9.5 y/o son, Psychological evaluation, teacher bias!?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Verucalise, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Verucalise

    Verucalise New Member

    Hello, everyone! Thanks for giving me the chance to put out there my thoughts, I really could use the help right now.

    My 9 year old DS has always struggled with school. Especially reading/writing. He used to be in speech, but they discharged him at the end of first grade. He is very frustrated at times, to the point where it affects his expressive language. He's intelligent on an average scale, IQ about 100-110. He has the least problems with math. I've been told over the years that he is a well behaved, polite child.

    I requested a formal psychological evaluation in 11/2010 due to the way he writes- I had my concerns about dysphagia and wanted to ensure that when he entered 4th grade there would be a 504 plan in place to help. I also wanted to see if there were any other issues- ADD? Expressive Language Disorder? DS's reading/word making teacher (Teacher A) called me one night, expressing her concerns about him having Asperger Syndrome. I told her I didn't believe he did- I have much experience in that area. She kept trying to "sway" me with her arguments about how this behavior is Aspergers, that behavior indicates Aspergers, he hums... she thinks he's humming along with the fluorescent lights. It's hard for him to concentrate on school, he wants to talk about his favorite toys instead. He's socially awkward, has no friends. I told her I beg to differ, I have little boys at my house once a month, and they call us! I am not arguing any possibilities, and I'm alright if he is- but I do not feel it's so.

    The Teachers Support Network has a meeting, and does not deem DS eligible for testing due to the small problems he exhibited. Teacher A pipes up her concerns about Aspergers. They go forward with testing. It comes up with a normal IQ, low working memory (<3%), high perceptual reasoning skills, low verbal, a possible expressive language disorder, and possible Asperger's with the GADS test showing >90. Anything over 80 indicates high probably Aspergers. No mention of the writing difficulties my son shows, attention span difficulties, nothing. I read the test further, and the "informant" for this GADS 15 minute questionnaire is Teacher A. I am furious they didn't ask for my input as my child behaves differently at home than at school. But I sit quietly, and start lining up tests. I know mothers can be overbearing and won't believe but I'm not one of them. I don't jump to conclusion, and feel a proper process should be followed. Not just a "whim".

    I pursue all testing the psychiatric exam recommends. Expressive Language shows up normal, DS understands language/speaks between 14-18 year level. They note severe anxiety issues when it comes to school/writing. Teacher A and Teacher B fill out "BRIEF" questionaire, along with myself. Teacher B fills out questionaire almost identical to my own, seeing the same issues. Teacher A fills it out, says DS is unruly, cannot be left with supervision, ETC... things that are completely not true about my child. She also answered parts of this test with behaviors he exhibited last year in 2nd grade; the test was only supposed to go back 6 months in behaviors. I pursue Asperger testing- he sees the psychologist next Tuesday, nothing up to now indicates he has Asperger's with behavior testing. We see a neurologist- he reviews records, and believes DS has ADD and anxiety issues. Gives me the Vanderbilt tests for myself and Teacher A- he WANTS the teacher who DS has the most issues with to fill it out.

    Teacher A NOW says my son has temper issues, and feels like he's not loved and is lonely. Bottom of test writes all my sons social issues, instead of responding to the ADD problems, and even after multiple chats/emails, NOW doesn't believe my son has much of an attention problem and almost turns the test into her own Asperger assessment with 1/2 a page of social problems. Says he's repetitive, can't get off topic when you try to redirect him, and even used "examples" of things that he liked LAST year. Not this year.

    Only this ONE teacher has issues with my child. His homeroom teacher, his math teacher, and reading teacher all note that although DS is unusual, his biggest problems are paying attention; to detail, to instructions, he goes too fast. No behavior problems whatsoever since he started school. They all note he's a little immature for his age, and that he can become emotional when it's not necessary, but nothing besides clamming up and teary eyes. He controls it well. He follows directions well, takes turns, and can be a "loafer" as one teacher says. He's very quiet, to himself. If he finds a common ground with another classmate about a favorite toy, or show, he opens right up and has friends to prove this.

    Has anyone ever encountered a teacher that is bias to their own beliefs on your child? I'd hate to even think this, but over the last 5 months, the problem seems to be her classroom, or her. I find it hard to believe he's such a great child here at my house, takes care of and loves his little sisters to death, follows rules- and in her class, a completely different child. Her story changes every 5 minutes. Everything she's filled out for my son is almost altered to her belief of him having Aspergers. Not ONE professional out of probably 10 we've encountered has seen ANY asperger traits in him. They all adored him, noted his issues, and most said his attention was the worst problem. Neurologist suggested ADD medication.

    Teacher A wrote me today a nasty email because I asked DS if he truly felt unloved and asked him about his temper if and when he gets upset. None of the other teachers see it, and my son is honest. He told me no, he doesn't lose his temper. He says he gets upset and cries. He told his teacher A today that I had asked him questions regarding how Teacher A answered and wanted to know why she felt this way. Teacher A wrote me a nastygram first trying to defend her answers and saying she wants the chance to back up her answers, that she's filled out many Vanderbilt tests in her career (all of 5 years in a small podunk school district, she's 29-30 years old) and that these tests are supposed to go directly to the Dr. and I shouldn't be reviewing them first.

    I mean, I'm sorry, but WTH. Anyone encounter this? I could use some others. I feel like I'm losing my mind! It feels like a conspiracy theory, I know, but I can't for the life of me understand why she's doing this. I am trying to understand where the problems truly lie, and I can't get a clear picture of DS without seeing what the teachers are saying he is exhibiting. I don't find anything wrong with looking, and I've never approached her EVER with questions why she answers the way she does. I've held my tongue, even though I feel she's bias. HELP!

    Thanks so much for any kind words of wisdom.:sorrysmiley: it's so long.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  2. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi and welcome! Glad you found us.

    First off, do you live in the US? I ask because if you requested a full evaluation on your son and the school district decided he didn't merit it, they should've have sent you a letter advising of their refusal. (Or did you only request psychological testing? Regardless, I think they should've done a *full* evaluation including screening for LDs as well as an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation since that's where your concern is.) Additionally, if they then decided to go ahead and evaluate him in any areas, you should have signed consents for the testing.

    As far as Teacher A goes, I think I would very sweetly advise her that you were concerned by her reports of DS's feelings of being unloved, etc., and that, as his mother, it is your responsibility to follow up. It is in DS's best interest that there is free and open sharing of concerns by all involved so that those concerns can be investigated (why on earth would she be crabby that you'd read her responses.... ugh). I'd also let her know that her assessments of DS's "issues", along with assessments by other involved adults, have been forwarded to professionals who are trained to identify Asperger's and other developmental issues, and that those professionals have determined, based on the forwarded assessments as well as their own thorough evaluation, that Asberger's is not an issue. Thank her for her input and concern. Period.

    Since your main concern is handwriting, I think you should request the school district to do an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation. If they refuse, you can either fight it or just get an independent Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation on your dime (I'd probably do the latter).

    Honestly - it sounds like the evaluation waters were horribly muddied by teacher A. I think I'd be inclined to just grit my teeth and try to get thru the rest of this school year, making sure DS is not being affected by teacher A's opinions, get the Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation and implement therapy and/or recommendations at home, and then next school year request the school do Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation and provide Occupational Therapist (OT) services in school.

    I've run into various school staff over the years who have forgotten what their job description is. If you can be diplomatic as you assure them that all of DS's needs are being addressed by the appropriate professionals, that's ideal. If they don't get the message, then you may have to be a bit more forceful. I will admit to being downright blunt with- several staff who repeatedly crossed the line into trying to micromanage things that were not part of their job description.

    Anyway - just my thoughts. I'm sure others will have more suggestions for you. Again, welcome!
     
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm pooped tonight so my response will be short. Most importantly I want to say welcome. Secondly I can tell you that my difficult child had one elementary school teacher who was not responsive to my inquiries. She happened to be the Mother of a high school friend and she presented as "so friendly" when we met. She assured me that she understood my daughter's issues and that I neednt worry. Well.......I scheduled a meeting with this experienced "so called caring" teacher right after lunch when the class went out to PE. OMG! I can't tell you how shocked I was. She had retained four other students to testify that difficult child was very disruptive and kept the teacher from teaching the other students. I was "gob-smacked". I'll never forget that day and it was almost forty years ago! SO...yes, I do believe that one teacher can derail a child. I've seen it in action.
    There needs to be a change made before your son begins to think he is unacceptable. DDD
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Why not test him privately? Then you have a comeback.

    What was he like as an infant and toddler? We really don't have much information. From what you told us, he *could* have Aspergers. Then again, maybe he doesn't. At any rate, she's not the person who should evaluate him. That's not her field. I would take him to a neuropsychologist who has no ties to the school district.
     
  5. Verucalise

    Verucalise New Member

    Thank you, DDD. I appreciate the validation. This teacher also approached me with the sweetest demeanor; all about DS attitude.

    I'm still confused as to why, if this particular teacher believed my DS has Aspergers, why she NEVER approached me about any problems in the past. She's been working with DS for well over a year, since 2nd grade. I approached the principal about testing in 11/2010 as my DS's homeroom teacher took a leave of absence and I didn't know who to approach. It was forwarded onto Teacher A, who only then, AFTER I requested testing, started long, in depth discussions about DS and possible Asperger's. Even at that time, she was unwilling to cooperate with my points of view. I'd tell her that although I firmly believed it wasn't Aspergers, I would pursue any testing the psychiatric exam shows is needed. And look. She spoke to the psychologist about possible Aspergers and BAM! The test recommended it be done.

    I don't have a problem with Aspergers, by the way. I have a problem with a teacher going beyond what is requested in terms of testing to prove her point. I don't want my DS labeled with something he doesn't have, as that could be counterproductive to what he REALLY needs.
     
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Hi there, just wanted to say welcome, glad you found us, sorry you had to.
     
  7. Verucalise

    Verucalise New Member

    Thank you so much for being so welcoming!
     
  8. Verucalise

    Verucalise New Member

    DS was a good baby, my ex husband wishes his new son was like him as a toddler! (his two year old hits, bites, scratches, ETC...) The only things he's ever severely struggled with are speech and emotional issues. Cried on the drop of a dime at times, mostly due frustration. Very loveable, affectionate. Had his likes, dislikes... lots of frustration due to his speech problems, not being able to convey to us what his wants were. He was immature as a kindergartner and I decided to leave him back a year- technically, he fulfilled the requirements to move onto 1st grade, but I felt he was behind his peers with maturity and didn't want him to struggle in his later years.
     
  9. Verucalise

    Verucalise New Member

    Thank you HaoZi... and I'm not sorry I had to find you. I welcome any help or insight, or maybe just a hug!
     
  10. Verucalise

    Verucalise New Member

    I keep replying to you all... but it's not showing up? Am I doing something wrong?
     
  11. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    No - you're doing just fine. ;)
     
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome!

    Miss KT's first grade teacher was one of those who knew it all, and "recommended" she be pulled out of class for all sorts of "helpful interventions" that were not necessary or helpful. I'm personally not a major fan of pull-out programs, and when the idiot school psychiatric pulled Miss KT for something, without my consent, I blew. I can be very confrontational and blunt, and I was very clear on what would and would not be done with my child.

    Honestly, at this point, I wouldn't trust Teacher A as far as I could throw her with regard to your son. Sounds like she has a diagnosis fixed in her mind, and whether or not that diagnosis is correct remains to be seen. I understand about the handwriting and spelling...Miss KT still doesn't hear vowels very well, and her adviser told her this semester that her handwriting looks like someone tried to shove twenty-five giraffes in a three-inch space. And even though she's almost twenty? She can't write in cursive. She prints everything but the scribble that passes for her signature.
     
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Around here a Psychological evaluation done by the school means that there is a meeting between the student and the Psychologist who is employed by the School Board. Believe me when I tell you that "their" man is not the sharpest pin in the pack. on the other hand, most of us on the Board have found that a full Neuro/Psycholical evaluation (takes hours and done by experts) gives a quality analysis of strengths and weaknesses. It's worth the time and money. DDD
     
  14. Dandj425

    Dandj425 New Member

    Mt best advice is I already went through the school's testing and even though she had extreme sensory coping skills, because she had no Doctor diagnosis and full out refused accomendations. So I was then forced to get a private neuropsychologist and put a label on her, ADHD and mood disorder not otherwise specified. Now the school is working with me though they are so nice to say they still think she is just manipulating me as the mom and she is great at school, LOL. But now that I have gotten the private evaluation from a highly recognized practice, I feel better about my position with the school vs my daughter's needs. In other words, get the private evaluation so you are no longer the overbearing mommy :)
    Best wishes!
    I would probably try to get another teacher, ya but that wouldn't happen sso would end up grinning and bearing it with this teacher and hoping to get the other teachers on board to help my child.
     
  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Your son sounds a lot like my Jett. (Stepson)

    Jett has been labeled Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and ADHD. The medications for ADHD turned him into a little demon. Working with him is much better. While I beieve he has effects, I'm also pretty darned sure we're looking at Asperger's... Possibly. Not what the neuropsychologist said, though, so we're working with this as it is now.

    I feel very strongly, though, that you should have him evaluated by a neuropsychologist... There is much more going on there, and if the label gets him help? Who cares what it is.

    HUGS!!!
     
  16. Don R

    Don R New Member

    Doctors and teachers have a tendency to label kids who do not fit in their definition of a normal kid. I just had the experience with my 8 year old son.
    Even though ADHD and other conditions are real in a sense that these kids do not behave like the others I recommend that you be very cautious with
    prescription medicine. They have nasty side effects.
    What I have learned is that regardless of the condition, kids who act up are just communicating their inability to resolve a problem. AS parents we can help them by guiding them
    toward learning how to manage these situtations because as they grow older they will need to do it without our help.
    Have you looked into behavior modification programs for kids?
     
  17. Verucalise

    Verucalise New Member

    Thanks everyone. Just to clarify, I am getting him privately tested.

    Many of the professionals are asking for teacher evaluations, like the BRIEF (Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function) and the Vanderbilt Scale for things like ADD, ADHD, ODD, and conduct disorders. The other teachers, when I review their answers, seem to see almost the same issues with my son like attention span, or easily emotional. This one particular teacher, "Teacher A", seems to be filling out these forms with answers above and beyond the things I've ever been notified about! It's almost like she picks and chooses the behaviors she wants to see, inflates their importance. I.E., if she sees him doing them once a month, she's say "often" instead of occasionally or never. Where all his other teachers say he's a delight, she writes that she can't leave him unsupervised or else he'll get into trouble. I think she's trying to alter the test to her point of view honestly! I don't want to insinuate that, but how come I was never notified of these things?

    For more clarification, my son is a gem. He has no behavioral issues, very well tempered, does as he is told. He only becomes frustrated when he's put on the spot, and sometimes can become teary eyed but handles it well. He knows to walk away and relax, then come back to the situation as he doesn't want to embarrass himself.

    I approached the school over PURELY educational issues- his spelling in particular, but his speech seemed off to me as well. His other teachers believe in him, they think he's smart, well behaved, and maybe has a learning disability when it comes to spelling. Teacher A believes he has aspergers, and I'm sick of looking at these forms that they ask his teachers to fill out and watching how this teacher, who has NEVER approached me with behavioral problems, is now stating he has them. She answers that he'll get up in class when he's not supposed to, he can't go unsupervised without getting in trouble, has a temper issue- I've gone to ALL his parent teacher conferences, have been in email correspondence for years with his teachers, and not one, NOT ONE, has ever said ANY of this. And 3 of his current teachers state that right now, he doesn't.

    It seems that if he's doing these things, which I don't believe he is, that it's because of the teacher maybe, not him. Or maybe the teacher is making mountains out of molehills to prove her point that he has Aspergers, maybe even believing that she's doing him a favor.

    I also want to reiterate, I don't have a problem with Aspergers. I do not feel he has it, and everyone with the exception of this teacher, believes he's a completely normal child with a few small issues. I just don't see what a diagnosis of Aspergers will do for him if he doesn't have it. No one has mentioned behavioral modification because he behaves WONDERFULLY. I couldn't have a better child. I do believe he needs counseling as he does have anxiety, and I think maybe some extra help at school or possibly an ADD medication with a 504 plan. I want him to succeed, no matter what the diagnosis. I just don't particularly like how one teacher (in my mind) is derailing the entire process because of her own beliefs. It's sickening.
     
  18. Verucalise

    Verucalise New Member

    Thank you, DDD. We are in the midst of this now. He is in the final steps of the Asperger testing, meeting with the psychologist this Tuesday to definitely diagnose him. And I think the school's psychologist did a good job, honestly. He many tests, and we actually found my son is close to gifted in a few things, as well as a little advanced in others. He found my son's short term memory problems, he found his spelling issues, and he also noted the speech issues- the expressive language problems. I just think that Teacher A put her 15 minutes of fame into the GADS questionaire and the psychologist took her word for everything. She already had her mindset on Aspergers 3 weeks before testing even STARTED. I feel like I should of had the chance to speak my input, as this teacher only sees him his most frustrated; I have a completely different child at home. I'd done everything and more that the psychologist at the school recommended; nothing besides ADD and anxiety has come back! All of his evaluators comment how GREAT he is, he's a trooper for lasting hours at a time thru these tests, being able to know when he needs a break and asking for one. They fell in love with him.

    I think this teacher, who has been teaching for all of THREE years, is full of herself. I have half a mind to make my point known when this all comes out LOL.
     
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