School is not helping 5 yo kindergartener but stressing out his Mom

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Etude, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Etude

    Etude New Member

    Once again I am here to ask questions from this stellar fountain of knowledge:

    From this website, I learned that if a school identifies a child with special needs, there are legal and procedural steps the school must take. However, from this website, I have also learned that if parents don't arm themselves with knowledge, the school can run right over them. My step daughter in law has a 5 yo in kindergarten. The school is bullying her into sending him to special education classes. However, his special needs are for gifted/talented students NOT the special education classes they are trying to send him to. The school is given Federal Title V funds for these issues. My daughter in law and her husband live in __County, NJ and their child attends kindergarten in __school district. The area is economically depressed (except during summer tourist season). There is a lot of federal money for food stamps and welfare but I really don't know what they do with the federal education money. The school has not offered anything to my daughter in law other than to tell her her son is ADD and needs Special Education. OK, I might give them the benefit of the doubt and take him immediately for evaluation except for my personal experiences and those of several of my friends. When our kids were 5 to 6 yo (10 years ago) we were told our kids were ADD, needed medications, and needed Special Education. We emotionally handled it differently, but the end result was that our children were gifted/talented and they were JUST BORED (one of the boys is now waiting to hear if he is accepted to the Naval Academy). daughter in law's 5 yo can read, write, add and subtract. His vocabulary is fantastic. He is engaged, interested, and has opinions! I think the issue is that this little boy is BORED and they are not meeting his needs.

    Could someone give us some direction on what to ask the school? I learned at this website to ask for an IEP to be completed. What else should she ask the school? Is he too young to be tested for gifted/talented? Is he too young to be diagnosis'd with ADD and medicated? They gave him some type of IQ test and told her he is at 99. Whatever skills testing they do in kindergarten, he is either at the top of the percentile or solidly in the middle.

    Because my daughter in law thought she was showing up for a parent-teacher meeting, her husband did not go with her and she was ambushed by a 'panel.' This next meeting her husband, my husband (her father) and his ex (her mother) are all attending and I would like to arm them with knowledge and questions for the 'panel.'

    Please realize that the rural, non-tourist areas of the county are basically 1970 with all the attitudes, prejudices, and ignorance most of the US has shed. This area is tiny, little in-bred towns (I am NOT exaggerating) that will use the Division of Youth and Family Services (NJ's CPS) as a (subtle) club. My daughter in law is not yet intimidated but she knows that if she goes against the grain, she will not find assistance but threats. I know this sounds melo-dramatic but it is real and cuts across all racial lines. She and husband are a young couple starting out and struggling like other young couples. I don't want the school to take advantage of them and just shuffle off their son. I want to arm her with hard, factual, legal knowledge. And if that doesn't work, my husband and I have the means to engage outside assistance.

    Thank you all for any suggestions you give us. AND, all of you guys rock! You have always given me good advice.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi, you may want to take the specific names of the area out. IF they are really like this it only takes one google of their town to link to your post, figure out who and it could really come back to bite them. We get the idea without the names! I promise, few of us would be surprised there are people like this.

    I have to drop my son off at school but will be home later tonight and will try to get back on. it is great how you are supporting them! I hope they can get the services her child needs sooner than later (end of year, they can push things off but they shouldn't!)
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    If his overall IQ is 99, what area(s) is he considered gifted/talented? Just curious. I'm not saying he isn't just curious about what areas he excels in. I assume this was an IEP meeting. Does he have an IEP? What "areas of need" did they specify? What types of accommodations/modifications and/or services are they saying he needs?

    For specific information about the IEP process, services, and SpEd "legalese", check out the Wrightslaw website. You should be able to find out most anything you want to know about Special Education Services.

    To help better, we really need more information on what the school district reasoning is for the placement and what they are proposing to do for him.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Is his IQ 99 or is he at the 99th percentile??
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    The first thing I'd want to be clear about is what "special needs classes" the school wants to put him in. Are they saying he needs academic help, language help, Occupational Therapist (OT) help, social skills help, or a combination of any of those or something I forgot to mention. Just because a kid is in special needs classes doesn't mean that he is academically or intellectually behind.

    My son is a perfect example of this. He's now in HS and still gets to go to the special needs resource room. For him it's solely to decompress or get away from stressful situations. He can also get extra assistance there getting and organizing his assignments. The doing part he doesn't need any help with. Gotta say, as smart as he is, if he didn't have this help and support throughout his school career he would not be doing as well as he is doing now. He's taking some honors classes and has a 3.46 weighted GPA.

    So, DON'T let special needs/ Special Education freak you out. Find out specifically what services they intend to give this child. Is he going to spend the whole day in a sped class? Will he be pulled out for services? What is the plan?

    No, he's not too young to be tested for gifted. Yes the big question is if that's a plain 99 or the 99th percentile. It's a huge difference. If it's percentile, he's truly gifted and it will be difficult to teach this child in a regular setting. 99th percentile is like Albert Einstein smart. A plain 99 is perfectly average.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    ditto Keista.... I am sorry we are having a rough night so not able to type much....but special needs has not much to do with being gifted. He may need both. If you can share more about the "educational category" they want him put on the IEP for that will help us help you. Gifted kids are not on IEP's for gifted/talented programs. It is not one of the special educational categories. So they are identifying him based on some kind of criteria in Special Education (federally mandated definitions, they can't pick and choose). My all time favorite student has a form of autism called Asperger's and he is on an IEP for that, speech/language and he is also in the gifted and talented program for his academics.
  7. Etude

    Etude New Member

    Thank you all for giving me some very good answers. So, here are the responses to your questions:

    My husband is coming home this weekend with copies of everything the school gave daughter in law. I will find out from there what they are telling her to do.

    From what daughter in law said, the school is not trying to assist with gifted/talented issues, the school wants him to be medicated. daughter in law is upset with what the school told her.

    I thought husband told me that the school evaluated his IQ at 99, not the 99th percentile, however his test scores (reading, comprehension, etc) are in the 90th percentile in the state.

    You are all correct in telling me to read the papers she received from the school first.

    I will be back here as soon as I read them.

    Thank you for taking your time to answer me. I'll be back on Monday!
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is highly unusual, in that ADD/ADHD frequently doesn't result in ANY concrete services, and certainly wouldn't be the driver for an IEP or Special Education class.

    Technically, no. Mine were - and needed it, and that diagnosis was in fact accurate for both of mine (just not enough of a diagnosis for one). But SCHOOL doesn't drive this. I sure wouldn't be medicating my child without working with a specialist or specialty team that I really trusted (we had a team...)

    Moving a child into Special Education usually starts with an evaluation... and testing... and reasons for spending the extra money.
  9. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    Sorry, I don't get to log in here very often...

    Noticed this in your post...
    You are quite right that there can be other things at work than ADD. And boredom is one.
    Another one is... APDs. A kid can have perfectly fine hearing, and perfectly fine language processing... and still have "hearing" problems... and no, it isn't a "listening problem" either. Issues with auditory figure ground, for example, will create symptoms that look exactly like ADD/ADHD in the classroom. But the approaches that work for ADD/ADHD do not work for APDs... including medications.

    What kinds of options are available for a comprehensive evaluation? Ideally, outside of school?
  10. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    The school can want that all they want but they CAN'T force a parent to do that. They can recommend but they legally cannot withhold services if he isn't.

    Schools do not HAVE to provide gifted/talented services. There is no IEP or any similar kind of process for gifted children. It is sad but true. Personally, I haven't heard of any gifted programs for elementary school aged kids unless it is a private school. Our school has gifted "options" like skipping a whole grade or skipping a grade in one subject. That is their gifted program. They are not required by anybody to do anything more.

    Do YOU think he's particularly "gifted" or is he just a smart kindergartener that may level out as he gets older? Is your daughter in law being realistic? What is it about this whole thing that has her the most upset, aside from being caught off guard? Sorry, I have to ask these questions because I don't understand why she's so upset.

    As for the gifted/talented issue, I have been fighting for gifted services for my difficult child 2 and he has an IQ of 146 with a special aptitude in math. There is NOTHING available to him through our school and he's going to finish middle school in 2 months. It is not something schools are mandated to provide like they are with Special Education.
  11. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    Couple of thoughts came to my mind. First of all, when oldest difficult child/easy child was back in first grade (she is 20 now)her IQ tested out at 130 and no, there was no gifted program and I fought the school tooth and nail for anything to help her because I knew she was "bored" and her behavior, beyond her other issues, was proving it out. They wouldn't let her skip a grade even when i begged them to test her for proof, etc. They wouldn't give her any lateral work or advanced work because they didn't have any in "elementary" school. She had to wait until she hit middle school before anything like that and that's where finally she was able to accel. However, I believe it was in NC that I saw that they do have something specifically for gifted and talented children (a specialized IEP). First time I had ever seen that before.

    The other thought that came to mind is perhaps the meeting was for 504 accommodations and not IEP but that IEP is the word being used? I know my youngest difficult child did get a 504 just based on ADHD at the time upon the time that his needs grew into needing an IEP.

    Waiting to hear what the paperwork reveals in more detail to better advise if I can as well.
  12. keista

    keista New Member

    It's called an EP. Works exactly like an IEP, but ther is no "protection" because it's not needed. Just sets up goals and the "accommodations" that might be used to reach those goals. It provides a paper trail to show where funding may be being channeled for gifted student programs. Both my girls have this. If it weren't for lowered criteria for students demonstrating economic need, I'd only have one child in the program, which is crazy because the one who wouldn't qualify is still head and shoulders above ALL he classmates in intelligence and accomplishment and yeah, gets crazy bored.

    Gifted programs are "enrichment" and they are not legally required/mandated. If schools don't have the funds, they don't even bother with such programs. This past year DD1 was offered the opportunity to "skip a grade" but only in Reading or Math via a Virtual school program.

    If acceleration is really desired, homeschooling or virtual schooling is an option.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Long before FAPE, and the whole IEP thing... In 1978... I started 1st grade when my BFF, 3 weeks younger than I, was starting Kindergarten. My parents pushed for this because they knew I would be BORED. Even so, even being the youngest kid in my class, I went to the 3rd grade room for reading and 2nd grade for Math. Now, of course, I was in a private school then... They wanted to push me up another year and my parents said no, I was already socially immature for my grade level.

    I got very, very bored. I was the quiet kind, though - I would read. And read. And read. Right through my other subjects. Today I would be classified ADHD inattentive type. Truly, though, I wasn't.

    Teachers now (private too) have to do so much more with so much less, in my opinion. I don't remember buying grading pens, or paper, or anything like, for the teachers, ever, even in public school. And due to a LOT of helicopter parenting, there are a LOT of kids who have entitlement issues - not like our difficult children, exactly, though there are some such as Shari's cGFG who have been cultured into the behavior. Onyxx, too, to a degree, as well as Jett. Teachers have to deal with a lot of things they didn't have to before. (I never got paddled in school - the threat was enough to keep me in line. Especially after the first ruler I saw applied to a boy's knuckles in 3rd grade... Sister Agnes Marie scared me to death.)

    Jett's 3rd grade teacher told us he needed to be medicated. I told him (startled husband when I did) that when he became a doctor, he could diagnosis Jett and rx medications, but for now, he was a teacher and needed to stick to his own area.

    in my opinion... You probably do have a bored kid here... But... SpEd is awesome for so much other stuff. Jett is REALLY REALLY SMART - he has a "low" IQ because he's not interested in answering the questions and shrugs a lot. He's not dumb at all. He just learns differently. And SpEd has helped a LOT...
  14. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    The school cannot recommend that a child be medicated. They can recommend that a child be seen by his doctor.
  15. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Thanks for correcting me JJJ. In our school district, they "politely" recommend all the time so I didn't realize that it was illegal for them to even do that much.
  16. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Chances are those teachers don't even realize it is illegal. It seems that it often takes a district getting sued before they teach their staff the obvious -- that they have educational credentials, not medical credentials.