Really? Idiot Savant? Really?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Audrey, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. Audrey

    Audrey New Member

    Nice phone conversation with school counselor! She now knows that difficult child has an AS instead of her arguing with me (as she did in the past) that there was NO WAY he could have Asperger's cause his IQ is so high and he's so "smart"....

    now she says "Maybe he's an Idiot Savant! Like Rain Main!" :mad:

    Really? I thought that phrase went out long ago. I wanted to reach through the phone and slap her. She's only a young girl though.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Funny, (you reply), I had thought the same thing about you!

    What an insensitive boob. I'll slap her for you.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You're nicer than me. I would have probably called the Superintendent. There is no way anyone who talks that way can help your child and I would want somebody else taking care of him, if this were mine. Her saying "there is no way he could have Aspergers" alone would disqualify her, but "idiot savant" is so...I can't even think of what, but I'd make sure no other parent ever had to hear those words from her about their child. :mad:
  4. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Ahhh, there are some not so nice words coming to my mind right now.
    That is exactly why we have this place to vent and then you can calmly go into the School and set some people straight.
  5. Audrey

    Audrey New Member

    I was too busy picking my jaw up off the floor to respond to her. What I could feel myself holding back was "YOU'RE THE IDIOT!"

    Didn't do it. We'll see what she says at the first IEP in January...
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    School counselor? Oh, my.

    Yup. That phrase went out of style with poodle skirts. At least she's seen the movie.

    I wonder if she's unique, or if there are way too many "educational experts" out there who are like that?
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

  8. aninom

    aninom New Member

    Perhaps she was referring to herself, minus the "savant" part?

    I can't believe to this day and age people could be that ill-informed. I'm sure she didn't mean to offend, but... wow. Just wow. I'd bring this up with the principal or her nearest employer - as a counselor she needs to know at least the BASICS about common disorders to be able to justify drawing a salary.

    Just wow.
  9. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    IEP meeting in January? Beautiful! Great opportunity for documentation of her ignorance in the minutes of the meeting--which you, of course, will have the opportunity to amend if needed. Principal will be at the meeting, RIGHT?? What's your school schedule like? Do you have many school days between now and the January meeting, considering the holiday break? Honestly, I'm not sure I'd do anything but plan for the meeting between now and then, if you can stand it until then.

    Oh, I'd try so hard to bite my tongue for now, unless something else happens before the meeting to make it impossible. I'd probably say something about not quite understanding what she'd said in the phone call, and get her to say it in front of the other people at the meeting. Won't work if you put her on defense before then, though.

    I guess I'm just mean and calculating. I'd try to maneuver her into hanging herself.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    To be honest, I would insist she be removed from my son's case before I'd go to an IEP meeting. She has no idea about Aspergers...none. How can she make such important decisions, like about his schooling? I would not allow her to have anything to do with my child. She has no business working in a school district. The schools don't usually hire the best and brightest, but with her I think her ignorance is actually dangerous. And I don't care if she's young. She DID go to school.
  11. Christy

    Christy New Member

    It's sad that a school counselor is so poorly educated and her knowledge base on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) comes from movies she's seen.
  12. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    I'm thinking partly of avoiding a "she said, she said" and keeping a good working relationship with the rest of the staff. I wonder if she is well thought of among her colleagues. Do you think they are aware of her ignorance?

    She could be removed from the case before, during, or after the meeting as you see fit. I definitely agree she should be removed.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would probably try an email to document the phone call. Something about your son having Aspergers and was she asking if he should be evaluated to see if he is an idiot savant like Rain Man? You just want to know so that you can use the proper terms when you speak to his doctors.

    If you take that angle she just might put it into an email. THEN you take it to the principal, the director of Sp. Ed Services and the Superintendent.

    Just a thought. No way would she make a decision about my child. Or take part in one.

    on the other hand, I might have just shot my hand down that phone connection and yanked her tonsils out. Just for being an idjit.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK folks, a different perspective here, based on experience.

    School counsellors are generally not experts in anything. We'd like them to be qualified psychologists as well as capable teachers but the facts are - generally they're not either. What we DO want from them, however, is for them to be someone who can access resources on behalf of our kids, someone who will listen to the actual practical problems we're dealing with (or the school is dealing with) and help us all work to a solution. We ant them to be facilitators and trouble-shooters.

    Yes, it would help a lot if they had a good understanding, but they just can't know everything. And even if they are experts on what our child's disorder is - every child is different. difficult child 3's 1st Grade teacher was experienced with autism, we were told, because one of her own sons was high-functioning autistic. I got the chance to talk to her before the first day of school and warned her, "No matter what you already kow, difficult child 3 is very different."
    She replied, "We'll be fine, I know what to do from my experience with my own son."

    But at the end of day 1 she said to me, "You were right - he IS different, isn't he?"

    She was a very kind (if somewhat volatile) lady but later in the year when she was succumbing to the frustration of trying to cope with difficult child 3, she said to me, "I'm convinced he has ODD."
    I looked up ODD and then wrote her a long analysis of her statement. The gist of what I wrote was this - "ODD implies the child is choosing to be difficult. This is not the case with difficult child 3, he does not choose this. However, he does choose routine and sameness where possible and will fight change, because to him change means he needs to adapt yet again and this is difficult for him. I can understand why you suspect ODD but the resemblance is purely superficial."

    I was furious with her because I felt it was a distraction for me to have to go digging and then plan a considered reply. But really, it was a good thnig for me to do. She also needed to feel free to say to me what she felt - I needed the teachers to communicate freely with me, even if I violently disagreed with what they said.

    I've learned that I must look past my anger at them for their stupidity, their blindness and their ignorance, and focus on the need to communicate and also on my responsibility to educate the educators.

    Of course you have the right to ask for this person to be removed from your son's case. But what will this achieve? She will be replaced, but what knowledge will her replacement have? Chances are it won't be any better. It could be worse. At least you know her level of ignorance, you can work on teaching her (and at the same time, everyone else). Every time someone makes an idiot statement, they have just handed to you on a platter, the right to correct the misconceptions and to get on the sopbox. These opportunities are gold, because the ignorance is rife but you can't always assume that stupid decisions being made around you are made from ignorance (even if that is true). You have to accept (until you know for certain otherwise) that the decisions are being made by people who know what they are doing, who are experts (because they often have a piece of paper saying they know what they are doing).

    So don't ask to have her removed. Don't shout at her or let your anger show. Instead, politely and kindly teach her the correct terminology as well as WHY it is now the correct terminology. Also teach her that Rain Man gets it so very wrong...

    The character of Rain Man was based on Kim Peek, who is a very unsual case. The film wasalso made long enough ago, for ideas presented in the film to now be badly out of date. Hard to believe but it's true. We keep more up to date than most educators, because it's OUR child. We have a vested interest in being thoroughly up to date. Educators and school counsellors only have to be as up to date as their job requires. it's their career. But we do it because for us, it's our lives. Far more important to us, we can't expect it to be as important to other people.

    I can hear people screaming at me, "But that is just not right! It shouldn't be like this! Why should we accept this unprofessionalism?"

    Of course it's not right. But we have to work WITH these people, their education starts with US. So we have to be the hero here, we have to step up to the plate and teach them. At least when someone says something that shows their ignorance, we know where to target our efforts. Such a person is doing us a big favour by revealing their ignorance to us so we CAN do something about it.

    I remember being totally shocked by difficult child 3's school counsellor. We'd had the same school counsellor all his schooling. He was in Grade 4 at this point, we had just come out of an IEP meeting and were standing on the office steps, looking over the playground from a distance. All the kids were wearing the same school uniform so they all blended in to a sea of blue shirts and grey flannel trousers, with blue legionnaire's caps (to ward off the Aussie sun - no kid is allowed outside during school hours without a hat). We could barely make out difficult child 3, walking around the edge of the basketball court (painted on the asphalt) with his feet walking along the yellow painted lines. Totally oblivious to kids around him, not part of their world at all. But still hard to work out which was him.
    The school counsellor looked across the playground and said to me, "It's wonderful to see difficult child 3 doing so well. You must be so proud of him, now that he is no longer autistic."

    It was a statement using the same logic as "when did you stop beating your wife?"
    She didn't say, "Is he still considered autistic," no. She made the statement that HE WAS NOT AUTISTIC ANY MORE and expressed in a way that made me seem like the worst pessimist and malingerer if I challenged this. Since I had already had someone else in the village try to accuse me (via one of the local doctors) of being Muchhausen's by proxy (the doctor shouted at me, "Stop trying to find things wrong with your children!" in response to my statement that difficult child 3 had been diagnosed with autism; the doctor's best friend had written to a charity I had been president of, making the claim that I was mentally ill because I was trying to label my children as autistic) I was particularly sensitive on the topic. However, I chose to challenge her (politely).

    I said to the school counsellor, "Why do you say he is no longer autistic? It is a diagnosis for life."
    The school counsellor replied, "Well, he had bad language delay and now he can talk really well, his last speech assessment showed his language function has now slipped into the normal range. So he's lost the diagnosis."

    I gently corrected her (which is what I suggest you do). I said to her, "The diagnosis of autism requires a HISTORY of language delay. I agree, it is wonderful that difficult child 3 now passes a speech pathology assessment. But he DID have language delay and we can't go back and change history. It happened. difficult child 3 isn't cured, instead he has adapted. He himself described it as 'pretending to be normal' which means he still can feel the difference. All his life he will have to work harder than most people, to continue to blend in. To describe this as a cure devalues this constant effort the child puts in."

    I was also reacting (despite my concern about aggravating my own poor reputation on the Munchhausen's front) because any claim by Dept of Ed staff that difficult child 3 was no longer autistic, could lose us his support funding.

    Autism is a diagnosis for life. However, the person with autism can (and often does, especially if they are very intelligent and high-functioning) adapt to such an extent that they can pass for "normal" and slide by without supports.

    Another reason I chose to handle this with educating the educator, was because I don't want to annoy the people whose support I need. Of course I require a level of professionalism from them but if I have to, I will teach them how to be more professional. If I react with anger and frustration and respond by getting aggressive, then I am behaving exactly as my autistic child responds to his frustrations. I am trying to teach my son how to handle frustration more gently and more positively, so what sort of example am I setting? Also, the educators whose assistance I require, could look at me and quietly think, "Oh yes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. So that's where the child's bad behaviour came from. I did hear that this sort of problem is hereditary." So you see - all it does, if you react with anger, is make the situation worse.

    We want our children to learn from discipline. we want them to be better people, to grow up to fit in to society. So why not extend this to educators and other people around us? Practice our child-rearing techniques on them.

    I am on record as saying that I believe that the Department of Education (and many other official departments) are themselves autistic.
    Think about it - they are intensely obsessive about following rules (and laying down rules for other people to follow).
    They have their own definitions for things that don't always match what other people define things as.
    They have serious problems with communication.
    They are socially inept, as an organisation.
    They often say the same thing over and over, without effectively communicating - echolalia on an organised administrative scale.
    They require things to be done according to pre-set patterns that often don't make sense and just get in the way, but yet tey insist and we have to go along with it.
    If you make them angry they get petulant and can take it out on you and make your life a misery.

    So I use "Explosive Child" methods not only on my own kids, but also when dealing with bureaucracy. I find it really, really helps. It also relieves my frustrations.

    Now, to the "idiot savant" label. This is an interesting one. It was a legitimate description of several sub-groups of autism, legitimate as recently as 15 years ago. Probably less.
    When difficult child 3 was 3 years old and recently diagnosed, I made contact with Dr Trevor Clarke (Aussie researcher into autism) who was studying techniques that were considered revolutionary at the time - Trevor claimed that autistic savants (the new acceptable term) were not, as was popularly believed, merely memorising vast chunks of stuff and parrotting it but were actively thinking about the topic(s) that fascinated them and that they were obsessed by; moreover, Trevor believed that it should be possible to use the high skill areas to stimulate these children and involve them in learning areas that otherwise they showed no interest in.

    The main premise of this research was that these children were not the "retards" or "idiots" (medically speaking) that they had previously been considered; that there was something in there worth trying to save and that the method of saving it was through these special interest areas.
    There was a research study going on at the time developing teaching techniques to make use of the high skills of autistic savants. We (our family) were just a little too late to plug into this, but I was told they would keep me posted on the outcomes. difficult child 3 definitely would have qualified, we were told.

    Yes, the term used to be "idiot savant" because when these people were given IQ tests, they generally scored sufficiently below normal to qualify in the "idiot" category. The word "idiot" had specific medical meaning in those days. The belief back then was that idiot savants were like tape recorders or curiosities, but nothing of any intellectual significance was really going on. We even were told with about difficult child 3 with regard to his remarkable ability to memorise as well as his ability to read numbers, letters and music. The reason - when difficult child 3 was given an IQ test, he flunked it. By then the words "retarded" or "idiot" were not being used - due to common usage (as insults) these previously medical words had been dropped in favour of something more palatable (and often less clear). "He's borderline," we were told. (borderline WHAT? they never said). But whatever it's called, the meaning was the same.

    Now, the trouble with all this - IQ tests were not developed for this. They should never have been used to diagnose with any accuracy, anybody who is far away from the middle-of-the-road. This means IQ testing is increasingly inaccurate the further away from the midline of the population that you go. Either highly intelligent, or not. Also, anybody being tested who would not have been included in the original groups whoich were tested when developing the basis for comparison - the tests are useless here too.

    Historically, IQ testing was designed to be able to rank people according to intelligence, from the normal spectrum. But kids with autism would not have been included in the original testing - they would have been tucked into an institution somewhere.

    It was after the tests had been developed that someone had the bright idea of taking these tests into the institutions. But the tests were designed to be done by people who were predominantly white, American, attending mainstream schooling and in good health. Even then, these tests are only ever a rough guide, the error in them is still quite high. You cannot say with any accuracy that your child has an IQ of, say, 143.6 because such a score comes with a wide error range usually of plus or minus 10 points. The error range will vary depending on the sub-score range and the inherent errors in those. The wider the discrepancy between the sub-scores, the less accurte will be any final averaged-out IQ score.

    This didn't stop the early testers who enthusiastically applied this new and wonderful tool to every child they could. Of course if you try to apply the test to a child who is non-verbal (or who simply doesn't care about answering the questions) then the eventual score will be highly inaccurate. I remember watching an episode of "Quincy ME" where Quincy fought hard to allow an autistic child to be tested again, but with time limits removed. Solving the medical case required Quincy to prove that this particular child had superior problem-solving skills but when given standard IQ tests this kid scored very very low. But when Quincy observed the child he saw that the child simply wasn't interested in doing what the tester asked. The autistic child was not motivated (as a normal child would have been) to do what was asked, when he was asked. However, the child did comply, he sat and looked at it for a long time and then once he began to actually move puzzle pieces around he solved the problem rapidly.

    It takes a long time for old ideas to be changed. "Idiot savant" gave way to "autistic savant" and I think even the "savant" term is being lost. The whole point of the original term was the contradiction in it, the oxymoron. The semblance of high capability coupled with "the light's on but nobody's home."

    The trouble (for neurological medicine) now is, we know that somebody IS home and is very much on the job.

    I'm not certain what the current acceptable term is, but we still use the term "autistic savant" to describe difficult child 3. Maybe this is what you can teach the school counsellor to use, if she must use any such term.

    I'm including a link to Trevor Clarke's work - you will see that he got his PhD on the topic of using splinter skills to help autistic kids to diversify and do better in school.

    Maybe show this to the school counsellor and re-educate her.

    For every person you successfully re-educate, you have one more ally and one less idiot.

    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I agree with Marg ~ these school counselors/tdocs have little expertise but seem to "know" a great deal.

    I'd ask she be removed from your difficult children case & report her comments to her supervisor (the Special Education supervisor not principal). She does report to Special Education.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well here is a snippet from Wikipedia about savants that you may want to enlighten her with. The correct term now is savantism because its not just autistic people and to be an "idiot savant" your IQ has to be 20 or under.

    According to Treffert:[1]

    • One in ten autistic persons has savant skills.
    • 50% of savants are autistic; the other 50% often have different disabilities, mental retardation, brain injuries, or brain diseases.
    • Male savants outnumber female savants by about six times.
    A 2009 British study of 137 autistic individuals found that 28% met criteria for a savant skill, that is, a skill or power "at a level that would be unusual even for normal people"; the study suggested that the number is likely to be an underestimate, with the true value being at least a third of individuals with autism.[10]

    According to Treffert, something that almost all savants have in common is a prodigious memory of a special type, a memory that he describes as "very deep, but exceedingly narrow". It is narrow in the sense that they can recall but have a hard time putting it to use (for more on this see section on Savants in [ame=""]Advanced Memory[/ame])
  17. Audrey

    Audrey New Member

    Thanks for all the replies! I am fairly non-confrontational, but I do know how to let someone else hang themselves while I sit idly by.

    Here's my plan:

    I do need to maintain a good relationship with her and the school psychologist as they also manage the gifted program my daughter attends. Yes, the principal, teacher, counselor, psychologist and husband will all be there with me.

    I am going to ask if they felt that difficult child should be tested for the "gifted program" at school since Mrs. Counselor was interested to find out if he was..."what did you call it, Mrs. C? Idiot Savant?"

    Maybe I'll bring difficult child along to play one of his original piano compositions for accompaniment. He's got a little portable keyboard. What with him being 5 and all...pretty "idiot" stuff there.

  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Yep. Good plan, Audrey. And after you make that reminder, you could then say, "Perhaps I could share with you the most recent understanding of this phenomenon, it's now called 'savantism' without the 'idiot' because it is now recognised as being more widespread and occurring in peopleacross a wide spread of abilities. And nobody uses the term 'idiot' these days with reference to someone of low IQ."

    I also reinforce - those in the past who were assessed as having an IQ of less that 20 - the test should never have been applied to them, it simply is not able to assess anybody whose presentation varies so widely from the group who were part of the original spectru of people bing assessed (in development of IQ tests). Often the losw score is because the person is non-verbal at time of testing, or for various reasons does not respond. IQ testing is highly subjective and very dependent on the subject being cooperative.

    An example I've given before - a neighbour kid aged 2 who was brain-damaged after a near-drowning. The doctors assessed this child as "vegetative state" and said he was so badly brain-damaged he was never gonig to respond to anyone. The dad said, "No, I'm sure you're srong, I'm sure he turned his head and turned his eyes when I came into the room." The boy would respond to his father asking him to look left, look right etc but not to the doctors.
    The difference? First, the boy was recognising his father's voice. Second (and far more important) - the dad was talking to the boy in his first language, Spanish. The boy was bilingual. Or rather, had been. However, he appered to have lost his ability to respond to English.
    A few weeks later the boy was home from hospital and the doctors still considering the boy to be now seriously intellectually hadicapped. I was babysitting for a few hours (he also had an older sister who was at the time very demanding) and at one point the boy began to whimper so I went over to sit with him. His eyes went atraight to my face and he was quiet and making eye contact while I talked to him. His mother had left a cartoon video on for him but he was not paying attention to it, he was paying attention to me. Then the cartoon changed (it had been on Scooby Doo, it went back to Roadrunner) and the boy's eyes went from me to the TV screen. I had been dismissed - he had only whimpered because he was bored with the cartoon!

    A week later we were at a party there and at 10 pm it was bedtime for the boy. He was whimpering and sounded tired. I tried to talk to him and he wasn't interested. So I tried the only Spanish I knew - I counted his fingers. He shut up his whining and watched me count his fingers. I tried it in English - he began to whine again, so I switched back to Spanish. He shut up.
    That boy was NOT intellectually handicapped. But the testing the doctors were doing, made a number of false assumptions.
    1) They assumed he understood English - he no longer did (that was rectified over the next few months).
    2) They assumed he was willingly cooperative - he wasn't, he was only a little boy and bored with what they wanted. He didn't know it was important.
    3) There were cultural differences between the doctors and the boy's family - different accents, different ways of looking at things. The boy was choosing to connect only to those people he knew and with whom he felt most comfortable.

    Years later, the boy is still non-verbal but using a computer to communicate. In comparing this boy with difficult child 3, it was interesting - the neighbour boy had no communication disorder, his capability with language has been age-equivalent. But he has no speech any more.
    difficult child 3, on the other hand, had vocalisation (speech) but did not have language. language was acquired laboriously over the next few years.

    To try to IQ test a non-verbal child and expect the results to be relevant, is idiotic. Unfortunately it is done. The degree of language delay means that a child could be considered capable fo being IQ tested (because the child is now able to respond verbally) but due to the delay, there are still practical handicaps that are independent of intelligence. Language capability is NOT necessarily connected to intelligence. And as the neighbour boy demonstrated, neither is speech.

    difficult child 1 did not have language dleay but he also 'failed' his first IQ test because he waqs too anxious to stay focussed on the task. He became too anxious and the test had to be stopped. But it was scored as if he had completed the test. When the rsult showed that difficult child 1 would not be capable of completing tasks that he actually WAS doing in class, the school counsellor (a different one to my story in a previous post) attacked me and blamed my "pushing the child to achieve" for the disparity between difficult child 1's observed ability to function being greater than his IQ score would indicate as possible.

    In other words - according to the IQ score, difficult child 1 was IQ about 70 and should have been unable to do simple arithmetic, but in class he was performing ner the top of the class. The school counsellor said this was only because I was forcing him to learn maths in order to present as smarter than he really was.
    This is not possible - if difficult child 1 had really been as 'dumb' as his IQ score indicated, no amount of pressuring on my part would have produced such a prodigious performer.

    difficult child 3 has also had widely differing IQ scores. I trust the ones done privately with careful consideration. The school counsellor tested him (the last one without my knowledge or consent) and averaged out the vastly differing sub-scores (something the tests especially state must not be done). So difficult child 3 scored 6 in Coding, and 17 in Verbal Performance. Similarwide spreads in other scores - when they were all averaged, his score came to 105. The school counsellor then said, "He's doing really well, topping the class in Maths and getting 100% in comprehension exercises, which is wonderful considering he's not as smart as you told me he was."

    I pointed to an earlier assessment we'd had done, one which was designed to test children with high-functioning autism and which had scored difficult child 3 as having an IQ ranging from 135 to 142. I pointed to the confidence limits (any test with confidence limits is one which acknowledges it's own chance of inaccuracy). The school counsellor looked blank. Since we were leaving mainstream at this point, I just shrugged and walked away.

    Some battles are not worth fighting. This applies not just to our kids, but to officials as well!

    Between us all on this site, we are doing a good job re-educating the world!

  19. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Marg, I love your post. This is exactly the fight I've had to fight for my younger child, earlier on. Of course, there is a very specific, rigid process--and extensive testing--done in order for any child to qualify for special services. My severely language impaired child naturally scored in the dismal range on every one of them, gross motor, fine motor, cognitive--you name it. Her IQ was so low (according to them) that I don't even remember the score, because I immediately dismissed it in my head. I kept telling them that if they gave me a test in Japanese, I would score just as low, and that was exactly what they were doing to her. Even the motor tests are language based, because they depend on following directions. To complicate it all, she can also be a stubborn child. If she didn't want to do what they were asking, it wasn't going to happen. She was 3 at the time of this testing.

    I was especially adamant that they were not going to code her with a cognitive delay, and my letters explaining why, are in the file alongside that ridiculous IQ test. They coded her as motor delayed, both gross and fine motor, and language delayed. Interestingly, the physical therapist quickly dismissed her from therapy, and told me that she'd figured out that easy child simply didn't WANT to catch the ball. She instead had fun knocking it the other direction and laughing as she gave the therapist no choice but to run after it. This doesn't sound like a cognitive delay to me. Sounds like easy child was having a blast at the expense of the therapist.

    The fine motor delay was legitimate, and we had Occupational Therapist (OT) for that, which was discontinued after two years. The language therapy continues. So far, I've been able to deny consent for any further IQ testing with her still receiving the needed services. As long as that works, I'll continue to deny consent.

    Her academic gains have stunned every person who has ever worked with her, and I respect and appreciate that they have, one by one, admitted they were wrong about her, and stated she sure did look worse "on paper" than was the truth. So many judge solely on the test results in that file, which is exactly why I keep trying to minimize the testing. My daughter continues to educate the educators (including myself).

    Meanwhile, it's critical for you to advocate for your child, but, as you stated Audrey, to do it in the least confrontational way to try to keep everybody on the same team. It complicates everything if you allow yourself to become one of those parents that teachers dread to see come in the building. It doesn't do your child any favors. When that happens, teachers then take the path of least resistance and turn the focus toward keeping you happy. They'll minimize communication with you, doing what is required but no more. They stay professional, but they don't go the "extra mile," because they really don't want the headaches involved if they happen to ruffle you. That's the way I handle it, and every teacher I know takes the same approach--with the possible exception of the brand-new teacher who has a lot more energy than I do.
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    EB (and anyone else with similar concerns that IQ testing on your child won't show the child's real ability) - I recommend you ask around for private assessment (or maybe research-based, which is what we were able to access) designed specifically for children with language delay. In difficult child 3's case it was a uni-based research study which was trying to develop a valid IQ test for autistic kids, including focussing maily on non-verbal skills. At the time of testing, however, difficult child 3's language was in the normal range at last.

    My own approach in general is to always work with the child in the assumption that they are very bright, but may not know about that topic. I treat them as intelligent, I respect them as such and support them to learn what they are capable of learning. I don't use my expectation to pressure them, but I do find that a child will try a lot harder if they are believed in.

    I helped a woman I know, a woman who at school was "left" to her own devices because it was believed she was retarded, a woman who stopped going to school when she ws about 8 years old and was barely able to read or write - I helped her with a book about her life (very interesting - her family lived and worked in Sydney's oldest and biggest cemetery). Her first draft was a nightmare, it took me years to get through the mess of bad grammar and appalling spelling to work out what she was writing about. Often I had to ring her up and ask her to explain to me, I would type while she talked. Meanwhile she would write more (on her computer - self-taught) and would often ring me up just to ask me how to spell a simple word such as "clock". We published her book about six years ago. She went into reprints three years ago and is now working on another book. Her writing has improved a great deal in the meantime, she has also done all the marketing and all the promotion of her book. This woman was born physically handicapped in a time when it was assumed that physical handicap also meant mental handicap. She can be difficult at times (very much a difficult child!) but entirely due to having to really struggle to get what she wants. She wanted to get married - so she did. She wanted kids even though doctors said she shouldn't - so she did. Then years later she wanted a divorce - so she left her husband. She was told she would never drive a car - so she organised lessons and arranged for hand controls to be fitted to her car. Her kids would run away from her when they were tiny, so she made up some five-point harnesses to which she attached a leash and rigged it so she only had to hold one strap to hang on to two kids. She modified the harness so it would strap the boys into bed, into their high chair, into their stroller, into the car (before child restraints). Then she began to market the restraints she had made.
    She did all this because her parents had taught her that there were no limits unless she accepted limits on herself.

    Our expectations are what risk applying limits to the children in our lives. That's why we should always keep an open mind and support a child's learning and interests, no matter how bizarre they may seem at times. Flawed IQ testing can do so much damage in applying false limits.