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Rethinking 2017-2018


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#1 AggieMama

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 05:26 PM

DD has been going to the school that I teach at both last year and this year. She is high energy and most likely gifted. This year her teacher, who was also her dad and uncle's teacher, is trying to get me to pin her down with an ADHD diagnosis. DD feels like she is getting the reputation for the "bad" girl in class. She goes to a school where everyone gets a trophy and she hasn't gotten star student yet this year, a kid gets picked every week, and there are only three kids left in her class. If she doesn't deserve it then she shouldn't get it, but I feel like there has been a lot of missing communication this year. There is a parent/teacher/counselor conference on Friday to discuss things. We will go to principal if things do not go well. DD's therapist, starting going to to see if there was ADHD, said that there nothing there to give a clinical diagnosis of ADHD, Autism, or OCD. Yes, we admit that DD can be strong willed, but we feel like she is getting a bad school experience. We would homeschool, but we need the money we make and could not make it if I stayed home.

There are a few charter schools in our area that seem to adhere to our philosophy of education. Two of the schools have good test scores and reviews and a third one just opened this year and looks pretty good.

Long story short, we were worried about DD going into regular long before she started school. We looked at over 50 preschools before we found the right fit.

Long sorry short, should we move DD and little sister from current school? I'm hoping to change jobs and wouldn't be there to keep a close eye. I feel like I am better suited for high school. There is also the fact that any of these schools would be 20-30 minutes from our house. Right now we drive 15 minutes.

#2 SKL

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 01:23 PM

I think I'd stick it out until the end of the year unless it is extremely bad.  Meanwhile, yes, consider a change.  I would be really uncomfortable with a teacher trying so hard to push the parents on a decision like that (pushing for a diagnosis).  Unless you think it is specific to this teacher and the school is otherwise good ....

 

That said, if your gut says your child has a diagnosable issue, I think it's time to plan for testing.  The "right fit" in a school may be harder to find if your daughter is having extreme difficulty doing what is acceptable in school.


Edited by SKL, 09 January 2017 - 01:27 AM.

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#3 AggieMama

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 04:44 PM

I see no problem with her when I sit down to do after schooling and her private counselor sees no problem with her. I think the school has a hard time dealing with kids who don't fit the standard mold. Although they say they differentiate, it is a poor excuse at best for what they do. They spend the majority of the time with students who struggle academically.
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#4 Have kids -- will travel

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 08:10 PM

At my boys' school, the kids with behavior trouble or those who struggle more with learning get "star student" more easily, as any little improvement is encouraged. I definitely wouldn't quit a school over my child not getting star student within the first three months of the year. I've even explained to my child that his behavior has no influence on the "star student" award, as he was getting very discouraged about his efforts not being recognized (he's very well-behaved at school). I told him he'll get a turn eventually.

 

However, I'm a bit confused by your post. You have a psychologist who has presumably run a full battery of tests, and she has ruled out ADHD. My understanding of that diagnosis is that a report from a class teacher is needed; did the school participate in that evaluation? Is there behavior at school that you don't see at home? Parental and teacher reports weigh heavily in an ADHD evaluation, and having only your view of things may have affected the evaluation.

 

Definitely sit down with the school and try to make things work before you jump ship. You can re-evaluate in a few months time and either stay with the  school or make plans to switch in the fall.


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#5 AggieMama

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 09:24 PM

DD is seeing a private counselor, not a pychologist. At the beginning of the year I made the mistake of filling out a Connor's. This is a 10 question questionnaire for both the teacher and parent. It was suggested by the counselor at school that there been a Connor's taken within a month of school starting. DD had been seeing the private counselor for since about April. After several sessions and "graduating" to consult basis, the private counselor has decided that DD has nothing that would be worthy of a clinical diagnosis of ADHD, Autism, OCD, or anything else. The teacher says that DD isn't doing her personal best work, but I think she just doesn't gind value in the work at school based on several conversations we have had. She says she likes mummy's work (at least s grade level higher) better than the work at school. She says there's no time to ask the teacher a question if needed. I have a teacher picked out for DD next year if we stay and she seems to understand DD.

#6 nature girl

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 09:34 PM

I also agree that I wouldn't move them from school this year. It can be quite disruptive, she'd miss her friends and have to struggle as the "new girl" in a different school. And since she also seems to think of herself as a bad kid, she might also see herself as a failure, thinking she's done something that made her have to leave the class.

 

Do you think the charters will be more likely to give her the support she needs? Do they have more differentiation? Are they equipped to deal with any behavior issues? From what I've heard, many charters don't have the funding for kids with any special needs, so I'd make sure to vet them first to see how they might address issues. (I'm a little confused, because you've previously said she shows ADHD tendencies at home, and had behavior issues in K as well, so I'd try not to blame it solely on the teacher/school. A regular therapist really isn't equipped to diagnose ADHD...I know multiple people have suggested she get a formal neuropsych evaluation, which would also be able to help diagnose giftedness, as well as the degree of giftedness. I don't think you've responded to those suggestions, so I hate to bring it up again since it seems like you've dismissed the idea for some reason, but...I guess I can't help it. Saying this gently...as the mother of a girl who blossomed--without meds--once I got a diagnosis, read everything I could and learned the best parenting techniques to address her behavior issues and schooling, it feels like you're doing her a disservice not trying to get all the information you can to help her.)



#7 nature girl

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 09:42 PM

Sorry, just read your last post. What has the counselor done to determine whether she has ADHD? Does she have a background in ADHD? Has she tried to test her focus on more tedious tasks? (Other than her talkativeness you would never guess, talking to my daughter, that she has ADHD. All her life she's been able to hold deep conversations, even before we started meds last year she could read for an hour without losing focus, told detailed stories, wasn't wiggly unless she was doing an unfavored activity. I don't think a counselor would ever have suggested ADHD.) And I'm going back to your comment that caffeine seemed to calm her...Again, that's almost diagnostic in itself, since that doesn't happen with neurotypical kids.

 

I'm not trying to say that she does actually have issues, just that there are enough flags that it's important not to dismiss it until you actually have her tested.



#8 AggieMama

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:07 PM

The counselor has just done observations and play therapy with DD. There have been no formal tests done and the therapist sees no reason to waste our money getting formal testing done. I am not trying to dismiss ADHD, but the more I evaluate the situation, the more I notice that her behavior is not ADHD like. It is more like the behavior of a gifted child that has been misdiagnosed with AFHD. I am a special education teacher, who has a master of education I. Gifted and talented education, so I would think I have a little credibility. I have several students this year who are ADHD and have noticed the difference in their behavior on and off medication. DD's attention is that of a normal 6 year old, 6 minutes. I have tested her reading level and she can word call at least at a 6th grade level, comprehend at that of a 5/6th grader, and the fluency of 4th/5th grader. Math she could probably do a much higher level if I had more time to work with her. She is currently working at around a 2nd grade level. DD has a great attention span when she is not tired and will work hard given the right reward. I have a feeling that she is bored and because of that boredom is acting out against it. I'm not sure if she takes the computerized tests completely seriously at school either.

My main concern is if she is getting the right education. Would moving to a smaller school, with a gifted program, and more flexibility in regulations (grade skipping for subject areas, curriculum compacting, etc.) be a good idea in ya'lls opinion? There is a parent meeting in two weeks so I can get a better idea of the school and ask some of these tough questions. i also have a parent meeting on Friday to see what accommodations are being done at DD's school to help her grow academically now and what all of the behavior problems are.

#9 Heigh Ho

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:50 PM

Ideally you would want a school that places by instructional need. Does it exist in your commute radius?

Edited by Heigh Ho, 10 January 2017 - 07:50 PM.

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#10 nature girl

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 08:37 PM

Would you be willing to have her take the WISC to determine level of giftedness? I have a friend whose daughter was treated similarly to yours at her school, because of behavior problems due to ADD. Her parents sensed she was smarter than the teachers had been giving her credit for, so had her officially tested at 6 and sure enough, she was 2e. Once the school saw her fluid reasoning and verbal skills were off the charts (math quite high as well) they began looking at her and treating her completely differently. Not just differentiating but also accommodating her wiggliness, and being more understanding of her impulsivity.

 

I'm sure many teachers would react the same way to an official gifted label, becoming more motivated to help a child reach her potential. Numbers are irrefutable, and WISC scores in the gifted range might help them better understand her behaviors.



#11 AggieMama

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 09:10 PM

She will be taking the CoGAT and Nagelari test at school sometime this spring. We are trying to see if she will qualify for gifted servicing. She did not make the cut off last year, but I was told she was asking to go to the restroom every five minutes during testing.

On another note, we started reading Little House in the Big Woods and DD loved it.

#12 nature girl

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 09:30 PM

On another note, we started reading Little House in the Big Woods and DD loved it.

 

How wonderful, those books are so soul-nourishing! We listened to some of Little House on audio last year (Cherry Jones reading, I highly recommend it) and then I bought the boxed set and my DD started making her way through the series. (Unfortunately she stalled on one of the later books though, not as interesting to her now that the kids are older.) Enjoy!



#13 RootAnn

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 09:45 PM

 I'm hoping to change jobs and wouldn't be there to keep a close eye. I feel like I am better suited for high school. 

 

Has you being at the same school helped this year? It doesn't sound like it would be very different in terms of making her time any smoother if you weren't teaching at the same place. I wouldn't give this angle any credence. 

 

If she's unhappy, I'd talk to her and see if she wants to make the move now. If she's okay with sticking it out, I'd try to make it work this year with an eye to moving next year unless you really think the teacher is going to make the difference at her current school.



#14 AggieMama

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 08:44 AM

I think she is unhappy socially. She says she only has two friends and she doesn't like that. We've decided we're not making any changes this school year, but maybe next year.

#15 AggieMama

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 09:04 PM

Tomorrow's the big parent meeting at school. I'm nervous as to what will be said and what our response will be.

#16 AggieMama

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 12:15 PM

Ok, the meeting today went well. I was over reacting in a lot of ways. Good to know! It has been suggested to have the OT observe DD and she was she thinks about the sensory issues. We completely agree and will concent to that. We also talked about accommodations during gifted testing. She will get some! If OT recommends therapy after RTI then I will probably ask for a full psychological evaluation including AU, ADHD, and LDs. I want to see what we need to fix now before we get too far down the academic road.
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#17 nature girl

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 12:25 PM

That sounds wonderful! It sounds like you have a great plan going forward. And I'm so glad she'll have accommodations for gifted testing, that could make all the difference.

 

Did you talk to them about your concerns with her socialization? (Have you noticed any issues when watching her with her friends?) I had concerns about my daughter, after seeing her interactions with kids in our hs community and at the playground. She's a great kid, but there were problems with impulsivity, and she seemed a bit bossy to me, and didn't seem to read people's reactions well. I had her in a social skills group for a few months, and that seems to have made a world of difference. She's well accepted by everyone in her class, and has made some really good friends for the first time in her life. It may be something to consider if you can find something in your area, and if you think she could use help with social skills.


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#18 AggieMama

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 08:32 PM

Gifting getting started this week, but I think this is one of the worse weeks we've had. We've tried a little bit of caffeine twice daily. DD is NOT responding well to that. She is super hyper now. She can't stay still in her seat at school and I'm having to do at least 30 minutes of yoga with her before starting her homework. I'm wondering she doesn't qualify for OT services and things continue as they are if I should pull her out and homeschool next year. She's sitting here doing homework right now and having an easy time. I'm wondering if she just needs a set up that is quieter and where she has the opportunity to take "heavy breaks" when necessary. I would have to figure out how to make up my salary by working at home. I'm currently a special education teacher if anyone has any ideas. I would probably need to make a little more money so I could afford homeschool gymnastics, swimming, possibly dance (my girls love it), a new swing set with monkey bars and more climbing things ("heavy work" and core muscle play), and a trampoline. I have a few ideas to make money, but I just need to sort them out. Anyway do you think it would be a good idea to take DD out of school and try to work on the underlying issues and progress academically at her own rate or keep her at were her self esteem is starting to suffer?

#19 Heigh Ho

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 01:38 PM

Has the OT or School psych come back with an observation on the sensory? There are plenty of things the classroom teacher can do if the student is overloaded visually or auditorially. Unfortunately understimulation academically and lack of movement aren't things many teachers can do anything about. Try swim club...very helpful.

#20 AggieMama

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 05:45 PM

We were suppose to do swimming this semester, but it was all booked up. On the social aspect, I'm at the park right now with the kids and DD found a girl from school and they've been playing well together. DD initiated the play when she go to the park. I'm not as concerned now.

#21 Wishes

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 11:22 PM

If you want to homeschool your daughter you could do some tutoring in the afternoon and weekends. It would be a lot of work for you but you can make pretty good money tutoring. I even tutor from my home.



#22 AggieMama

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 06:56 PM

We visited a fairly new charter school this last week. It seemed pretty good. It's loosely based on classical education. It seemed to have a lot of flexible seating in the classroom. The principal said that a lot of the kids that had come to the school on 504/IEPs for ADHD didn't need them anymore because of the movement at school. There are two recesses and lots of projects. There is also PE 3 times a week. The school has Genius Hour for 45 minutes everyday, and a gifted program. There were a lot of pros, but this was the first year the school was open. That is probably the only thing that is making me nervous.

#23 Zhay

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 12:41 PM

Two things. First, giftedness can mask ADHD. I wasn't diagnosed until middle school and excelled in school (mostly) until grad school. Second, Outschool.com, tutoring on your own or through sites like Wyzant, posting on Teachers Pay Teachers, are all excellent ways to supplement income.