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    #224817 - 11/03/15 10:44 AM SST Meeting - what would you do?
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Hi Wise Folks,

    Some of you may recall my post from a few days ago where I described how DYS/PG/2e DS8's second grade teacher came to the "shocked" realization that he actually, really, truly could not control his behavior in some settings.

    The way she worded it was a little ruffling, but I was grateful that she was paying enough attention to realize it. She does seem to be a caring and thoughtful teacher. And she has asked the school to have an SST meeting for him.

    I need advice on how to make the best of this opportunity.

    Here is some background:

    The principal seems to have her heart in the right place, and the school psychologist knows DS and has helped him on and off over the past couple years. They have both done much to help him work on managing emotions and behavior. They are his allies, and defend his sincere efforts, even while pressing him to keep working. Positives.

    On the other hand, the school offers no services for gifted kids. I'm on Site Council for the school (a planning committee for school objectives/goals). A number of other parents on Site Council also have gifted kids - guess why they're on Site Council wink. Each of us has put forth goals to support gifted kids (e.g., "each student progresses one year"). These are consistently shot down, with the focus instead being on the segment of kids performing below grade level (e.g., "reduce the number of students reading below grade level"). Not so positive.

    There are rumors (e.g., from my pediatrician) of under the radar accommodations. There is a third grader taking fifth grade math. DS was allowed to take out library books above his assessed DRA level (gasp). A few other things - all very hush-hush because the entire district is awash in families that take Competitive Parenting to the hall of fame level, and would raise holy heck if they found out about something their kids weren't getting.

    OK - sorry for the long background.

    The meeting is 11/30. Today I got the list of attendees. They include Teacher, principal, School Psychologist, an outside Counselor contracted to our particular elementary school and a "Behaviorist."

    I looked up the behaviorist on-line. She is an autism expert and worked at the STARS Clinic in Walnut Creek, CA, before coming to our school district.

    DS has been assessed twice by third parties - once at 3.5 years, once at 6 years. He has not been found to be on the spectrum. He is PG, dysgraphic and stealth dyslexic. Based on counsel from others, and from a school board member who has also been a counselor for our family, we have not shared the assessments with the school.

    Have I reached a tipping point where I need to share the assessments? Do I need to let them know he has been assessed for ASD? Or just let them do their thing and then see how it goes? As is the case for many of our kids - he is ASD-ish in some ways, even if not ASD.

    I don't know the implications of going either way. I am so leery of handing over that assessment to the school. On the other hand, an IEP could be a huge help if it had the right things in it. And the assessments could fast track that a little, since they are certainly "unusual." And they could help prevent an outcome where they address 2e but not PG.

    And I guess I would have to be sure they don't give him a WISC IV since it's been less than 2 years since he had that.

    Argh - I'm spinning.

    Thanks for any thoughts on how to optimize this opportunity,
    Sue

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    #224819 - 11/03/15 10:56 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    LAF Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/15/14
    Posts: 469
    I can't answer to the rest of it, but behaviorists don't just work with autistic kids- they often work at offices that may deal with those primarily but they do see other kids that have behaviors that are counterproductive to themselves and/or the school. They are like OTs but for behavior- they try to troubleshoot to find a solution. The behaviorist will likely know pretty quickly that your DS is not on the spectrum. However, if for some reason they don't, you can share anecdotally that several experts have stated that he is NOT on the spectrum. But I don't think you need to share anything with the school at this point, but telling them you have already had confirmation that he is not autistic will hopefully steer them into figuring out the right path (but only if you see them going down that path). But I defer to others who have actually gone through the IEP process as I have no experience there.

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    #224821 - 11/03/15 11:10 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    They won't do any assessments prior to the meeting, correct? I would not hand over the assessments at this point. You could consider taking a copy of the key sections to show, but not hand over. And of course, you can tell them about the WISC if they start heading down that road.

    Is there a reason you have not wanted to share the WISC scores with them? (Not handing over, but showing.) I wonder how much of the behavior could be exacerbated by the lack of gifted accommodations... and also am wondering if this group would read anything on that subject.

    Good luck!

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    #224822 - 11/03/15 11:18 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: LAF]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Many thanks LAF. I have no experience with behaviorists, so great know their scope.

    Sue

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    #224823 - 11/03/15 11:25 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: ConnectingDots]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Thanks CD. I've heard anecdotal stuff from people about sarcastic "special snowflake" responses to third party assessments. And I've seen some rolled eyes in Site Council meetings that lead me to believe that's a real concern. I believe that some of the behavior is a result of the un-accommodated PG side of the equation. But I'm not confident that the school would. I guess I'm hoping to get there with this SST.

    Also, when DS was first assessed, I called the district special ed office to ask about how they handle stealth dyslexia. The director told me it wasn't a real thing and basically hung up on me. So I'm concerned they'd just toss the opinion/assessment because that was one of the conclusions.

    I could hand over just the scores, though, as you suggest. They are clearly pulling in folks with expertise. And no - they won't do anything before this meeting, I don't believe.

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    #224825 - 11/03/15 11:53 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    I really hope that the meeting turns out to be their attempt at making things right for your son!

    I'm just getting over worrying about "special snowflake" comments myself. It's not about being special, it's about getting each child what they need. So frustrating that educators don't all get that... this is where we as parents wind up telling them what scores and assessments mean, because it's not what they know. Over time, I've become more and more confident that I (based on my own research and reading) know more than most of the people who are standing in the way...

    I'm not sure I would even hand over the scores, but I would have them handy and walk over and show them, tell them what that means in plain terms... then put them back in my file. :-)

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    #224834 - 11/03/15 01:13 PM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    I would first look at this meeting for what it is (from the school's perspective) - from what you've written, it sounds that it is being put together to address concerns about behavior. It also sounds like the school has done a good job of bringing in people who can provide meaningful input to the meeting - that's all good. It does not sound like the intention of the school is to address gifted differentiation, which is one of your goals (unless I misunderstand your question). So - my approach would be two-pronged: first and foremost, think through what you need to to understand what's going on at school that's related to the behavior concerns and go in prepared to have a discussion focused on that. If you think that lack of gifted services is part of the equation, prepare yourself to address that. One of the things you can do is to request that a gifted ed rep be present at the meeting - if there's a gifted teacher at your school that could be the person, if not, you could ask for a gifted rep from the district.

    The next thing I'd suggest is to really think through sharing the evaluations. I am not sure I understand why you haven't shared them - if your ds is dysgraphic and stealth dyslexic, then he most likely could use accommodations or possibly remediation with academics - have you asked for that previously? I've found with my own 2e kids two things that are key:

    1) sharing a private evaluation with the school doesn't guarantee that the school will accept the results or feel they need to act on them, but it also has never ever hurt to share an evaluation. For my kids, it has helped, because it gave the school a context in which to better understand their strengths and challenges.

    2) Challenges with behavior in early elementary were as often related to the 2nd e as to the first - often more so. It's really easy as the parent of a gifted child to think that behavior issues in the classroom are due to low level of challenge or boredom etc... but it's really *really* important to put necessary accommodations in place for the challenges. When my ds was struggling in early elementary prior to diagnosis, not one adult recognized that his problem behaviors were happening because he was very aware that every other kid in class could do something he couldn't do. Mix that in with a high cognitive functioning level, and he was overwhelmed with not understanding *why* he was different. Putting accommodations for his disability in place asap was key to helping him function in a way that allowed for his gifts to be apparent to others. He's in high school now, and although those early elementary years were tough for him (and for me as a parent, because I felt he should be receiving much more academic challenge)... getting accommodations and remediation in place paved the way for him to have access to the gifted education he wanted and needed in middle and high school.

    Did the previous evaluators give recommendations in their reports for either remediation or accommodations? If so, is your ds receiving those at school? If not, sharing the reports would be extremely helpful. Even sharing just the diagnosis should be helpful.

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

    eta - I also would try to not worry about someone thinking stealth dyslexia isn't "real" - it's a term that isn't technically defined anywhere (as far as I know) outside the world of the Eides. The reports you have from the private evaluators most likely have enough language that is familiar that you don't need to even mention the term "stealth dyslexia" - mention weakness in ____ (you fill in the blank) etc. Quote from the parts of the report that state relative weaknesses in specific skills. etc.



    Edited by polarbear (11/03/15 01:16 PM)

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    #224836 - 11/03/15 01:48 PM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Polarbear,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply.

    For purposes of early elementary - our experience completely aligns with your points re behavior. I sincerely believe that DS's struggles are at least primarily rooted in his 2e-ness and his sense that he is alone and different.

    This is why, to date, we have mostly enriched at home, and supported the school as they worked with him on how to see when he is in trouble and how to control resulting impulses. Honestly - whenever he wants to learn something academic, it happens instantaneously. So I figured that if I could keep the spark alive at home, it was OK to work on the 2nd-e at school for now.

    But this school district - in the heart of Silicon Valley mind you - has NO gifted education services of any kind. There is no gifted ed rep, no gifted specialists anywhere, and they have an allergic reaction any time "gifted" is mentioned. And "gifted" is all over DS's assessments. I just don't even know how to raise "gifted" in the SST or share his cognitive assessments without having everybody just shut down.

    So this meeting is all about behavior because I've never uttered the word "gifted" and you can bet your last dollar that they won't!

    Maybe though it's time for me to buck up and trust them a little. The assessment results were so helpful for us at home. If they'll just SEE them without barfing at "gifted" (or heaven forfend - "profoundly gifted"), it could really help.

    Thanks again. You're helping me be smarter and braver here,
    Sue

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    #224837 - 11/03/15 02:09 PM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: suevv

    This is why, to date, we have mostly enriched at home, and supported the school as they worked with him on how to see when he is in trouble and how to control resulting impulses. Honestly - whenever he wants to learn something academic, it happens instantaneously. So I figured that if I could keep the spark alive at home, it was OK to work on the 2nd-e at school for now.


    I am not quite sure I understand how the school can help him with his 2e though, if they don't know about it? That's confusing me a bit. Do they know he's dysgraphic, and just accepted what you have told them without seeing the actual reports?

    Quote:
    But this school district - in the heart of Silicon Valley mind you - has NO gifted education services of any kind. There is no gifted ed rep, no gifted specialists anywhere,


    Which may very likely mean... no matter how hard you advocate you'll get nowhere. I don't meant to sound like Nancy Negative about that - I definitely am not saying don't advocate! Just realistically thinking you may be stuck in a place that has a rigid mindset and/or lack of funds or something beyond you're capability to change the situation.

    Quote:
    and they have an allergic reaction any time "gifted" is mentioned.


    I had to giggle over that one. Long story why, but it made me lol!

    Quote:
    And "gifted" is all over DS's assessments. I just don't even know how to raise "gifted" in the SST or share his cognitive assessments without having everybody just shut down.


    I think (and this is just guessing since I am not there and don't actually know the people involved at your school)... but... I think you can raise it by showing them the assessments and introducing them as "these assessments show what ds' challenges are" (don't use those words, just highlighting the approach. Use the evaluations to explain the dysgraphia and stealth dyslexia, but within that explanation they see the data (and you can explain it) that shows he's PG. Point out that that exacerbates the challenging situation.

    I don't have any research or articles at hand that show that 2e students learn how to overcome their 2nd e challenges quicker or easier or better if they are placed academically where their intellect should place them, but we saw that with our 2e ds - in a huge way. He was a kid who could not generate ideas to write *at all* when faced with an open-ended question. It was a huge issue for him, took literally 5 years of speech therapy to get past it, and he's still working at it. But - there was a huge upswing in progress when he was given work at his intellectual level and taught/accommodated what needed to be taught/remediated in order to work at that level. If anyone out there has anything you could take pointing to an actual scientific validity to that idea, it would be really useful to have with you at the meeting.

    Quote:
    So this meeting is all about behavior because I've never uttered the word "gifted" and you can bet your last dollar that they won't!


    Refocus - this meeting is all about behavior because there is a behavior issue. I hope that doesn't sound harsh - that's not my intent at all smile I just think that's the way to look at the meeting, and use this approach:

    Behavior challenge exists -> You share past assessments showing challenges and IQ -> You tie behavior to the challenges -> You advocate that the best way to alleviate the problem behaviors is to accommodate and remediate *at his appropriate instructional level*.

    Memorize some key phrases before you go into the meeting, to be sure you get your point across. I actually used to write my "key phrases" down in my notes for the meetings so that I wouldn't forget to toss them out somewhere in the heat of the moment! One key phrase for you would be to, first, get through the chunk of the meeting where you try to get the school staff to see the correlation between challenge, frustration, and behavior, and then you throw out your key phrase such as "Imagine functioning at this level cognitively and not being able to write a complete sentence (or whatever the challenge is). It's no wonder ds is having a difficult time in class." Then direct the discussion back to how accommodation or remediation might work for challenge x, and bring in the request of higher level of intellectual challenge here.

    [quote[Maybe though it's time for me to buck up and trust them a little. The assessment results were so helpful for us at home. If they'll just SEE them without barfing at "gifted" (or heaven forfend - "profoundly gifted"), it could really help. [/quote]

    My guess is they'll see the other (dysgraphia) etc over the IQ. I've found that anything written out in straightforward language in an assessment garners more attention from teachers and school staff than either IQ #s or achievement test #s.
    I might consider highlighting the specific concerns and/or recommendations in the reports that you'd like to focus the school staffs' attention on.

    I also have another key phrase that I take to these meetings, in the event anyone questions the validity of a diagnosis or report etc: "So, let me clarify. You are saying you don't trust the opinion of a degreed, certified, etc neuropsychologist who is highly respected in our community?" That little phrase usually stops the report-attacks on the spot smile

    Be brave! You're doing a great job thinking through all of this smile

    polarbear

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    #224838 - 11/03/15 02:12 PM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    Just a suggestion: what about not using the word gifted, but sharing scores, in context (i.e., percentile and what that means, how infrequent, yes, even in that area, such IQ scores are...). Given the school system has absolutely no gifted anything, I'm going out on a limb to say they know, well, not much about gifted learners. You could share documents about the concept of asynchrony and how that can be expressed in a classroom (your DYS contact should be able to assist in supplying some of these). Ask how they can help him, given his ability profile and his other differences.

    You might say something like "we've been hesitant to share this information, because we get the impression that asking for something based on it isn't often taken well. We don't want to be "those parents," but we do want to share what we know objectively, based on expert assessments, about our son."


    I see where you are coming from, but at least in our experience, it's pretty hard to separate the PG-ness fully from everything else. Keep in mind that your son is both Es. It is only reasonable that the school has some information about both, otherwise, you are only sharing part of the story with them.

    Since you mention becoming braver, may I share two thoughts with you? One is something a friend told me when I was pregnant with ODS. She said she had realized during a doctor's appointment where she didn't feel concerns were being addressed that if she didn't advocate for her daughter, absolutely no one else would. That has stuck with me and guides me as a parent.

    The other is a book I'm currently listening to called "Playing Big," by Tara Mohr. Very empowering for some of us who have confused criticism with reality or let it stop us, among other things. Only speaking for myself, of course. YMMV. :-)

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    #224839 - 11/03/15 02:14 PM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    Wow! Polarbear, you are GOOD!

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    #224852 - 11/04/15 07:41 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: polarbear]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 675
    Loc: Canada
    Lots of good advice already!

    I can certainly appreciate your concerns about the "allergy" - it sounds like your school has an extreme case of it. At the same time, it also sounds like they have been unusually supportive and willing to be flexible to help your DS. So perhaps yes, it's time to take a little risk and trust them. It does sounds like they have earned that chance.

    I can't imagine it's going to come as any surprise to them that your DS is smart. However, they really are working blind without the whole picture: what they need into understand just how unusual his cognitive abilities are, and how those mix with his other Es to result in what they see at school. Your DS's ability to compensate for his disabilities will be unlike anything they have ever imagined before. They cannot begin to understand those disabilities without realizing his extreme capacity to mask the things he can't do, and to find other ways of doing them. Those ways are harder, slower, less efficient, frustrating and painful, but what they see is that he can do it, not what it costs him. He, however, is likely acutely aware of every single thing that is inexplicably harder for him than everyone else. I can't agree enough with polarbear's experience:

    Originally Posted By: polarbear
    When my ds was struggling in early elementary prior to diagnosis, not one adult recognized that his problem behaviors were happening because he was very aware that every other kid in class could do something he couldn't do. Mix that in with a high cognitive functioning level, and he was overwhelmed with not understanding *why* he was different. Putting accommodations for his disability in place asap was key to helping him function in a way that allowed for his gifts to be apparent to others.


    Our DD completely looked like she could do what the others were doing and seemed to function on grade level. But it was killing her, and getting harder every day to keep up, and her anxiety was going through the roof but no one recognized her unpleasant stress behaviours as the panic they were. They couldn't see any sign of the struggle - all they saw was grade appropriate work and a grumpy, somewhat defiant and not overly cooperative child. She obviously could, so when she didn't it was because she won't. She was so good at hiding the "can't", they truly never realized it was there. Her challenges could not be recognized in the absence of realizing her abilities too. Nor could they be properly remediated without accounting for the way she could learn. Nor would she obtain material that engaged her at the right level, needed to encourage her to "work through the pain", so to speak. All that to say, you cannot possibly create appropriate accommodations for a child like your DS without understanding the way his Es combine. We had to go way off "normal" diagnosis, remediation and supports for my DD - and your DS is quite a few standard deviations beyond her in verbal ability. That has huge impacts, on absolutely every everything.

    So my two cents worth is bring the reports, and highlight the key conclusions. It's not necessary to either emphasize or avoid any particular parts, instead just itemize the whole list: this is what we know about him. No finding is more or less important or relevant than the others; it's the whole package that adds up to DS.

    However, there are ways to avoid trigger words (you don't want to traumatize them!), while still being factual. For example, rather than mentioning gifted or IQ scores by name, you might be able to use something like "he has unusual cognitive abilities. His testing suggests 1 in x kids would have a similar level of cognitive functioning - so his teachers would typically encounter a kid like him once every Y years". (I generally find scores mean nothing to most people, and scores like your DS's are hard for people to wrap their brains around. Discussing the frequency with which a teacher will encounter a child with this profile seems to place the whole thing in more meaningful context.) Similarly, you can use the simple term "dyslexic" rather than "stealth dyslexic", and explain how the combination with his verbal abilities means he does not present as you would expect a child with a reading disability to present, but it is still there, and here are some of the ways he compensates so you don't see it, and some of the ways the are harder to mask, where you do see the impacts still.

    Argh - I got long-winded again (sorry, bad habit). Hope the meeting goes well!

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    #224876 - 11/04/15 11:53 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: polarbear]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Originally Posted By: polarbear

    Quote:
    So this meeting is all about behavior because I've never uttered the word "gifted" and you can bet your last dollar that they won't!


    Refocus - this meeting is all about behavior because there is a behavior issue. I hope that doesn't sound harsh - that's not my intent at all smile I just think that's the way to look at the meeting, and use this approach:

    Behavior challenge exists -> You share past assessments showing challenges and IQ -> You tie behavior to the challenges -> You advocate that the best way to alleviate the problem behaviors is to accommodate and remediate *at his appropriate instructional level*.


    Hi all,

    You've offered so many, many great ideas. I've actually printed them out because I need to shuffle, think and apply.

    One important point to polarbear - I absolutely do not take your point as harsh. Candor is necessary here, and I didn't do a good job of wording my point. In fact I am in total agreement with you. From the school's viewpoint AND mine, this meeting is exactly about behavior. DS's behavior in school is reflecting his challenges and is gating his ability to get what he needs/deserves from his education. My goal for the meeting is to identify strategies to help DS change that behavior.

    What you folks are helping me with is how to convey the whole picture of what's going on with DS's brain. This is necessary so that the strategies we pick aren't doomed from the outset.

    My fear has been that if I raise the issue of IQ (or whatever related term - cognitive ability, giftedness, asynchrony) the school will view it as excuse making. But I see that it's necessary, else I am really unfairly handicapping them in understanding DS and helping him. And I do believe they sincerely want to help.

    I have work to do based on your responses. Thanks so much for helping me figure out how to get the work started!

    Sue

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    #224877 - 11/04/15 12:10 PM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: polarbear]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Originally Posted By: polarbear

    I am not quite sure I understand how the school can help him with his 2e though, if they don't know about it? That's confusing me a bit. Do they know he's dysgraphic, and just accepted what you have told them without seeing the actual reports?


    Just answering another great question raised by pb: I haven't told the school about his assessments, but I have explained how much it helped at home to understand that the problem is often "can't" rather than "won't."

    At first this just induces eye-rolling, and fair enough since I didn't share the assessments. But as they get to know me (apparently I don't present as crazy), and they get to know him (little things show how hard he really tries), the can't/won't thing starts to ring true to them.

    So they have supported him, and paid attention, and really listened to him. Errrrr - they've grokked him, if you know Stranger in a Strange Land. I think this meeting is a natural progression for them. I honestly believe I'm dealing with skilled professionals who want to and can help.

    Even if they are allergic to "gifted" ....

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    #224951 - 11/06/15 07:06 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    eco21268 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/21/15
    Posts: 647
    I wouldn't worry about the ASD thing. If the behaviors are similar, it could be that some of the interventions would be, as well. This isn't discussed all that often here, but there are plenty of very gifted children who do not have social problems and are more flexible/adaptable than ours. My only point is that PG itself isn't likely to fully account for *some* of your DS' struggles.

    Do the scores you have show any weirdnesses (that is not a clinical term)? People seem more receptive to hearing about "gifted" scores (whether or not you use that word) when you are also describing discrepant scores. I blah blah'd to a SPED teacher friend ad nauseum about DS' challenges and diagnoses and her eyes were pretty glazed over *until* I told her the part about a nearly three standard deviation discrepancy between GAI and PSI. She was much more understanding of the situation at that point, and not one moment sooner.

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    #224953 - 11/06/15 08:45 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: suevv

    Even if they are allergic to "gifted" ....


    Just a gut feeling here, but I suspect the school isn't so much "allergic" to gifted as they are more concerned with how to deal with the challenging behaviors at this point. While some of the challeging behaviors may be due to boredom and lack of challenge, it sounds as though other factors are coming into play, and understanding those is at a higher level on the radar at this point for the school as providing gifted instruction. It's really encouraging (jmo) that the school has been so responsive and also willing to listen to your input - that suggests that they will be eventually open to differentiation and instruction for gifted - but it's going to have to come with first also getting past the challenges. That's really typical for a lot of us here who have 2e kids - figuring out what's behind the challenges and how to accommodate them will give your ds a chance to shine in a way that will allow his teachers to also see his gifted e.

    polarbear

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    #225799 - 12/08/15 10:01 PM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: polarbear]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Hi guys,

    Just writing to follow up after our SST. It was sort of not what I was expecting since the behaviorist and the psychologist didn't show. I was told they had met before hand and decided they didn't need to be there. Not sure what I think about that, but anyway ...

    Teacher is just really good. She's very focused on the fact that DS8 is trying hard and is a good little boy who is struggling. Worth her weight in gold, she is. She really wanted to try a "star chart" with the reward being to be able to do something special with a friend. Goal is to get DS believing that he is making progress and is not a bad person. And keep working to dial down the inappropriate behaviors.

    Principal is all on board, too.

    They both repeatedly talked about how he is so bright, and needs the chance to feel good about his strengths. No actual concrete plans yet, but I think it can wait until the new year. DS has his hands full keeping himself reined in, what with the general madness of the pre-Xmas ramp up. Exactly how many holiday events CAN they fit into a 2-week period?!?

    The school has an "attached" therapist from a well-regarded local agency. She's there Monday-Thursday and Teacher would really like DS to work with her. Teacher says DS has so much suppressed frustration and anger that she doesn't know how he gets through the day sometimes. Principal added that frustration and anger are probably rooted in fear and anxiety. I'm meeting the therapist next Monday.

    The assessments really didn't come up, and it was a productive meeting without them.

    It made my heart break a little to realize DS is still so overall unhappy and lonely at school. But I do believe he's in good hands while he's there. And he is headed in the right direction behavior-wise which I think will open opportunities in the end.

    Inch by inch. Day by day. And a little sip of wine at the end of the day hasn't hurt, lately.

    Thanks again to you all for your support.

    Sue

    [ETA - not sure I'm happy about the star chart/reward thing. I long ago abandoned such strategies as counter-productive ("I can't do that unless I'm going to get a reward.") But Teacher feels it's a way to heap on positive reinforcement, so I agreed to it. We'll see!]


    Edited by suevv (12/08/15 10:04 PM)

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    #225802 - 12/08/15 10:46 PM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    bluemagic Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/29/13
    Posts: 1489
    HUGS.. Glad to hear he has such a supportive teacher who honestly see's how much he is struggling and that he isn't being willfully defiant. I've been there. Somehow we made it through 2nd grade, and then 6th grade, and freshman year of H.S. (Note it wasn't every year things were bad.) As a junior in H.S. DS is a lot more stable, a lot happier.

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    #225803 - 12/09/15 01:50 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    Star charts are just an extra source of stress and anxiety.

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    #225806 - 12/09/15 06:14 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    blackcat Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/23/13
    Posts: 2154
    I think the star chart (or something similar) can work if the stars are linked to something specific. DS is pulled out for writing and the teacher gives him fake money and at certain times he can buy a reward from her. I think the fake money is tied to him actually producing writing during their sessions, not something really abstract like were you good today, or not good. I have also used bribes like this when I tutored reading, to get the kids to do their reading assignments at home. If they brought back their reading log with their parents initial, they could play "bingo" and once they won bingo, they got to pick a prize. It motivated some of the kids, not others. The star chart could get complicated if the teacher forgets about it sometimes or your DS disagrees about whether he should get a star or not. In any event, it sounds like you are making some good progress and have people who are concerned and want to help, which is the most important thing.

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    #225808 - 12/09/15 07:27 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: suevv

    Teacher is just really good. She's very focused on the fact that DS8 is trying hard and is a good little boy who is struggling. Worth her weight in gold, she is.


    Thanks for the update, suave. It must feel like a huge relief to know that ds' teacher sees him the way she does. That's awesome!

    Quote:
    She really wanted to try a "star chart" with the reward being to be able to do something special with a friend. Goal is to get DS believing that he is making progress and is not a bad person. And keep working to dial down the inappropriate behaviors.


    I'm not a fan of star charts in general, but I do think they can work if a student if they're not used sometimes, forgotten about other times, if they are used based on an objective criteria as blackcat mentioned, and if the other students in the classroom aren't aware that your ds has a star chart.

    My one remaining question though is - he's being potentially rewarded for dialing back his unacceptable behaviors, but does anyone really understand what's causing the behaviors? Until you've got that piece of the puzzle solved, it may be frustrating and difficult for your ds to make progress with behavior.

    Quote:
    They both repeatedly talked about how he is so bright, and needs the chance to feel good about his strengths.


    Agreed. OTOH, if he's in a situation where he doesn't have the appropriate accommodations and remediation to help with his 2nd e, no matter how much effort is put into giving him opportunities to feel good about his strengths, he's still most likely going to be a very frustrated student. I know you've said above that you've made suggestions for accommodations and the teacher has been very willing to work with you/ds/the suggestions, which is great. I still wonder though if the teacher and school staff might not have a better chance of truly helping your ds if you shared the report from his testing with them.

    Have you told them the reason you make the accommodations you are suggesting to them is because he's dysgraphic? And what types of accommodations is he receiving? Does he have a scribe for writing or is he allowed to use a keyboard? The dysgraphia may not be 100% of the reason for his behavior issues, but it still needs to be appropriately accommodated, with an eye looking forward to future years in school.

    Quote:
    Exactly how many holiday events CAN they fit into a 2-week period?!?


    Well, I don't know about your ds' school, but where we're at this time of year turns into a bit of a zoo for sure!!! My entire household is sleep-deprived thanks to all the atypical stuff that is going on at school smile

    Quote:
    Teacher says DS has so much suppressed frustration and anger that she doesn't know how he gets through the day sometimes. Principal added that frustration and anger are probably rooted in fear and anxiety.


    Do you see the same frustration/anger/anxiety at home or does it all appear to be school-related? What does your ds say about his feelings and about school? Our ds had some very very serious anxiety prior to his diagnosis in 2nd grade, when his dysgraphia wasn't diagnosed and he just couldn't perform at school but no one realized it (except for ds). Once we (parents and teachers) understood his diagnosis, once accommodations were in place, and once we'd actually *told* ds he had dysgraphia, his level of anxiety evaporated. Knowing that his struggles weren't his fault, alone, was huge. Knowing that he had adults who were going to help him was also huge. I realize your ds has adults helping him.. but being sure that help is geared in the right direction is important. It's possible that everything is truly anxiety and needs to be addressed as such, but I'd want to know for sure that the dysgraphia/stealth dyslexia were addressed first before assuming that the primary issue is anxiety/frustration etc.

    Let us know how everything goes -

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

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    #225900 - 12/13/15 04:15 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    eco21268 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/21/15
    Posts: 647
    Suevv, I'm going to kind of echo polarbear but with an addendum--

    If I could have a do-over, I'd personally learn a lot more about "social skills" and share what I learned with DS much sooner. Here's why: even with an education/counseling background, I had no earthly idea what social skills are. If someone had suggested to me DS had social skills issues, I'd have attributed this almost entirely to his giftedness. He is gregarious! He is funny! He never met a stranger! <---well, until he became a tween and got all traumatized by his burgeoning self-awareness and withdrew...

    Now, the more I learn about EF and social skills, the clearer it all becomes. And it is SO MUCH EASIER to talk to DS with the appropriate language. He used to tell me all the time that he was "irresponsible" etc. ICK!

    The benefit to our kids being so bright is that they can handle a logical, scientific explanation to their challenges. As an example--if you are going to agree to the star chart (OMG, I have star chart PTSD), I'd explain to DS that this is positive reinforcement, etc., and how it's supposed to help him make new neural pathways.

    I had a hilarious (but sad) conversation on the way to school with my kids the other day, telling them I've kinda dropped the ball with them, because I've trained them to ignore my requests by repeating them ad infinitum. DS very thoughtfully replied, "Yes, but it's not conscious. You have sorta Pavlov's dogged us."

    smirk

    It really does help make discussions easier, anyhow, because DS is very objective and does not get offended easily. That is one of the best parts of the quirky personality. smile

    Also--if you haven't already, I'd suggest you read the 8 Keys to Raising a Quirky Kid book. It's not super deep, but it has a nice breadth of information (I'm being kinda silly--if you read it, you'll understand what I mean), and I think it gives some pretty succinct explanations of certain qualities. I'm going to use it to help my DS with his self-awareness, and you could easily be modify for a bright, younger child, methinks. Especially if you share any of his traits and understand them at a gut level.

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    #225901 - 12/13/15 08:45 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    LAF Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/15/14
    Posts: 469
    eco I completely agree, I have our first SST meeting on Monday and right now I'm seeing that almost all his current problems stem from not reading social cues and that's what I will be addressing with them primarily. The 8 Keys to Raising a Quirky Kid is a must read if your child is having social problems. No matter how smart you are, you need to learn how to read non-verbal social cues. I explained it to my son as a tool. He loves animals, so I used the chameleon reference. If you can blend depending on the situation, you have protection. You will always be a chameleon no matter what color you use, the blending itself is just to protect you. It also helps him makes friends, but right now I figured he is more concerned with figuring out how to keep people from being mean to him..


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    #225902 - 12/13/15 10:51 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: LAF]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    What book would you recommend for use by a mother who has no social skills either?

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    #225903 - 12/13/15 11:54 AM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: suevv]
    LAF Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/15/14
    Posts: 469
    Puffin - ones I just read are:

    8 Keys To Raising A Quirky Child (Bowers)
    The Unwritten Rules of Friendship (Elman and Kennedy-Moore)
    How To Make & Keep Friends: Tips for Kids To Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges (Briggs and Shea) for older kids, and there is a parent guide which I purchased by the same authors called How to Make & Keep Friends: Helping Your Child Achieve Social Success

    If you don't have social skills, this will help both of you wink. I have excellent social skills but only because I was a social outcast so I read books like this to teach myself in middle school…I couldn't (or didn't care) about playing the game.. until I saw the consequences. I was so literal. I would say I don't understand what I did. And of course I would get "if you don't know I'm not going to tell you" So mature, right? I'm still very straight ahead in talking to people, but I also have to remind myself not to talk over people or interrupt when I get excited about a topic etc.

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    #225904 - 12/13/15 05:43 PM Re: SST Meeting - what would you do? [Re: LAF]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    Thanks. I have a kindle sample of the unwritten rukes of friendship so i will start there. I don't really want to 'start playing the game' at this point but i would like to improve the basics and give my kids more options.

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