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#1 of 58 Old 03-07-2012, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dd, 9 yo, is Gifted with learning differences.  Her grades are reasonable, not as good as they probably should be - mostly Bs, a few As, the odd C.  Her work habits are, by the public school's estimation, in need of improvement.  She works very hard, but gets lost & confused and doesn't know what to do.  We are finding that we are often re-teaching her at home. She goes to a tutor, she has an IEP and gets as much support as we can get her in class.  I advocate for her as much as I can. 

 

The problems here are that her grades do not reflect her knowledge, her anxiety has been sky high (crying about going to school, shutting down and refusing to do homework, incredibly grumpy when she gets home etc.) , and she is not getting her work done.  Her reading is lagging behind and she is getting pressured by other students to skip ahead and copy answers.  The way she is talking about herself is that she's slow, that she can't do it etc. School work has always been tough for her, but she's always been persistent until this year.  It feels like shes giving up. 

 

I have an opportunity to get her into an LD focused school that would be able to address her LD needs and develop her strengths.  I couldn't keep her there for more than a couple years, but maybe that would be enough time to get her work habits on track.  I'm not sure why I'm hesitating, entirely.  Some of me wonders if this is just stuff that all kids have to deal with. I've heard a lot of people saying that school is stressing their kids out and they're under performing.  There are lots of LD kids in the public system that arehaving a much harder time academically.  She's got a great social network there, and I think that generally the staff there is great.  But they seem to be unable to provide the amount of teaching and quiet that my kid seems to need to be happy and learning.  Part of me feels like I'm throwing her under the bus by sending her to an LD specific school, like I'm admitting that she's defective or something. 

 

Does it sound reasonable to go ahead with the private school, despite the cost, or do you think this is just one of those things kids struggle with? 

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#2 of 58 Old 03-09-2012, 06:57 AM
 
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If this is the same kid you describe in today's post (stomachaches and headaches), then yes, I think you should consider something different!

Is an LD specific school the only answer, or are there other private schools in your area?

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#3 of 58 Old 03-09-2012, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It is the same kid, she's been getting phantom stomach aches and stuff for most of the year now.  I told her today that I'm worried, she should be excited and happy to go to school and I'm concerned that she's not.  She said she is happy and excited to go to school, but when she's there her teacher takes the excitement away.  :(  I know she's not the only one struggling in that class, one of her friends (who is also very bright) has had her grades drop a full letter grade almost across the board.  The teacher seems nice, but I think she's in way over her head - she's got a 3/4 split and 6 kids on IEPs.  From what I've seen she's having a hard time keeping her own self sorted never mind teaching the kids how to get through. 

 

That said, there hasn't been a year of school yet where dd hasn't had some kind of anxiety and trouble at school, it's just a matter of degree.

 

My options are go to private school, see if I can get her into the gifted program, or tough it out.  I've researched the private schools fairly thoroughly, and the not LD specific ones are not going to be a good fit - they are too academic & output driven, which will be a bad mix.  The one that is more child focused will not take her because they feel she is too far behind their curriculum.  It only occurred to me that she might qualify for gifted the other day, so I haven't looked into that.  Tough it out seems like a bad plan, it's already disruptive for the whole family and would get worse if there was no hope for change. 

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#4 of 58 Old 03-09-2012, 07:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jen Muise View Post

It only occurred to me that she might qualify for gifted the other day, so I haven't looked into that.  Tough it out seems like a bad plan, it's already disruptive for the whole family and would get worse if there was no hope for change. 



I have a 2e child as well but it sounds like mine isn't finding school to be as bad of a fit as yours (at least right now).  I don't like the do nothing approach.  The idea of getting her into the gifted program gives me pause as well b/c we've been down this route too.  Do you know what the GT program looks like at her school?  If she's behind academically, I doubt that it is going to be a good fit for her.

 

What we've found, unfortunately, is that GT programs really are geared toward kids who produce quickly, are detail oriented, and who achieve highly (i.e. - high achievers moreso than 2e kids).  We do have our dd in GT programming b/c she is still performing above grade level -- just not on par with where she could be given her IQ scores if there weren't something standing in the way.  What we've had to do is work diligently with dd on ways to overcome her issues such as severe lack of attn to detail, focus, and divergent reading of instructions so she can show at least some of what she can do.

 

Do you know specifically what type of LD you are dealing with?  Is the tutor working with her on strategies to deal with her LD so she can perform better in school?  Would the LD specific school be better able to help her learn those strategies than would the tutor?

 

I guess that I'd be inclined to look a little closer at the LD school to see if it might be a fit to get her back on her feet in terms of compensating for her challenges.  Do they have any other 2e kids?  Would she be eligible to be in GT programming when she re-entered the public school system if a few years at the LD school helped her achievement come up significantly?  Would the LD school be able to offer advanced work to go along with the support for her weaknesses?

 

 

 

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#5 of 58 Old 03-09-2012, 08:12 PM
 
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Are you sure she isn't truly struggling?  I found that I overestimated what my dd could do by quite a bit, especially in math, because she could do the work at home with my explanations and support.  I was giving too much support though and she wasn't able to fully understand the concepts she was learning.  I was very resistant to getting her any help and her school was very lax about pushing for testing but I finally did bring her in to an independent testing center and found out she was seriously behind in math and had some gaps to work on in reading as well (though she could easily read but not always comprehend high level material). 

 

We all want to think our kid is gifted, and really all kids do excel in something.  I really regret letting myself get so stuck on the idea of her being gifted though because I interpreted her struggle to understand and do her work as boredom when it was really frustration because she seriously didn't understand the material. 

 

I don't know that I would go to the extreme of putting her in a school with primarily children with learning disabilities because the pace might be slower to meet their needs rather than faster.  I think you really need to see the classroom she would be in first hand and ask about how differentiation is done.  A lot of times when kids are separated out based on abilities the children who are struggling just get further and further behind their peers.  There will also be labeling that will happen and that may be more damaging to her self-image and cause her to resist more.  I think you really need to get more information about what is going on with her than talk with her about options before going ahead with a decision.

 

If you can afford it tutoring may be a good option for her.  This is the one I chose for my dd and I am very happy with the decision because the center she goes to has been able to help her make fast and long term progress while also building up her confidence so she feels happier with education and with her abilities. 

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#6 of 58 Old 03-09-2012, 08:27 PM
 
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Just a quick note because I read more about this situation on another forum: the OP's dd has had independent IQ testing done and does meet the diagnostic criteria for giftedness. That's not to say she isn't struggling ... gifted kids can really struggle with some things, whether due to anxiety, uneven giftedness, a lack of developmental readiness, an unusual learning style, or dual exceptionalities. But struggling or not, on paper Jen's dd does show clear evidence of intellectual giftedness.

 

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#7 of 58 Old 03-10-2012, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I might be biased for sure, but she has been identified in a psych-ed report as gifted.  To hear her talk, you would think she is very bright, and most people (teachers included) are very surprised that she has any issues with output and reading.  When you get past the overwhelm and ask the right questions, she clearly does understand the material - just not always what she's being asked to do, or how to do it. The LD school I have in mind for her is able to handle her giftedness, the school takes a teach the child not the curiculum approach & so works to advance where the kids are at whether they are ahead or behind of where they 'should' be.   I am far more concerned about her learning to advocate for herself and know how to organize herself and her thoughts than I am about her learning facts - she seems to pick those up easily.  Writing a report about what she knows tho, is hell.

 

It's interesting to hear your experience with Gifted, Christa, that was my gut feeling too.  They say they have supports for 2e kids in class, but my experience with gifted when I was a kid was that they expected self starters who quickly grasped concepts and could easily produce a few pages of writing on just about anything.  I'm concerned she would be lost.  We have tried the tutoring route already, and it seems to keep her afloat but isn't enough to really teach her the skills she needs; maybe if I had her tutored for a few hours more on weekends or something, but she gets so stressed about school and I don't want her whole life to be about school. 

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#8 of 58 Old 03-10-2012, 06:59 AM
 
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Thanks for the further info.  My dd is highly gifted (99.9th percentile composite IQ) and has an ADD and anxiety disorder dx.  I've also wondered about something else going on like dyslexia b/c she has weird reading issues such as very high comprehension but very slow reading speed.  When she was younger she also could read hard words like "conciliatory" while pretty consistently substituting words like "from" in place of "for" b/c the letters were similar.  Her phenome awareness was very high on tests like DIBELS, though, and some of the issues are better with age (she's 11 and in 6th grade now).  Her spelling still isn't stellar and she spells the same word multiple ways on a page at times, but it isn't horrible.  Point being, I know some of what my dd has going on and am still guessing in some ways.  She is also so able that she compensates very well & can still keep up with acceleration but it isn't a cake walk the way it might be without whatever else she has going on.

 

My oldest, on the other hand, is also HG and doesn't have any major 2e issues.  For her, while the GT classes haven't been perfect, they work.  Last year was the first year my youngest joined the subject accelerated math class and it was a struggle.  She was very inconsistent.  She read directions in a way the test designer didn't intend, completely overlooked a page on a test (went right from page 1 to page 3 not noticing that there was a page in btwn and, thus, leaving it totally blank), etc.  She did, however, pass the district tests to continue to subject accelerate in math in middle school this year and it has been less of a challenge this year b/c the work is, again, getting on the easier end for her.  What we've generally found is that she can keep up and get good grades if we place her below her ability.  Sometimes even the GT or subject accelerated classes fit that bill.  She could do more if she didn't have a LD, but she does so she's taking classes that aren't as hard as she otherwise might.

 

It sounds like your dd might have a larger LD issues than my dd, though.  I don't know what GT looks like where you are, but the things that I'd say need to be in place to make it work for a 2e child are:

1) The teacher is #1.  My dd had a GT teacher for reading and math last year who also had a 2e child with ADHD so she understood the difference btwn consistent high achievement and giftedness.  A teacher who can make accommodations for a 2e child is great (extra time, oral testing, reteaching worksheets which explain things in a different way, whatever it is your dd needs.)  Unfortunately, in our case the things that my dd needs aren't that easy.  We tried extra time and it didn't seem to help.

2) Can you work with her at home enough to keep up with the pace in a GT class?  We spent a lot of time working with dd last year on study skills: highlighting the important points in her study notes to make them stand out visually, how to create a study guide for herself, underlining the steps in the test instructions so she didn't forget to do some of the pieces, how to ascertain what the question was asking b/c she is highly divergent and tends to read something into the question that wasn't intended.  She's doing much better with all of these things this year, although it still isn't perfect.

3) How big are the GT classes and how do they differ from the std classroom?  Is it just more of the same faster or do they do work that is better geared toward your child's needs (more abstraction, depth, etc.)?  The later, obviously, is better.

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#9 of 58 Old 03-11-2012, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DD reads with high comprehension, too, altho it is clear if you get her to read out loud she doesn't know all the words, she's just very good at using context to guess.  She'll often give synonyms if she can think of one that starts with the same first letter as the word she's stuck on.  I hear you about extra time and other accomodations not being enough - dd needs to be put back on track quite often, so giving her extra time and leaving her there doesn't do much - she just spends longer trying to figure out what to do next.    For her, the environment seems to be critical - when she's working with a tutor, where the expectations are predictable and the material is slowly building on what she knows, its quiet and has minimal distractions, she works much more quickly and you can see that she's doing better than it seems from her tests and work at school.  The environment at school is pretty bad right now, she's in a split class so there's always someone talking, the teacher is in over her head and not managing the class well, and it's harder than it should be for dd to figure out what she's supposed to do, when to ask a question etc. etc.  I was talking to one of her friends mom's last night, and she is having some of the same struggles even tho she is gifted & has no known LD.  I'm pretty pissed off that dd has been told by the teacher that she's not keeping up because of her "learning problem" (teacher's words) when other kids with no LD are having the same issues. 

 

My gut feel is that she needs some time with someone who really knows how to teach LD kids to get her on track with some good strategies and habits right now, but that at some point GT will probably be a good fit.  Here, the GT program has smaller class sizes, supports like you'd see in a regular class for LD, and typically has the better teachers (altho you get what you get, of course).  Even if a lot of the problems we're having this year are largely because of the class and teacher, tho, there's no way to know that it won't be the same next year and in the meanwhile dd is getting harder on herself, more anxious, and isn't learning how to get organized and advocate for herself.  The school that I'm looking at is very focused on solving those problems.

 

Thx for sharing & listening!  It really helps to hear other ppl's stories, and just to work out my thoughts outloud too :)

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#10 of 58 Old 03-11-2012, 09:16 AM
 
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I've been staying out of this because I don't have a lot of specific experience (and other posters do), however, this - "dd has been told by the teacher that she's not keeping up because of her "learning problem" (teacher's words)" - really catches my attention. That is wrong in so many ways! Have you spoken with the teacher? With administrators? Even if other kids weren't having the same problems, to say that to a kid is the ultimate cop-out. If that's what she believes, then it's up to her, as a trained educator, to find an alternate strategy.

Does make the school you describe seem a good choice. With a little time there, she could come back into the public school in MIddle School or Junior High--and if it were a different campus, the "stigma" would be minimized (nothing like a fresh start).

My older daughter is in an alternative program within the public schools. K-6 in three classrooms (K-1, 2-3, 4-6). There are two things that have to happen to make multi-age classes work (and I think the "pre-requisite" is perhaps to think of it as "multi-age" rather than "split"). The first is that the teacher needs to have done some work--study--to understand the different strategies involved, to embrace the positive aspects of multi-age education as well as understanding some of the pitfalls. The second is having classroom aides--so essential that when the budgets were being slashed last year, the three teachers in the program met with the district superintendent to make sure we would retain at least a minimum number of hours. For the rest, parents are required to volunteer 2 hours a week in the classroom for each child enrolled in the school. In practice, you wind up with 1-3 additional adults in the classroom at any given point in the day, doing anything from xeroxing (less time on admin = more time for class planning) to running a station in the morning rotation.


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#11 of 58 Old 03-11-2012, 09:24 AM
 
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Jen Muise says:

 

***

it is clear if you get her to read out loud she doesn't know all the words, she's just very good at using context to guess.  She'll often give synonyms if she can think of one that starts with the same first letter as the word she's stuck on.

***

 

This is a very bad sign.  Your daughter needs serious phonics, STAT!  Guessing words is not the same thing as reading, and when the reading gets more difficult she'll be in big trouble.  I have my daughter read out loud to me every day, and I don't let her misread a single word. If she doesn't know the word, she has to try sounding it out FIRST.  Kids need to understand that words are made of letters that are read in order from left to right.  Schools don't teach this -- you'll have to do it at home.

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#12 of 58 Old 03-11-2012, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I was not happy with that wording either - I've gone to great lengths to let dd know that she's smart, being different doesn't mean not as good as, that everyone has learning differences and challenges, etc.  It's disheartening to think that a teacher is changing all that positive self talk.  I've had so many other issues that seem like bigger more easily solved problems (that aren't getting solved)  that I haven't discussed that specific thing with her.  The teacher generally has a completely different view of what's going on in class than dd does so it's been hard to figure out what's what.  Having another kid corroborate what's going on helps because now I've got more than her word against the teacher.  Not that dd would be untruthful about what's going on, but she misinterprets people's intentions and actions sometimes.  I do plan on speaking to an administrator about this, regardless - it's not right to have concerns and not air them IMHO.  If nothing else, it might help other parents to know what's going on.  

 

It's interesting that you mention volunteering. I've offered to volunteer in class several times and take on a regular time slot, but got a lukewarm response because ' that's not really appropriate for gr4".  Weird.  If I was struggling with a split class and 6 kids on IEPs I'd take what I could get. 

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#13 of 58 Old 03-11-2012, 09:48 AM
 
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While it's true that the 4-6 class gets the most aide hours (meaning the fully trained help), parents are utilized fully, including, in some cases, lending their expertise in teaching (there are some science and engineering professors among the parents). But--and it's a big but--this is a school offering a lot more freedom to the teachers in terms of how things are taught. The curriculum is explicitly child-centered (with an emphasis on creative expression, independent thinking, and cooperative social skills).

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#14 of 58 Old 03-11-2012, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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FedUpMom - actually, our school does teach phonics, and dd has had tutoring specifically on reading for a few years now. She can tell you what all the individual sounds in the words are, but can't blend them together to make a word.  Her sight word reading is very good, but reading unfamiliar or nonsense words is very difficult for her.  Basic rules like reading left to right are well understood, but she says her eyes play tricks on her and the letters move around when she doesn't know a word.  She's so persistent, tho, she still likes to read and tries so hard to get it.  Unfortunately dd#2 is catching up fast, in spite of a 3 year gap between them and dd2 being in french immersion so not being taught english at all right now.  I'm afraid it's going to be an emotional hit when she loses her place as the better reader of the 2.

 

clara's mom - unfortunately the nearest alternative school is pretty far from us, altho it sounds like it would've been a good solution.  Rural living has it's disadvantages. 

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#15 of 58 Old 03-11-2012, 11:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jen Muise View Post

I've offered to volunteer in class several times and take on a regular time slot, but got a lukewarm response because ' that's not really appropriate for gr4".  Weird.  If I was struggling with a split class and 6 kids on IEPs I'd take what I could get. 



That's totally silly.  I volunteered weekly in dd13's 4th grade class.  I pulled her and a few  other kids out and worked with them on different math.  The teacher was happy for the assistance.

 

I'm wondering if you have something like Kumon near you.  I'm generally not a fan of programs like that b/c they are so drill based and feel a bit like hothousing to me.  However, after dealing with a 2e kid myself, I've had to rethink some things.  Dd13 went totally insane with drill of sight words, for instance, in 1st grade.  She didn't need it and the teaching style made her miserable to the point that we took her out and homeschooled for a while.

 

Even though most gifted kids don't need or want drill, 2e kids may need it.  I'm not totally familiar with their approach for kids of your dd's age, but I think that they do short workbook pages that review things over and over until the child gets it without help.  If she could do something like that which reviews phonics blends, I might give it a try.  Maybe you could get her workbooks yourself of that sort if a place like Kumon isn't around you.

 

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#16 of 58 Old 03-11-2012, 01:37 PM
 
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Jen Muise says:

 

***

it is clear if you get her to read out loud she doesn't know all the words, she's just very good at using context to guess.  She'll often give synonyms if she can think of one that starts with the same first letter as the word she's stuck on.

***

 

This is a very bad sign.  Your daughter needs serious phonics, STAT!  Guessing words is not the same thing as reading, and when the reading gets more difficult she'll be in big trouble.  I have my daughter read out loud to me every day, and I don't let her misread a single word. If she doesn't know the word, she has to try sounding it out FIRST.  Kids need to understand that words are made of letters that are read in order from left to right.  Schools don't teach this -- you'll have to do it at home.

 

Actually, experienced readers guess from context all the time. I'm an experienced reader with very high comprehension and I don't stop and sound out every word. I  can if I really have to, but I don't. I was reading a book chapter yesterday on anomia that used a term phonological paraSOMETHING (ok I looked it up, paraphasia). Honestly, I didn't need to stop and sound it out. If and when I need that word again (and I probably will because I'm going to need to lecture on anomia on Tuesday), I'll sound it out. It took me years to learn to pronounce acuate fasiculus without stumbling (and I still want to say articulate fasiculus!). It's just how I read. It's how my daughter reads too. We're both highly skilled readers for our age.

 

At some point in time it becomes counterproductive to stop your child on every single word. The reading research I know demonstrates that one of the most important things is for a child to enjoy reading. Yes, they need to decode, but if you focus so much on decoding that they lose meaning or they are dreading reading, it's time to stop.

 

What the OP describes is more than not being taught phonics -- her daughter has a hard time applying the phonics that she already knows. She's got some good compensatory strategies, but something is holding her back.



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FedUpMom - actually, our school does teach phonics, and dd has had tutoring specifically on reading for a few years now. She can tell you what all the individual sounds in the words are, but can't blend them together to make a word.  Her sight word reading is very good, but reading unfamiliar or nonsense words is very difficult for her.  Basic rules like reading left to right are well understood, but she says her eyes play tricks on her and the letters move around when she doesn't know a word.  She's so persistent, tho, she still likes to read and tries so hard to get it.  Unfortunately dd#2 is catching up fast, in spite of a 3 year gap between them and dd2 being in french immersion so not being taught english at all right now.  I'm afraid it's going to be an emotional hit when she loses her place as the better reader of the 2.


Have you had her seen by a developmental optometrist? Has she been tested for dyslexia? About 4th grade is a time when kids with dyslexia (but who have good compensatory strategies) often start to slip. They can't rely on good sight memory anymore. The "letters move around" could be issues with decoding that are associated with dyslexia or it could be an issue with eye tracking.  I know several people who had to do some sort of eye training with their kids and it made a huge difference in how they could read.

 

Back to your original question: What's keeping you from the LD school? It sounds like she needs more help than a regular classroom teacher can give her. I had a cousin who did something similar in about 2nd or 3rd grade. He spent a couple of years at school for kids with learning issues and gained both skills and confidence. I'm all for a specialized education, if you can swing it for a bit.

 


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#17 of 58 Old 03-11-2012, 03:25 PM
 
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First, I obviously don't know the OP's child, but not having achieved reading "fluency" by age 9 isn't necessarily indicative of a problem, although it is generally presented this way in mainstream education.  I strongly recommend Frank Smith's book Reading Without Nonsense which is a really, really, good presentation of how people learn to read, and how overemphasis on phonics can actually cause reading problems to develop.  As Lynn pointed out, and as Smith emphasizes, most of us don't sound out everything in our heads.  Phonics is usually most useful to children AFTER they've reached a certain level of fluency.  I will warn that Smith is skeptical of the dyslexia diagnosis.  May I suggest you search these forums on the subject of late readers, and read some of those threads?  I believe there are some stories you might find useful, not to mention encouraging.

 

P.S. My husband was a "late reader" and is now an attorney.  His IQ scores are also in the gifted range.  One of our children just turned seven and isn't a fluent reader yet, and while I haven't had her tested, I suspect she also has a high IQ. 

 

 

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#18 of 58 Old 03-11-2012, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have seen an optometrist, not a child specific one, but she did check both focusing ability and regular vision and found that she had no eye troubles.  She was tested for dyslexia a couple years ago, and found to be not dyslexic, but was borderline-normal  for dysphonesia and borderline for dyseidesia.  Those tests were done when she was still in french immersion tho (bad fit for an LD kid!)  so I suspect that some of the reason she may have scored low was because she had relatively little english exposure for her grade.  The descriptions of those 2 forms of dyslexia don't ring true to me, but other descriptions of dyslexia do ring true. She does have some hallmarks of dyslexia, reversals and such, so I'll be interested to see if a little maturity has changed that as we're in the process of getting another psych-ed report now.

 

The things that are holding me back from going with the LD school are that I'm concerned that she'll have a label or a stigma attached to her; I'm concerned that I'm trying to fix an anxiety + mediocre teacher problem with going to LD school;   I'm concerned that I haven't done enough to make it work at public school.  Private school is prohibitively expensive for us, and the only way we can do it is to let my mom and dad cover it.  I don't want to cost them that much if I can help it.  I think it's the middle one that's bugging me the most, I can't tell if her anxiety & poor fit with her teacher is making her dig in her heels and look less competent than she is, or if the anxiety is caused by not being able to find her way.  Probably some combination of the 2.  Good question! 

 

Luckie- I'll check that out!  Thx for the tip!

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#19 of 58 Old 03-12-2012, 07:29 AM
 
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Jen Muise

 

I am curious how you were able to get psych-ed testing done.  


My 2nd grader sounds very much like your daughter -- great comprehension but poor reading fluency -- and advanced in terms of subject matter (absorbing content via audio books that are probably a 4th - 8th grade level).

 

But I keep wondering if she has dyslexia because of her hesitancy to read, her poor spelling, her tripping up with the most basic words.

 

Is the testing something your school district did?

 

Thanks~


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#20 of 58 Old 03-12-2012, 08:12 AM
 
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While it's true that the 4-6 class gets the most aide hours (meaning the fully trained help), parents are utilized fully, including, in some cases, lending their expertise in teaching (there are some science and engineering professors among the parents). But--and it's a big but--this is a school offering a lot more freedom to the teachers in terms of how things are taught. The curriculum is explicitly child-centered (with an emphasis on creative expression, independent thinking, and cooperative social skills).


We have similar multi-age classrooms at our school (k-1, 2/3/4, 5/6/7, 8/9/10 etc.) yet without the aides and parent assistance. It still works very well. I very much agree with the comment about the importance of the freedom the teachers have in how and when and what things are taught. That's key. 

 

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#21 of 58 Old 03-12-2012, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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subhuti- We sprung for private testing rather than wait for the school board.  There were 2 main reasons for this; one, we wanted to make sure we agreed with the assessment before we made it part of her record, which would not be an option if we went with the board, and the biggest reason, two, that we didn't want to wait 1- 2 years for an assessment.  The difference in starting to deal with LD issues part way through grade 2 and partway through grade 4 is huge, and we thought it was imperative that we get on top of this right away.  A;tho I wouldn't say we got on top of it, at least we've had that time to try different techniques and get some tutoring on the side.  I'm sure we would be considerably worse for it if we had not; one of dd's bffs has very similar issues that became obvious at about the same time, but they opted to wait for the board to test.  They are still waiting, and without the paperwork to get extra help in class they can get no extra help, or even accomodations.  Our insurance did help quite a lot on this, the psychologist billed us (the parents) for the consult and report writing time and dd for the testing, so we were able to use the base coverage of 500$ x3.  If we had done it around christmas, we could have done half in one year and half in the other and had the testing & report almost completely covered. 

 

We just finished the second round of psych-ed testing today, also done privately, because there were certain things (dyslexia especially) that were in question because of dd's young age, and to a lesser degree because she had been educated in french as well as english to that point.  It was clear at the time that she was struggling, but not clear as to the root cause.  Usually, a second test is not required.  Today I had a little informal post-test chat with the psych and her feeling is that she will probably score more clearly dyslexic this time.  I guess we'll find out next thursday. 

 

I would strongly encourage you to get testing if you see the same patterns in your daughter.  If the only thing that having testing had done was give us the reassurance that we needed to stand up for our kid when teachers were suggesting that she was lazy, a dreamer, not trying, ADHD, intentionally forgetting stuff and lying to get out of doing work, it would be worth it.  We have also been able to work with her on her self esteem and her understanding of her LD, make changes in her workload and the way she does her work ( with a computer, with someone reading writing for her, more time, quiet space, etc.)  Having a test result changes the conversation.  Instead of spending a while meeting with a teacher arguing about whether she's improving or not, whether she's trying hard enough or not, whether we're doing enough or not, or whether she's intellectually capable of handling the material or not, we are usually able to quickly get past that and on to what can we do to help here.  I'd hate to be just starting this journey now, like we would be if we had waited for testing. 

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#22 of 58 Old 03-12-2012, 07:50 PM
 
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We have similar multi-age classrooms at our school (k-1, 2/3/4, 5/6/7, 8/9/10 etc.) yet without the aides and parent assistance. It still works very well. I very much agree with the comment about the importance of the freedom the teachers have in how and when and what things are taught. That's key. 

Miranda

One of the factors here may be that two of the three teachers are a little, um, organizationally challenged. Once when one of them spoke of the glory days of way more aide hours, eyesroll.gif it sort of sounded like she was using the aide to handle a ton of admin stuff. Last year, in dd1's K-1 class, the extra adults were really key (at least on Monday mornings, when I volunteer) in keeping kids focused--the group dynamic was pretty intense. I facilitator for every group of 5 or 6 kids worked well. This year, it's mellower, but breaking the class down into even smaller groups (it's 20 kids) makes it possible to really focus on each kid's strengths and weaknesses.

But the other factor is a philosophic stance that parent involvement in the classroom helps kids learn better. It's just a given. It's also really fun and a nice counterpoint to my other teaching--I teach at the university level.

FWIW, the primary reason we chose this program (and it's lottery based, so we feel lucky to have gotten in) is the freedom the teachers have. They still have to teach the standards, just can get there from different routes.

Mom of two girls.
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#23 of 58 Old 03-13-2012, 04:18 AM
 
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Dear Jen,

I would like to suggest that you start with what you know.  Your daughter is not happy.  School is part of this.  You want to do something to ameliorate her distress.  Lucky girl to have you caring so much.

Now you are looking to extend what you know.  What are your options?  What do others suggest?  and Mothering.com is a great place to turn.

My contribution is first to suggest that you visit a website for parents of gifted children that has downloadable fact sheets covering quite a few of the issues that you've raised:  http://www.nagcbritain.org.uk/parents.php?id=92

I do not know your home circumstances but I know that home education within a community of other home educators can sometimes be a healing option.

I work with girls as they grow up and want to stress how important to her will be your relationship, mother-to-daughter, in supporting her through this.  Knowing that you are hearing what she says and seeking to act upon it, is a valuable lesson to her in trusting herself and that awfulness does not have to be survived, that solutions may be found. 

How you respond to this situation will affect how she will approach difficulty herself later in life.  You are taking her seriously, and that is so valuable.

My very best wishes, and some guidance may be found here:  http://ritesforgirls.com/journeying-towards-womanhood/

Kim

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#24 of 58 Old 03-13-2012, 05:09 AM
 
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Hi. I am in the same boat as you. My son, who is 12, was assessed by the school last year as having executive processing disorder. He had been on an RTI program for 5th and 6th grade but was still experiencing the same problems at school. Stomachaches, headaches, lack of focus, disorganization, poor grades etc. I noticed these symptoms in 3rd grade but was told to not worry about it. Well it has all caught up to him now and he struggles even more. After the first marking period (he is in 7th grade now) where he barely passed, I decided to have him tested again but this time by a neuropsychologist who specializes in children. We are still waiting for the results but in the meantime i have spoken to a few parents who's children were diagnosed as dyslexic and had experienced the same issues you describe in your daughter. 1 in 5 children are dyslexic and this often goes undiagnosed. Kids can seem to be doing"okay" in school but have to work extra hard to get there. This is typical of a dyslexic child. I am not trying to diagnose your daughter but this is something to consider having done. Schools do not test for it. As for sending her to an LD specific school, I also am looking into it for my son. Very costly but IMO it is what he needs. Consider what your daughter needs too. Even if it is only a couple of years it will be well worth it. Getting the services your child needs in public school is a fight and by the time you get the services they are behind again. I don't feel you are putting a label on her. You are addressing her needs. Public school is a one size fits all learning habitat. What you can do is focus on her strengths and what she CAN do. We have found that our son excels in playing the electric bass. He has only been taking lessons for 6 months but loves it and excels at it. My advice to any parent out there is if you suspect some learning issues, go outside the system and have them tested by a person who specializes in that area.

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#25 of 58 Old 03-13-2012, 07:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by FedUpMom View Post

Jen Muise says:

 

***

it is clear if you get her to read out loud she doesn't know all the words, she's just very good at using context to guess.  She'll often give synonyms if she can think of one that starts with the same first letter as the word she's stuck on.

***

 

This is a very bad sign.  Your daughter needs serious phonics, STAT!  Guessing words is not the same thing as reading, and when the reading gets more difficult she'll be in big trouble.  I have my daughter read out loud to me every day, and I don't let her misread a single word. If she doesn't know the word, she has to try sounding it out FIRST.  Kids need to understand that words are made of letters that are read in order from left to right.  Schools don't teach this -- you'll have to do it at home.

 

 

Quote: Originally Posted by LynnS6

Actually, experienced readers guess from context all the time. I'm an experienced reader with very high comprehension and I don't stop and sound out every word. I  can if I really have to, but I don't. I was reading a book chapter yesterday on anomia that used a term phonological paraSOMETHING (ok I looked it up, paraphasia). Honestly, I didn't need to stop and sound it out. If and when I need that word again (and I probably will because I'm going to need to lecture on anomia on Tuesday), I'll sound it out. It took me years to learn to pronounce acuate fasiculus without stumbling (and I still want to say articulate fasiculus!). It's just how I read. It's how my daughter reads too. We're both highly skilled readers for our age.

 

At some point in time it becomes counterproductive to stop your child on every single word. The reading research I know demonstrates that one of the most important things is for a child to enjoy reading. Yes, they need to decode, but if you focus so much on decoding that they lose meaning or they are dreading reading, it's time to stop.

 

What the OP describes is more than not being taught phonics -- her daughter has a hard time applying the phonics that she already knows. She's got some good compensatory strategies, but something is holding her back.

 

 

To the OP, your child is indeed gifted, and it must be great to know as a parent that despite temporary difficulties (and they ARE temporary) she will be able to achieve much with her extraordinary talents. That said, I find that I agree with the advice already given to you concerning your situation, and I am sure that among these advices you will find the one best suited to helping your child toward the success that lies ahead of her. :)

 

In regards to the comment about phonics, which seems to be an underlyingtopic here, I do just want to add:

The way children read vs the way adults read is not comparable. Children are LEARNING to read, whereas adults (literate ones) already know how. The difference is that a child does not know the technicalities of reading and probably will not enjoy learning them (its not "fun") but must do so in order to be able to, later in life, "guess based on context" etc... And if a child loses comprehension due to a parent insisting on decoding, then the material might be above their level, or at least that specific book to heavy with unfamiliar words.

 

The principle here is the same as with any other subject, "Learn all the rules so you know how to break them properly" (~Dalai Lama). An adult might be able to guess from context, but as my quoted comment specifies, "I can [sound it out] if I really have to." Well, a child won't have that option if they are not taught how to in the first place. Ask any good music student if they love their instrument or think its "fun" to play and they will say yes. Then ask them how much they enjoyed Music Theory class or any other techincal class. I've yet to meet a single one with good or positive reviews of the class.

 

Reading should be fun, and it will be...but reading without learning phonics (technicalities) will be a life-long hinderance and frustration - you can't enjoy reading if you haven't toughed out the "un-fun" parts. Parents do what you can to make it fun for your child, but don't sacrifice true reading ability for short-term enjoyment.

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#26 of 58 Old 03-13-2012, 07:59 AM
 
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Maybe looking at a big picture might help.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Legendary-Learning-Homeschoolers-Self-Directed-Excellence/dp/0983151008/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331650709&sr=8-1

 

This is probably the best parenting book I have ever read. How you can offer your kids the skills they need to follow their passions and succeed (as they define it) in the world. Although it is geared to homeschoolers, most of this can be applied to children who attend school. She discusses Montessori, Charlotte Mason, A Thomas Jefferson Education (a form of classical education,) and unschooling. She has researched how many highly successful people were educated as they grew up. Although all were homeschooled for some period of time, many also went to school for awhile as well. She discusses people like Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Pierre Curie, Agatha Christie, Margaret Leakey, and many, many others. The bottom line is to help your child find their passions and teach them the creativity and skills to attain their goals.


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#27 of 58 Old 03-13-2012, 04:24 PM
 
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Jen Muise and ChristaN your girls sound very similar to my dd1. 

 

Jen Muise, on the reading thing, dd1 did not read easily or willingly until about 4th grade. I feel sure it was because of her anxiety issues. She reads great now (in 5th grade) and is reading Harry Potter 4 (all 500+ pages) and similar books. Her comprehension is great. She hated phonics. She knew how to do it, but it was not the way her brain worked. She did that for/from substitution all the time. She has very good grades in reading and comprehension in school this year. Some kids just have their own way of learning to read. We wondered about dyslexia, too, but didn't ever get the gut feeling that's what it was. She had a few reversals, etc, but I did, too, and I'm not dyslexic at all even though I still have to stop and think about my right and left. 

 

Because dd1's anxiety and unusual temperament (super cautious, very emotional) was apparent from birth and because our half-day 3-day-a-week preschool experience at age 4 was fraught with really horrible separation anxiety we opted out of the public school system from the beginning. I never had intended to go the private school route, but it really seemed like a smaller more nurturing environment was going to be better for her and I do think it was. This year, 5th grade, is her first year at public school and while she's still having some issues (see my thread about organization and focus) she is sooooo much better able to handle the structure and expectations of public school at this age. I am really glad she's been in public school this last year of elementary, however, because I think the potential jump straight into middle school would be even harder for her w/o this experience under her belt. 

 

We're on the fence about next year. She just got accepted to a charter school (middle and high school) about 25 minutes away. It's a small environmental and arts focused school and I thought that was what we really wanted to do, but this year dd1 has made some friends who will be going to the public middle school we're districted for and looking at all the electives and everything she's become somewhat interested in public middle school. The idea scares me a bit, but we went for parent night and it actually seems like a really great school with a funny intelligent principal. We have some talking and thinking to do about next year. She will be very involved in the decision.

 

For us, though, those early years in private school were very helpful. Even if we stay in the traditional public schools now I'm glad she was in a smaller environment until 5th grade.

 

Can you talk to your dd about it all? That's what I would do. I have not really broached the subject of LD with dd1 (she got a tentative "Non-verbal Learning Disorder" label and ADHD) when she was evaluated in 3rd grade. We took the psychologist's suggestion of telling her that the psychologist was helping figure out which way dd1 learned best. She already knows she's different so I do talk about people learning in different ways and finding a good fit. She is not doing great in math this year and I do encourage her to try to focus and double check and we're definitely addressing it from the academic side as best we can, but I do remind her that just because she's having trouble this year doesn't mean she's bad at math. I try to correct any of that negative self talk. I truly don't think her teacher this year is a great fit for her. Many other parents have had somewhat negative things to say about the teacher. I do think her science/homeroom teacher (incidentally also a 4/5 split and we love it) is a wonderful fit for her. Dd1, herself, is a difficult fit, though! 

 

If I were you, I'd talk to your dd and explain that next year will be a different teacher who could be a good fit, but you were wondering if this other school might be a better fit for her learning style, too. I'd take her to visit the other school, too.

 

As far as the school refusal we didn't get that playing sick bit. Dd1 just had huge separation anxiety with intense and lengthy meltdowns. I tried to gentle her out of them and would stay in the morning until she started to get into a wee bit of a groove and I left at a set time (after morning meeting) each day. This went on until 2nd grade I think and she wanted me to walk her into the classroom until at least midway in 3rd grade. She also had anxiety about being sick and doctors, though, so she would never think of playing sick. I didn't really let her stay home if she was anxious because then she would never go. I didn't just drop and run (the yank the bandaid off method) because while that does work with some kids with mild sep anxiety and they're fine 5 minutes after mom leaves (their moms probably think their sep anxiety bad, but they never saw my kid) it was horrible for my dd1. We did try it a bit and she would stay upset for hours. Anyway, everything I've read about anxiety says that both avoidance and the yank-the-bandaid/throw-em-in-sink-or-swim method are no good. You've got to walk the tightrope and find the middle way. With public school that can be hard—that's the big reason that we went with the small crunchy private school. So with her school refusals I would try to find some middle ground between forcing her to go and letting her stay home. I know that's really hard especially in public school, but maybe there's something.

 

I do think the LD school (learning differences) could be good. I'd let her have input on the decision, though, even if she doesn't get final say. 

 

good luck!


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In regards to the comment about phonics, which seems to be an underlyingtopic here, I do just want to add:

The way children read vs the way adults read is not comparable. Children are LEARNING to read, whereas adults (literate ones) already know how. The difference is that a child does not know the technicalities of reading and probably will not enjoy learning them (its not "fun") but must do so in order to be able to, later in life, "guess based on context" etc... And if a child loses comprehension due to a parent insisting on decoding, then the material might be above their level, or at least that specific book to heavy with unfamiliar words.

 

The principle here is the same as with any other subject, "Learn all the rules so you know how to break them properly" (~Dalai Lama). An adult might be able to guess from context, but as my quoted comment specifies, "I can [sound it out] if I really have to." Well, a child won't have that option if they are not taught how to in the first place. Ask any good music student if they love their instrument or think its "fun" to play and they will say yes. Then ask them how much they enjoyed Music Theory class or any other techincal class. I've yet to meet a single one with good or positive reviews of the class.

 

Reading should be fun, and it will be...but reading without learning phonics (technicalities) will be a life-long hinderance and frustration - you can't enjoy reading if you haven't toughed out the "un-fun" parts. Parents do what you can to make it fun for your child, but don't sacrifice true reading ability for short-term enjoyment.

 

Ignited4Christ: With all due respect, the comments above represent some major misconceptions about how reading works at brain level.  Many kids can learn to sound out one-syllable, phonetic words, but this doesn't automatically translate into fluency.  Reading involves a number of processes, and "decoding" is only one of them.  Fluent reading is not "very fast sounding out of words."  Additionally, English is not a very phonetic language, as you know.  And I cringe at your suggestion that learning to read must be hard work. 

 

In today's educational climate, it is practically taboo to criticize the notion that children best learn to read via the phonics route.  Yet that view may deserve criticism.  I, as well as my oldest child, learned to read without ANY phonics instruction at all, and I know scores of others with the same experience.  Some children may simply need more time for the brain to be ready to read fluently, and in these cases more phonics instruction can actually be a hindrance, causing children to lose confidence and to believe that they should be sounding out every single word.

 

As I said in my previous post, I also have a seven-year-old who is not yet a fluent reader, and is also likely gifted.  We tried a Montessori school for a bit, but we are now back to unschooling, which allows her learning to be completely customized.

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#29 of 58 Old 03-13-2012, 05:15 PM
 
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you can't enjoy reading if you haven't toughed out the "un-fun" parts. 


Certainly not true of many children ... myself, my dh and our four children included. None of us have had a speck of phonics instruction. None of us were ever "taught" to read as we all achieved fluency long before anyone tried teaching us and for all of us it was a joyful, discovery-oriented process -- nothing "un-fun" about it at all. We are all passionate readers. 

 

That's not to say that Jen's dd might not benefit from explicit instruction in phonics. I've seen estimates that up to 30% of children may not learn to read English fluently without explicit phonics instruction and it's possible that Jen's dd might be in that subgroup. But your blanket statement above is simply not true for many.

 

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#30 of 58 Old 03-13-2012, 05:27 PM
 
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Just seeing this for the first time.  Jen Muise, I am a 7th and 8th grade teacher, and also the mother of a 14 year old 8th grader who sounds a lot like your daughter.  

 

My daughter attended public school K, 1 & 2, and we moved her to a private school beginning in 3rd grade, because the public school system in the town wasn't good.  She will finish 8th grade this year, so she has been there for 6 years, and this is a very, very expensive school.  However, it has been worth every penny.

 

My daughter didn't learn to read until almost the end of 2nd grade, and now she's a voracious reader, intellectually curious, and she loves to learn.

 

The first point I'd like to make, being a teacher of 12-14 year olds, is that it would be helpful to sort out her academic issues and her emotional/anxiety issues before this age.  Middle school is hard enough without coming in feeling "less than."  If your daughter continues to struggle in public school, and has the degree of anxiety you are describing, I wouldn't hesitate for a second to put her in the private school.  The smaller classes and supportive faculty have been wonderful for my daughter.

 

I have a student now who had some learning issues in elementary school, and was in a self contained special ed classroom.  He is incredibly bright.  In 7th grade, he was declassified as SpEd, and now, in 8th grade, he is a lovely, well adjusted, bright boy with a lot of friends.

 

Socially, girls have it much harder.  Girls are not always nice in middle school.  Again, sorting out her learning style, and building her confidence before middle school would be a great gift to her.  In middle school, anxiety can turn into a crippling perfectionism, eating disorders, and other ugly things.  Don't want to scare you, but I see it every day.

 

My daughter is also now very comfortable - even proud - of being "different."  She realizes she's a very deep thinker, and even though she is still very slow to do her work sometimes, she likes the fact that she's "eccentric" and smart.  

 

I'd say go for the private school.  You can't ever get the early years back, and having a good self concept will help her for the rest of her life.

 

 

 

 

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Refbacks are Off