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AggieMama

Bad Start to school year

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I used to chew on stuff in school until 4th grade at least.  I don't think that by itself is alarming.  It's the whole package.

 

I will say that although a teacher may seem toxic to us, the child may be largely unaware of that.

 

From what I've read, it doesn't sound like she needs to be pulled out of school immediately.  If she has to be away from her parents throughout the school day, it might as well be in a relatively stimulating environment with peers to socialize with.  I would try for whatever accommodations are available, even just letting her quietly read or stretch in a corner when she's done with her work.  Maybe she could have a fruit gummy snack for times when she needs oral stimulation.

 

Speaking of oral stimulation / sneaking, I just remembered something I did with my kid.  I sent gummy vitamins to school with her, and she was allowed to have those when she felt the need to eat something.  Whether that was the reason she stopped taking the teacher's candy stash, I can't really say, but it's a thought.  :P  https://www.amazon.com/Yummi-Bears-Wholefood-Antioxidants-Supplement/dp/B001AZTD6G/ref=pd_sim_121_10?_encoding=UTF8&refRID=YQ5SQAKDZ8TTDY0H1J75&th=1

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Update:

 

We have made it through the first semester, by the skin of our teeth. Okay, so we have two more days but they are fun days. DD is not turning in work and still being disruptive in class. She is now chewing the metal part of pencils off and on Monday tore up her shoelaces. She has had several things taken from her over the course of the year. The other day she had all of recess taken away from her. Teachers are beginning to describe her as sneaky. I hate that this is happening. She is a very sweet girl. The last two days she has been home sick and she has done a lot of work for me. When she MAP tested the last two weeks she scored in the 99th percentile in math and 97th percentile in reading. I know DD loves anything on the computer. I am having her tested for the gifted program, but I'm not sure if she'll get in. I am planning on ramping up after schooling next semester. Also the teacher won't give me the work that she is not finishing. Any thoughts on this situation would be good.

 

Taking away recess is unacceptable. I would find another school or raise hell and get them to give recess back.

 

I would not ramp up afterschooling. I would focus your efforts on healing. Read good books while snuggling up together on the couch. Play family games. Helping her to regain confidence and feel happy will do much more for her in the long run than forcing her to learn more math or grammar if she's in this much pain.

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While I agree that they should not take away recess and that it's counterproductive to do so, I'm not sure you can get them to stop this.  It's worth a try, but it fell on deaf ears when I tried it, and I've heard similar from other moms on this board.  Switching schools might not fix this issue either.  If she ends up with an IEP / 504 then maybe you could work it into that.

 

Meanwhile I agree with focusing on healing.  If you read aloud, she reads independently, and you do stimulating family activities such as cooking, shopping, crafting and board games, you can work in a lot of useful learning without drudgery.

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I'm glad we are home for two weeks. DD surprised me on Friday and was up and dressed before Ingot out of the shower. I'm going to set up a chart for her to follow in the morning and add a few little lists that she has asked for to help her through the day. I have noticed that DD usually becomes impulsive when she is bored. We have an appointment with the school counselor and teacher on the 13th (earliest date available). I'm hoping we can get a few thing ironed out by that time. As for the after schooling piece, DD enjoys working with me and it gives us bonding time. Some fun games are on the list for Christmas, so we will probably spend some time in the next couple of weeks playing those games and reconnecting. I am going to try to find a job, hopefully in a virtual school where I can bring home DD next year and her sister the next year. I think public school is a better option for younger DD, as she fits better into the "rules" of school.

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I think you said she got 99% and 97% on the standardized tests? This puts her in a whole different category. Mine are 'gifted' too and their minds are just different, even if they have no anxiety issues. School presents a struggle for them because they are bored. You might want to post on the Accelerated learner board, or here is a site I find helpful:

http://www.nwgca.org/

The information I got there about gifted children and their brains, behaviors, and personality types was immensely helpful. I recently attended a lecture about this too- PS can be a good experience for them, if the school staff are knowledgeable & ready to carry out the current recommendations.

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We've had a great two weeks at home. We really didn't do any school it. DD spent time coding on the iPad and read a little, but that's about it. Here's to hoping we have a good week this week.

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How's the school year going?

 

I have been mostly just reading on the forum but I was curious about your dd. It seemed odd to me that the teacher wouldn't let her finish her work at home.

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We are having a meeting in Friday to add accommodations. We we have the results of the OT observation. From what I've heard from the OT so far is that DD's behavior is attention seeking. She is in a class with several high needs kiddos, but at this point I think all classrooms are that way. From the work I saw at Open House I know DD is more than capable of completing her assignments, but she finds them invaluable. She is capable of having good handwriting, but she doesn't want to do it. I'll update on Friday after the meeting. We've increased play therapy and that seems to be going well.

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The OT came back with the report and did not diagnosis DD with anything. I know she can't diagnosis, but a lead would be helpful. DD ended up with some accommodations for sensory issues like a figit, work breaks, ability to sit on the floor or cushion, and movement breaks. Pretty much all the kids in the school the opportunity for these things. I'm not sure it's really going to solve anything; just give the teacher more to have to worry about.

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We are having a meeting in Friday to add accommodations. We we have the results of the OT observation. From what I've heard from the OT so far is that DD's behavior is attention seeking. She is in a class with several high needs kiddos, but at this point I think all classrooms are that way. From the work I saw at Open House I know DD is more than capable of completing her assignments, but she finds them invaluable. She is capable of having good handwriting, but she doesn't want to do it. I'll update on Friday after the meeting. We've increased play therapy and that seems to be going well.

I don't like this. Attention seeking is a symptom not a condition. What is important is why she is seeking attention. Also being capable of good handwriting/attention/being quiet or whatever does not mean that it is easy. It may be that writing neatly (for example) takes so much energy and effort she can only do it when the class is quiet (or some other perfect condition).

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You need to go observe. My child with sensory issues had to be in a peaceful classroom. He could not be calm and learn with all the noise and thrown objects plus adult reactions that came with the outbursts of the emotionally disturbed. Writing takes concentration...and that's hard to do if you have to watch your back simultaneously. Conflicting needs; if she can see the school psych weekly it will help.

Edited by Heigh Ho

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I don't like this. Attention seeking is a symptom not a condition. What is important is why she is seeking attention. Also being capable of good handwriting/attention/being quiet or whatever does not mean that it is easy. It may be that writing neatly (for example) takes so much energy and effort she can only do it when the class is quiet (or some other perfect condition).

 

I agree with this, and again think you're doing her a huge disservice not getting a full neuropsych eval. An OT and a play therapist are just not qualified to make diagnoses of complex issues. With smart kids, and those who hyperfocus on reading and math (as my DD does) it's also harder to see the big picture.

 

Being attention seeking may be a symptom of something else (my DD can be very attention seeking) or it may just be boredom. The handwriting issue may be a symptom of something else, or it may just be a personality thing. My DD is able to slow down and write very neatly, but she usually doesn't have the patience, she wants to get the words and numbers out and be done.

 

Regardless, why not take the accommodations and see whether they make a difference? Even neurotypical 6/7 year olds can use movement breaks, you know? They'll give her the best chance of success. If she can act calm and stay on task for an hour after a movement break, it will actually give the teacher significantly less to worry about.

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Unfortunately I don't have the money to get a private Psych evaluation or I would get one. At this point in the school year it's too late to ask for one, I work in the Special Education department and know the cut off date for evaluations. DD has gotten a lot better since the beginning of the school year in a lot of aspects. She is young for her class and was born early. Academically she is doing fine. I'm not discounting what happened at the meeting and I accepted the accommodations, but I think this is a hyper reactive school. I say that as a parent and staff member. We have talked with numerous educational professionals who have scoffed at the absurdity of the situation, and they have known DD since birth. I will continue to have DD closely monitored and watch her behavior, attention seeking and otherwise.

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The latest on all the drama is that DD is no longer allowed to take her library book out of her locker, and has had all of her accommodations taken away from her as punishment for not doing her work and reading her book instead.

 

We have had an offer from a charter school and have until tomorrow to make a decision. It seems like it would be a much better fit for DD than her current school. There are two factors that are really holding us back on making a final decision. The first one is the distance this charter would be 30 minutes each way. The other is the start time. DH has to be at work by 8:15 and I have to be at work at 7:15, but this school starts at 8:25. They do offer before and after school care, but they don't have the prices advertised. We don't know anyone who is going there yet, so carpooling is out of the question for now. It would be a risk, but it caters to wiggly kids with 2 recesses, genius hour everyday, and PE 3 days a week, flexible seating, and Montessori math.

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They did what now!?

 

Oh, hell no. That is not okay. You need to pull her. Go with the charter school. It cannot possibly be worse.

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I had a note I. Her agenda from the other day that DD has to keep her library book in the locker because she was too busy reading instead of doing her work. It was very sad to me knowing that she was probably learning something more useful than she was learning in class.

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My kid has been chided for similar, but the teachers generally have a better sense of humor about it.  So far all the teachers we've had have just been thrilled she likes to read.  She did get at least one book confiscated - but she should know better at this point.  :)

 

I would look into the charter school with before-care.  My kids loved the before/aftercare at school, and for us, it was $1.50 per hour - quite reasonable in my opinion.  I know a half hour is a long drive, but it sounds like it will be worth it.

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Yes, like SKL my daughter has been chided for reading her library books instead of listening or doing worksheets, but her teacher hasn't taken the books away, just gently reinforced that it isn't time for reading. What has really helped most is the teacher letting her read her books when she's done with math/spelling/writing. So she stays focused and gets through her work quickly so that she can get back to her book. Any chance the teacher would allow that?

 

I have to say that I do see where the teacher is coming from, the kids DO need to learn to stay on task, so I wouldn't really hold that against her. But I'd suggest offering reading as a reward for good behavior. I can't see that she'd refuse, it's a win-win! 

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At this point I'm trying to get through the next 32 days. A lot of that time will be busy work with end of year testing, or a complete waste of time because of the last week of school. DD has secured her spot at the charter and we're going to try it, despite it being a logistical nightmare. I'm hoping this school offers her more of an opportunity to be herself and challenge herself. It sounds like they are open to it.

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New School Year Update: DD began her charter school a week and a half ago. She is loving it so far! She is coming home excited about school at the end of the day. It is such a change from last year. This school offers flexible seating and two recesses. It also offers a Genius Hour every day for students to work on their own projects. DD has signed up for a coding and art club at her new school. The only complaint I have heard this year is that she was a little reluctant to write on Wednesday, but by Friday she was voluntarily writing in her journal and didn't want to out it up! She was also messy with her desk this week, but that doesn't bother me too much. We have time to work on that.

 

DD also tested as gifted over the summer, so we are waiting for services to start.

 

The new school does not have homework, so we will have an opportunity to after school and listen to good audio books on the drive because it's 30 minutes each way. We will also be doing BA 2A when it comes out. I ordered it tonight!

 

Younger DD was just accepted to the charter and starts on Monday. I'm super excited for this school year.

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DD has been in first grade and the school counselor and teacher are already suggesting we fill out a Connor's evaluation for ADD. DD is having a rough time sitting still all day and expressing her emotions. She loves to learn, but I don't think the school is hitting her learning style. DD has been disrespectful and talking back to teachers, something we DO NOT allow in our house. DD is very bright, reading and doing math at least a year above grade level, but she needs to understand that she is in 1st grade and needs to do that work. Her teacher is using accommodations already and the counselor was suggesting us to get a diagnosis to get 504 services. I understand what all of this means, as I am a special educator at DD's school. DD has had a few months of behavioral therapy for ADD like symptoms. We do not want to go the medication route because my husband had bad side effects. I'm upset with what all this means and just need suggestion of what you would do in this situation.

Is it possible to home school or go to a different school?

 

My 15 yr old, who currently home schools, was way ahead of grade level in K, 1, and 2. K was awful. In 1, he had a great teacher who loved history, which it turned out my son loved, and really worked with him. 2nd was awful again and that is when we started home schooling him. 

 

I would recommend not doing the ADD "testing." Fact is, unless you have trouble with her at home, then it is the classroom, not her, that needs to change. And they just want the label as an excuse to lay the blame on her all the more. It will not benefit her. I am saying this based on how you described the situation and her. I, personally, did have some of my children go through testing. But there were obvious issues even at home. Of course, whatever you do, it is your choice. You know the situation better than me.

Edited by Janeway

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We switched her school this year and found a fabulous charter school. We are almost 3 weeks into the school year, and she is doing great. A lot of the problems we had last year are non-existent. We told her teacher before school started that we were not looking at ADHD, but GT with a possibility of OCD. We also her teacher what has worked in the past. I was upfront an honest and her teacher has had nothing but positive things to say about her. We had a little hiccup with writing last week, but by the end of the week she was doing well and what she was supposed to. I'm hoping the rest of the year goes this well. This school will go up to 12th grade within the next 5 years, so if it continues to be a good fit we are staying until graduation.

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