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Classical Katharine

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  1. @PeterPan, thank you! That's very helpful about dx--that they may not even own the testing supplies, or might not have someone on call with the required degrees, etc. And about skills and friendships, great ideas. I've actually taught J. to crochet! Maybe J. can teach E., or maybe I can at some point. I think her ferret offers some possibilities at least for conversation with other animal lovers, and I've wondered if she might enjoy working in a pet shop, or, now that I think of it, in a rescue center. She might have "the touch" that all animals respond to. More later, but thank you again, and Merry Christmas to you and your family!
  2. @Story girlYou and @PeterPan have given me a wonderful Christmas present! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply at a busy time of year. I completely agree with your three goals and it is encouraging to see you identify them as priorities. Yes, E. is a junior. 1.5 years to go! I also agree that I couldn't on my own act as a parent advisor to this family. The learning curve is steep. At this point, one of the factors in whether they would even choose to make further noise about the IEP is that the Mom is not familiar with this world and with the process, and had a rough time when it comes to education--in her home country her school was taken out by armed insurgents of some kind and she never attended high school. J. and E. have to navigate this situation respectful of their mother and what is and isn't important, is and isn't scary, etc., to their Mom. J. knows that when E. turns 18 E. will have rights she doesn't have now and if it would ever make sense to use outside help, I think it would be once E. turns 18, with maybe some prior work done like outside testing or finding an advisor. My husband and I will consider if we can help with that, but we need to learn more about who is good locally. I also need to navigate this sensitive to J. and what is and isn't a big deal for her. I respect her and love her. She's still young and this world is intimidating for older adults with a stronger academic foundation than she has had. She's doing a great, great job. But I need to help in ways that fit her and her family and not in ways that don't. So we have some ground to travel together. I think our next few steps are clear--I join in in January to language work and social enrichment, and I help J. see the value of the connection to the vocational resources for those with disabilities. J. is also navigating conflicting feelings and new information when it comes to the word "disability." She has a strong work ethic and knows that's important. She also believes in E. and believes in her potential. Anything that sounds like saying "she can't change" doesn't sit well with her, so I've had to help her see that "disability" doesn't mean that--it does mean, though, that some things will be harder for E., a lot harder. So yes, hard work will help-- for E. to now understand and be more motivated is excellent--but she may or may not someday be able to do all that J. does. I think J. knows that, but it's a lot to absorb emotionally. I've also told J. there is nothing wrong with accepting help vocational help from the state. It's completely consistent with having motivation and a good work ethic to make use of that kind of resource. I think sometimes J. doesn't want to start a ball rolling where she thinks she won't like the outcome. My view is more "we don't know what the vocational agency would say unless we ask." And also, they can't make you do anything. You don't have to do what they say. You find out what they have to offer and see if it sounds helpful. If you have had experience with this aspect already and can share anything that it might be helpful for me to share with J., that would be wonderful. I think you may have asked, BTW, whether E. is learning to drive. She is. I hope she'll be able to pass the written test. But the school does seem to have her in Driver's Ed, or maybe it's the family. I think it will be really important to her to be able to drive so she doesn't have to depend on their Mom for transportation to work opportunities. I wrote some other things about E.'s social landscape in my answer above to @PeterPan, so I won't repeat them here. So I have research to do, but it's been so helpful knowing your thoughts and others'. I feel much more oriented and much better able to help J. and E. decide how they would like to proceed. Have a wonderful Christmas! When you surface after that, I'll look forward to connecting again. But you've been very generous already, and I'm very grateful.
  3. @PeterPan What a Christmas present--thank you for taking the time to write right before the holidays! @PeterPan, the standard deviation on Woodcock-Johnson is 15. She has the one 20-point drop and a few more along the lines of 10 points. Thank you for the confirmation that in a sense, this is to be expected. That is helpful to me. She would be expected to fall further and further behind, and, I assume, it is impossible to know if she has fallen behind by only the amount that was unavoidable . . . but in one sense, that's water under the bridge. The school does care and effort has been invested; no way to know if all has been done that could have; the future lies forward and not behind, so we can only look ahead and seek to benefit her maximally going forward--whatever form that will take. Thank you for the vocabulary links! I knew that what she'd need is a program where we start in the right place AND where she gets enough repetition and enforcement. (Learned that writing a curriculum.) So the links you gave to something specially designed for students in her situation is very valuable. Thank you. Thanks also for the confirmation that the social skills / humor help could reflect ASD or something else--that both of those needs could occur in others as well, not only on the spectrum. And agreed--I'm glad they are working on it, as J. is also, in her own way. I still need to ponder whether E. would benefit from finding out for sure whether she is on the spectrum. It will cost them either money, or time and effort, or both, to find out, and I'm unsure yet how much more they would get out of school or life by having that verdict in her case. The school doesn't see it, so it's at least debatable. She already qualifies for services, so maybe it's not necessary. Have to ponder that one. Also thanks for helping me understand about how the school would have used a paired set of tests, hence all WJ. I was only interested in the "fluid reasoning" b/c of a thread elsewhere where a Mom of a special needs son felt that the insights she gained into his learning styles from what I guess must have been the WISC helped her to perceive he needed a different learning approach to math, and when she made a change, he learned much more rapidly. Maybe at some point the family will benefit from additional testing but it's good to know the WJIV is telling us a lot as it is. I also very much appreciate your point about the long view. I am sorry your health was affected by the intense efforts you put in. I appreciate your reflections on that. It is deeply encouraging to me, as, by grace, I thought to say the something similar to J. the other day. I am trying to help her understand both that E. has challenges that go beyond hers when she was in school--J. did need remedial help in math, but I am sure her IQ is way above E.'s--and that E. has been learning, will continue to learn, and that after the sprint to understand the IEP, we need to settle into a pace we can all maintain, b/c these issues won't go away, progress is still possible, and this is a long-term project for all of us. God made E., she's precious, and she can have a purposeful and good life--time may have been lost and yet it's not too late. I also think you are right and that we need to supplement, supplement, supplement. The story of E. is one of a low-language environment, and no dominant language, either. J. has had so many good instincts--get E. out to church, hear preaching, meet people, have conversations, read books, talk about them. Some of what you've said about narrative language, I think J. has stumbled on with good sense. She's drawn E. out, encouraged her to share more, use more words, tell her more. You have given us terms for things that I can use to learn more and help us do this better. I've had new ideas about people I think E. would connect well with. I fear that young people her own age may not have the maturity to relate well to someone their own age who is academically far behind them. It makes me sad--she said to me once she wants to make friends her own age. Sigh. But I've thought of someone five or seven years older who is also kind, female, quiet, a little shy, went to public school, had some struggles with academics herself, likes to be at home, doesn't have a wide circle of friends herself. They might be very good for one another--might feel comfortable with each other--might help one another by learning to talk about their days and their activities together. J. can't do it all. Well, I think that's it for the moment. I've got research to do and you've given me some great leads. Thank you so much. You've been very generous with your time. Merry Christmas!
  4. @Story girlWell . . . this article was helpful. https://www.readingrockets.org/article/tests-and-measurements-parent-teacher-advocate-and-attorney I see there was a '93 Supreme Court case in which the authors of this article won a victory for a family whose daughter was ill-served her school's unambitious IEP goals. They put her in a private school where she made up for lost time and the S. C. ruled that the school owed the family for her private school tuition and legal fees. And ever since then, schools have learned to write the IEP's with no measurable goals so that they can't get into that kind of trouble. That is what I see in E.'s IEP. The article has described it exactly. It's all "by the end of this IEP" and "80% of something with help" etc., but not tied to objective tests and useful timetables. Ugggh. This must be what you had in mind when you said there is an art to writing good IEPs . . . They have books that look very good--this one looks like gold: https://www.amazon.com/Wrightslaw-Emotions-Advocacy-Education-Survival/dp/1892320096/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=wrightslaw+from+emotions+to+advocacy&qid=1608661953&s=books&sr=1-1 Only I think I needed to know about all this five or ten years ago.
  5. @Story girlWe have the new IEP, and it includes the results of the new testing. So at this point I have her IQ and her Woodcock-Johnson results from 2014 and 2020. For some reason in the prior IEP, there were no 2017 results. I'd love to know if they didn't test her in 2017 . . . But before I get to all of that, in fairness to you, let me share that older Sis surprised me by signing the IEP before we went over it together. I believe she concluded there is no way her mother would be on board with any kind of legal challenge to it. I'm sure that's true and it's certainly relevant! At least until E. turns 18. I'm encouraged by knowing, as you said before, I think, that even if she did sign the IEP, it doesn't mean further questions can't be raised . . . I hope I have that right. Because: 2014 and 2020 test results compared I've compared the 2014 and the 2020 results. They don't make that easy (non-parallel reporting styles), but this is what I've gleaned, and I'm troubled by it. IQ less intereresting, WJIV much more so. IQ fairly stable--71 this time, 70 last time, though some interesting changes in the subscores: new scores are lower on perceptual reasoning (82 vs. 88), lower on processing speed (68 vs. 78), but higher on verbal comprehension (78 vs. 65). It's the WJIV that got really interesting, though. BTW her 2014 test was WJIII, and I don't know if that complicates the comparison. For the moment I'm taking scores on a subtest of the same name as being comparable, or anyway, the low, low-avg., etc. ranges as being comparable. Broad reading way down WJIV: her broad reading is way down--82 to 60, yes, 60. She has declined from low average to very low in six years (passing over "low") and is now in the 0.4th percentile. Broad written posted a smaller decline. Math looks to me to have gone up a bit, and broad writing to be approximately similar to last time. The broad reading result is the one I'd like to ask about here. For one thing, it's odd in relation to her IQ test, in which she improved on verbal comprehension. For another, in six years that they have been giving her special help and giving her decent grades and passing her on to the next grade, this very disappointing result is the outcome, and they truly have made very little of that fact to the family. No one made this comparison for them in the IEP meeting. Another important result in the IEP is she is apparently taking graphic design (good--they know her interests), but she is having trouble learning the software over remote learning (Covid-19--she's learning from home). I'm assuming it would be very good to explore this matter further as she seems to need a different kind of instruction in this software, or animation won't be attainable for her. Also, it appears that "increasing her vocabulary" is part of her speech therapy. The very same speech therapy that they cut from 2x/ week in earlier years to 1x/ month more recently, only relenting to 2x/ month at the IEP meeting. I'm wondering whether anyone has given her enough supplemental vocabulary instruction? I had vocab. in English class till grade 9 and although words are my native element, I benefited from the targeted instruction. (Wordly Wise.) In tutoring for the SAT, I've been horrified to learn that in a good high school in our state, targeted vocab. instruction stopped after grade 5. This just about makes me want to cry, it's such a lost opportunity. So I will certainly go ahead with the pre-IEP plan of finding her a skill-level-appropriate vocabulary program. I assume I'm going to need to start with something at about a fifth or sixth grade level and if that's too easy, great, we'll adjust. But also of interest under speech therapy is that they have included some instruction in social skills and understanding humor and understanding words with two meanings. Hmmm. That COULD be spectrum, yes? I suppose it may not be definitive, but I thought it was pretty suggestive. J. has also told me that her ability with hypotheticals and abstractions is poor. Another point of interest--the descriptions teachers give of how she is doing in class are difficult in some ways to reconcile with these "hard" test results, and in other ways differ from what they said in the IEP meeting, as I heard about it. Her English teacher reports in the IEP that her comprehension of To Kill a Mockingbird is very good, though in the IEP meeting, if anything, the assessment of E.'s comprehension by the teacher prompted J. to say "but she understands whole books when we read them together" in objection to what the teacher was saying about E.'s poor comp. Confusing. Maybe one clue is the English teacher, according to the IEP, provided TKAM both in hard copy and as a YouTube narration. It would be interesting to know whether E. listened to it or read it, and whether she understands much better when she doesn't read, but hears. The IEP does say she benefits from a multi-sensory approach. The history teacher also says she understands very well. And yet the WJIV results would suggest something far below understanding very well . . . ?? I need to sign off for a moment and don't want to lose what I've written here, so will post this now and return. Thanks for any thoughts! ETA: I've just been reading up on the WJ tests and I'm not sure E. has been given the full range. I've never seen a score for her on anything called "fluid reasoning," for example. I am wondering if there has been a missing battery of tests and what that means . . .
  6. @Story girlThanks for stopping in while sleep-deprived! Have a great day today with church and with your family. Church today for us as well and tomorrow is just fine for coming back to this. Thank you for your thoughts, and I hope today is restorative for you. Till soon!
  7. @PeterPan, thanks. Yes, I wouldn't try to press the school to pay for evaluation for ASD. I do think there are easier ways to find that out if it seems likely to be the case. I would want to know some things about E. that I don't know yet but which I could find out--as you say, see how many boxes she seems to tick, and if it's not close, don't pursue . . . if it is close, nuclear wouldn't be the only way to find out. I suppose then that the only possible point of filing a dispute at all would be if the family wanted her to postpone graduation for some other reason, having to do with not being convinced she will be ready for college or her other goals at the end of the current trajectory? I am not sure whether the family will end up wanting that. They have had a taste in a small way of swimming upstream here and they may not like what is involved. But everyone needs the weekend to think. Just so I am clear, is it basically "accept the IEP the way it's been presented" or "file a dispute, which is nuclear" or is there a third path of "ask for some changes but without filing a dispute"? Or is there no such thing as a third path? Thanks!
  8. @Story girl@PeterPan (tagging those recently following)-- Learned more yesterday. I think J. found it a bit dizzying, but I think more was learned than she maybe thinks at this point. She needs to catch up on sleep and then we can talk about next steps more, next week. The school did share test results first--but we're going to need to have the family ask for copies, because I couldn't get the test names nor a sense of how the results compared to prior tests. I also haven't seen the new, proposed IEP yet, but J. will get it from her mother and send it to me next week. J. did get us our two weeks. There were some interesting moments among them all--the teachers etc. wanted to speak of how nice E. is and how she enters in fully and how she is doing well, and how they are there for her, etc. J. knows that 🙂 but was more interested in the question of how ready she is for the next stage of her life. Interesting split in POVs on E's level of functioning In some areas they believe E. is functioning at a higher level than J. believes, but in other areas it was the other way around. On speech, they assess E. more positively. E. wants more speech therapy, (She thought of that herself when J. asked her in advance if there was anything she wanted to ask for--J. was seeking to act on the advice to find out from E. herself what she wants and make sure she got a voice in this.) J. asked about that in the meeting, was told twice a week is out of the question, but in the end the school conceded to twice a month instead of the once a month she is getting at present. The school also said E. is functioning better in this regard than J. thinks she is. (They claimed the limit is because they don't want to take E. out of her core classes for speech therapy. but I asked J. and there are study halls that could be used, so I am not sure this is the full explanation. But I suppose you can't use everyone's study hall b/c only so many therapists are on site at once. I am guessing they have in addition some budget constraint or other pressure they didn't want to name as a factor.) So on that dimension their assessment was that E. functions better than J. thinks, but when it came to how much E. is able to comprehend in reading, their view was she can only read very short passages with comprehension, but J. and E. have read entire books together and discussed them, so this does not sound right to J. and she is wondered if E. has been learning as much as she could given their assumptions and beliefs, which don't match up with her experience with E. After teachers pulled out of the meeting and they were alone (by video, all this) with the case worker only, J. asked whether E. can have more work on verb tenses, and the case worker said the teachers do their thing, basically--and when J. asked if E. can read longer things, the case worker said E. would have to ask for it. E. expressed interest in that and expressed a desire to do more. The case worker did volunteer that if they want to question the IEP then they are entitled to see the PRISE document (sorry if that's NJ-specific--Parental Rights in Special Education). Who does the case worker for for? BTW I don't know if this is state-specific, but does the case worker work for the school? Or for some other body or agency or . . . ? I am wanting to understand the different institutional interests at play . . . The state of the vocational guidance J. discussed vocational guidance and it did sound as E.'s interests which include art and working with children had been discussed with E. and ideas in addition to animator, along the lines you thought of as well, StoryGirl, had been suggested. So that is something, and J. believed this individual genuinely cares for E., but the question of college readiness seemed to be skated over. I'm wondering whether someone can test E. with Accuplacer and see how she scores on that? Wouldn't that be a useful input into whether she can make it in college and into whether she should seek to delay graduation? I'm also wondering, if the school were to say no to that, could the family ask the CC if they would let E. sit that test now as a baseline? Special help in college? J. pointed out there is no IEP etc. in college and received the reply that that is true, but there is tutoring available, and you can have an in-class helper if needed. That didn't sit comfortably with J.--I think that is a very new idea for her and at this point I think she is seeing this as not being ready for college and as potentially embarrassing for E., who has awakened to the realization that she is receiving help not every student needs or receives. I respect the many points of view on this--just reporting. Delaying graduation--not discussed The question of delaying graduation never came up and I think J. lost track of one of the significant open questions, whether the connection has been made yet between the family and the state vocational aid board. It was too late once I learned the meeting would be video to ask whether J. would like me to join, and she hadn't thought of that or asked for it, and I don't know the Mom, so it wasn't possible for this one, but I've mentioned now to J. that I'd be willing in future. Post-meeting she was navigating a lot. Feeling exhausted. Feeling, I think, a bit dizzied by it. Navigating the postures of E. and Mom post-meeting. I encouraged her, and will again, that everyone's first impressions are just that and that it's great that she got us all the two weeks to think in. Storygirl, I shared with her what you had said about how everyone would likely feel about it afterwards and I think that helped J. share with me. She is young too, and this is a big deal, and she's not used to sharing burdens. She's had to shoulder too much alone in life. Is IQ completely stable? Could stressors at the time of testing play a role? Interestingly, I went online after all this to read some more about the IQ test E. had done (years ago). I came across some anecdotal discussions to the effect that IQ results may not be AS written in stone as sometimes claimed, and some people who reported being in the 70 to 80 range and having successfully gone through college and even more, though learning more slowly than others perhaps. I am not sure what to make of this but I think I will ask J. what family events may have been taking place when E. was being tested. I won't share necessarily, but I believe there may be a timeline that could be significant. And for myself, I know my own mental performance certainly can vary based on whether I'm sick or exhausted or sufficiently stressed--I know an IQ test is supposed to measure something very fundamental, but is it really true that results will be the same any given day you test? I can search this forum further, but if either of you happens to know of a discussion of this or research on it, I'd be grateful. Is E's available time being used to best effect? I'm wondering if there any chance that the school has been taking a real and actual disability but assuming it's worse than it is and so not giving E. all the stimulation or challenge she needs? J. reports that E. has plenty of time at home for hobbies etc. We need some time for that, for sure, for so many reasons, But what I mean is, more time is available for homework than is being used. The school thinks E. can and should only do so much. What if she would benefit for more repetition, more practice, even if it's of the same type they have her doing, and just spending more time on her work? I'm just not sure how and whether that can or should be explored with them. Best to "change City Hall," or to supplement "City Hall"? A very open question for me also as I try to help J. and E. think their way through this is given their limited time, energy and budget financially, are they truly best off trying to push the school system to deviate from their current course of action, or are they better off leaving the school to do what it's doing with a few modifications, and supplying E. with additional challenge on the side (with help from me and others)? I'd love for them to have access to a parent advocate but this is just not a family with means. Most strategic next steps? So what will try to understand is what are the most strategic things we can do to try to help most effectively. Of course, first get the test results and the proposed IEP. Maybe the family should connect with DVRS on their own, whether or not the school initiates? Maybe pursue Accuplacer? Pretty clearly the people at school ARE seeking to have E. graduate on time and it will take a fair bit of energy to change their mind about that, so there are many questions about whether she is truly ready for the next stage and if not, how to get her there. ASD not considered likely by the school BTW, J. did ask if ASD had been considered. She was told it's not the school's view that E. is on the spectrum, but if they had a doctor's note they would change the determination on the IEP. I don't know what effect that would have on the plan or program. So, that's what I was able to learn yesterday. J. has a very important interview Monday and needs to not think about this till that's behind her. So I have the weekend to think and reflect and pray as well. Thank you again for your interest and concern and input! I know at the end of the day we--E., J., and whoever they ask to help, like me--we have to do our own work, and I don't want to overburden you. But any thoughts you want to share will be very welcome and helpful, as always.
  9. @Story girlI actually wasn't part of the meeting--I thought of suggesting it, but chose not to, since the Mom doesn't know me yet and I had been able to cover with J. what she needed to understand. She made sure to take her fifteen days (didn't sign), but thinks the meeting went well and doubts she'll have any issues with the new IEP. Beyond that, I know nothing! She works nights, gave up part of her sleep to do all this today, goes back to work tonight, and I'm sure won't have time to tell me more until at least tomorrow. I will come back and let you know. What you've shared has been so helpful. J. is grateful for the help as well. I told her about your son, around E.'s age. To be continued!
  10. @Story girlThis is fantastic. Printing it all now, speaking with J. at 11:30, their meeting is at 1:15, and what you have said confirms some things I feared / suspected and rounds out / adds other things in a hugely helpful way. I don't have time to write a better thank-you right now, but I will be back! Thank you! I really can't thank you enough.
  11. Hi, @PeterPan, and thanks! I have seen references to the dispute process in the NJ documentation, but could I ask you to comment a bit more on why it might be needed here? Is that because the school seems intent on graduating her at age 18 and doesn't appear to have assessed her for ASD? What would the family be asking for under the dispute process? Is the idea behind getting a private ASD evaluation that the school might not come through with a sufficient evaluation for that possibility and yet E. will miss out on helpful services if she warrants the diagnosis and doesn't get it? On her independent living skills, she presents well and is assessed as quite capable. She dresses herself, chooses appropriate clothes, does her homework, etc. BTW I also asked her older sister if E. speaks about her own emotions and understands emotions when they read books together, and J. said yes on both counts. That with someone she trusts, like J., E. will confide appropriately about feelings. Thanks!
  12. Hello, @Story girl @PeterPan @kbutton--we have the IEP! It took some persistence. Meeting will be tomorrow afternoon! J., E., Mom all attending. So, any feedback will be hugely appreciated. Thank you all so much. E.'s Classification (s?) E. is classified as "Communication Impaired." She's been in the special ed track since she was a young girl--since 2009 or so. At the end of this post I give her 2014 cognitive assessments, which are the most detailed ones I could find in the IEP. According to NJ definitions of impairment, I would have thought that based on her scores she would also be classified as at least mildly cognitively impaired, maybe moderately, so I don't know what it means that the IEP only lists "Communication Impaired." She's currently in a pull-out English class and has been for the several years I have detailed info for. She was in pull-out for geometry last year. In algebra this year she has in-class extra help, and she's had in-class help for all her subjects other than English for the years I can see info on. They report good grades, but I'm assuming that's good grades on the work as modified for her (see below). Her PSAT scores (her sister told me--I don't see them in the IEP) were around 310 English and 360 math. Native Language The documentation reflects something interesting about her home language--in a few places her native language isn't listed at all--line is blank--in one place it says her native language is English but Spanish is spoken at home, which doesn't line up with what J. has told me. J. told me more the other day--when she was young, she had extensive exposure to Spanish from cousins her age. E. doesn't have cousins her age. Mom at first spoke Spanish at home but E. wasn't getting it, so Mom switched to English at home, but Mom's English is limited. J. also told me that in Mom's country of origin, civil unrest ended her own formal education early and she has a middle school education. Matters related to education are foreign to her. I asked J. if her own Spanish is strong enough to explain all this to Mom in Spanish and she said it is. I am not sure what the Mom's own verbal fluency is in Spanish. Speech Therapy E. has had once-a-month speech and language therapy for the two years I can see. That doesn't sound like enough. But I just found in the document that she had it twice a week at one time--about six or seven years ago. Medicaid is involved in reimbursing the school for this and I don't know if that has capped the benefit. Here are the general modifications they make for her: Modifying the Presentation of Materials Break assignment into segments of shorter tasks Use concrete examples of concepts before teaching the abstract Reduce the number of concepts presented at one time Monitor the student's comprehension of language used during instruction Provide due date on written assignments Frequently check on progress of independent work Modifying Test Modify the content of the test Allow students to make corrections on returned tests for additional credit Retake failed tests using alternative strategies Modify test format Add Extend time of test as needed Class Work Curricular Procedures Modify reading assignments Modify writing requirements Allow additional time to complete work There are also specific modifications spelled out for her Special Ed settings and for her math instruction, which I can copy here if that would help. She has text-to-speech accommodation and calculator and others for math. She is only just now being helped to "construct paragraphs" and write a brief essay. I can't tell what their plans are for standardized testing--they list the tests including SAT, Accuplacer, etc. but don't spell out that I can see what they think she could or should be preparing for, or how. (Here in NJ at least the Accuplacer, also from the College Board, is used to determine correct course placement for Community College, and the CC elder Sis went to doesn't actually require the SAT--they just place you based on your Accuplacer results--I can describe that test if needed.) Their records show clear gaps in the interface with Mom--they tried four times to get social survey questions answered by Mom, to no avail; elder sister J. is now filling in valuable info for them about how she, for instance, had help from their father, but he was out of the picture (sigh) by the time E. was in school. Etc. Under "classroom performance," the entire column for Math is blank. The rest of the subjects mostly have "X's" which appear to mean satisfactory (I can infer that b/c some of them relate to attitude etc. and elsewhere in the document they say she is delightful and cooperative.) So the blanks in Math puzzle me--maybe one teacher just didn't provide the assessment answers?--and as for English, the lines left blank include "able to take notes from verbally presented material," "have absences impacted performance," "difficulties with student have impacted instruction in your class," making me wonder what lies behind those. And, if she indeed has any difficulty taking notes from verbally presented materials, then why would it help her in Math to have text-to-speech? Maybe there's an explanation, but that interests me. Vocational Guidance They are aware of her desire to be an animator. They say she "may" be able to go to college and "may" be able to successfully the complete the work there. If she is only just now constructing paragraphs . . . are they on a timeline that will achieve readiness for her? As for vocational guidance, so far it has seemed to consist of encouraging the family to explore summer job options (but that foundered this past summer b/c Mom would have had to provide transportation; I'm not aware if that was truly impossible for some reason, or what the explanation is; also not sure whether anyone explored bus transport; and of course the pandemic hasn't helped.) They view her as on track to graduate with her class and after that she is supposed to get some kind of vocational guidance through the Division of Vocational and Rehabilitation Services https://careerconnections.nj.gov/careerconnections/plan/foryou/disable/vocational_rehabilitation_services.shtml and a contact person is named; of course I am wondering whether the family can have contact with this person sooner than that! It also looks to me as if the family is supposed to apply for that service and I don't know whether they have made that initial application. I think J. would need to help with that . . . When optimal to graduate? It seems the school is aiming for on-time graduation so if the family wants education to continue till 21 I guess they will need to advocate for that; and is E. better off if they do that, or better off graduating from HS on time and receiving remedial instruction in CC? My gut tells me there is more the HS could do for her, but my gut is a very untrained gut. How does J. and how do I go about figuring out which settting, extended HS or remedial help in CC, would be more effective for E.? Cognitive assessment In 2014 she had a Woodcock-Johnson assessment and her total score was low (2.6), with subscores that ranged from 1.8 to 3.1. Also in 2014: E.'s general intellectual functioning, as measured by the WISC-IV, falls within the Borderline range (FSIQ = 70, 2nd percentile). Due to the variability between the composite scores that make up the WISC-IV Full Scale IQ, this overall score should be interpreted with caution. She demonstrated a relative strength in her ability to reason without words, falling in the Low Average range (PRI = 88, 21st percentile). E. demonstrated Extremely Low performances on tasks measuring her ability to reason with words (VCI = 65, 1st percentile) and hold information in her head while performing a mental manipulation (WMI = 68, 2nd percentile). She performed in the Borderline range on tasks measuring her processing speed ability (PSI = 78, 7th percentile). I don't see parallel information for 2017 and 2020 so I am puzzled by that--wouldn't these assessments be repeated triennually? But meanwhile, in 2020, another family helping her have given her complete books to read and she has been reading them and answering questions from them with the family and with J. . . so she has definitely progressed. I'm sure the school's help has been valuable AND that all J. had done to bring E. into a more socially and intellectually rich environment has also helped . . . Any input on any aspect of this? J. attends the meeting tomorrow with E. and with their Mom. E. has only just realized (because of the extra help J. has been giving her, etc.) that not all kids are like her, that she has special challenges. She just crossed over that line of awareness. She is being kindly told by J. and others "this is not your fault" and in the end I think it will be better for her to know than not to know, but she's at a tender time. Thank you for your interest in J. and in E.!
  13. Hi @kbutton and @PeterPan and @Story girl, just hopping back in after computer woes. I will reply Monday in more detail . . . Hunting snd pecking on tablet right now . . . Very briefly, @PeterPan, Mom speaks some English, but not well, and J. reports Mom uses it at home. Maybe well-intentioned desire for E. to learn English. And @Storygirl, thanks much for the further IEP insights. I'll share with J. Good question , someone, about interpreter for Mom. Will ask J. if she is fluent enough in Spanish to do. She took in school I believe. So thank you again, all, very much. Many helpful insights!
  14. Thanks, @Storygirl, for the encouragement and the great information. I didn't know about IEP advocates and it is good to know. It may well be worth a consultation with one at some point in this process. Good news though--I think older Sis is stepping up at exactly the right time. I've shared with her what I've learned here, and it turns out that a meeting for this coming week was already in the works. Phew, I'm glad she found that out. And yes, you are right, they do welcome her involvement. I explained what an IEP is, said from the sounds of it E. probably already has one, shared the NJ document explaining the process and the parents' rights. (https://edlawcenter.org/assets/files/pdfs/publications/Rights_SpecialEducation_Guide TL.pdf -- a tip here led me to it.) Older Sis J. is planning to attend that meeting with her Mom. Her Mom's language skills and cultural background have (J. told me) left Mom not knowing what to ask for or how. J. is willing to be the asker. It happens that she did actually call the case manager today to better understand the purpose of the upcoming meeting. She was told it is to determine "whether E. is still eligible for services." Gulp! "Whether"? J.'s view is that E. hasn't received enough services. But the case worker is sending the I.E.P. to J. Monday and we will be able to see it and share questions about it with you all here--since @PeterPan said she'd help interpret if need be. So I'm guessing the school is at the point where financially they might like to declare success or case closed and that J. will need to supply more information and ask questions to seek to get E. more help. Does that ring true? That the school might have that conflict of interest financially? And that J. will need to question whether the goals in the IEP have been met or to suggest that not all needed goals are included in it? One other wrinkle. The Mom is Spanish speaking and the young ladies have a Spanish last name. E. was placed in ESL class in grade school BUT SPANISH IS NOT SPOKEN AT HOME. Sorry about the all caps, but you can probably guess why they are there. E,. must have been lost in ESL class! I assume ESL is fantastic if you are, in fact, fluent in a language other than English. Great! English grammar can be explained in your native tongue. But if you don't speak Spanish? Maybe some of her verb tense problems can be traced to that right there. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what would have been done for E. in ESL class, but this sounds like a seminal mistake, years ago, still affecting E. I would think the school district would owe it to her to try to fix that . . . Thank you also for the info about education powers of attorney. I didn't know either and hadn't realized that would be an option. I knew at 18 E. could speak for herself (in NJ, anyway, where we are). She turns 18 in May. Would she be able to involve J. at any level she wants to once she turns 18 even without J. being named in a POA? The older sister J. has graduated. She is employed full-time but still getting additional training to move into her preferred field. I'm thankful, too, that she asked for help. This will be a team effort, from E. to others. Too much for one sister to bear. Thanks again for the helpful input!
  15. @PeterPan I will definitely take you up on that! That would be so helpful. Yes, it didn't sound super thorough, but even so, it cost too much of my young friend's money . . . Thank you again! Till soon . . .
  16. @PeterPan I'm going to wear out the "thank-you key." Thank you. Yes, we did wonder since ASD can run in families whether the Mom might be on the spectrum herself. J. is energized by social contact and while she is a bit of a planner and a worrier, isn't strongly marked by those. Maybe she carries more of than I realize, though. I do think J. feels a relief at older adults stepping in to help her help her sister. She has had too many responsibilities here. That's one reason I'm willing to help. It shouldn't all be on her. But E. loves their time together and likes being helped by J. to understand things. She trusts her and they enjoy one another. I don't think all of that has to end but I see your point about how J. maybe can rest more in what the trained adults are doing. I think possibly the problem has been the trained adults haven't been doing all they could be doing b/c the Mom hasn't been requesting it. If we can move into a situation where the trained adults are doing all E. needs them to do then I think it will be easier for J. to relax that it's enough. Maybe the "one side of a page" matter isn't central--maybe that's a "red herring," doesn't mean what it seems to mean--but bigger things may have been so far unrequested. J. may be right that it doesn't feel like things are being taken care of, YET. So, a puzzle, but the landscape is becoming plainer. TY for the comment about how if the evals aren't thorough E. will be able to appeal and get private evals. J. paid out of her own pocket at one point for speech eval. for her sister so that shows you that the full range of services was not being accessed. Of course J. is a hero--it's not supposed to be her job to know all this . . . I'm eager to SEE the transition plan. At this point I'm not sure E. or J. has seen it so it's hard to have confidence in the path that's been marked out, YET.
  17. Hi, @kbutton I think she is in at least some that sound like pullout based on what J. told me. Good points about the reasons . . . we just don't know them yet. The Mom has been uninvolved but possibly J. could change that and get herself invited. Birthday in May and E. is still a junior--it's late but she can get what she needs for four more years at that point. It has been SO helpful what you both have shared. So, so helpful! Thanks!
  18. Found this for NJ. E. turns 18 in May. So if she has an IEP, and even in the event that parents won't help, she can request all services on her own in time to draw out high school if needed . . . https://edlawcenter.org/assets/files/pdfs/publications/Rights_SpecialEducation_Guide TL.pdf
  19. Kbutton and PeterPan, this is great . . . I had wondered about whether she could take longer to get through Community College. I had also wondered who besides parents could get access to the IEP info and talk to teachers. I wouldn't push myself forward for that, but older sister J. did try and got some access, because mother wasn't taking calls from school. If she knows how much more might be available for E., or if E. herself could get the info, that could be empowering. I also LOVE the info about the internships and other things. This is going to generate so many conversations. Trying this again. I tried the @ trick before and it didn't work for me. Maybe I did it at the beginning of a sentence and it didn't work? So, @kbutton and @PeterPan--yesss! It can't be at the beginning of a sentence. A field pops up, click, done. @Peter Pan let's see yup, doesn't work at beginning of sentence. Confirmed. Thanks, both of you, so much! P.S. @kbutton Sis J. learned that younger sis E. was doing only half the page of homework. Asked E. Was told that was all she had to do. J. asked the study group teacher. Was told that was what the main classroom teacher had said . . . that the instructions come from that person. J. wondered if it was really good for E. to only do half? I guess that depends on how long it would truly take her to do the whole? If it would take her longer but not absurdly longer to do it all, does it really benefit her to do only half and so be taught the world will always accommodate . . . when it may not always accommodate? Large topic, I know, but I think of it in connection with being the squeaky wheel. What exactly E. and J. would / should squeak for if they go full squeak . . .
  20. PeterPan, thanks again! BTW I was away from the forum when they changed the format and I've forgotten how to tag someone, and couldn't find a tutorial. If you or anyone else would like to remind me, I'd be grateful. Your additional thoughts are a big help. We are in New Jersey. NJ has good community colleges and J., the older sister, did a 2-year degree at one before finishing a four-year degree elsewhere. Possibly an associate's for E. will make sense at a CC. They seem to have good career guidance and they offer remedial instruction as needed. But we have a lot of vocational schools too. E. does enjoy children. She told me once she'd like to get a job at a Toys R Us. She remembers going there, but it's been a long time, she said. She would enjoy seeing what's new and showing it to children. I totally agree that if she can't (we don't know yet, but if it turns out she can't) do animation, she can find a way to use that art love (and maybe that children-connection) as part of a satisfying life. You gave some great ideas. Thank you for sharing what has been helpful to you personally, BTW. I admire what you've learned and done for yourself and for your children. Thank you for sharing so generously with others here, including, now, me and my friends I am seeking to help.
  21. Peter Pan, thanks again. Yes, I fully agree she is going to need to take responsibility. Motivation and diligence are two areas J. has already noticed are issues in E's life. Examples of initiative are lacking at home--I won't elaborate--but E. will need to own this situation. I do not at all plan to do all the lifting here because one cannot carry someone else through life, and I won't help in an ongoing way unless she invests as she needs to in the parts only she can do. At the same time, I have work to do here, if I'm going to help, that I wasn't planning a month ago to be doing at all . . . fitting it in . . . desiring to be helpful and not to misdirect this dc and her older sister . . . not having the expertise in this that you have acquired. The older sister and my husband and I are believers and will need God's help.
  22. PeterPan, thank you so much for this gold mine of thoughts. It's J. who made the observations about verb tenses. She previously noticed E. hardly talked when they would ride to church, though she enjoys going, so she encouraged her to converse, and E. now actually is more outgoing. Another family involved in her life have suggested books and while she doesn't read for pleasure on her own, she will read suggested books and converse about them with this family. So J. and others have good instincts and big hearts, and I'm sure your point and KButton's about narrative ability is spot-on. Interestingly, E. reports enjoying the sermons (not needlessly complex in language but probably a good forty minutes on average), and she is receiving catechism lessons from the other family I mentioned. J. also has mentioned that E. at times has poor comprehension, and other times surprises you with her retention or insight. I do wonder about auditory processing. As for what E. herself is aware of, I know she would like to make friends her own age. So she is aware of that need. She is also enjoying learning about God. And she would like to be an animator as a vocation. At this point I do not know whether that is achievable, but my mind is open. Her current age means she is hearing people talk about going to college and about the SAT, and her sister went to college, so she has that aspiration and initially spoke with me about preparing for the SAT. Her PSATs are around 670 (combined math and verbal) and from recent experience with the SAT, no slouch of a test, I feel sure the SAT is not where we need to begin. So I already am going to have to let her down gently on that front while not discouraging her--and find out what she really feels the need to learn while letting her know we aren't ready for the SAT yet. I am going to study the resources you've linked to as it may give me some very concrete ways to explore skills and goals with her. Thank you for the correction about the term "high functioning." I was trying to avoid another term, beginning with "a," "s," and "p," which I was told by a Canadian family member in psychiatry can no longer be used--but I gather many still like the term! I am not sure what to do :-) Your point also about it being in fact likely inaccurate here is also well taken. The self-awareness / interoception matter is hugely interesting to me for a number of reasons and I can see how it could indeed be key to understanding people, situations, literature . . . Last, yes, I'd love the link you mentioned you could find for me to the kind of material you are using with your daughter--ETA, the Notice and Note material. (Something you wrote?) Thank you so much again!
  23. Thanks, kbutton! I will check out Winston. I also appreciate the point about actual language therapy. Your vote of confidence on that front is very kind :-) I confess, I feel the enormity of this family's needs and my lack of very specific training, though I spent happy time volunteering in a special ed class years ago and seemed to have some instincts. I just know those can only get you so far . . . I will look forward to seeing if PeterPan replies and will also search in prior posts of hers. I will check out the resources you mention on narrative language as well. Thank you again!
  24. Hi all, A little background on this tough situation. The seventeen-year-old, E., is, in a way, being raised by her older sister, J., who is a young friend of mine. The seventeen-year-old, whom I know much less well, has some language issues and some social issues. I and some others suspect she may be on the spectrum. The parents are relatively unengaged and the older sister doesn't have a ton of resources. The older sister raised herself, in a way . . . figured out how to get into and pay for college, first in her family to go, etc. Challenging situation. Older sister J. has done a great job with seventeen year old E. but needs help herself taking it further. E. presents as shy and as younger than her age. Sometimes doesn't look at people but will if she trusts them more. Speaks very simply. Has interests that she introduces readily into conversation--her ferret. She likes to draw anime. She has few friends except older adults that her sister J. has introduced her to at our church. J. has noticed E. sometimes mixes up her verb tenses. In some ways it's almost an ESL situation but not in the way you'd expect. The Mom is Spanish-speaking but speaks English at home, and her English, says J., is limited. Also, E. has little social contact at school, and seems not to have picked up the verb tenses from hearing fluent English speakers. It's almost as if English isn't her first language, even though it is. J. told me about all this. I wrote a Latin program, and I've also tutored for the verbal portion of the SAT. So I love language, reading, and grammar, but this is a different teaching situation. E. needs work with correct formation of English verb tenses and probably with reading comprehension. I think she will need more repetition, review and reinforcement than someone her age ordinarily would, so anything I choose for them needs to be paced with that in mind. I wondered if anyone could point me towards some good programs to evaluate. E. is given special supplementary instruction at school so I guess that means she has an I.E.P., but I know nothing about what it says. Also, if she is high-functioning ASD, I doubt anyone has determined that definitively or told her that yet. The day may need to come, but first I'd like to work with her with some programs that don't say "Autism" or "ASD" on the front cover . . . so that's a factor as well. Thank you so much for any input!
  25. The apostle Paul in his sermon at Mars Hill, in the book of Acts, began by making an appeal to common ground: You are very religious, you even have an altar to an unknown God. What you worship without knowing, I now declare to you. I think we can say he addressed his hearers respectfully as people who had sought out the knowledge of God and had in some ways attained to it. "As one of your own poets has said, In him we live and move and have our being.'" Paul agreed with that poet! Yet, Paul was sure he had received revelation and his life had clearly been transformed by one who he knew was as yet unknown to those he was addressing, and he wanted to share that knowledge. He believed that knowing that one held out the firm promise of eternal life, a blessing he wanted to share. But he did know the thought and the writings of the people he was conversing with and he treated their past religious experience as worthy of engaging and supplementing, not dismissing. Just to be clear, this is not meant as a comment or gloss on any specific thing anyone has said yet in this thread. I'm just thinking about the topic at hand. It seems to me that a desire to understand others in order to serve them while still walking in the path that we believe is true and safe, and teaching our children what we believe and why, is a framework within which we can make specific decisions about what to study and when. I think that applies whatever our starting point is.
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