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#1 of 9 Old 01-28-2008, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there--I'm new to this forum and thread and thought I'd introduce myself and children and maybe also get some opinions and advice. I'm a working, attachment parenting newly single mom of two boys--older DS at ten years and little DS at 5 years.

I'm meeting with my big son's school tomorrow and am trying to bolster myself a little bit in preparation with some information and support.

Big DS has been in a multi-graded, arts based magnet school (k-8) since first grade. He's in 4th grade now. So....here's the thing. DS has had difficulty writing since first grade and I finally got him a private eval to identify any learning disabilities. He does--his WISC IV scores show a 50+ point discrepancy between verbal skills and processing skills. I am also in the middle of an OT evaluation for him which is pointing to delays in fine motor and visual-motor skills.

However, the other thing that came out of the testing is that this kid seems to be in the highly gifted category or above. Based on some of my ad-hoc research, this might explain some of his quirkier behaviors!

Here's what I'm struggling with: I want to go into his school SET meeting tomorrow to discuss accomodations for the learning disability but also with something of an idea of what would work best for this kid in the big picture--not necessarily to discuss with the school, but to have in my own mind. I'm feeling really nervous about meeting his needs for advanced learning while responding to his learning disabilities. He tends to get underestimated a lot--he's kind of goofy and his writing really looks like a five year old's--but he has those high WISC IV results and scores quite high on individual achievement tests--past 12.9th grade for math and past 11th grade for reading.

I'm just feeling kind of clueless about what a good longish term vision might be for him--I don't want to proscribe the future, but just want to have an idea of what might work best. Here's some of the ideas I've been kicking around:

Do we stay with the k-8 school (he's already in the 6th grade math group but the school doesn't want to place him any higher...and he's not really bored, but mostly hangs out with his friends...he does his assignments very quickly then kind of wanders....oh, and he often does the same assignment about three times before it's due because he loses it...).

Or do we migrate to the district's gifted program...they have already said he'd be on his own in math...they teach just a grade or two ahead. I'm worried that they really emphasize writing and volume of work...not sure this would be a good fit for ds.

Or would it be ok to stay at his current school with some OT and accomodations for the LD plus me paying for some advanced tutoring in math and science (maybe some high level math/science camps in the summer?)

Argghhh...obviously I'm leaning towards staying with the same school...is the saying about gifted kids really needing to be with other gifted kids really true?

Anyone out there have a similar 2E kid who has been through it (or at least some of it) before? Thanks for reading this long post! Bea
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#2 of 9 Old 01-28-2008, 09:37 PM
 
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My DS is only 23 mo so I haven't been there as a parent, but I was classified as both gifted and LD when I was young. It can be very difficult for schools to accomidate students who are both.

I actually managed to get a failing grade in one of my favorite subjects simply b/c of how it was set up. Even though I had gottent the only perfect test score on the only test given during the marking period, and had recieved an A+ on my model of a cell, I failedb/c the teacher graded home work as well. I just was not up to copying down home work questions before answering them.

In deciding which setting is best for your DS Look at something that isn't too rigid. Large amounts of busy work (what is often neccesary amounts of study and practice for an average child can be busy work for agifted one) is often pure torture for a LD student. I would say flexibility is one of the most important things for a LD child, especially a very gifted LD child. It is important that the school doesn't insist that he is capable of understanding a given topic simply b/c he has trouble writing out a paper on it.

This is a very scattered post, but DS just woke from his nap, so I can't try to make it clearer.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
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#3 of 9 Old 01-28-2008, 11:46 PM
 
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Check www.hoagiesgifted.org, there was a recent court ruling that basically said that schools have to give equal access to gifted resources to those with learning disabilities as well. You might want that info for the future if not now. I would look for the situation that is also going to reinforce his areas of strength. They need to allow him access to gifted classes and advanced math with accommodations for his processing/writing issues. Also look up the forum GT-specials. It is all for twice exceptional kids and you'll find tons of parents with experience dealing with schools on these issues. Make sure you get any offers of accommodations and possible gifted placement or math advancement in writing. A nice follow up letter or email confirming what was said in the meeting will suffice if you get the info and their signature (or email address) on the same document. It is easy for things to slip through the cracks even if the administration is trying to help.

Good luck!
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#4 of 9 Old 01-30-2008, 01:58 AM
 
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I was a gifted child who was never challenged at school. So I was totally unprepared for college. My daughter goes to top ranked (nationally) high school. They can accomodate bumping kids up as hi as they need to go. Which is great. Except for the fact that she is very driven, so she has no life! I wish there was a middle road. Maybe challenged in the classroom, but without the five hours of homework a night!
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#5 of 9 Old 01-30-2008, 03:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the feedback--I too was a never-challenged kid in school until I got to college (and realized I had never learned to learn...it wasn't pretty).

The SET meeting went pretty well...I think. They actually suggested an IEP, which I hear is kind of hard to get for a kid who is already in the above average range. Had to talk them down from all sorts of dictation assistive technology (as in..."he's already half way through a keyboard program...wouldn't he be better served by by allowing him to type instead of installing a bunch of dictation devices?"). They want to do a bit more testing on writing skills and do a OT consult with the district OT (we just had him privately evaluated by an OT). All in all, an ok--even supportive--experience.

BUT, despite lots of talk about how bright this kid was (one of the highest WISC IV verbal scores the school psych had ever seen, so they said), they're not sure he would qualify for gifted services, which uses an OLSAT score or a full scale IQ score (which brings ds down under the cut off line, due to his 27th percentile score on processing.)

Ooops--just re-read 'mom-to-pony-girl's statement...I'll have to look into that.

I have mixed feelings about the gifted thing anyway, but I sure am tired of him doing fractions at school when he's starting algebra two at home. It's just that the school keeps saying 'sure...he's a TAG kid...sure, he'll qualify..." then he DOESN'T (on the OLSAT or the state achievement tests...he's always just under the wire by a percent point or two) and the school keeps giving him sixth grade math (he scored 'exceptional' in their sixth grade math assessment for him LAST SPRING...so even by their own measurement he needs to move on)...so, I suppose that now that we're moving forward on the IEP I'm just finding one more thing to complain about. Sorry for whining!
Labea
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#6 of 9 Old 01-30-2008, 02:29 PM
 
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Hello!

I can relate as I am just beginning to figure out options for our 3e kid.

BTW, they will likely use any IEP supports during testing for gifted programs.

One option is to continue in a regular age level classroom and do enrichment. A friend guided me to the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth at http://cty.jhu.edu/ They have on-line courses and some unique programs. They apparently do have an active presence in Washington state (I don't know about Idaho or Oregon).

You might also want to move into a more science/math/technology school rather than arts-based program.

Keep updating and good luck.
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#7 of 9 Old 01-31-2008, 01:06 PM
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If it's just his fine motor skills that are causing him trouble, but he's academically ready for the work, would getting him something like a lap top computer help?

I have a 40 point difference between my verbal skills and my practical skills, and I always had a lot of trouble with maths. Most of which could have been eliminated in other subjects (mainly the sciences) by letting me use a calculator, which I wasn't allowed to do because 'you have to practise your maths and learn to do it without one'.

I don't know how keen they are on neat handwriting for all assignments in the US, but in the UK now if you have dyslexia or a diagnosed learning disability that can be aided by allowing a child to use a specific piece of equipment (like a laptop or a tape recorder to tape classes for replay later), the school legally has to allow the child access to it.

Would something like that help him to achieve his more appropriate grade status? You can always work on improving his handwriting, but if it is never going to be the standard of his age peers, let alone his academic peers, it would make more sense to let him use a computer and be academically challenged, than to hold him back until his hand writing 'catches up'.
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#8 of 9 Old 02-01-2008, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Skysunsee--unfortunately we live in a relatively rural area and the arts magnet school is the most flexible option here (they've allowed me to 1/2 home school, etc.)....there's no science/tech school available.

A colleague told me about the John Hopkins program...I'm going to look into it. Another thing I stumbled on to is the Davidson School summer program affiliated with Univ. of Nevada, Reno (close to grandparents, for us) but doesn't start until age 12.

What I'm thinking about now is reverting back to the 1/2 homeschool plan and doing my own enrichment/TAG program...

Thanks for the info on the IEP supports for testing...I'll follow up on that.

B
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#9 of 9 Old 02-01-2008, 03:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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CYL--yes, I think I'm really going to push use of a laptop with ds's school. He's learning to keyboard effectively and I think as long as the IEP has the laptop as part of his accomodations (that's our legal set-up for learning disabilities in the U.S.) they should be alright with it.

Interesting about your problems with math and not being able to use a calculator...so much of 'school' seems unrelated to the kinds of problem solving and critical thinking we do as adults. As an adult you'd be told "of course you can use whatever tool you need to solve this problem"...as children we're told that the process is so much more important than the solution...even though we leave that process behind once we get to high school!

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