Do I push or leave it alone?

Posted by: happyreader

Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/07/12 01:26 PM

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to this forum but have been reading for a while. I'm trying to figure out what to do about my DD8. Our school has a very limited GT program. They accepted 5 students into to it out of 140 in her grade. They did not accept my DD due to her CogAT score, which was not in the 99th percentile. The GT teacher says it wasn't due to her score, but she also showed me the evaluation and DD met the criteria in every other category-- classroom teacher recommendations, parent observations, writing/work samples. So I'm left to conclude that it was her CogAT score.

In the meantime, I know that DD is a very inconsistent tester. She daydreams a lot. She used to love going to school but now complains that it is boring. She has read every book in her classroom and her most recent SRI score was 1108, so I know she is a strong reader. Her teacher says she does not participate in class. When I ask her about it, she says her ideas are so different from the other kids that she is afraid to share them. At home, she is curious about everything and would rather do "learning" activities than play like the other kids. She is also an old soul-- very intuitive and mature for her age.

DH and I struggling with what to do next. I believe she needs more, but I am also conscious that every parent thinks their kid is the most talented in the world. How do I know whether to push this or leave it alone? Do I have a realistic view of my child's strengths? The school is not much help. I feel like the GT teacher doesn't want to talk to us and views us as delusional.

How do you know when it's time to push and when it's time to leave it alone?
Posted by: Somerdai

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/08/12 08:08 PM

I was also a daydreamer and a reader, but this is just my personal experience, so YMMV.

When I was in second and third grade, I was in a mixed classroom (one room schoolhouse type) and I loved it. I finished my work quickly and I could listen to the lessons for the upper grades. Then halfway through 3rd grade, we moved to a different state where the curriculum was focused on test preparation and repetition. I was extremely bored and complained loudly to my parents every day. They got me tested by someone at the school, not sure which test, but I remember being very stressed out and worried, overthinking which answers would prove that I was smart enough. I was desperate for something more challenging. I'm not sure exactly what the test results were, or what my parents told me, but the school refused to do anything, and the messages I internalized were "you're not good enough," "your needs don't matter," and "you'll just have to figure it out on your own." Having your parents give up when you want more, but don't quite meet the cutoff, is an awful place to be, in my experience.

The things I began to believe about myself back then plague me still. There were other times when my parents probably could have changed things for the better (I spent all of 8th grade in remedial classes due to being the new kid with no records and I'm sure my parents had no idea). But I thought I had to accept the way things were, that for some reason, my needs weren't credible or valid. I'm sure my parents didn't intend for all of that to happen, but I wish they'd trusted me more, been more proactive the one time I spoke up, because I never did again.

I would talk to your daughter, ask her what she wants. But I would convey your absolute faith in her that she could do the higher level work and that you are willing to advocate for her if she thought she would enjoy the gifted program. I think it is so important for her to know that she has a right to honestly speak up for her needs, and that even if it doesn't work out this time, you will continue to listen to her, find other options, and advocate for her until she can do it for herself.

If it's what your daughter wants, my vote is definitely push.
Posted by: polarbear

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/08/12 09:12 PM

Would it be possible to appeal the decision to not let her into the GT program and have her tested with a different test by the school district? Our district also uses the CogAT to screen for our gifted program, and our ds only scored around the 80th percentile on the CogAT which is completely out of line with his WISC-IV and WJ-III Cognitive Abilities scores. When we got his CogAT results I was stunned (because I already knew his IQ from the other testing), so I googled around and most of what I've found points to the CogAT not being a reliable test of ability for kids who are HG and above. Plus any one test is only one data point on one day at one point in time - a lot of things might have impacted your dd's score, so I wouldn't take that one test score to mean much of anything since it seems to not fall in line with what you see in your dd.

If the school isn't willing to listen to an appeal, then I'd consider private testing if you think your dd is bored in school. OTOH, before you pay for testing you might also want to look into what the school's gifted program really is - sometimes it's not worth paying for the testing to try to get in, other times the programs are wonderful.

In the meantime, definitely get in there and advocate for challenges in reading for your dd, and for anything else you feel she needs a challenge in - you don't have to wait for a gifted program invitation to advocate for "more" for her in her regular classroom.

I would also dig more into the reasons she feels she doesn't want to share her ideas in class. It could be a highly gifted child talking... but it could be a child who has other reasons for thinking her ideas are radically different and not wanting to share. Regardless of her level of giftedness, I'd want to dig deeper and really understand what is up there, and why she doesn't participate more in class discussions.

Re the gifted teacher - she probably doesn't want to talk to you (I'm just guessing here!), and it's not a reflection on you or your dd. There really are a *lot* of parents who think their children are gifted - I can't believe how many parents I talked to in early elementary who were convinced their children were gifted. There's no way all those kids can statistically be gifted smile But that *doesn't* mean that your child *isn't* gifted! So stand strong when advocating for your dd. If you want to have a meaningful conversation with the gifted coordinator, I think what you need is data - data that you understand and that supports your intuition. (Some of that data may already exist - if you don't have a copy of her gifted screening request it - the things like teacher recs etc).

Best wishes,

Posted by: happyreader

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/09/12 01:50 PM

Thanks for your replies. DD came home from school today, sat on my lap and said. "Mom, can you please have another conference with my teacher and get him to give me harder books? I can't stand it! The books are so easy and we stop every two seconds to review vocabulary. I wish you could homeschool me and I could learn interesting stuff." She actually asked me if there was some way she could be in GT and we have NEVER spoken about the fact that she is not in it.

Wow. We've had a few conversations about school-- mostly as I'm fishing to find out what they are really doing in class. But that's the first time she has ever articulated her frustration that way.

I guess it's time for another conference! I also contacted the diagnostic center at Johns Hopkins CTY to see about testing.

Hopefully we'll get some answers and know where to go from there. If you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
Posted by: hinotes

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/09/12 05:59 PM

happyreader -

I am new here (today) but also have a DD8, she complained about the same thing. First it was math, "Mom, I know I'm in the wrong class... can you change it?" My poor daughter, I laughed when she said that b/c I knew they wouldn't just change it because I asked.
I encouraged DD to talk to the guidance counselor herself. She was soooo miserable and DID walk herself down to guidance and said her peace. While on the outside, she looked happy and fine on the inside she was sooo unhappy in school. She began getting stomach aches, first daily, then hourly and she would escape to the nurses any time she was not feeling challenged.

They did change her math class - they tested her when I mentioned we were considering homeschooling as I could no longer take the stress that she was dealing with on a daily basis - it was sooo sad. Once math changed, she shared with me that language arts, social studies and basically everything else ("Mom, we read these books three times in a week and they are books I read a long time ago."). The repetition was painful for her.

The school definitely took things more seriously when she came in herself and shared her issues with them. Ultimately, our local PS didn't have a solution that worked for DD. We are back to homeschooling and she is as happy as can be - finally. Although, it took a solid month to get my happy daughter back. If you are able to homeschool, it is a wonderful option but I know it isn't available to everyone.

I know I don't really have suggestions but I just want you to know you aren't alone and I feel for you and your daughter. Blessings to you all!
Posted by: happyreader

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/10/12 05:16 AM


Your DD sounds exactly like mine! She goes to the nurse all the time and it never occurred to me that it could be related. They had her in regular math all of last year. Her teacher kept recommending her for advanced but the advanced teacher wouldn't allow it because "she will never catch up." This year we finally got the school to move her to advanced (after a month of being bored stiff and having her grades drop in regular) and she caught up immediately. All we had to do was demonstrate each concept once and she got it. Now it's better, but we're still not sure she's in the right place.

I just learned this week that the "advanced" books they are doing in her reading group are all books that she read on her own last year. When she told her teacher, the response was "Just don't give away the answers to the other kids." In the meantime, she is getting in trouble for daydreaming through the book discussions.

Homeschooling is very appealing, but my husband is not on that page. He is a public school teacher and is very much on the page of working within the system to try to make it better for DD. I agree that we should try that first, but I'm not convinced it will really help.

Thanks for the suggestion of having DD speak up for herself. We had actually practiced some scenarios with her last night so that she could do exactly that.

I really appreciate the support! I hope all is well with you DD, too.

-Happy Reader
Posted by: Dude

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/10/12 06:21 AM

I think it's worth poking the school to get their explanation of exactly why your child wasn't selected for GT. I don't know of any school system that only accepts children with a 99th percentile CoGAT (or similar), unless there are some other weaknesses. When schools have these programs, they tend to cast a wide net.

Also, be quick to point out this:
Her teacher says she does not participate in class. When I ask her about it, she says her ideas are so different from the other kids that she is afraid to share them.

Because that says GIFTED.
Posted by: hinotes

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/10/12 06:59 AM

I would definitely want to know why she didn't qualify for GT. Although, DD was "pre-tested" by the Guidance Counselor in 2nd Grade. She didn't get a high enough score to automatically get the full evaluation. I could have pushed it but decided to give it another year. We had homeschooled her until 1/2 way though 2nd grade.

The ironic part is that I had asked if they would allow her to start school early as she knew the K stuff way early and they had said no. I actually think it may have given her a fighting chance to last a little longer in school but maybe not.

Hubby wasn't thrilled about going back to homeschooling but when the pull out program definitely wasn't going to be enough and they said there really isn't anything else we can give her... he jumped on board. He was tired of seeing her so darn miserable and unhappy which was completely stressing me out.

Homeschooling her, I always thought she was being difficult b/c she wouldn't re-read stuff but I now know in 99.9% of the cases, she's got the concept and everything after one quick explanation. I don't understand why in heaven's name they would make a child who can read at an 8th grade level read early 3rd grade stuff and expect them to be happy about it.

The BEST quote I heard when we were in the midst of this was something like, "Just as you wouldn't throw a non-swimmer into a pool and expect them to keep up with the olympic athlete, it is just as cruel to keep the olympic swimmer in the shallow end until all of the other swimmers are at their level."
I'm sure I'm off a word or two but it really helped me see things differently.

I will warn you, that my DD got so much worse once she opened up to me. She is very black and white and when everyone understood that she wanted more challenging stuff and could handle it but said NO... she became even more unhappy. We had a few good days after when she talked to the counselor and they would change a few things. It would buy us a day or two of good days but then right back to the stomach issues and anxiety.

Dude is right - her ideas being different does say GIFTED.

Blessings and best of luck. Take deep breaths in those tough moments. Don't burn bridges but you definitely fight for what your daughter needs.
Posted by: Percy

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/10/12 09:24 AM

I guess I would wonder too what the gifted program provides? Is it something worth fighting for? In our prior school, it was cluster classroom (7 GT identifed with other variety of levels in the classroom - about 25 total in the class) with 4 enrichment after school prgrams a year. Oh, and 20% of the kids were IDed as gifted, so that would not be something I would have been willing to fight for had I needed to. This year, he goes to a HG school. We had to get outside testing to apply because it is in a neighboring district, but they do test all of the district 2nd graders using the WASI and if he would not have qualified with that, I might have worked harder to determine why. Anyway, the point is just to say is this GT program worth fighting for?

You may still want additional IQ/Achievement testing if you are unsure where you DD is as it can be used to request something different for her. I agree with OPs that if she is saying she is bored and that her ideas are different, she probably needs something different that what is happening in her regular classroom and if you can get it from the GT program, you should try.
Posted by: Agent99

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/10/12 09:50 AM

Keep pushing, Happy Reader. Regardless of whether your daughter is in the 99th percentile or the 90th, she still deserves a fair and appropriate education. Ds took the Cogat in 3rd grade. I don't remember his score but it was not considered TAG.

The teacher was surprised because his work clearly showed he was gifted. But ds could never seem the hit the mark on tests including an IQ test given by the district psych.

Long story short, we had him tested privately using the Stanford Binet and the WIAT. Turns out ds- who is 2e due to a speech issue - has "abnormal" brain processing. It's not bad or good, but it is different.

And according to the private psych there is a fairly new area of study called neuro something or other (can't remember exactly) that researches kids like ds. The upshot is that he falls into the 5% that cannot accurately be quantified by an IQ test. He is profoundly gifted in one area and highly gifted in the others.

So my point, is don't give up. You know your child better than anyone.

Posted by: DeeDee

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/10/12 10:07 AM

Agent99, what are the characteristics of people for whom normal IQ tests don't work?

Posted by: Agent99

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/10/12 10:31 AM

The psych never mentioned the characteristics but said IQ tests cannot accurately capture IQ for 5% of the population. He mentioned that this particular field of study began about 10 years ago. He estimated that ds's IQ is anywhere from 10 -20 points higher than the test score. I always knew he was gifted but it was nice to have it validated by his academic testing. And it's been invaluable this year at bad middle school to motivate them into differentiating.

I will say that my son's original IQ test seemed out of sorts with my daughter's. Her test seemed to follow a natural progression. His was all over the page. I'm no expert and the district psych NEVER spoke to me about ds' TAG test. He just didn't make the top 2% cut off.

But then a friend took her daughter to a private psych - he looked at daughter's TAG test and said, wow, she's got something going on here. Turns out she is extremely ADD. The district psych failed to notice this. Friend's experience prompted me to seek out the specialist - who took one look at my son's TAG test and said, something is going on, let's find out what it is. It was just a gut instinct on my part, but it didn't look "right" to me. How's that for scientific evidence?

According to our specialist this isn't something to be concerned about. It's just how his brain works. After going over the testing I began to notice a lot of similarities between my dad and ds and even myself. So maybe I have abnormal processing too. LOL

Sorry I can't be more helpful.
Posted by: DeeDee

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/10/12 10:55 AM

Agent99, are you willing to PM me the name of the psych? That's interesting and I'd like to follow up.

Posted by: Agent99

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/10/12 11:19 AM

Sent it DeeDee.
Posted by: happyreader

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/10/12 12:12 PM

Thanks for all the replies! We are waiting to hear back from Ed. Psych. and are looking into testing. Is there any way to get insurance to cover it if there are no behavior problems? I don't suspect a learning challenge either.

If I have to pay, does anyone have an estimate? I've heard $2000 which is a scary thought.
Posted by: Stephi1307

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/22/12 04:50 AM

If you test at cty they told us a minimum of $1000 just for an iq test
Posted by: happyreader

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/22/12 06:34 PM

Yes. They quoted me $1500 for the testing and for a meeting afterward to explain the results and make recommendations. There must be somewhere else I can get her tested but aside from picking a name out of the phone book, I have no idea where to go. Anyone have suggestions for Maryland?
Posted by: 2giftgirls

Re: Do I push or leave it alone? - 02/22/12 06:53 PM

you can check on Hoagie's for an evaluator in your area. The price depends on what tests and you for sure want that follow up AND you want to get the whole thing, including the evaluator's assessment in writing. We had 2 tests and it was, well, more than $1500, I'll tell you. You might want to find out if anyone is going to listen to the results first, or you could look at it as a tool to help understand your child.