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    #144797 12/19/12 07:23 AM
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    Hi everyone! I've been lurking here for a few months, but this is my first post. First, a brief background. My son E is 7yo and in 2nd grade at public school; we live in California. E has never been tested or formerly identified as gifted, but my husband is gifted and our school principal thinks he is. E is certainly a bright kid, and he has many of the non-intellectual characteristics I've read about (very intense, big emotions, sensitive to things like seams in his socks, sometimes loud noises, for example). He reads at a 4th/5th grade level, and his math is about 3rd/4th grade.

    E didn't have a great year in 1st grade; he didn't get along with his teacher, but he mostly stayed out of trouble. This year he started off great (with a different teacher), but as the months go on the situation has deteriorated. He gets sent to the principal's office frequently (multiple times a week), has become defiant in class, refuses to do much of his work (both in class and in the office), and is a huge disruption.

    We have yet to find a method of discipline that works for longer than a few days. Being sent to the office is no longer a deterrent, and being suspended for a day had no effect. The principal has outright said that E doesn't fit in, and have we considered other alternatives. Unfortunately, private school isn't an option, and I really don't want to homeschool (leaving that as a last resort).

    I believe E is incredibly bored and gets in trouble as an amusing alternative to sitting and listening or doing stuff he has no interest in. He has a strong desire to invent a teleporter, and has told me multiple times that nothing they're teaching him at school can help him. He says he doesn't know why he does the stuff he does, and feels he has no control over that aspect of his life.

    E now has a 504 plan, even though he has no identified disability other than "disruptive." His plan allows him to miss nearly half of the school day so I can teach him at home. The hope was that if he didn't have to put up with a bulk of the lessons he most hates (language arts is the big one), he'd be able to pull it together for the rest of the day. So far we've had mixed results, but he's still being sent to the office frequently.

    I had another meeting with the principal yesterday, who again reiterated that E does not seem to want to be at school, and what did I think I should do about this. The unspoken message is that they don't want him there. I asked that he be given a comprehensive evaluation by the school, to try to figure out why he's not fitting in. She responded that since E was doing well academically (all S and S+ grades), he didn't meet the criteria for a school evaluation. My argument is that I can't take him out of school, and that I want to exhaust every possibility the school can give us. She agreed to talk to the school psychologist and give me the papers to start the process.

    I have a formal meeting on Friday, and I need some ideas to present. I only have a vague idea of what our options and rights are at the school, and I'm concerned that I won't make a good case for E.

    Thank you for reading my very long post. The past couple of months have been hell, and I know that I am trying to fit a kid into a system that is not equipped or willing to handle him. Any insights at all would be most appreciated!

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    If you can afford to have him tested do it!
    This statement may very well turn into my battle cry because I truly, truly, no doubt in my heart or mind, believe it was the absolute best thing we ever spent money on for our DD. You can see my other posts for more of an explanation on what we've been through so I won't go into all that, but I know where you are coming from - gather your armor and prepare yourself for battle!

    Also - look up California's Department of Education website and educate yourself on the laws and parent's rights.

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    If you haven't found it already, I would look at Wrightslaw: www.wrightslaw.org Their publications and online info are extremely helpful when you are learning how to advocate for your child at school. I agree with 1frugalmom that the best investment I ever made for my 2e children was private testing - so if there's anyway you can afford it or go through insurance to get it, I'd highly recommend it. We started by asking our pediatrician what he thought we should do, and that's how we found the neuropsychologist we used. Our insurance also covered the cost of most of the testing since it was through a medical referral.

    The second most worthwhile thing we did was to seek the advice of a local advocate. You can find advocate services at no charge in many areas - we found our advocate through the yellow pages link at wrightslaw - the link is accessible from the homepage, and contains contact information for service groups in every state.

    Next piece of advice, put your request for the school evaluation in writing (email is ok); send it to his teacher, cc the principal and cc anyone else at the school that you know might be involved in the process (in our district that would be the special ed staff member, gifted services if there is a person in that position, vice principal, teacher). I'm not in CA so I can't offer you specific advice, but fwiw I was able to advocate successfully to get an IEP for my EG ds - half the battle is simply sticking with it and not being intimidated by what you are told by the school. You need to know what your rights are, and you need to understand as much as you can what is going on with your child (and that's where private testing was far more helpful for us than school testing).

    I hope that makes sense - I wrote it in a bit of a rush. Please feel free to ask more questions!

    polarbear

    ps - the very first thing I would do, today, is to look for a local advocate's group on wrightslaw, and if you find one, call them up right now and ask them everything you've asked us here.

    Last edited by polarbear; 12/19/12 01:56 PM.
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    highly skeptical of school personal and mental health until current new cycle is over.


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    Welcome - and sorry that it is difficulties that brought you here,

    A few questions: why is he being sent to the principal's office? Is he yelling, throwing things, being aggressive with his classmates? Is he doing his own thing while the rest of the class is paying attention? Is he saying or doing things that he sees as appropriate responses but which the teacher sees as a challenge to authority or disrespectful? Knowing exactly what he is doing may help us throw out ideas that you might try.

    Testing - we had to test privately because the deficits we were seeing in the classroom were not far enough delayed to qualify for testing in the school. If you do go outside the system, make sure you use a professional whose report will be accepted by your school - they don't always accept all outside testing results. Also, if it is to test for developmental issues, your insurance might cover it, they want cover it for academic reasons, but whether for academic or developmental purposes, the testing overlaps quite a bit and gets the results you need.


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    Originally Posted by JenG
    I asked that he be given a comprehensive evaluation by the school, to try to figure out why he's not fitting in. She responded that since E was doing well academically (all S and S+ grades), he didn't meet the criteria for a school evaluation. My argument is that I can't take him out of school, and that I want to exhaust every possibility the school can give us. She agreed to talk to the school psychologist and give me the papers to start the process.
    Thank you for reading my very long post. The past couple of months have been hell, and I know that I am trying to fit a kid into a system that is not equipped or willing to handle him. Any insights at all would be most appreciated!

    THis is so odd (and annoying!) that they said this... My son is doing well academically (as well as behaviorally) and I suspect dyslexia so they are testing him (even though he is actually ahead of the grade in reading)... I guess my school is just a super accomodating school. I did expect them to give me a hard time and they did not at all! Also, it seems to me that any time a student is having such severe behavioral issues the school is willing test/evaluate even though the child is doing well academically. For example, my child was doing very well acadamically last year in kindie but was acting out pretty severely. The school came to me and wanted to evaluate him. I declined last year and took him for a private eval b/c I felt strongly the behavior (mostly high anxiety behaviors) was due to issues such as learning disorder or somehting like that and I didn't trust the school (that school psych in particular) to truly get at the issue. So just strikes me as odd that they are resisting evaluating him in light of his clear behavioral struggles.

    Last edited by marytheres; 12/20/12 06:36 AM.
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    Wow, thank you for so many replies!

    E is being disruptive in class by making noise (talking to others, talking to himself, loud yawning,etc), wandering around the classroom (sometimes walking, sometimes crawling), flicking pieces of paper, turning his worksheets into paper airplanes or drawing on them, waving his pencil around, telling the teacher he won't do the work she's asking...that's all I can remember right now. I do know he has a problem respecting personal space, but he's never hurt them on purpose.

    I had suggested to the principal that if E were allowed to read a book at the first sign of trouble, that perhaps that would help (he is a voracious reader, and can sit for hours at home with a book). Apparently they tried this yesterday, and apparently he was still a huge disruption (loud talking to himself). frown

    I didn't request the evaluation in writing, but apparently my oral request has done something because we have a meeting with the teacher and principal to start a Student Study Team, which is the first step in the process.

    I'd love to say that E is much better at home, but it's not always all that great. With the 504 plan we are supposed to do school work at home (with my promise that if he finishes it we can do cool stuff, like playing with the geoboard, or electronics). This worked initially, and he charged through work that he would have balked at in the classroom. This week has been another story, though, and he's gotten almost no schoolwork or homework done. What's worse, he is belligerent towards me, which just makes me so upset.

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    Good news, I think! Our principal has agreed to have a comprehensive evaluation done for E. We have paperwork to fill out, and a meeting with her and the teacher when school gets back in session.

    I know that this isn't going to solve all of our problems, but at least we'll have an idea of where we stand.

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    I would revisit the homeschool option. Why don't you want to do it?
    I don't if you're just recreating a school experience at home right now, but many people homeschool gifted kids in a different way than that. A happy gifted kid likes to explore interests and learns a whole lot that way.

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    JenG, I'd pursue a neuropsych evaluation outside of the school's evaluation, in parallel. They will find what they'll find, but they are not equipped to diagnose or treat-- they are looking only for educational implications of the behavior. Doing an outside evaluation helps to make sure that you get the full picture, and allows you to make sure the school is doing the right things for your child.

    DeeDee

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