Which side of 2E child is more important for placement?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005
Which side of 2E child is more important for placement?
8
Thu, 01-03-2013 - 5:37pm

Our twice-exceptional child has been in a G&T program at a mainstream public school for a couple of years.  Although he still rocks the academics, he is struggling significantly more with delayed social skills, poor fine motor (writing is hell), and anxiety this school year.  A 30-kid class is becoming overwhelming for him.  Homeschooling is not possible for us (all adults F/T WOH and need to for us to stay afloat).  We're researching our options, but it seems like the only programs or schools that would address dc's issues would not come close to being academically appropriate for him.  He's in 2nd grade.  Would you switch out of gifted to a class that is at least a year behind his current level in every subject in order to get a better class size and support services?  In some subject, as much as 2-3 years behind his current level.  Note that if we do that, he is unlikely to have a chance to return to gifted track until secondary school.

Gwen

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004

Ooohh - Gwen.  I think you are asking the million dollar question.  I am so frustrated with exactly this same issue.  We are in K, accelerated reading and math to 1st grade.  That's as far as the school will accelerate.  They will not grade skip DS because he is so far behind with gross motor, fine motor, and social.  We specifically chose a school with smaller class sizes because 30 kids in a room is just not within our realm of possibilities.

I don't know how to advise you.  I can only tell you our experience.  The school can't hold a candle to DS academically.  He gets so frustrated that he has to sit in a math class in which the kids count chips to figure out how to add 2+3.  He gets poor marks for concentration because he can't sit still while they review the sounds of ABCs during circle time.  He asks almost daily why he has to do work that he already knows how to do.  When will he get a chance to learn something like the other kids do.  You know the drill.

That's the negative side and the academic side.  On the positive side (and the reason we are there this year) is that the teacher recognizes he needs help socially.  She assigned him Centers Captain.  So if the kids have questions about how to work the tape recorder in the reading center or how to spell something in writing center, they ask him which frees her up to work with her group activities.  DS responds REALLY well to this leadership role.  He likes helping and knows enough to actually be helpful to the other students.  He also is the one that knows how to spell, so he writes key words on the whiteboard when they have sight word time or something of that nature.  The kids go to him before they go to either the teacher or teacher's assistant for help.  He is given leadership roles and he is really flourishing there.  The kids recognize he is very intelligent but also fair.  He is asked to be the scorekeeper in recess soccer (birthday party soccer too) and if there is a conflict on a ruling, he is the one they turn to for resolution/ problem solving.

As for the writing and craft stuff, this is still a work in progress.  But others in his class struggle here too. So it's not as obvious that he's having more trouble than the others. I think it helps him socially that he's not acing this area as well as the others. 

Even though DS is seen as a leader, he's not really seen as a peer.  We don't get invited to a lot of playdates through the class.  I initiate all of them.  This year there is not a rule of inviting the whole class to birthday parties, so we aren't getting invited to as many.  That kind of thing. 

We had to just resign ourselves to not a lot of progess happening this year academically so we could work on the disadvantaged part of our 2e.  I supplement like crazy at home to help him challenged intellectually.  He's made significant progress this year socially (specifically in his confidence and beginning empathy). 

Note: DS does not receive services while in school.  He is considered too strong cognitively.  All his services are privately done afterschool.  Our schedule is VERY full.  We have afterschool therapy 3 days a week, which is really about all the obligations DS can handle.

In about 6 weeks, we will take a break from one of the therapies and try to pick up an extracurricular with some sort of social aspect and ideally physical (soccer, golf, etc).  It's a balancing act without any perfect situation.  If DS is not open and argues strongly for a break, then he will get it.  His schedule is really full right now.

I don't think DS could stand to do the same thing again another year.  This is his second year where is intelligence is not met.  He's had his limit.  We were ok with this decision knowing it would be a temporary situation.  That AND I supplement so heavily at home during holidays and weekends has made it bearable.  I think if DS thought this would go on for eternity, we would have significantly more behavior issues.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2005
We have struggled with the same issue. My son has low muscle tone so it effects his motor skills and he strugggles with frustration and anxiety. We chose to place him in with a small class size. He can not manage a class with 30 kids and our district has bumped up to that this year. He thrives in the smaller class size with a teacher and an aide in the classroom. They teach to where the kids are. He could also mainstream for part of the day but transitions trigger his anxiety and is not worth it right now. I worry less about the academics because they come naturally. The other areas he needs more support and he needs the time to solidify those skills. But it depends on your child, the teacher and the placement. You would need to observe. My son loves school and that is important to me. He is challenged. I would think if he tests as gifted they would have to meet those needs as wel.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005

Based on the standardized testing and his academic marks, he's one of the most gifted kids in his TAG class.  There are only a few kids who are peers for him.  The rest only keep up with lots of outside tutoring, from what the other parents say. At this point I don't see any harm in taking a year or two off from academic rigor to focus on his non-academic issues.

Gwen

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004

I know you have given this a lot of thought.  It takes a lot of courage to try something else.  I hope the move helps him in the areas he needs it.  Since he does have a few peers, will you be able to keep them active socially with playdates?  Keep us posted on how it goes.

Karen

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005

We're fortunate that one of his best-matched peers lives near us (the kids in this program are from a bunch of different school zones).  In fact, his parents have become personal friends of DH's and mine.  Another one is in the same violin program with Malachi.  Right now we have several prospects for alternative school placement.  The main problem is that we need to petition for Dept. of Ed. funding for outside placement, which takes forever.  If we pre-emptively move him without going through that process, we'd probably be on the hook to pay for it all ourselves, which we can't sustain for more than a semester or two.

Gwen

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004

That's really good news that he has some peers close by.  I wish we could find something like that to help DS's social isolation.  Sorry about all the hoops to jump through.  Seems like they never make anything necessary actually easy to accomplish. 

We were told to make decisions year by year based on our observations of DS's needs.  It's frustrating to me that we can't find one place to meet all the different needs at different levels.  It feels like one of the balls we juggle that just can't be put down.  I know you can relate. 

Good luck with the change.  I really hope it supports him the way in the best possible way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2001

I would be cautious about moving him to a classroom that will not meet his academic needs, even if it is smaller.  If he is bored and unhappy, it could negate the benfits of the smaller class size. Sorry if I missed it, but are there other benefits to a different placement?

Doesn't the DOE have to at least try to find an appropriate placement for him to meet both sides of the 2E classification?  What are the issues the other kids have at the alternative school?  Can he get support in the TAG school such as moving to a smaller, more supportive environment for some parts of the day to reduce the sensory overload?

Kids mature over time.  He may not find the 30+ kids as overwhelming as he gets older.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004

I don't know the right answer for you, but we also had a huge struggle during 2nd and 3rd grade. Maybe if I tell you what we did, it will help you know what NOT to do. Maybe? Except that I don't really know what to say without writing a novel. It took a concerted effort following the fiasco of learning frustrations to get the boys back on track. They needed to mature and the school needed to understand that despite appearances, and despite their abilities, they are not going to excel at everything without glitches.  They can self-differentiate now, at age 11, and compensate for things, but they couldn't 3 or 2 years ago. They are offered GT services now, but they needed them in Grades 2 and 3, not 4 or 5.  If it were my sons who had to choose, given their personal challenges and the benefit of hindsight, I would have sought GT until they matured enough to find their own ways of finding school interesting. I actually turned down GT services this year after observing and talking to the boys and to the teacher because the differentiation is happening naturally in the classroom now in ways it never was before. An electronics unit for the class has many extra avenues for the boys to explore. The teacher sends home challenge questions for math. The class is starting chemistry, and the boys delve further into the elements rather than cover the basics. Social Studies units are done with greater detail and they use the texts in that subject area do cover for the lack of french language arts resources at their level.  None of this was as easily possible a few years ago. 

 

Shari