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#1 of 17 Old 05-26-2011, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, this is my first post in this forum...Heard you ladies are a wealth of info and support...I'll get right down to it.

 

DD is 7 and just finishing 1st grade (in CT).  She has been behind in reading and writing since the end of Kinder last year. 

 

After doing much research after her first conference mid fall, we discovered that like my DH, she is showing all the classic signs of dyslexia.  ( I know this is a controversial term and it might be a combo of LDs, but according to every check list we've seen, she meets all the benchmarks for what they call dyslexia).

 

In December, they started her in a special reading class with a literacy specialist. We stupidly assumed that if they felt the need, they would have called a PPT.  They never did and we remained aware of her reading difficulties, but assured that she was making progress.  Stupid, silly us!  They hit us at the end of April with the fact that she will be expected to attend summer school or risk retention.  We called a PPT..  We were told at the PPT, that not only was she being required to attend summer school they were also going to retain her.  After the shock wore off, we called another meeting of the 'team' to inform them that this was not acceptable.  Retention will destroy this child emotionally.  They seem to not care a wit.  From what we can tell by state statute, if she were confirmed as LD or ESL, retention would not be an option, she would be promoted with services in place.  They plan to "continue their evaluation as she repeats first grade to find out if she is eligible for services. Our question was "well, WTF have you been doing for the past 6 months?"  We mentioned the possibility of dyslexia and the school psyc literally came out of his seat saying - "that's a medical term and we don't deal with that"

 

so....here we stand, We have decided to not sign the retention form (which requires yet another meeting - why I have no idea) and and agree to summer school by signing the for "with prejudice and under protest"  adding that we reserve the right to withdraw our consent when testing results are in.  We have an appointment to have her tested independently starting on June 9th.  My understanding from what we were told at the meeting is that if she were certified with an LD, retention would not happen.  (we still might consent to summer school - it might actually not be a horrible thing for her to keep up with the skills she has acquired).

 

So...we have been in contact with an advocate, (was told to go to this meeting and call her again if it didn't go well) we are having her tested....

 

 

What else should we be doing?


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#2 of 17 Old 05-26-2011, 11:43 PM
 
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I don't have any advice, but wanted to offer support hug2.gif .... I don't know anything about working the school system, but I am sure you'll get some great advice here. 


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#3 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 06:38 AM
 
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Mom of a child with dyslexia here.  First off, hugs and support.  Secondly, big breath because your dd is very young, and if she does indeed have an LD, and more specifically, dyslexia, there are many successful ways to help.  I think that you absolutely did the right thing by refusing to consent to retention.  Most of the the studies point to long term negative impact, although in certain situations it can be helpful.  Deciding to retain should be a thoughtful, deliberative process tking into account social, emotional and academic factors....it doesn't sound like the school has engaged in this process with you at all. Shame on them.

 

Have you put your request for school testing in writing?  That's essential.  They can't just continue to eval without a very specific time frame. Once your request is in writing there is a set amount of time to respond, a set amount of time to test, then meet, then develop a plan.  Your description of their plan to eval, while simultaneously retaining your dd seems completely inappropriate.

 

The school may have, in the past 6 mos., been doing something like RTI (response to intervention), and documenting whether your dd makes progress with their intervention.  That is an important part of the eval process, and often necessary before a child can be considered for special ed services.

 

I think outside testing is a really good thing, but I don't know how your district is in terms of taking outside dx and recommendations.  Dyslexia is not a dx schools use-just to be aware of that.  It's usually more along the lines of specific learning disability.  Most LD testing, IME, happens around second grade because 1st is early, even id there are signs.  Just pointing this out because there is such a wide variation in how kids learn and mature-like I said, 7 is very young, and lots of professionals won't test that early just because the spectrum of development of skills can be so broad.

 

I'd investigate the summer school piece very carefully.  Would the work specifically focus on literacy? What program would be used?  Who will do it?  If it's someone who has worked, or will continue to work with your dd, that could be helpful.  I would look very specifically at what her 'deficits" are, ask what the priority is in remediating them, and ask how this will be done.  What goals, specifically, would be identified for summer school.  programs that use something along the lines of Orton Gillingham (?spelling) are what I'm familiar with.

 

Sorry for the book and many typos-I'm writing quickly!  Good luck.  This is a tough time, and it can be concerning and overwhelming.  My dd is doing so well, but I well remember the concern and confusion of the early years 

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#4 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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Hi!   Big hugs!  I have two dyslexic boys but I live in Canada so I don't have as much advice about the school navigation.  I think the private testing sounds like a good idea.  Since dyslexia is often part of an LD involving phonetic processing, I wanted to mention that an SLP can be involved in the testing process as much as the psycologist.  We younger son worked primarily with an SLP coordinating the services and had and easier time getting the right therapies than the older son who started out with a developmental psychologist.  The testers will also want to weed out if the reading problems stem from visual patterning difficulties (which are more common for nonverbal learning disabilities) or phonetic processing problems (which occur in verbal disabilities) and they'll try to see if attentional skills are affecting the reading.  There are some really good Spell Read programs and other reading programs North America wide which may be more helpful than summer school, but I don't know if there is any option for you to try an alternative.  I also suggest getting your physician on board.  The school will see you as pro-active, and if you have a pediatrician backing you up about the negative impact of the retention on your child's emotional health it might have some clout with the school.


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#5 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your support and advice!  I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

 

Karne - I don't really care what they diagnose her with - i just need to make her eligable for services.  They can call it whatever makes them happy and allows them to check off whatever little box they need to check off.  I just can't seem to get them to do it.  We made the request during the PPT meetings and they have agreed, but they won't do anything until they have evaluated her next year in 1st grade again and checked those little boxes that lead to testing.  This should have been done already according to the federal guidelines...but alas, no.  This is why we are getting an advocate and possibly lawyers involved.  We might be able to sue them for reimbursement for the private testing we're having done since they didn't move to level 3 eval within the federal timeline.

 

They have been doing the RTI since November - this is why we feel they are way outside of the guidelines...it was also us that called the PPT, they should have done it in January according to what we can figure from the legaleze of the legislation.

 

According to the BOE, the type of testing we are having done and who it's being done by are within the approved guidelines.

 

As I said, I'm not sure summer school isn't a good idea.  The program she would be attending is completely literacy based.  My reservation is, that if they are not teaching her in a way that she's capable of processing, it will be a complete wate of time and just cause her further frustration with no meaningful results. As studies have shown (and you pointed out) it may help her catch up through rote memorization only for her to fall right back behind again.  I'll look into the programs you mentioned and interrogate them about it at our next meeting.

 

FarmerBeth  - I think you may be right, there is more at work here.  I believe the testing we're having done will cover all of that.  Thanks for the heads up, I will double check


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#6 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 09:58 AM
 
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I am so sorry.  You're really getting the runaround.  RTI since November, and still waiting to test next year?  In your shoes I would be looking for a lawyer as well.  It doesn't sound like there is any PLAN for her education on the school's part beyond retention.  If they don't test until the fall you are still looking at at least the first month, maybe two, without a spec ed plan and services in place.  That is a disservice to your daughter.

 

I agree w/FarmerBeth---the issues may be mulit-factorial, and only solid testing will reveal that and give enough information for educating your daughter in the manner that she learns best.  

 

ETA:  Is retention off the table without your consent?

 

 

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#7 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Retention is completely at the school's discretion - we supposedly have no choice.  Hence the lawyers


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#8 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 10:31 AM
 
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The school board is involved and aware?  Has someone from the board office attended meetings and have heard your POV?


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#9 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

The school board is involved and aware?  Has someone from the board office attended meetings and have heard your POV?



Not yet... DH has 3 calls in to the person at the BOE in charge of special ed and so far no call back.  I think he plans on heading in there and sitting on her office until she talks to him on Tuesday

 


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#10 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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Not yet... DH has 3 calls in to the person at the BOE in charge of special ed and so far no call back.  I think he plans on heading in there and sitting on her office until she talks to him on Tuesday

 



What's the timespan from your first phone call to special ed?  I'd keep going up if they're not responding.  I would do this before paying for consultants and lawyers.  It's free, and it preserves the chance to frame yourselves as reasonable and collaborative.  It could be that once the board folks know, things will change.

 

Is there another local school your child could attend?

 


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#11 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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HIs first call was last Friday....I think he's going to need to just bulky his way into her face and make her talk to him.  Hopefully something will come of that.

 

Unfortunately, even though we have several schools in the area (our town has 7 elementary schools) you are not allowed to go out of district unless your child's educational need can be met elsewhere  - as per the school!  Yet another catch 22


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#12 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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 You might be interested in this link it talks about how there is no reason to retain a child with special needs. I would not let the school retain my child, i would fight them trying to retain.

 

http://www.wrightslaw.com/heath/teach.retain.htm

 

 

 


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#13 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SoCaliMommy View Post

 You might be interested in this link it talks about how there is no reason to retain a child with special needs. I would not let the school retain my child, i would fight them trying to retain.

 

http://www.wrightslaw.com/heath/teach.retain.htm

 

 

 

And therein lies the catch!  They are refusing to call her special needs because they are refusing to test her until next year when she repeats first grade...so as far as they're concerned, she's just behind and will catch up by repeating unless and until testing next year proves otherwise and then they won't be able to keep her back except they already have.......are you on the merry-go-round with me?
 

 


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#14 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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I hope that there is something useful here for you:

 

Retention and Social Promotion Topics Page - Wrightslaw

 

Special Education in CT - Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center

 


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#15 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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At this point you may want to put in a call to the school superintendent. I'd be looking to go above the head of spec. ed. if they are not being responsive to your concerns.  On your way there you might grab your school board rep if you have one, and bring them into the mix.  Retention is a big deal, and my understanding is that it is in fact fraught with potential negative impact.  It is not reasonable to retain, and have your dd be in essentially the same circumstances, with the same ed plan, and no understanding of her specific needs.  

 

Was there discussion in your meetings about why retention vs. promotion with supports and testing?  It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  I can't figure out if this is an end run around testing and dx because the team truly believes that your dd would be one of the kids who does benefit from retention?  It seems like they went from summer school and possible retention straight to summer school, and retention regardless of summer school participation--also confusing because it assumes little gain for your dd via summer school.

 

What do you think is going on?

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#16 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's exactly it...we have no idea what the run around is all about.  They KNOW there is a problem.  In the meeting, I was watching her classroom teacher (who we adore) biting her tongue while the principle was expounding on the virtues of retention and summer school.  E-mails from her teacher don't sound like she's writing them anymore...not her style and towing the company line.

 

Here is an expert from the most recent one:

 

"Thanks for your response/concerns regarding summer school.  Any student who does not obtain a DRA 2 score of a level 12 by the end of first grade is required by the state to attend summer school.  As we discussed in the PPT, Raven has had difficulty mastering first grade objectives.  By going to summer school, it will only help her continue to grow and reinforce the things she's learned all year. Our summer school provides a balanced literacy morning, with interactive read-alouds, word study, written response to text, pracitce with fluency, a focus on comprehension, and vocabulary work as well.
 
We believe this morning program will give Raven more practice with her reading needs and also, a boost of confidence in what she can and will learn."
 
This is the same teacher that when I told her in person out in the playground afters school that we were having independent testing done, said "Thank God" and got teary eyed.  The principle is tying her hands and we have absolutely no idea why.
 
We have talked to several parents in our district and the general concensus is that they ended up needing lawyers to get their child the services they need.

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#17 of 17 Old 05-27-2011, 07:55 PM
 
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 Sorry your having such a hard time with her school. I would go to the school district and ask to speak to someone in student services, that might help with dealing with the school.

 

I was kinda arming myself, just in case the school tried to suggest it, according to the school she made enough progress to be promoted to 3rd grade. We moved 3months into 2nd grade to a new district. I just found out at the end of the year the school is going into it's 3yr year as being listed as a Program Improvement School jaw.gif the school still has " A school of distinguished excellence" plastered on the front of the school that they evidently need to take down since they aren't that anymore and haven't been for a while. I filled out the forms to have my daughter and son who is entering kindergarten transferred to a different school for when school starts again in August.


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