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Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

teacher is expert at age 25?

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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Mar 05, 2002 at 2:12:31 PM
Subject: teacher is expert at age 25?

Hi everyone,
I have a 4th grader who has been receiving services for SLD since 2nd grade. Kindergarten and especially 1st grade where horrendous. He struggled like crazy. They kept telling us lets work harder, don't panic yet. Well, come the end of 1st grade, and stalling us for testing, they wanted to hold him back. We said NO WAY and we demand that he be tested. Well he had learning disabilities (what a surprise, huh?) Part 2: My youngest son, now in 1st grade is struggling "big time." He is receiving Title I Reading Remediation and the teacher wants us to find a tutor for math. Again we have a young 1st grade teacher (25 years-old & 2 1/2 years teaching experience) She tells me last week that she is "certain" that he does not have a learning disability. How about that?!!!! What a relief!!!! Does something seem wrong here or am I just jumping the gun and panicking from previous experience? If I do insist on testing now and nothing significant shows up, have I closed any doors for next year? Our district is very tight with testing and services because they have a huge Early Childhood (Early Intervention) Program, costs big bucks I'm sure. Do I go for it now or wait till next year for testing? Any advice appreciated.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 05, 2002 5:46:34 PM

Lisa,

It is hard to say whether you can get the needed discrepancy yet or not. Personally, the teacher's statement shows she probably doesn't know what she's talking about. Kids who are identified in second or third grade as LD were also LD back in K and 1, they just weren't identified yet!

If it were me, I'd request that the testing be done at the very end of this year. That will be to your advantage. Make sure they do EVERY subtest of the Woodcock-Johnson-III so you can have opportunities for him to even qualify under listening comprehension and oral expression in addition to reading and math. As long as he qualifies in one area, he can be served in all needed areas. I'd also request a speech/language evaluation. My child qualified under that testing even though she did not yet qualify LD. That way, the SLP can work on vocabulary, phonemic awareness, and other reading or pre-reading skills. Many LD kids will have a deficit in language skills since most LD's are language based.

If he qualifies for nothing now, you can certainly have him tested again next year. If they refuse, I'd just go get private testing done and then bring it back to them if he is then at a qualifying level. This is a sad situation because he really needs intervention now, but if you get private outside LD tutoring, it may keep him from qualifying even longer. What a dilemma! (If it were me, though, and knowing how ineffective most LD programs are, I'd probably go ahead and find a tutor trained in an Orton-Gillingham based program.)

Janis

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 05, 2002 9:09:18 PM

Janis,
I'm sorry to get right in the middle of this conversation. But I'm reading everything trying to learn anything! They have been telling me that my son didn't need to be tested yet for 4 years and now in the third grade he is failing for the first time. I have been mad about them not testing but if I am hearing you correctly it might be a good thing that he wasn't tested until 3rd grade. Is that right or have I misunderstood? And are you saying that LD might not show up in the test until 2 or 3 grade? He is ADHD and reads on about 6th grade level (higher if you ask me) but can't spell well enough to read back what he wrote. He also has no problem with math like word problems or "harder " stuff but can't learn his math facts. The biggest problem is that he HATES to write anything. It's like pulling teeth to get him to write a sentence. Any ideas?

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 05, 2002 9:49:36 PM

Hi, Shari,

Well, I think the earlier the diagnosis, the better. In order to qualify for LD, however, there has to be a discrepancy between the child's IQ and performance. For example, my state requires a 15 point discrepancy. If a child scores a standard score of 85 or lower on any area of achievement (that is with 100 being average) and has at least a 100 IQ score (which is average), then the child could qualify LD in that area. (Or 115 IQ and 100 achievement score, etc.) So in your son's case, it sounds like he wouldn't qualify in reading, but he certainly might qualify in written language or even math computation (calculation). The problem is that if a child is tested, say in first grade (like my child was), they haven't usually had time for a significant delay to show up as far as the academics go. My child only tested a couple of months behind back in the fall, but I know she has some problems with reading. I was able to get her help by having her language tested and there are some low sub-tests that qualify her for those services. If no interventions were being done now, yes, I think she would have the low scores by the end of second grade which would make her qualify. But we want to do interventions now to keep her from getting that far behind if at all possible.

In your case, I'd recommend that you write a brief letter to the principal of your child's school stating that you are concerned with his academic problems and that you are formally requesting that a full psycho-educational evaluation be completed before the end of this school year. You need to get the ball rolling right away since there are only a few weeks of school left. If he is failing something, they should be in agreement to test. Also, send a copy of the letter to the school district special ed. director. I hiope this helps!

Janis

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 05, 2002 9:50:42 PM

Sorry, didn't catch my typos before posting!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 12:27:01 AM


I feel like anytime someone states they are certain about ANYTHING relating to LD,they probably don't know enough.

I do want to give you the scoop about early intervention programs though. These programs are generally a federal grant. This money doesn't come out of the state funds. The reason they like to use the programs is it saves their state money.Evaluations are also federal funded under child find. They can not use state funds for evaluations,neither can they use federal funding for evaluations to fund other areas of services.
In the numbers game things get tipped one way or another. Probably your district has more federal grant money for early intervention,then state funding for special ed. services?
I know,whatever,it doesn't matter to your kid,but it does give you a little more insight. Anytime I hear of a district wanting to encourage a parent one way or another I always wonder how their numbers are looking. A lot of time it isn't based on the needs of the kid.

Again,I believe you should request a formal eval. If he doesn't qualify now,you can request another eval later on. You can, based on your right under procedural safeguards to request an eval at anytime.You will not hurt your chances in any way.

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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 1:07:32 AM

Janis,
I think my son will score very high on an IQ test. This is a very smart kid. He talks about everything and has something to add that is worthwhile to every conversation. He can build anything and if you need your car fixed he can pretty much tell you what is wrong with it. Like I said before the only little glich is this writing, spelling and the building blocks of math thing that's going on. I have wanted him tested since first grade but was already watching to see what was going on in kinder (both the first and second year of Kinder). I am very stressed out about this next child study. The reason I am up now (at 1 am) is I had a dream that they told me that it was my fault that he was this way and that I must be hurting him in some way! You see I got them to listen to me this time by using the words Due Process and that was really an agressive move for me and now I am worried sick about my son at school and the out come of the child study. I am not by nature a trouble maker and I feel like I have stired up a hornets nest! When my mother was at the school to help out in the classroom the principle stopped her on her way out to ask "Is there anything I should Know?" What does that mean? I want my son to have the help he needs but I will have to get a backbone to do it! It should not be this hard!!!! It should not be this scary!!!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 7:00:40 AM

I hate to add my negative thoughts, but thought you should know. Yes, you will be labeled a trouble maker, seems like if you want to buck the system and help you're child get an education., you're a trouble maker. But don't let that stop you, it's your job as a mother. And yes, at some point they will probably blame you. or your child. It couldn't possibly be the fault of the school system that he's not learning what he needs to succeed. But, just remember....you're the parent and no oneknows your child as well as you....and know one cares about your child the way you do.....so keep fighting.....and don't worry about how they label you.. I sometimes worry about the way they feel about me, but I figure where are those people going to be in 8 years when my son is trying to find a job and can't read. They won't be anywhere around, but I will be.
Hang in there and this is a wonderful place to come for support....I"ve spent lots of sleepless nights on here and it helps. Good Luck!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 8:43:46 AM

Just a little different perspective...

I agree that you HAVE to stand up for your children and work aggressively to see that their neds are met. I also wish that there were enough funds around, and enough caring, well trained teachers to meet the needs of all our special needs kids WITHOUT us having to fight for it every inch of the way.

OTOH, I think that there are lots of caring professionals out there caught between a rock and a hard place in terms of budget, staffing and administrative mandates. It's not the fault of any one person or group of people that it's so hard to get the needs of our kids met.

It's a sad fact of life that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. But there's a fine art to being assertive enough to be taken seriously, and still keeping the school staff on your side and working WITH you for the benefit of your child. It's a fine art, but one well worth learning. My school system knows I'm serious, and they know I won't back down. But they also know that I am always courteous, and that I try very hard to work WITH them. They know that as long as they're doing their job, and meeting my son's needs, I'll leave them alone.

As those who frequent the boards may remember, we had a bad situation in the fall, when our NLD son was put into a classroom with a teacher who had no idea how to deal with him, and didn't seem to be willing and/or capable of learning. Around the first of the year, at the SPED coordinator's suggestion, we moved hm to a different classroom. In a conversation with the coordinator, I made some comment about hoping that the new teachers didn't think I ws going to be a trouble maker. The SPED coordinator smiled, and commented, "Oh, I already told them that if things are going well, they won't have any trouble at all, but that they'd better watch out if things DIDN'T go well!" (BTW, things have been going much, much better in the new classroom)

That's just the impression I want them to have of me.<g> Obviously, there are instances when a school system is so unreasonable, and outside the law that only a very adversarial approach will solve the problem. But that's probably lawyer time. I think that in most cases, knowing your rights, letting them know that you know your rights in a polite, matter of fact way, and then politely insisting that they work with you to meet your child's needs is the most effective approach.

Karen

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 11:59:42 AM

How is she 'certain" of that? That's pleasantly remarkable. I'd want to kindly ask her what makes her certain of that particularly as learning differences tend to run in families.

When your older child was diagnosed, did he then receive services that helped him? If you found the services provided to your other son helpful, I'd push to have the younger son tested. In some districts, a diagnosis sadly doesn't change much and the child continues to struggle. If testing can help to lessen your younger son's struggles, I'd consider doing the testing sooner rather than later.

Good luck.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 2:02:40 PM

Now, Lisa, you already went through this once. Obviously you know what's going on, yet you are wondering if this "teacher" knows more than you about your kid and your family history. Make a stand, woman! Best regards.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 2:22:28 PM

If your son hates writing that much - may be similar to mine. We're in 2nd grade with 4.5 GE reading - but writing, spelling tests are reflected much lower.

He was diagnosed with dysgraphia - not widely known - similar to dyslexia. There are articles at ld online and the international dyslexia site.

Best wishes!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 2:56:22 PM
Subject:Re: thanks

You are right. I guess I just needed to hear someone else say it to me. With the difficulties that I have had with the district I really think I lack the confidence to stand up to these people. But I will. I'm just afraid of being the labeled the hysterical parent. Thanks for the straight talk.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 3:27:56 PM

Shari, you read what goes on in the schools on this bulletin board. I have yet to read about the school that initiates the testing, does a comprehensive evaluation and provides the appropriate remediation and proper educational placement WITHOUT the parent jumping up and down and insisting.

The best you can do is get informed about your rights. Then, find out what standard tests are required given the areas you suspect his disability to be in. Thirdly, request those areas be tested with the specific tests by the school district. If they do a half-assed job, you can request an independent evaluation at public expense. When you find out the results of the tests, you can do the research to find out what your kid needs. Then you can hash it out on his Individualized Educational Program IEP.

Shari, when you are educated, you are empowered. By the way, due process threats can be highly effective. Once is often enough.

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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 5:20:37 PM

Shari,

I imagine that what has happened is that because your son is very bright and compensates pretty well, they have not been so concerned about him. You know, there are kids worse off and that kind of thinking.

Just because you had to say the big "due process" words, that doesn't mean you are on anybody's bad side. You are just letting them know you are serious this time. As long as they are cooperating, then I would be very cordial and try to work with them. It is only in the worst case scenario that I would consider getting into an adversarial relationship. That can even hurt the child if teachers have strong resentment toward the parent. It is a very fine line that we walk. Sometimes parents fight and fight for services, but then the quality of the services are so poor that it gained nothing in actuality. Placement is only the beginning. So not only will you have to learn what his true problems are, you will have to become knowledgeable in what is successful in remediating them. Often the schools are not using things that will remediate the problems.

If your son has a high IQ, that's great. It may be very easy to get the discrepancy you need for him to qualify. Do you know if it is 15 points in your state? Some have a greater number than that, which is awful.

Janis

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Posted:Mar 06, 2002 7:38:46 PM

Thanks for answering everybody. To be very honest I don't have a clue what I am doing! I just know that my son should not spell on a first grade level and read at a 6th. It doesn't make any sence. So that is what I am going on. That and that my whole family is ADHD with different LD issues thrown in here and there. So it's just putting two and two together! A failing child + a history =let's look and see what's going on here. I'm learning alot by just lerking around this site reading what everybody has to say. Thanks for the input.

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Posted:Mar 07, 2002 3:45:54 AM

osinski and other board chatters,

I am not sure what states you are in or districts that you are in, but my district initiates testing anytime we have any doubt. We do have a pre-referral process in it's shortest form is 6 weeks of interventions that is mandated through federal and state laws. This process sometimes takes longer than we like, but is in place for very good reasons. It is a safe guard for the child.

I hear a lot of school bashing on this board. Part of the reason I do read this board as a teacher is to learn how best to work with parents. Often I hear on the board that parents are frustrated with the schools, but I wonder how frequently this information is actually shared with the schools. As a parent, you should never feel like you are being a touble maker or think that you have to be aggessive to get teachers to hear you. You can request meeting to get progress reports on your child and request achievement testing each year if you want and the school has to comply. Don't go into it thinking it is going to be a battle before it is. If you go in fighting, the school will go on the defensive. That old saying about catching more bees with honey is right more times than not. Shari, it sounds like you have great instincts about your child. Even if he doesn't qualify, you may find out good information about how he learns best. That is great information for the teachers too.

Somethings that are frustrating for me as a teacher is that our special education model that is madated by the government is a deficit model. Meaning that a child has to fail before they can qualify for special services. In my state, there must be a two standard deviation discrepancy between their ability and achievement. A student with an average IQ must be about two years behind in order to qualify. That is so frustrating! You need to remember that it isn't the school's policy that decides this, it is the government. We are just as frustrated about this as you. We didn't go into this business to watch kids fail. It is more work for us to try to teach a child who has failed for two years and isn't interested in learning anymore than to get them the interventions and support right away so they never get that far behind. Our special education model is reactive not proactive.

I wish the passionate people of this board would also vent to their congressmen and congresswomen. They are the people who can change this, not the teachers alone. We need to start fighting together, not against one another. We are on the same side! We want what is best for our children.

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Posted:Mar 07, 2002 7:01:18 AM

Chris,
First I want you to know that We LOVE my son's teacher! She has gone way up above and beyond the call of duty for my son! She has done and is doing everything in her power to help him but she also has 30 other kids to teach in a class room of kids who are all excelling! (I know this because my mother helps her out in a writing classroom and gets to see what is happening)
The biggest problem I have is that I have been yelling for help for 4 years since he was held back in Kinder and had to hear that he needs to fail before we can do anything and now that he is failing it makes me really mad!!!! Shari

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 07, 2002 9:04:58 AM

I agree with a lot of what you are saying. If you read my previous post, you saw that I advocated trying as much as possible trying to work WITH the school (not necessarily just the classroom teacher) if at all possible.

But, it's not quite true that a school "has" to wait for a child to be failing or has dropped 2 years below grade level before they can do anything about it. These are the points where the govenment in that state says they HAVE to do something about it. I don't think there are any laws anywhere in the country that say that a school CAN'T help a child before they are drowning.

I think it is at the local level, in your town government that this particular battle needs to be fought. I've seen in posts in recent days here on this board how the level of service varies from one town to another in the suburban Boston area. That's a very small area geographically... you can reach the state boarder inside an hour north or south of Boston, and get to the western border of the state in 2 hours. And we all have exactly the same state laws.

It is the local school districts that are making these decisions. Many of them are based on finances. Poorer towns have less money to work with. But that's not the whole answer either.

While my town is certainly not a "poor" town, it is WELL below what we affectionately refer to as the "W" towns (Wellesley, Weston, Wayland<g>) in both per capita income and property value. But we have one of the highest real estate tax rates in the state. I'm sure that's not the whole answer either, but it is certainly true that the schools are a MAJOR priority for funding in our town. And when enrichment programs in the arts and sciences couldn't be fit into the school budget, the parents groups started major fund raisers to make sure that these programs were not dropped.

I'd love it if our property taxes were lower, but as I said elsewhere, I wouldn't choose to move to a town that valued the education of my children less, for any amount of tax relief. I think you have to have a political mid-set of pro-active educational policies AND the money to actually implement these policies to have it work.

It seems to me, the problem is largely on the local level. The federal laws are the same everywhere, but (some)local school systems regularly are out of compliance. More laws won't change that. People getting after their local school systems can. In a neighboring town, there is a very strong SPED PAC (do all states have these or just MA?) The town used to have a REALLY poor SPED department. Under strong, uniteed pressure from the PAC, they have HAD to improve the services offered to special needs kids. They are doing a much better job now.

The funny thing is that the SPED PAC in our town isn't very strong or organized. I'm not sure that's a good thing, but I do think it is a result of the fact tht our SPED department does a pretty reasonable job. Certainly from the feed-back I hear on these boards, they are way better than average. I don't think the parents of SPED kids have felt the need to band together the way the group in the next town did.

Karen

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 07, 2002 10:47:09 AM

Chris, You make some very good points and I'm happy that your school district is pro-active and ostensibily has a program in which children with learning issues are remediated.

However, that is not the case in many, many school districts. Many are clueless about how to help ld kids and are adversarial about providing the funds to help children who are out of the mainstream.

You wrote "I wonder how frequently this information is actually shared with the schools. As a
parent, you should never feel like you are being a touble maker or think that you have to be
aggessive to get teachers to hear you. You can request meeting to get progress reports on your
child and request achievement testing each year if you want and the school has to comply."

The above is a very uninformed and naive statement about the manner in which many of our school districts operate. Most of us approach the school open and willing to communicate. Incompetent teachers and administrators, unwilling to provide proper evaluations or remediation due to budget management issues create much of the adversity many of us experience.

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Posted:Mar 07, 2002 8:07:30 PM

Chris, you sound like you are a very good teacher, concerned enough to come to this board to see how parents feel. Believe me, I tried the catching bees with honey theroy before I became aggressive and because of this my son failed to progress in reading for 2 years. When I finally gave up and decided to become aggressive and insist on what I wanted in the reading class, he went up one grade level in 6 weeks. Of course the school refused to admit that maybe I was right, after all I'm just a parent, and they stopped using the suggested system until I became aggressive again, and the last time I had to mention that maybe we couldn't solve problems on a local level. So once again, they decided to use my suggestion, even though, "experts" in the field told school administrators they didn't think it was such a great system, but if that's what you want we'll use it". Well, this is the system a local college uses for it's dyslexic students, and maybe there are better systems, but the school failed to find or implement anything better, so I did the best I knew to do. And, maybe the schools should use the catching bees with honey method, instead of blaming childrens learning disabilities on ineffective parenting or behavior issues. The last conversation I had with my school system turned the problem around to be my son's fault because he is a behavior problem. Do you know what kind of "behavior problem" he is? He leaned back in his chair in library, he left his desk a mess, he forgot assignments, oh yeah and he did have one really big offense, I'm sure he's on his way to be a murderer, he, along with all the other 13 year old boys in the class, flipped rubber bands in the hallway.
Due to the blame being put on him, I had a little talk with him, and said you have to try really hard to not get into trouble, even when you're bored in a class where everyone is reading in you don't know how, because the school thinks you don't want to learn. He has had no offenses in 4 weeks, but do you think anyone at the school has ever said "good job", heck no. Nor do they try to help him with his work so he can succeed, instead when he lost one homework assignment (that the teacher failed to collect for 5 days) the principal called him in her office and told him that he doesn't try, he doesn't turn his homework in ( this was the only assignment he had "lost" in 6 weeks) and it doesn't matter what they do, he still fails science.
Now tell me, with a school system like this, which method would you as parent use? Honey or aggression?

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