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Need 2E advice on school and IEPs.....

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My DD is 4.5 and is in the special day program for preschoolers (basically a special needs preschool). She has suspected APD (social conversational delay mainly), SPD and maybe ADHD. Oh and a motor planning delay/issue. All of that is pretty clear and the district knows what to do with that.

The problem is that I suspect, and indeed her special ed teacher has said several times, that she is probably ALSO gifted/very bright. There's been no formal testing so we just suspect it at this point. (I was a gifted student so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility. I was traditionally gifted - my brother was more non-traditionally gifted like my DD although his SN were not as severe.) She has been advanced in some areas quite a bit, but is terribly behind in others. She is really all over the place with skills (at least from a standardized viewpoint -but it all makes sense when you know her!)

So the problem I'm coming up against is that I think she is definitely "compensating" for some of her weaknesses and the way they do these standardized tests, she's technically testing out of the special needs. If it weren't for her special ed teacher INSISTING that despite what the score say, she really needs support next year (she's entering K), I think the guy from our school district would disqualify her from the IEP.

Does anyone know about how to handle these issues with IEP folks in the district? Should they be aware of how giftedness might interact with her other weaknesses/delays to mask some of them? I'm in California if that helps....

I guess my big fear is just that some paper pusher will look at her on paper and say she doesn't need help, and then she gets into the classroom and her teacher will be like "um, I can't do anything with her". Ack!

Anyone have experience with this or have some good resources for me in case I need to start educating people? Help!
peace,
robyn
post #2 of 14
Am I understanding right that the school district has already tested your dd, and she isn't qualifying because of high test results? What have they tested her for?

I am assuming that the special needs teacher would be part of any/all IEP meetings regarding your daughter - and it sounds like she is advocating for additional services regardless of the test results. What does this teacher recommend that you do? What type of "support" is she thinking is necessary?

Outside private testing might be your best option here if you feel that a "paper pusher" is just going to look at the scores of her previous testing. Is this a possibility for you?
post #3 of 14
I don't know CA but my nephew in PA tests really well on standardized tests and they were delighted to have him in the special ed class b/c he boosted the average (which made the teacher, the program, and the district look good. )

Before deciding on wha type of class structure would best suit you DD I think comprehensive testing would be in order. The current dx sounds kind of vague and like it doesn't quite fit. The ADHD unless properly dx could actually just be that she is bored b/c she is ahead of the rest of the class (giftedness can be mistaken for ADD and ADHD.) You can't know for sure unless you get a completely evaluation.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Sorry if I'm not clear...didn't want to get into the technical details but I can go look up all the test scales they used on her this time around if there are folks here who are familiar....

Basically, she is young (4.5) so many of the diagnoses are not "official" until much later (it's just "suspected" apd, "at risk for ADHD", etc simply because there are not ways to accurately measure these things for very young children). She is on the edge of PDD-NOS but doesn't really fit into that even. With regards to ADHD specifically, the psychologist said "if you couldn't understand what people around you were saying, you would get bored quickly too!" LOL Basically the APD could explain ALL of her issues. In a nutshell, one of the characteristics of APD is that sounds that are close to one another are difficult for these kids to distinguish (also described as dyslexia of the ear). So they could tell the difference between a W and a K sound, for instance, but a B and a P would sound identical to them. Now that DD is talking more, I hear these "mistakes" in her words all the time. It's just alot more than what is developmentally appropriate. Basically, she gets about 60% of what is being said around her and has to fill-in based on her past experience (like learning a foreign language or listening to a radio with lots of dropout). My brother had the same thing in a milder form that didn't affect early language as much.

With regards to the testing, on paper she definitely tests "out" of the IEP based on special needs. BUT part of the process is to go with what the early intervention folks (the county) are recommending and they are insisting that she needs to continue to get language support, social skills support and pragmatics support despite what the test scores are. The district seems ready to go with the county's assessment for now - but come next february, when the IEP comes around again and she again scores high enough to pass on some scales they might drop her, because that point she will be totally in their district. In fact the guy from the district kept saying "well with these scores" and basically he just got overpowered by the other professionals in the room.

The problem with these tests are something like this. Does she understand the concept of counting? Well yes, since she was two she could accurately count and recognize numbers. But if you ask her "how old are you?" she will look at you blankly. It's a social language thing.

Maybe my situation is just too weird. Any other suggestions from folks?
peace,
robyn
post #5 of 14
I have EXACTLY your situation to a T (except we HAVE a PDD-NOS dx and the district is clear that ds can read WELL above his age) but I have no answers for you.

In fact, his auditory processing scores were 84, 84, 84 and 37. The 37 was apparently low-end of normal, but the SLP was smart enough to note that since there was no ceiling obtained for his verbal skills--making them much higher than reported--the low processing scores were debilitating (it's called a "relative disability"... I know because I have one with reading comprehension).

So what to do...? Great question. Like your district, mine has no problem giving him spec ed but refuses to consider advanced things on the premise of "we have bigger fish to fry"... kwim? But it came into a huge dispute because the only appropriate program they have for my son is in the afternoon and he can't attend a pm class. I asked why he couldn't attend the K class--which would be appropriate and when he turned 3yo (Jan '07) he had already tested with K readiness. They said "He's not 5". Period. I said "Do you mean to tell me that at 5yo he'll enter K and immediately be skipped to 1st, 2nd or 3rd, but for the next 18 months he won't have the opportunity to advance any further?". They looked at each other embarrassed and said "Yup."



So when you find the answer, let me know...
post #6 of 14
Add me to the mix here. I don't know much as we are just starting the process ourselves for the public school system, but if she has this documented disability that prevents her from actively participating in the class - regardless of test scores, she should qualify for an IEP. In my area, special edication services are provided when a disability prevents access to general education. That's pretty broad. I'd say participating in class and understanding your teacher certainly qualifies. Good luck! Also, apparently some disabilties to not begin to impact academic achievement until later years (such as non-verbal LD) especially if your child can compensate. If the current assessment is not providing enough data for them to reach an consensus within the district (i.e., the teacher and the sp. ed. administrators), push for more testing.

Best of luck to you.
post #7 of 14
I would recommend that you look at the "adverse effect" language in the educational laws around IEP development. It would (I believe) allow your DD to qualify for sp.ed. services without actually qualifying numerically. Classroom observations/teacher interviews would probably be necessary to document the difficulties she has. Good luck!
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
So I was told (verbally) DD would have to score in the bottom 25% of kids for whatever category (language, etc) in order to receive services. But you all are suggesting that there are provisions beyond that that do not depend on the scores? Where would I find this language? IEPs are state mandated, right? So should it be in a state law somewhere?

I've also gotten a referral to a group called Matrix which deals with these legal things - so maybe they can help me....

thanks for the info - off to research the laws here...

does anyone have any research/links on how giftedness interacts with special needs?
tia

peace,
robyn
post #9 of 14
Here is a link to the seattle public schools that has federal law info. Hope you find what you need in here...there is a lot of info.

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/speced/504info.htm

as for 2E info, there is some at www.hoagiesgifted.com
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
thanks for the resources - they look great

btw what is thrice-exceptional??? just curious
peace,
robyn
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by hippymomma69 View Post
Sorry if I'm not clear...didn't want to get into the technical details but I can go look up all the test scales they used on her this time around if there are folks here who are familiar....

Basically, she is young (4.5) so many of the diagnoses are not "official" until much later (it's just "suspected" apd, "at risk for ADHD", etc simply because there are not ways to accurately measure these things for very young children). She is on the edge of PDD-NOS but doesn't really fit into that even. With regards to ADHD specifically, the psychologist said "if you couldn't understand what people around you were saying, you would get bored quickly too!" LOL Basically the APD could explain ALL of her issues. In a nutshell, one of the characteristics of APD is that sounds that are close to one another are difficult for these kids to distinguish (also described as dyslexia of the ear). So they could tell the difference between a W and a K sound, for instance, but a B and a P would sound identical to them. Now that DD is talking more, I hear these "mistakes" in her words all the time. It's just alot more than what is developmentally appropriate. Basically, she gets about 60% of what is being said around her and has to fill-in based on her past experience (like learning a foreign language or listening to a radio with lots of dropout). My brother had the same thing in a milder form that didn't affect early language as much.

With regards to the testing, on paper she definitely tests "out" of the IEP based on special needs. BUT part of the process is to go with what the early intervention folks (the county) are recommending and they are insisting that she needs to continue to get language support, social skills support and pragmatics support despite what the test scores are. The district seems ready to go with the county's assessment for now - but come next february, when the IEP comes around again and she again scores high enough to pass on some scales they might drop her, because that point she will be totally in their district. In fact the guy from the district kept saying "well with these scores" and basically he just got overpowered by the other professionals in the room.

The problem with these tests are something like this. Does she understand the concept of counting? Well yes, since she was two she could accurately count and recognize numbers. But if you ask her "how old are you?" she will look at you blankly. It's a social language thing.

Maybe my situation is just too weird. Any other suggestions from folks?
peace,
robyn
Very interesting. In some ways my oldest is similar. She was diagnosed with severe phonological delay... couldn't make the sounds, and I had to translate everything she said until 4 1/2. She is still in speech. She has HIGH OE's, and I've investigated everything from APD, asperger's, ADHD and SPD, visual-spatial and not the best socially. Her gross motor skills/fine motor skills were not the best. At 5 1/2 just started pedaling a bike, and her poor oral motor affects her speech as well.

I don't have any advice. I did want to mention, though, along the lines of eepster... do like at the dual-diagnosis and misdiagnosis of gifted. Not saying the diagnosis is wrong, or that continued treatment isn't the best option. But for example, with my daughter... I can easily see how she could look like ADHD and not be at all... especially with something affecting speech or if she has some mild APD... add in any physical OE's, which have been obvious since she was born (things such as can not shut off the mind...) and add in the giftedness factor...

I had a swim instructor really stress the issues she had with attention. I could tell she was highly hinting at ADHD as to the source of my daughter's swim issues, despite my saying she is highly scared of water on her face. (the swim instructor had a fair amount of experience with special needs kids). What she failed to recognize, though, is the affect sound has on dd, especially in that situation, and that when she wasn't paying the most attention was when she was the most scared, nor did she recognize that dd will 'look' like she isn't paying attention, but is.

I'm actually concerned that a teacher may think she is ADHD when she is not.

Anyway. good luck with the continued IEP. I've lucked out, and despite my daughter's sounds for her age being appropriate, the SLP recognizes that her rate of speech and how she drops sounds in it, make her very difficult to understand, still.

(oh, and check out visual-spatial if you haven't...
http://www.giftedservices.com.au/Sta...alSpatial.html

often gifted have a bit of that v-s element to them... and this page talks about the affect (or a link on this page) that the combo of gifted, poor auditory sequential processing, and high visual spatial has on a child.

I found a fair amount on this site that really pegs my oldest.
)


Tammy
post #12 of 14
IEP's are Federally hmmm, run? ruled? I don't know how to say it.

From Emotions to Advocacy and the new Wrightslaw IEP rule book are GREAT BOOKS. Also there is a parent training on www.wrightslaw.com that is very comprehensive (I haven't had time to do it, but I have it for this summer).

I think it was Wrightslaw or Hoagies gifted that has an article about twice exceptional kids are allowed to be in the gifted classes and have accomidations. I am very happy about this. Now I need some valid testing done on my 7 yo so he can get placed properly!

Also, sometimes there are parent groups statewide or district wide that come together to help each other with these issues. PAVE is our district group, there is a state group that i can't remember right now, also. It really helps to look them up. They can help you know what your district and state are doing and how to fight for what you need, etc.
post #13 of 14
they should know about giftedness and disability and their interactions.

however, there are definitely school districts that are pushing for evidence of "educational impact" not just "impact." So, I am not surprised you are facing a battle with the school division.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the links and info...

I guess I'm wondering...right now my DD isn't classified on her IEP as gifted - is 4.5 too early to test? And how do they test a child with APD and get an accurate result? I just feel like since the gifted part hasn't been identified (and not even really looked for officially) this dude is looking at her scores saying "well she's not that bad" because she is compensating so much or the tests are not accurate for 2E kids....her score are SO scattershot - really high in areas where complex language isn't need (puzzles, logic, numbers, etc) but really low in language dependent areas.

Do I formally ask for an evaluation on giftedness this early? Will it be accurate even though her language is so affected by the APD?

So confusing.

tia
peace,
robyn
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