This is powerful

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Lothlorien, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I hope Missy's teachers will read this.

    I haven't been very vocal about this, lately. However, Missy's 6th grade teachers have informed me that she is not able to handle inclusion and they all feel that she needs to be in spec. ed. She's reading 3rd grade level in the 6th grade. For those of you who remember my struggles with the school cst, I had gotten her evaluated in 4th grade after multiple yearly requests. They denied her services then and told me she was reading 8th grade level. The disparity makes me sick to my stomach.

    Missy is failing everything, because she is unable to keep up. I'm falling apart, because I'm so angry that the cst fouled her up so much, by not getting her the help she truly needed. I've started the process, yet again, but it will be another 3 months before anything concrete is done. Damn that witch who told me she was reading above grade level! I'm so angry!
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are right; this is very powerful! I completely understand your anger. ((((hugs))))
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What a shame, I can understand your anger and frustration.

    My easy child is a kindergarten teacher and I have seen what happens second hand through her and it's frustrating on all levels. easy child has a student that clearly has some disabilities. The parents know it, my easy child knows it, and now the principal and school knows it. It didn't take long for easy child to suspect autism (I know rash judgement, but the signs were very clear). But it took until now, five months after school started, for the evaluations to be completed and for the school to identify him as having autism by the school standards. The problem is the doctor the family took him to still says it's not and they have diagnosed him as having anxiety, without asking for any school input. In the mean time this poor boy is not getting anything out of class and he is being disruptive to others. Five months have been wasted when he could have gotten help much sooner. Thankfully the school is pursuing an aide for him.

    We have to do a better job at identifying the children who need special services and making those available sooner. I'm so sorry you are going through this again.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Loth, just lots of hugs... I wish I could read this, but I get "Access Denied". I'll have to check it at home.
  5. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Step, this is the letter

    Dear Parents of Special-Needs Children I've Taught In the Past,I need to make a big apology. You see, I've been teaching now for fourteen years, but I have only just recently joined your ranks.
    I didn't know. Not even a clue. I thought, mistakenly, that having two special-needs children in my family made me more sensitive to your needs as a parent. It didn't. And I'm so sorry for operating under the assumption that I did. I'm not attempting verbal self-flagellation here. I meant well. I knew a lot about autism and some about other special-needs conditions. I did care about your child. And I did want to do right by him. But, like a lot of teachers who Just Don't Get It, I thought doing right by him meant giving him extra time on assignments and not allowing him to fail my class. I thought being extra nice and seating her at the front of the room was what you needed from me.
    But you needed more. And I didn't understand that. You needed communication. A lot of it. You needed me to understand your depth of worry. You needed me to understand that, if you've met one special-needs child, you've met one special-needs child. You needed me to understand that I was teaching your child, not an I.E.P. You needed to know, not assume, that I would go out on a limb to make sure your child's needs were met all over the school and not just in my classroom. You needed to not worry that, when your back was turned, I was still doing everything that I promised as well as thinking of better ways to meet your child's needs. You needed to talk about your child in meetings and not worry about the clock.
    I know better now. In just a few months, I am going to be placing my special little boy into the hands of the public school system. Because he is non-verbal, I will have no way of literally knowing how his day went, if he is being treated well, and if those to whom I am entrusting his care really do care about him. This kind of fear is paralyzing. And more so because I know just how little training (read almost none) that most of the staff in a public school have in dealing with children like my son. They, too, will mean well. But they won't know. They won't get it. I now know why you carry The Binder of Epic Proportions to every meeting. Mine is getting bigger by the day.
    I look back now at all of your children and wish that I had picked up the phone more, written quick notes home more often, challenged your child more often rather than less, and make you feel certain that someone else loved your baby in your absence. For that, I'm sorry. I promise to do better for those kids in the future. I promise to not assume anything about your child's unique situation and needs. I won't just react to bullying of your very different child. I will actively be on the lookout for it. I will remember your child and her possible confusion on activity bell schedule days. I will take more time each day to get to know her. I promise to do my best to push, cajole, educate, and even take to task my colleagues who don't get it in the years to come. I pray that teacher training will improve in the future and that my son will reap the rewards of that. And I hope that I am just as patient, kind, and understanding with his teachers and schools as most of you were with us.
    And those of you who weren't? I get you too.
    Your Child's Former Teacher
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Loth... sorry, I'm missing something here.
    Either there is a whole lot more going on... or the SD and teachers are being complete <word deleted>.
    Since when does a 3-yr discrepancy in reading level necessitate being sent to Special Education??

    I mean... they can handle DOWNS kids integrated... and THEY aren't reading at grade level either.

    Around here, you don't get any help unless you are "at least" 2 grade levels behind... which stinks, because early intervention is better... (and trust me, we're in the dark ages around here...)
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    WOW. Thank you.
  8. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Thanks Nancy. I'm glad that your daughter is able to recognize that this kid needs help. I just have to wonder, if he wasn't disruptive, would the school have interest in classifying him? This is what I faced. Missy was always good in school, other than the disorganization and her mild meltdowns (crying) about losing something. School didn't want to do anything, because she was well-behaved at school (She saved her freak outs for when she got home).

    What makes me more crazy about this whole situ is that I specifically stated to them I didn't want what happened to my friend's son to happen to my daughter. He went all through this same grammar school and struggled. Tho I had hinted for his mom to have school evaluate him, she was in denial. I suspected Aspbergers, but only because I knew the symptoms from dealing with so much of it on this website.

    Fast forward to him in the 6th grade and he was failing everything (exactly what is happening to Missy now), so the middle school started evaluation process to find him with Aspbergers. He's now in a school for autistic kids and doing really well. So, tho I don't think Missy has Aspbergers, she's in the exact same situation....failing everything and we're back at the evaluation process.

    Anyway, I spoke with one of my daughter's teachers last night. She knows how much I've been working with my daughter to help her keep up, but she feels that Missy is just too far behind and without pulling her out, she'll never catch up and she is too stressed out in class, because she's so lost.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Bear with me...
    1) she has a reading problem.
    2) is she really 3 grades behind in EVERYTHING? or is it mostly English, History/Social and lessor impact on math and science?
  10. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Insane, I think I might have answered part of your question in my last paragraph. (then I think you edited while I was typing this.) The only way they'd keep her in class at this point, is with in-class support. She'd have to have someone walking her through classes. But the only kids who get those are the kids with either severe dysfunction or cannot behave and have violent tendencies. Missy has neither (or she doesn't have this at school, because she certainly has the violent tendencies at home)

    Anyway, this is just what her teachers are telling me. That doesn't necessarily mean that she'll get either. They've denied services all along. I'm just hoping that since the teachers are pointing it out and initiating evaluations on their end, plus they are also saying she has social skill issues (another story), they will finally do what's necessary to fix this. It's no longer a reading disorder, but now a disability.

    If they deny services, I will be bringing a lawyer in. There's a lawyer in town who has made his entire living on going after our school district for this very thing. I think I may just end up putting him into my speed dial.
  11. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Insane, because she's 3 years behind in reading, it is now feathering out to social studies, science and math. She cannot read the material. Rather, she can read it, just not understand it. So, she freaks out, gives up and there are times where she will sit in class and do absolutely nothing, because she's just zoned out. This is her way of melting down in school. At home, she freaks.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Loth -
    We went through something similar, only the problem was writing, not reading.
    Dozens of kids here have the reading problem though - and the dinosaur SD here actually has programs that work for reading problems (NOT, of course, for writing...!)

    SO... in case it helps...
    Any kid who is at least 2 grades behind in reading, is sent to Reading Recovery.
    This is in lieu of English and Social/History classes.
    They work with similar subject areas as their mainstream class, but the work is tweaked to their skill level, and then they are worked with to improve their skills. They develop writing skills in parallel with reading.
    They have academic IEPs that lay out what the goals are for this term - and a game plan. And THAT is what they are graded against.
    THEN, they are mainstreamed for the rest of the day. For math or science, they have a "buddy" in class who will read to them the requirements of the assignment and/or work on as a joint project. (my K2 is often the "buddy"...) Of course, art and music and PE are never a problem anyway, for most Learning Disability (LD) kids.

    Usually, it takes 2-3 years to catch up. The program continues into H.S.

    This is not a Special Education class... it is a RECOVERY class. These are all normal kids, with a learning disability - and NO behavior issues. As soon as behavior issues or pervasive developmental disorders come into play... they are not sent to Reading Recovery. This significantly reduces the stigma of the separate class.

    Second option -
    I don't like this one as well, but it works, too.
    Special Education room can pre-record all reading materials needed for the day... and load into ipod or similar, for the student.
    They can then listen - rather than read - and keep up from there.
    Not quite as good as an interactive aide, but... way better than nothing.
    Does require resources, though... to do the recordings!

    I came close to clobbering one principal... who told us that difficult children issues were not serious enough to justify taking resources away from kids who actually have serious disabilities....
    Really? Yup. No help AT ALL... until he started going off the rails with behavior problems, depression, and anxiety... all of which could have been avoided if only help could have come when it was needed (gr 1, rather than some patchwork help at gr 7, finally getting somewhere in gr 10)
    We had to get the therapist to strong-arm the psychiatrist into sending a disability letter to the school system... declaring his depression and anxiety to be severe enough to qualify as an intensive-needs student.
    (to get help with WRITING! - we didn't know until later that there was even MORE going on...)
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Funny, I just read that two days ago on another board! Good timing.

    I am so sorry about Missy and her push-ahead, hold-back teachers. How utterly frustrating.
    She will succeed. It will just take longer.
  14. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Poor Missy (and you!). I hope they really help her this time, and thank you for posting this. I'm printing this out for Kiddo's teachers and myself.
  15. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Reading Recovery does not work with dyslexic children and is antithetical to how they learn. So you need to know if Missy is dyslexic or not. If she is, Orton-Gillingham or Wilson would work better.

    easy child is dyslexic. When he was going into 6th grade, we realized that our middle school could not work with him. They told us he was too high functioning for self-contained and too high functioning for inclusion so all they had to offer was one period of daily resource room, which was not enough. We fought and he was sent to a private Learning Disability (LD) school - basically, a self-contained because ALL of the kids had Learning Disability (LD)'s. This school did not take behavioral kids so we didn't worry about him picking up bad habits.

    After 3 years there, he returned to our SD for HS. He's in grade 10, taking all regular classes and doing fine. I fought again for him to be in regular, rather than extended, geometry this year and he got a B the first quarter.

    My point is that sometimes - IF the program is suitable - a specialized program can work. You need to check into the sped class they want her in to see what the focus is and where she falls on the continuum. My son's IQ was much higher than the next highest kid and his only issue is dyslexia so he wasn't suitable for the classes. My argument for getting him into the sped school was that it actually was the LRE for him and his needs.

    Good luck with Missy. I would stand firm on trying for an appropriate out of district placement unless you feel the self-contained at school is a program that will help her. In your case, I would argue that you gave the school years to try and work with her and they didn't succeed and, in fact, by their own testing, she has regressed! Then you have to show why the in-school sped is not appropriate for her (if it isn't) and then you have to locate schools that you feel are suitable. We told the SD our goal was to bring easy child back for HS. However, we did not really decide on that until the middle of 8th grade.

    Marshal your evidence and your facts and present it all. If it doesn't work, ask for a hearing and then bring in the lawyer. If you feel more comfortable, contact him and see if he does free consults. My H and I are both lawyers, so we didn't go to that level but we would have retained one had we not gotten the placement we wanted.
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I would be SO mad at that teacher too --- and at the teachers that just now are informing you there is a serious problem - and now they need to something? Ya think? OMG. Yes. Mad.

    I am so sorry - hugs.