The Long and Short of it

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Pookybear66, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Hi all,
    I haven't been able to read all the posts since I've been away for some time. However, I wish you all well. I am not sure since my absence that many of you remember my story. I'm also sure there are new members. I will try to be brief.
    My ds has an IEP. He is turning 9 and in 3rd grade. He was diagnosed by school with a reading disability but no neuropsychologist tests. He has been experiencing reading/spelling/writing problems since K but only got through to school last spring. So right now he reads /writes/spells at about an ending 1st/beg 2nd gr level. I have asked the school for help with this and he is getting extra help. However, my dilemna is this-

    If he can't spell the words for this week, and I'm assuming the knowledge needs to be somewhat cumulative, why is he given new words to learn for the next week? Why does he not have to get anything correct in the modern age of teaching? Why do they "provide him the pattern" and then mark the answer correct as if he knew it all along?

    Example:Spelling for last weeks words was the pattern of the sound ER as made by many different combos. Too many for me to grasp if I were him and of course there is NO set reasoning behind these usages. So he gets maybe 2 right by himself in school, I forget. But during practice time at home he does not know ANY of them and aks me to "give him the pattern" (like whether its ER, OR, IR etc.) Then, this week's words are now suffixes. To build on the words he is already supposed to know-BUT DOESN"T.
    He spelled Careful(C-A-R-F-E-L). He didn't make the vowel long. Lonely did the same thing(L-O-N-L-Y). Long vowels were supposedly learned a while ago.

    So I wrote a note asking the teacher to stop the 3rd grade spelling program for him and do remedial work to get him to learn the vowel spellings. Something I've been asking them to do since 2nd gr. So we will see. Any thoughts from anyone?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It sounds like you did the right thing to me. If this is a common struggle for him, it might be best to have an iep meeting and get some regular accommodaations put in writing, before he slips too far behind. It sure sounds like they will let that happen if you don't stay on top of it.
  3. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Hi pookiebear66.
    I think you are correct in asking that they turn back the educational process to a point that difficult child can master. Our whole elementary school education is based on cumulative learning on the foundations. For a different learner there has to be different teaching.
    I am sure if my difficult child had been allowed more and frequent repetition that he would have absorbed more. Maybe not but what they were doing wasn't working.
    I hope someday to see the educational system changed to something that works for all kids and not just the majority. It just isn't set up like this at present but it is getting better.

    Allowing your son the chance to back up and master the earlier steps may really make a big difference in his progress. You might want to try some tutoring also.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My youngest daughter has a reading and spelling Learning Disability (LD), and this impedes all her classes because you always need to read. She is doing better. Her Learning Disability (LD) was severe enough that she needed to be in Learning Disability (LD) class for both reading and math until sixth grade. You may want to consider a class where your child can get more help so that he can catch up. My daughter also had trouble putting sounds together--it was a big problem for her. She's in 7th grade and while she'll never like to read long chapter books, she at least can read well enough to do her other classes. Her spelling will never be stellar, but it's MUCH improved. But she got a lot of one-on-one help. That was mandated in her IEP. However, you can't get the kind of help she got in a mainstream classroom. The teacher simply has too many kids to focus on helping just your son. That's why we let daughter go into Learning Disability (LD) for two classes. Her cirriculum was different than for the mainstream kids. Good luck!
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with MWM. Asking your son's teacher to remove him from the 3rd grade spelling program and do remidial work with him is a special request at this point. Unless you have something in writing that excuses him from the work, this issue will not be dealt with in a manner that helps your son build the foundation he needs.

    A couple suggestions. Call an IEP team meeting. Have all those failed spelling tests with you (and if this has affected his grades in other ways, i.e., reading comp test, etc., take those along as well).

    In the meantime, you have a couple choices. Obviously the school wants your son to have the spelling grade for his average. Ask that he only be given half the spelling words untill you work out a permanent solution. You can do this through the teacher prior to the meeting and see if she is amenable. That way it is a purely memorization process. This is what helped my difficult child who has a spellling Learning Disability (LD).

    Additionally, considering putting him in a resource/Learning Disability (LD) room for language arts will be most helpful. They will cover the same material, but it will be taught in a different way. They will go back and learn the basics again.

    At the IEP meeting, you will have to ask that your son be placed in Learning Disability (LD) for language arts. Interestingly enough, my son has a horrible spelling Learning Disability (LD) but it does not affect his reading at all. He knows the words, just can't spell them.

    Good luck.

  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree.
    He needs to step back and learn the basics.
    You can't move forward if your knowledge is not yet cumulative.
  7. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    About me - In third grade could not read or spell ANYTHING not even words like "it", "at" or "cat". My teacher thought I was retarded and would be lucky if I made it to a third grade level of education. Mom knew I was intelligent and fought until she found an appropriate treatment. I was diagnosed as dyslexic. (Someone of normal or above normal IQ who has troubles learning to read in a typical environment). I received training in the OG program. Lots of life struggles, but now I have a BS in aerospace engineering and a MS in technology management. (Even got a high GPA in the MS, not so in the BS). So early reading struggles do not need to keep you from success. I still struggle with spelling - probably always will.

    The International Dyslexic Association (IDA, is the best resource on training programs for kids with reading issues. Most schools do not know how or can't afford the proper training programs. Our county does not recognize the term "Dyslexia". They use Learning Disability with specific language disorder. I like dyslexic better, because you lose the disability category. But as long as they get the appropriate training I won't get hung up on the terms.

    Dam I hate those spelling exams. My oldest son inherited my struggles. He failed every word on every spelling exam. They kept giving him harder and harder words to study. I talked with his teacher. If he can't get these, why are you giving him those? She stated that our county had a required list of spelling words that by state law she was required to give every student. Part of no child left behind. (Hook a chain up to them and drag them behind, but don't leave them behind!). She did not expect him to manage them, but had to give them. I dropped studying for spelling all together. Explained it was stupid to my son and rewarded him for not thronging a fit when he failed them. I also found a private therapist, trained in one of the IDA recommended programs, to work with him. The therapist also taught me how to teach my son. Today he reads well, but struggles with ADHD. He is my easy child not my difficult child.
  8. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Thank you all for your support. It seems I know the right thing to do but getting the dumb-**s reading teacher to agree with me is almost as much a struggle as getting my ds to learn the material. He is already in a modified sp program. He receives support through his Special Education/reading teacher (the aforementioned d**s). He only does 10 words so the quantity is not a problem. He does not do well with remembering the conventions for spelling or reading. His reading however, is improving. The teacher says his sp is improving too though I don't see it. This is her (edited) response to me:
    Thank you for your email. The purpose of the pretest is to see what students know. It is not an expectation that students already know the patterns. We practice the pattern with various activities throughout the week.
    I can certainly work on first grade spelling patterns while continuing with the modified third grade spelling program. I believe we are meeting his needs with the current program.

    This is basically what she always says that they are "meeting his needs". I DON"T GET IT! HOW ARE THEY MEETING HIS NEEDS IF HE'S NOT LEARNING THE STUFF??

    His IEP says he is to recieve extra small group instruction in reading/spelling with emphasis on decoding. Reteaching as necessary to achieve 80% on spelling tests. So (OMG) it does not say that he needs explicit phonics instruction. I guess I need to change that!
    OK, next question, if my review is up in April, can I convene a meeting to change the IEP now or will that screw things up for changing it next year. Can you only change them once a year or whenever you like?
  9. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Thank you aeroeng. I was typing as you were posting. I will look into the dsylexic society. I do agree that whatever you call it, if he is not "getting it" there is a problem. However, my personal struggle is to convince others of this problem, find what fixes it, and hopefully someday, dance joyously saying "I told you so" when it works. But alas, all I can do right now (without getting TOO political) is say "I HATE BUSH!" and move on. Personally, I'd rather a kid stay back a few times and learn the material then graduate with his peers not knowing S**T. If I thought my ds would go for it, I would've started home-schooling him a long time ago. Unfortunately, I don't think it's an option anymore.
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT still can't spell. The wonderful whole language program the district was using at that time didn't help her learn that words have vowels in them, and that you need to write down all the letters, even the ones you can't hear. Sixth grade was the worst for spelling tests. She could spell the words out loud, but couldn't write them down. They got lost between brain and paper. I asked her teacher to give her the spelling tests orally, and she did much better. Don't know if that's an option for your son, or if he has trouble with spelling in general, but thought I'd throw it out there.
  11. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Holding him back usually has little effect other then making him feel bad. Schools usually train them the same way they did the first time. If it did not work then it won't work the second time through. "Structured Phonemic Program" is the term you want to use. Good luck. Keep us posted.
  12. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Thanks Kt'smom, he basically can't spell at all. He forgets the combos that make the vowel sounds mostly. Then he guesses if he doesn't get it right the first time which only makes matters worse. If he was confused at whether it was something like a choice between EA or EE for a long E sound it wouldn't be so bad but when he guesses EI or EO which don't even make that sound then I want to scream.

    Aeroeng, thanks for that wording!

    Reading teacher did suggest we meet next week. I will take her up on it and try to cram all my ranting into a half hour. Did anyone answer about the frequency of updating the IEP? Can I only do it once a year?
  13. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    IEP rules change from state to state. You should request a copy of the Parent's rights handbook. It should have your state's position, and the process to appeal.