New Here- with some questions

Avatar for i_lucyvanpelt
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
New Here- with some questions
4
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 11:37am
My oldest DS is now 10 and struggling with school. He always had teachers telling us he needs to listen, be more attentive, stay on task, work independently...yadda yadda. But he's a very bright child and always did well in school. Until this year. Same complaints, only now his grades are tanking- he went from A's and B's to C's and even had two Ds.

We tried staying on top of things with is teacher after the first quarter, he said Josh was improving still had some work to do but he was overall better. His vice principal suggested we put him int eh Echo Program- which is a group of teachers evaluating him and seeing what course of action would work best for Josh. We said sure- and even mentioned it to his teacher as well. Well, a week before his second quarter ended, he brings home a Math test with a C- grade for us to sign and a note from the teacher saying his current grade in Math is a D and he would need to pull an A or high B on the upcoming test to change that grade to a C. We flipped out- this was NOT our idea of doing better. Another call to the teacher and he says Josh is disruptive, constantly being put into the hallway to be removed from the classroom, etc. When I asked about the Echo Program he said it was never done because he doesn't think its geared towards a student like Josh- whatever that means. I am so angry with this teacher- there is not consistency.

Jump to yesterday, I had a talk with my Pediatrician. He said this sounds so classic- and the school doesn't want to take the time or effort. Since the school system is the same, Josh is the same, but his grades are now suffering he said I have the right to ask for a PPT?? PTP?? Help- I can't remember what it was called!!! Basically its an assessment for ADD to see if Josh just needs to work on his attention problems or if he really needs more than that. He said it would most likely involve a group of teachers interacting with Josh and evaluating him. (HMMM.....sounds familiar!!)

I am wondering, first of all- what the test is called (I am just blanking out). Second, what is involved. And third- is there anything else I should be doing for him at this point?? We always just though Josh was Josh- he's just a boy. This is just the way he is. And maybe that's true- but I need to be sure and at least consider this a possibility.

Stacey

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 9:20pm
Dear Stacey - I was in the same place as you about three years ago. Our son was struggling in school, but was in a private school. I did several things to get him diagnosed.

1. I had our son's hearing and vision tested. I figured that this would be a simple and cheap place to start. I went to a University for the hearing test, but your local health department can probably recommend a place that can do it for you. Make sure that it is more than just a screening.

2. I called a child psychiatrist and had her meet with and test our son.

3. I called a private psycologist and had him do the same. His findings were the same as the psychiatrist (ADHD).

4. I asked the school district to evaluate him, which they have to do even if the child is in private school. They had him meet with a speech/language pathologist, a social worker, the LD teacher and the school psychologist. They also took a pretty extensive medical history. Their testing DID NOT diagnose my son. Their conclusion was that although they saw some warning signs, he did not qualify for an IEP because his test performance scores did not fall off enough to put him in the "at risk" category.

At the beginning of this journey, I thought that the school district would be the key to helping our son. I found out that, although I met some talented and concerned folks from the school, the only people that could make sure that he got what he needed were my husband and myself. I was waiting for the school district to provide the diagnosis and do something, but they did not. Luckily, our insurance enabled us to look for help privately without putting our family into the poor house.

I would tell any parent that the most important part of helping an ADHD child is finding the right doctor who is willing to listen to you and your child, and who can provide not just the right meds (if that is the way chosen), but the right types of therapy for the child and the family. It takes a lot of understanding to help these kids live their lives, and a great deal of support.

I wish you much luck.

Laura

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 11:23am
My son was fortunate enough to have a 1st grade teacher who was a former ESE (exceptional Student education) teacher. She saw my son was having learning difficulties and recommended that the school have the psycologist do a full exam-result being he qualified for the ESE program and goes to a special class of only 10 students every morning at school for reading and spelling. Now my friend who's child is also in ESE program didn't have it so easy, she had to go in to the school and demmand her child be tested, she saw a problem but her son's teachers decided to ignore the problems than to suggest help. If you see a problem with child go into the school and voice your concern. Where I live the school psycologists do the same tests a private psycologist would do at no cost to you. So go in and see if you can't get pushy with the school first before spending big bucks!
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2000
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 1:16pm
I thought I had posted to you last night, but apparently, it didn't work! Nancy's suggestions are excellent.

Around here, the most the school can legally do is to suggest that your child had ADD/ADHD characteristics that you might want to follow up on.

My kids are in a Catholic school, so the teachers there were a little bit more upfront about their suspicions (and I was having the same suspicions, as well).

I had mine evaluated privately by a psychologist. It was kind of like a third or fourth opinion for me...so it wasn't just me and the ped, or me the teacher and the ped.

A book recommendation - Driven To Distraction. You might find it interesting.

ANd good luck finding out exactly what is going on!

Karen

 


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Avatar for keke0116
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 5:43am
Stacey ... Here's my take on this. The school system sucks, and they are failing your child. They are not responding to his needs. They 'recognize' the fact that he may need some extra help, but they did not even follow through in their original suggestion ... and now they are back-pedaling. Do not let the school diagnose your child ... they are not the experts AND they have their own agenda. IF Josh is diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, then THEY are going to have to make some accomodations. You don't want a biased party making this determination. Take him to a child psychologist (get your pediatrician to recommend a good one) ... and have a full evaluation conducted. This will consist of like 5 parts, and generally takes like 2 days of testing (1 1/2 - 2 hours each day.) You may also want a few sessions with the doc first so that Josh develops a comfort level with him and gets the best results from the testing.

Perhaps he has attention problems because he's not being challenged ... is it possible that he's 'gifted' and simply bored? (I had a friend who's son was barely pulling C's in 2nd grade, and the teachers suggested he had attention issues ... and turns out he was actually brilliant and not being challenged ... so he was goofing off as a way of keeping himself entertained.)

Whatever is going on, you owe it to Josh and yourself to find out ... but let a doctor of YOUR chosing do the testing and evaluation and make the determination. Once you have those results, you'll know what to do. IF, for instance, he does have an attention issue, then you schedule a meeting with the school to set up an IEP (Individual Educational Plan) which would consist of a team (you, the teacher, the school counselor or psychologist, an administrator) that reviews the special needs of the child and makes a list of what is needed to accomodate him and help him learn ... that can include simple things like providing an extra set of books for home so that he can't 'forget' homework because he left a book in school, or it may mean the teacher has to e-mail homework assignments ... he may need extra time on standarized tests ... there's a host of things that may or may not be needed, but the test results will guide you in that direction.

Because of the lateness of all of this, my guess is that you aren't going to truly get anything in place until next year! (It's going to take a couple of weeks to get testing scheduled, then at least a week after it's completed to be reviewed and written up ... and often takes several weeks to get the meeting with the school ... and you'll soon be into the summer.) I'm not saying to give up for this year. By all means, continue ... do whatever you can to salvage this year, but bypass the school and that system and do as much as you can privately. (This can, btw, be expensive, and is not always covered by insurance ... but in the long-run, it's well-worth the investment.)

Also remember that kids do NOT all learn the same ... so when there is one method of teaching, and the child isn't learning, it may not be truly the child. Check out this site: http://www.allkindsofminds.org/ It's very informative. Josh may not have a 'problem' at all. He may just have a different way of learning.

I'm assuming Josh is in 4th grade ... and that's a tough year. There are a lot of changes at that time. Kevin (my 11 y.o.) struggled last year in 4th grade ... He had been in full time gifted for 1st/2nd grades, and part time for 3rd grade ... yet in 4th grade, because there was so much more abstract work and critical thinking and pressure, he had a tough time.

Anyway ... good luck! I hope you get the answers you need and deserve.

Nancy

Nancy 

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