Another acceleration?

Posted by: thndrcloud

Another acceleration? - 01/22/20 02:17 PM

DS is 11yo with a July birthday. He has been diagnosed with ADHD, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, anxiety, depression and ASD/Asperger's. He may also have a learning disability relating to written expression which we recently began successfully accommodating by having him dictate his written work on a digital recorder then playing it back to type up his responses. He had an IEP for his lisp and stuttering which was dropped last year and replaced with a 504, although he's being re-evaluated for services this year.

His academics have been very uneven across grades, and sometimes even within the same grade. Third grade was the worst year when he was still in the mainstream classroom before he received the majority of his diagnoses and ended up with a behavior intervention plan. He skipped fifth grade and struggled through sixth with boredom, social isolation and executive functioning issues. The one bright spot last year was the honors algebra class he took at the junior high with eighth graders where he was engaged, made friends, and thrived functionally due to the teacher's clear routines and expectations.

What we've determined is that when he's not challenged his boredom quickly escalates into behavior issues. We're working on this in therapy. We've also noticed that he does better socially at school with his academic peers rather than grade or age level peers, thus he gets along better with the 8th graders in his math class than the 7th graders in English. He also thrives with a routine, set schedule which is part of why he's doing so much better in junior high than he did in elementary school. He also does better when he understands exactly what the expectations are, why they matter, and how it helps/affects him personally. He will only "prove" himself to others if he sees a benefit.

Now that he's had an excellent first semester he wants to skip eighth grade. His plan is to attend the regular high school for two years, do dual enrollment at the community college to finish his diploma and associate's, and then get his driver's license before pursuing his undergrad degree in Mechatronic Engineering.

Regardless of what plan we follow, we think that he can, and definitely wants to, do more than what he's being given right now. Based on the information I've provided, what might be some realistic options?

PSAT 8/9 October, 2019
Reading 33
Writing and Language 31
Math 36
EBRW Score 640
Math Score 720
Total Score 1360

PSAT 8/9 February, 2019
Reading 30
Writing and Language 23
Math 25.0
EBRW Score 530
Math Score 500
Total Score 1030

WISC-V March, 2018
VCI 136 99
VSI 126 96
FRI 137 99
WMI 122 93
PSI 80 9
GAI 138 99

Similarities 16
Vocabulary 17
Block Design 14
Visual Puzzles 15
Matrix Reasoning 17
Figure Weights 16

Digit Span 13
Picture Span 15
Coding 5
Symbol Search 8

CogAT - Universal Scale Score/Percentile/Stanine February, 2018
Verbal 234 99 9
Quantitative 209 88 7
Nonverbal 222 93 8
VQN 222 98 9
Posted by: aeh

Re: Another acceleration? - 01/27/20 12:32 PM


FWIW, his PSAT 8/9 scores would appear to be in the college-ready range (although one should interpret these with some caution, since they are likely to be in the range where ceiling effects increase the error), and do support the conclusion that he picked up a lot of math skills last year in algebra I. Did he take the PSATs with accommodations?

My main question with respect to skipping eighth grade would be whether his writing skills are actually high school-ready. He's already demonstrated HS-readiness in math, by completing algebra I successfully. The other measures reported are from group standardized testing with limited written expression demands (mostly computer-administered or bubble/grid-in), which don't document writing skills in a naturalistic context. The only data of that nature we have to work with at this moment is your reports that he may have an undefined written expression disability--in which case what you are trying to document is that he is specifically -not- high-school-ready (or even grade-appropriate) in writing. Which would tend to be a counter-argument to another full acceleration. If, instead, the outcome of your current eval process is something along the lines of modifying his 504 to support AT for writing (but without need for specialized instruction/remediation), then the acceleration prospects become more positive.

TBH, if he is found eligible under SLD-written expression, I think it would not be in his best interest to do a full grade skip. If AT accommodations resolve his written expression gaps entirely, then he doesn't need an IEP, and should remain on a 504 with updated accommodations.

This is all regarding "can". Should he? That's a much more nuanced discussion. I do like starting from what the student wants. He's bringing it up, so it's definitely worth a thoughtful and patient conversation about what problem with his current educational situation he is trying to solve, why he thinks this is the best solution, what possible new problems the solution may create, and how he or his team can address those possible new problems.