Soooo sorry this ended up so long, but I've been keeping all this in for a long time and have no one I can talk to about this without feeling like I'm just bragging. I've been looking on a couple different gifted forums for a while now trying to get all the information and ideas I could. I wanted to find out what worked for some families and what didn't. You have all been very helpful!!! We have been advocating for our dd8 since she began having "symptoms" of ADD/ADHD in 1st grade. Her teacher even mentioned she thought maybe she had ODD or conduct disorder - seriously!?!. Our dd8 was in trouble the very first day of 1st grade and just continued to get into trouble throughout the year. She told us all the time she "hated" school. She was a totally different child from how she was in Pre-school and Kindergarten which were fine. After many meetings with the school and after they sent around the ADD/ADHD scales for all her teachers to fill out we spent our own money to get a psychoeducational test done. We really just wanted to rule out ADD/ADHD or any other disorder. Our test was scheduled at the end of the school year so we knew whatever we found out would have to wait until school started back up again. The test results didn't really surprise us - we knew she was a very smart little bugger but we didn't realize just how smart she is until they explained the results to us. Oh and lo and behold she isn't ADD/ADHD or anything like that she was probably just bored in class. Fast forward to 2nd grade - we were able to get a SIT (School Improvement Team) plan that said she needed more challenging work and something to do in her down time when she is done with her work to keep her occupied. This was a start but we still felt more should be done. Her 2nd grade teacher was much more understanding and willing to accommodate and dd8 wasn't in trouble all the time. The school then began allowing dd8 to meet with the gifted teacher on a trial basis while the teacher evaluated her for the gifted program. This decision was based on what the school saw in dd8 and some academic tests. We were very excited about this and felt things had righted themselves and we were on the right path. However, dd8 didn't have much to say about it and felt the pull out was "boring". At the beginning of this school year (3rd grade) we were told dd8 didn't qualify for gifted because of some test the students took at the end of the last school year that showed she was only in the 90th percentile on something. Background info on this subject is that in Kindergarten and 1st grade she was in the 95th-98th percentile in both math and reading on these same tests that they take in both the Fall and the Spring. We were also told dd8 didn't always want to go with the gifted teacher and didn't seem interested in what they were doing in the pull out (duh - it wasn't interesting to her). This is something I've learned about my gifted child - she has a lot of interests, but most things she only stays interested in for a short time then she moves on. What she enjoys doing one week she may not want to do next week, but she has a couple things she has always been interested in. We had kept our private test results to ourselves thinking we would see if the school would work things out without them. When we were told she wouldn't get the pull out any longer and no further accommodations would be made other than giving her extra work to keep her busy and moving her away from other students when needed I requested a meeting to discuss our test results. The school counselor had told me dd8 wouldn't qualify for a GIEP because she would have to be gifted across the board in everything and with a high percentile. Our testing showed she was gifted and has a huge memory in the 99.8 percentile. So the school psychologist was contacted and I sent them our testing. The school allowed dd8 to continue working with a new gifted teacher while that teacher continued to evaluate her for services. We were informed they wouldn't need to do any additional testing and would be able to use our testing. Considering how much we paid for the testing that was good and we felt maybe we had gotten our money's worth out of it. I looked at a lot of places to take dd8 for testing and had chosen the psychology department of one of the top colleges in our state. The cost was more than some other places but we decided their reputation was more important. Dd8 has enjoyed the new gifted teacher and is excited about what they are doing together. She has matured quite a bit and is doing well in school and not getting into trouble. Just today, I finally got the call that school is ready to meet next week and will be recommending a gifted IEP. To all the others out there having to advocate for their child this is what I can tell you - 1. first and foremost - have your child tested. If the school does the testing and you don't agree with the results, then get your own testing done 2. don't give up - it more than likely will take more time than you want it to 3. be firm in what you want but reasonable 4. read everything you can on gifted children including your state educational laws - educate yourself!!! 5. when speaking with the school don't demand things, but ask what the options are and how your child can be accommodated 6. when you go into school meetings have some ideas in mind and make suggestions - you know what your child enjoys and what will drive them crazy if they are forced to do (like repeated addition/substraction timed tests over and over) 7. explain that you just want your child to be challenged and learn something new every day 8. offer to do what you can like making sure your child has a higher level book they are interested in to read during down times or some fun puzzle, brain-teaser workbooks to do - offer to be a roomparent 9. see if the school has a computer program they can use in a subject your child needs to be challenged in - if a teacher is less than accommodating they can easily allow your child to get on the computer without too much effort 10. talk to your child - you would be surprised the things they are just putting up with and how they feel about having to do things over and over that they already know 11. see if your child can go to a higher grade class for certain subjects or find out if your school allows grade skips if appropriate
I'm sure we still have more battles to fight in this war for our child, but just getting the GIEP was a win for us in round 1. Hopefully our battle will be easier for dd6 who mastered all the 1st grade benchmarks (and probably more, but they didn't test her any higher) in kindergarten now that dd8 has paved the way - what an awesome big sister she is and doesn't even know it! Good luck to everyone and I'll try to keep you posted!