school question

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ktllc, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    First of all, let me say hello to everyone!. Long time no see so to speak.
    Life is busy, crazy but not too bad really.
    V is still on the spectrum but doing fine, Partner occasionally losing patience with V and Sweet Pea currently being seen and tested for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). 'The university program is giving tons of tools to apply at home.
    The reason of my "visit" today: how do you build a good school program for a child like V?
    His strength: motivated, eager to learn, well behaved, respect rules and people, well integrated in his class, teacher enjoys having him.
    His weakness: well below grade level in Reading and writing, minimal progress toward academic goals.
    He had been in private tutoring all summer and still goes on Saturday for 1 hour. It apparently is not really helping as the gap got definitely bigger since last year's school report.
    I am not surprise at all. I knew that it was the direction V was going.
    Now, let's be practical. V is a slow learner, he does learn just VERY slowly and has a normal IQ. He currently has an IEP and he gets 2x 30 minutes help in reading and writing every week by a Special Education teacher.
    It is clearly not enough.
    How do you design a plan that boost his learning and how can he be in mainstream class without eventually feeling like a failure? Right now, his self esteem is good.
    We are talking about a long project here. He will likely have great difficulties for the rest of his school career. Can public school really design a program for a child like V?
    I plan on talking with his teacher and then calling an IEP meeting once we have all the test results (we are still waiting on a few results from last May tests... sigh).
    But right now, even if they were to add speech and Occupational Therapist (OT) (which seems like a long shot at this point) I really doubt it would changes his learning...
    Private schools are so expensive at around $18,000/year, plus the hassle of having to move.
    Have any of you been successful at working with public school in order to have a well design plan that helped your slow learner.
    Sure, I know they will suggest repeating a grade eventually, but how many grades is V going to have to repeat?? V learns slowly... we are not going to keep in school until he is 30!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sonic did great in Special Education for reading and math and an aide (one on three aide) in other classes. He leaped ahead with the smaller class and the aide and always did well in school. I think each child on the spectrum is different. But I personally like small classes for differently wired kids. Sometimes just the noise of a dropped pencil can distract a child who has sensory issues and the rattle and noise of a large classroom can hinder the learning process. Can V get an aide in school too?
    By the end of Sonic's high school career, he was mainstramed and doing most of the work on his own and he no longer had an aide. The early years of intense help really helped him learn strategies to deal with his issues/learning problems. He still has those skills and uses them at work.
  3. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I homeschool, but I know that isn't a viable option for everyone.

    Something to take into consideration when they want to keep him back a grade is some kids can stay in sp ed until 21. They use the extra time to transition to the work place. If you keep him back a year that is one year less he might have help transitioning out of high school. I'm not sure what the requirements are to get the help to transition.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Does he have any special interest that can tie into school?
    Sometimes, with kids like this, they can leverage that interest, so that the real skills being learned are worth putting more effort into.
    Have you seen the book "Smart Kids with School Problems"? (P. Vail)
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi Ktllc!
    To be honest, it's a bit difficult to see how this could work out in the public sector - but then I'm not close to the ground and don't know enough how the States works in terms of education. I wish you could get him in the right environment to untap his potential! But I wouldn't even know what that was. Home schooling??? Yet you are a busy working mum. And what if Sweet Pea also turns out to be on the spectrum and has learning difficulties also? Sorry, I am sounding rather depressive here... you don't need any pessimissm.
    Maybe it is reminding me, too, of the problem with J. Who has real learning difficulties despite his quite high intelligence and obvious brightness in other ways... like V it is SO slow a process for him... He is now redoing the year he has just done in France, because they said he couldn't cope with the French reading and writing of his year group. But does repeating the year even begin to address the learning difficulties? And no, twice a week help is clearly not enough for V.
    Yikes, are ALL private schools in the States that expensive? What happened to that project you had one time of moving? Has that been put on hold definitively?
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    when my son was tested in third grade, we found a Learning Disability (LD) in both reading and math - he was/is a very smart young man but these issues added to his frustration level and prevented him from really moving forward as he should academically. The best thing we did was put him in resource for language arts and math! He went to the resource room where there were much fewer kids and teachers who taught outside the box. He was learning the same things as his mainstream peers, but learning them in a different way. He spent his fourth and fifth grade years in resource (after having spent some of his third grade year in the same kind of pull out one on one that your difficult child has now) for those two classes.

    In middle school, his school didn't have resource, they had collaborative classrooms (mainstream and Special Education together with one mainstream teacher and one Special Education teacher). He did collaborative math all the way through middle school and collaborative english just the first year. Once he started high school his resource/collab needs were nonexistant and he went mainstream for all.

    Resource was an absolute blessing for my difficult child. He would not be where he is now were it not for the special learning techniques he was given in elementary school. Early quality school intervention is a huge player in future success for our difficult children.

  7. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I will check this book out, Insane. Over the years, I have read quite a few books on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) but really nothing on learning difficulties... Probably time to educate myself.
    ONe thing I can tie to his Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) though: academics have to be presented in their simplest element/ one task at a time. For example, if a child is asked to come up with a sentence and write it, it requires him to do like 3 things at once: come up with the idea, spell the words and write it down. During home work, I can restructure the assignment and break it down. University program highly suggested the school does it for everything. I doubt they are doing it.
    About getting an aide.... I don't know if the school would consider it and I honestly don't know if it would actually help. Unless the aide is a qualified teacher but that won't happen.
    Like you said Malika, I don't really know what he would need so I'm not sure what to ask for!
    The teacher is telling me "he is doing great" when we cross path... what is she rating when she says great? I don't want her to be negative, but I always hear that about V "he is doing so good" and then the academic achievement are all but minimal.
    Homeschooling is not an option. Our company is getting bigger and work more intense. It is a good thing because at least it might make private school a true possibility but still a real financial sacrifice.
    I always thought V would have to be a Special Education class for Math and Reading but it seems like a hard sell to the school because so far he otherwise functions so well. Would asking that go against "the least restrictive learning environment"?
    ADD has been mentioned several times and now I wonder if it could factor in his issues... But I don't trust the school to diagnosis ADD because I feel they don't take his Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) seriously enough (along with serious sensory processing disorder (SPD) and Auditory Processing Disorders (APD))... Even if ADD or ADHD ends up part of the mix, it probably won't affect schooling methods? or will it?
    Hubby, for the first time, did say that V is definitely hyper but the structure and discipline at home have kept the hyper part under control. Hubby believes that V would be out of control if V was raised in another typical family. I suppose it is a pat on the back for me (thanks husband! lol) but could it be true? Could environment and parenting style really keep an ADHD kiddo under control?
    Bottom line, I feel that school expects a huge challenge when we describe V's issues and then this sweet kid comes along and they are all like "phew.... he is great and easy" and then... hum... great kid but does not learn much...
    In a way, all the interventions have helped V becoming a pleasant soul but really not tackle the core issues. A lot of work is yet to be done and I have no clue how to go about it.
    Sorry, I rumble a lot. My mind is spinning and it is frustrating.
  8. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I think that people sometimes confuse what least restrictive learning environment actually is. To MY mind, it's not the most gen ed environment, it's the least restrictive environment for your child. For instance, my easy child is severely dyslexic but has a verbal IQ in the gifted range - his reading is slow but at or above grade level, his auditory comprehension is off the wall but his writing is a struggle, etc. For middle school, the choices were self-contained Special Education class, inclusion class (6 sped kids out of 24 in a gen ed class with one gen ed teacher and a sped teacher) or one period of resource daily (40 minutes). He was rejected for self-contained outright and was then rejected for inclusion because he was too high functioning. Resource, however, was not enough. I fought and got the school district to pay to send him to a Special Education school where all the kids had similar diagnoses. It was like a whole school of self-contained and it was the right LRE for my child. I'd have put him in inclusion at the public school but they said he was years ahead of the other kids, who all had been either in self-contained or full time resource in elementary school, whereas he'd been mainstreamed with resource a couple of times a week. He's a senior now and doing okay but not great, primarily because he's inherited difficult child's "gift" of homework refusal.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids, much like ADHD kids, have executive function issues, which makes multi-task learning much harder. IQ can baffle us parents. Our kids have normal to high IQs yet many can not learn the same way other kids do and some don't really reach their IQ potential or, if they do, have trouble with jobs that require multi-tasking (which is most jobs). All you can do is try different settings and take it slow and easy and know he has years and years to show you what he can do and what works and what doesn't and whether or not he will be able to function alone as an adult or need a tad of help. This is a slow process and a learning curve for us as parents. Sometimes WE have to learn to accept too, but we have time for that as well.

    Malika, most of our private schools are religious schools. They are very expensive and don't accomodate differently wired children. There are some "gifted" schools. The Obama girls went to one in Chicago. They cost a fortune. And they expect your kid to be able to "bring it." There are few schools for differently wired kids and those that do exist also cost an arm and a leg. You can usually find a fit in the public school arena, but it can take a lot of time and energy and sweat and tears as the schools are always thinking of money and want to hand out as few interventions as possible. Yes, it can be a mess. Most parents have no idea how to go about getting what they need for their children.

    School advocates can be a big help, if the advocate is a good one. They are free of charge and scare the bejeezus out of the school districts.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ironically... this will be a much bigger help as an adult... he just has to GET there. :D
    These interventions have been more critical than what they appear right now, because right now, school is a problem. But you ARE doing the right things at home.

    I doubt adding ADD or ADHD dxes to the existing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis would make a single spec of difference. There generally aren't any interventions and only minimal accommodations for ADD/ADHD at school anyway. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) gets you more. V's particular school challenges have to do with the pace, it seems...?
  11. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I do not minimize the impact of the intervention but despite the challenges, people in general are more eager to help a pleasant person (no matter the age) than one with behavior issues. But it can somewhat hide the challenges right now.
    We do indeed have LOTS of sectarian schools around my area, but only 4 schools that might be a fit for Victor's school issue. All 4 would require a move and all are pricey. If cost was not an issue, we probably would enroll him in a heart beat (although selling our house and moving would be a huge pain).
    I wish I knew why Victor is having all his issues... I'm guessing it could be any of those reasons: pace, noise, presentation of the assignment, he checks out and teacher does not necessarily realize it. When I work with V, it seems like he does not understand that sometimes the answer is not obvious and he has to think . He either says something random or just stays blank... He still does not connect to the words I read to him although I point with my finger. He does not seem to understand that he needs to look at them and try to memorize. I do tell him that though but every page is a new page.
    I will talk with his teacher and hopefully she might have some insight and be helpful.
  12. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    Hi there Ktllc. The more I read, the more I see difficult child 1 and V being so much alike (only V is much younger). difficult child 1 did pretty good in elementary school with reading and math. It was when he got to about 6th grade when things became more abstract and required a LOT more inferring in reading that difficult child 1 really developed "problems". We put it in his IEP that during reading class, he was pulled out and worked with a Special Education teacher on reading skills at a no more than 1:4 ratio for that hour of the day. It helped somewhat but, as you know, inferring just isn't going to be his strong suit. In 7th grade, he was pulled out to a "resource room" (sped room) where the actual class of 8 kids was taught reading but at a MUCH slower pace. Even now, his reading is not grade level and probably won't be because he hates to read and doesn't get a lot of it. He's not going to work a job that requires much reading so the goal is simply to have functional reading skills. When it comes to the standardized tests, because he has an IEP, they have options to "pass" him if he fails them (he takes them only once) and they make accommodations like having the test and questions read to him.

    Sorry, now I'm rambling. To answer your question more directly, ask for small group (no more than 4-5) or 1:1 teaching in a quiet room during reading and math to work on functional skills. If you can get that, it can remain as long as he needs it and it won't matter if he's at grade level or not as long as he progresses over time. Good luck.