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

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

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

    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!

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

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

    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!


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

    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" ....

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

    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.

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

    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.


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

    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.


    [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)

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

    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.

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

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

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

    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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