teacher, & my husband & I are meeting this Friday. I want to be sure my son gets the remediation & accomodations he needs for the dysgraphia & ADHD, & I also want him to have access to the gifted programs at our school.

Unfortunately/Fortunately, my son performs very well academically, but has been classified as unmotivated, lethargic, & lazy by teachers. In actuality, he is bored to death, but has to focus so hard on writing that it makes him irritable/anxious/depressed & then he acts out physically. We tried for 3 years to get help from the school district, but they've said because he performs well academically, there is nothing they can do. (The school psychologist told us to stop worrying & discouraged us from looking elsewhere to have him tested. Said it would be a waste of our money.)

I'm worried that they are going to hit us with the old "He's performing well academically, let's leave him alone" line that they've been feeding us all along. I can see that problems are lurking in our son's future if we don't fix this now. His depression got really bad during the school year last year & he really hated school. This is a kid who loves learning & reading, & at home he'll produce a several page computerized report on a topic of interest, just for fun. I think the gifted program might keep him sufficiently challenged so that he's not so bored, but I worry what impact the ADHD & dysgraphia might have on him in this setting.

Luckily, my son's teacher this year is completely in our corner. We've spoken with him & he's already begun to make modifications in the classroom for our son based on his observations of our son, even before we told him about our son's issues. Teacher says he'll do whatever he can to help us keep our son off ADHD meds - that the med's could dull his curiosity, creativity, & intellect too much (interestingly, our child psychologist said the same thing). Teacher says he loves the challenge of teaching kids like our son & that he has had many over the years. (Knowing this teacher's reputation, we fought over the summer to have our son placed in his class. This, at least, is 1 battle we've won.)

With this being our 1st time doing this, I'd like to solicit the advice of anyone who's fought this battle already. What can you tell us? Please? We'd love to hear your experiences & recommendations. Thanks a bunch to anyone who can help us. We'll respond in kind some day.

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 550

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Posted:Sep 21, 2006 11:12:40 AM

For the Dysgraphia, please request testing for Assistive Technology. If he is able to produce several pages of computerized text, he should have access to a computer, AlphaSmart or laptop in the classroom. This will allow him to produce to his potential with out the frustration of handwriting.

http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/index.htm - This site has information on twice exceptional children - gifted with LDs.

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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My Boys' Mom
Joined Sep 17, 2006
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Thanks so much. We will request assisted technology. I'm hoping something like that would be available to him throughout his school career. But I do have 2 concerns: 1) My son doesn't type with all fingers, just his index fingers. It takes him a long time to produce his reports, but since they are not compulsory, he seems able to handle it. When something becomes compulsory, it ceases to be fun for him, he feels a tremendous amount of pressure (that he puts on himself - something I'm learning is part of the "gifted" temperament) & he's resistant to doing the work. My son has problems with memorizing or rote sequencing so I'm worried that he won't be able to learn to use a keyboard correctly. Do you know of any fun/challenging games that teach kids how to type properly? Someone suggested getting a braille keyboard so that he gets tactile feedback from his fingers - ?

2) I'm also concerned that he will develop an over-reliance on a keyboard & his writing skills won't improve. Have you ever seen any data on if this happens?

Thanks so much for your input - we really appreciate it. It's exactly what we're looking for.

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
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Posted:Sep 21, 2006 2:23:31 PM

There are many ways to help typing skills. Do a search for typing programs as I have not found 1 that works for everyone. Ms 14 used Typing Instructor 12 over the summer. She likes this one because it allows you to do "real world" typing practice rather than just the boring exercises most programs have. It also has some fun games. When she started keyboarding many years ago, she, too, only used 2 fingers. :) As she has become more and more comfortable with the keyboarding and uses it more, she has seen that practicing standard positions for keyboarding increases her speed.

What helped Ms. 14's handwriting was hand and upper body strengthening. Often the actual handwriting is difficult because lack of muscle tone makes control harder. Ms 14 had horrible writing but a year in gymnastics made an incredible difference. Now she has gorgeous handwriting but is still slow and has difficulty with spelling.

He can still be asked to handwrite short things to keep up his writing practice. Handwriting Without Tears is a very good program to help with handwriting. However, I do think that for longer projects, the keyboarding is probably going to be more effective for him. Also consider that in upper grades and college many of the teachers are requiring typewritten work. Look around at many jobs and you will find that they rely more on computers and keyboarding. This is a skill that will help him throughout his life.

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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My Boys' Mom
Joined Sep 17, 2006
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Scifinut,
Thank you so much for the detailed advice about typing programs - I am going to research it all this afternoon. Interestingly, we had a PPT (& Placement Team) meeting yesterday at school. The OT & Special Ed teacher said they now teach that there is no wrong way to type - basically, whatever way works for you is the right way. Our school district begins teaching keyboarding skills in the next grade level, but it is left up to the kid to either use it or their own method.

I was especially interested to hear about your daughter's weak hand muscles. You are definitely on to something there. I know my son's hands are weak. But he's getting very interested in working out to become stronger & faster. I will go out today & get him some hand strengthening gadgets - he'll be really into that.

Thanks again for your input, it is greatly appreciated!!

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 550

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Posted:Sep 23, 2006 11:00:20 AM

Glad I could help. :) Let us know how it goes.

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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