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    #247728 - 11/10/20 06:44 PM Need Input re Transition Evaluation
    Pemberley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 739
    My 2e DD will be turning 16 next month and our district has offered to fund a neuropsych/ psycho Ed eval so that adult testing instruments can be used and the results can be provided to colleges to help her qualify for accommodations. I have been asked to submit questions we want answered in advance of next week’s transition planning meeting. The district says the questions we ask will guide the selection of an evaluator.

    Every few years I pose the same question here - is there an amazing 2e evaluator you would use if you could choose anyone? I was initially sent to the Eides in Seattle but they closed their clinic before I could get DD in. They sent me to Devon MacEachron who provided a very detailed report. There were a few issues, though, so the decision was made not to return to her. We were unable to identify an appropriate evaluator next time so the district waived re-evaluation and approved DD’s triennial qualifying her for services until graduation and offering this post 16 testing. So now the time has come and I have no idea who to request or really even what informations we need provided. I am less likely to travel in this Covid world than I had been previously but will consider anyone exceptional. Bonus points if they are located in the northeastern part of the US so we could drive rather than fly.

    So I need to know just what information I should be seeking from this evaluation. What will be needed for DD to be successful in the post secondary world? We have done well navigating the K-12 system - in large part due to the advice and input I’ve received from these boards over the years. Now though I feel out of my depth. So please if you can tell me:

    1. Is there a really good 2e evaluator you would recommend?
    2. If not a specific person what have you looked for (or to avoid) when selecting an evaluator?
    3, What questions should I be asking this evaluator to answer?
    4. Are there any specific tests that should be done? Anything that would be considered inappropriate?
    5. Any benefit to a neuropsych vs psychologist?
    6. DD is a humanities kid who wants to go to film school. With all her various LD and processing issues I don’t know what is actually feasible for her. Would this be an opportunity to explore advice on careers she may not have thought of? What kind of testing would that include?
    7. What will colleges be looking for in this eval? I think we will be looking for dedicated programs or college specifically geared towards LD students if that makes a difference.
    8. With grade and subject accelerations DD is due to finish her HS credits very early. (She’s 15 and already a second semester Junior) so likely won’t be going through a full scale college application process right away. We are thinking of gap year and community college first to give her a chance to get her feet wet and enter college at a more typical age. Will this affect the usefulness of this testing? I think colleges want testing no more than 2 or 3 years old. Any ideas for working around this?

    TIA

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    #247731 - 11/11/20 11:18 PM Re: Need Input re Transition Evaluation [Re: Pemberley]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1662
    Loc: Australia
    I don't have anything useful to offer, being in the wrong country and a very different system. But gosh I feel for you. I could have written this myself at various times.

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    #247737 - 11/14/20 05:51 PM Re: Need Input re Transition Evaluation [Re: Pemberley]
    spaghetti Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/05/15
    Posts: 448
    If you already have a good understanding of her needs, you can work backward from the accommodations. For us, the tester made sure to use tests that would back up the need for those accommodations.

    We already had a diagnosis, so just needed to verify that. Had a list of accommodations, and the tester wanted to add some other accommodations. DS asked they be taken off as he didn't want those to be chosen over the ones that worked for him. It was more of a negotiation.

    Each college website has a list of what they want for each kind of disability. You can ask the disability office at the school, and they will answer generally, but don't want to have anything to do with knowing a disability at the time of application. We found different schools had slightly different rules. Some more lax and some were clearly gate keeping.

    We had to pay, so we used the cheapest we could get, and it worked fine. In fact, when I was calling around, I stayed away from people who wanted to go from scratch. We didn't want them messing up what was working by coming up with another diagnosis (could easily have been a number of different diagnoses, but DS just needed accommodations for one of them).



    Edited by spaghetti (11/14/20 05:51 PM)

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    #247739 - 11/15/20 04:57 AM Re: Need Input re Transition Evaluation [Re: spaghetti]
    Pemberley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 739
    Thank you spaghetti! Your response was extremely helpful as usual. You’ve been such a wonderful resource throughout our journey. Thank you!

    Would you mind sharing the accommodations your DS did or didn’t find helpful? DD is thriving in the 1-1 environment of Fusion Academy. It fits like a glove so we no longer even think of accommodations being in place. Her program is fully dependent on AT. She and her teachers have conversations. They discuss everything and the course unfolds in whatever way interests her the most. She developed note taking skills but they are entirely dependent on AT. Her teachers just naturally adjust their presentations and expected work product to accommodate her. It’s wonderful but obviously not what she will face in large classroom at a university. I really have little idea anymore of what tangible things she would need to succeed in a mainstream environment.

    I had hoped that by now I would have been able to hire a special ed placement specialist but so far I have struck out finding one. I thought I had one but she said she focuses on the actual trabsition process rather than the placement piece. I attended a webinar with another and while it included information on some specialized programs his focus was more on getting the prestigious window sticker on the back of your car so your kid is set up to network with the right people in the professional world.

    We are not looking for prestige. We want to find a program where DD can be successful. Where she can be comfortable. Where she can learn and grow and develop the skills she needs to have a fulfilling life. She’s not interested in - and probably wouldn’t be able to function in - a pressure cooker like MIT. She wouldn’t be able to handle a large, chaotic dormitory. She could probably handle a 300 person lecture hall if she sat in the front row and the room had good acoustics. (Background noise is a huge issue for her personally and with her note taking apps.)

    So I agree with your (very helpful) idea of starting with needed accommodations and working backward but how do I determine what those might be?

    ETA: We visited Landmark which specializes in students with language based LD issues. (They also focus on autism and ADHD) I recall small classes and universal accommodations like all students being provided notes, all textbooks being provided in audio format, several hours a week of academic support, etc. BUT they still had a 2 course math requirement which is tough for a kid with Math Disability. She would need both a Math and Foreign Language waiver. Would those be dependent this eval?

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    #247742 - 11/16/20 01:43 PM Re: Need Input re Transition Evaluation [Re: Pemberley]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3738
    spaghetti has excellent and very practical advice.

    A math waiver will probably have higher hurdles to cross. Foreign language waiver is a pretty standard accommodation for reading disabled college students, but yes, will likely need a fresh eval, since all your old ones were focused on K-12 education. You may find that schools that have a film program may not have a world language requirement, since many of them are specialized (college or institute, not university). There may also be some value in asking if any portion of the quantitative reasoning requirement can be fulfilled through logic, philosophy, or debate courses.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #247747 - 11/21/20 08:01 AM Re: Need Input re Transition Evaluation [Re: Pemberley]
    Pemberley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 739
    Update:

    This week I spoke to the directors of 2 highly respected transition/sped support programs imbedded at colleges as well as an admissions officer at a LD dedicated college. All indicated that they are adept enough at reading evals that no special testing would be necessary. All were adamant that we should not try to determine accommodations in advance but instead provide enough information that they can brainstorm on their end and make appropriate recommendations. One suggested we include a Speech and Language Eval and a report from her Sensory OT program. With the sensory info they said DD could qualify not only for a single dorm room at no extra expense but also they could tweak her schedule to assure she was assigned classes in rooms that are carpeted since background noise can be such an issue for her. I assume this is all because these are such specialized programs and doubt we would get this level of individualization from a more mainstream college accommodations office.

    I also finally heard from a sped placement specialist. By the time she called I had made a dent in figuring things out so probably not worth the expense now. I also discussed in detail with our sped math specialist and came up with a possible plan. Since DD is so far ahead on her HS credits we may have her try a community college course concurrently in the fall - hoping to find a light course that she would take just for enjoyment. Assuming she’s able to adjust to the larger, more chaotic environment look at doing either hybrid (1-1 classes at Fusion Academy and CC classes) or just CC classes for the spring. Have her take a math class this way with the sped math teacher continuing to work with her so he can translate the coursework for her if she has difficultly. Hopefully this could cover her core math requirement.

    With all these conversations I realized that DD may not have the luxury of choosing a course of study that aligns with her interest. Yes she wants to attend film school but if she needs this level of support from a college with a transition program she will have to select from the majors they offer rather than doing a traditional college search and applying to the best programs. I also noted that many of the majors these colleges offer will have extra math requirements beyond the core requirement. (ie Statistics, Business Math, etc). So yes we can probably get her through college but not yet convinced she can do it the way she (and most students) hope.

    We had an IEP meeting at the end of the week (delayed from spring due to Covid shut down) and we discussed doing MAPP futures planning. I have never heard of this. Any input would be appreciated. They plan to hire outside people to do it as they realized DD is too complex for in district folks to adequately address her needs. The way it was explained to me everyone who works with DD brainstorm and come up with ideas for moving forward. She does interest inventories and a report is generated which outlines both her considerable strengths and all the obstacles she faces. Potential careers and areas of study should be identified as well as generating a list of possible schools and programs to look at. Sounds great and just what I was hoping to hire someone to do for us. But of course things that sound too good to be true usually are. Any and all insights are welcome.

    Some of the specialized programs indicate that they can be funded by districts which was a pleasant surprise. I had heard our local CC had a transition program that districts fund but IEP team leader did not feel it’s appropriate for DD - said it’s geared more towards lower functioning students. My consultant pointed out that there are 4 parts to transition planning, though, and while DD has knocked the academic piece out of the park the other 3 still need to be addressed. (Self advocacy, vocation and social if I recall correctly) so it’s possible one of the year long transition programs I spoke to could be appropriate. Again, any and all input gratefully accepted.

    As spaghetti pointed out above district sped head honcho said the transitional eval doesn’t have to focus on identifying DD’s various disabilities - we have a pretty good understanding of those. She is also putting out feelers trying to identify the right evaluator. She agrees we need someone who is sophisticated and experienced enough to really get DD. So still looking for more names if you have them. District prefers we stay in state but is not requiring it.

    As always thanks in advance for any and all input!

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    #247762 - 11/24/20 03:05 PM Re: Need Input re Transition Evaluation [Re: Pemberley]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3738
    That is very helpful information you've collected. I'm glad to hear some useful resources are starting to assemble through your IRL team. Transition is absolutely a required component of the IEP team meeting and plan development, and even if your team weren't offering, they would be required to respond to her needs with or without prodding.

    It is true that most post-secondary programs that districts pay for are for lower-functioning students that aren't expected to take an academic diploma on high school graduation, or who otherwise are highly likely to qualify for adult services. Also a thought, btw. Adult services usually kick in for individuals who aren't anticipated to be able to live independently, or to find more than half-time work on their own. But it depends on the state.

    It sounds like the team is proposing one of the models of person-centered-planning approaches to vision development and transition planning for students with disabilities, which is a much more focused on her goals than on available services.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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