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SKL

Small update: Need to decide about testing for 6th grader in b&m school who may need IEP?

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Update:  I finally sent the letter to the school.  Immediately the teacher responded that the principal said they must offer more interventions at the school before requesting testing.  They say they want to increase the tutoring services she receives at school, which is fine with me.  I don't know yet whether this will mean they don't test her before 7th grade. 

 

Not sure what classes she will miss for tutoring.  Right now she goes during study hall.  I am cool if they make her miss robotics or even geography, which is frankly just not relevant to her the way they teach it.  I don't want them to stop her from doing choir and band (which are optional), as I believe music instruction / performance is helpful for mental development.  They have kids on IEPs also doing band and choir.

 

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I have gone back and forth on this before over the years, so please forgive the redundancy

 

My daughter has always been a "pretty good student," but only because she puts in a lot of work and gets a fair amount of support, as well as some grace from some of the teachers.  From time to time it gets to be too much as she is up way past bedtime with homework or test study.  Also, she bombs many tests, and her grades tend to be propped up by doing excellent on the homework that I have reviewed or helped her with.

 

This year, 6th grade, has gone pretty well because she has the following helps - but these helps are not guaranteed by the school, because she does not have an IEP.

  • Once a week, a tutor at school helps her with homework.
  • Her math teacher usually provides assignments to me in advance so she can work on the weekend vs. being up late into the night.
  • She is given extra time to finish some tests.
  • Some teachers allow kids to improve their grade by re-doing tests at home.
  • Sometimes I read her textbook chapters to her, since reading is slow and tiring for her.
  • We listen to audiobooks which she tests on to get AR points.
  • She does an hour of "homework help" at Sylvan each week.
  • I help her to understand her homework (as needed) and usually review it before she hands it in.

I would also note that some of her issue is "test anxiety," i.e. she forgets what she knows when taking a test.  But she also has what she calls "memory problems."  She can memorize, but tasks that require both recall and logic are a challenge for her.  She can do most of it given time, but the testing process does not give the time she needs.

 

Without the help she receives, I am pretty confident she would still get passing grades, possibly "merit roll," but it would make her one of the lowest achievers in her class, which would not be great for her morale.

 

I am working with her on improving her study skills, which I think will help on several levels.  However, I am not sure whether that will be enough as the work gets harder and more complex.

 

On the other hand, I worry that testing / IEP will brand her, not only from the schools' perspective, but also from her own.  She aspires to a professional career in adulthood.  Maybe her brain will still re-wire or she will find ways to learn what she needs to know as she gets older.  She has many strengths.  I don't want anything to hold her back unnecessarily.

 

In this scenario, would you send in the letter to start the testing process?  I need to decide now, or it will be too late to get things in place for 7th grade.

Edited by SKL

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I absolutely would test. You don’t have to have an IEP, even if she qualifies, right? As the mother of a 21yo who had very mixed abilities and issues, I wish we had tested when it first became evident. She wishes she had been tested in order to understand better what her brain was doing and learn coping skills instead of waiting for it to sort itself out (it never did. And increasing anxiety made everything worse)

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I would talk to her teacher (or teachers) and make sure they know how much help you are providing. 

 

Then see what they say. 

 

I think it could go either way.

 

Also frankly you can request an eval, but if her performance is good and teachers don't see a problem, then they don't have to provide an eval -- they can decline to eval.  (I think I am correct about this, but I could be wrong.) 

 

I think to some extent only you can know the toll it is taking on her to do the extra work outside of school.  Is it taking a toll on her such that it is just not good for her?  That is a reason to pursue it more.  Is she handling her schedule and responsibilities pretty easily?  Then I think that is a reason to go more by what the teacher says. 

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For some background for me, the credit roll at my older son's school requires an 85 average, so to me ------ if you are saying you think she would have an 85 average with no extra help, to me that doesn't seem like it is so serious.

 

I think private testing might be really good, though, and if you are thinking of private testing, then I think you might as well write the letter for school, and see what happens, to save the money.  Unless it might be very reasonable with your insurance or local options. 

 

Edit:  I don't mean to put you off doing it if you think you should investigate more! 

Edited by Lecka
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When you say reading is slow and tiring for her, that could be a red flag, for sure.  I think that is maybe the biggest red flag. 

 

I think something you may get a feel for when you talk to her teacher, is how common it is for students to correct tests and things like that.  It could be that it is a lot more common than you think.  It could be that it is not so common.  That is the kind of thing where the teacher will have some idea of how she is doing. 

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I don’t have any advice for you, SKL, but I wanted to say that I admire you for not only being concerned about your dd, but for all of the many, many hours you are obviously dedicating to helping her. It’s a lot of time and energy, and I know you are also busy with your other daughter, so you deserve a lot of credit for all of your hard work. :hurray:

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I just googled "oral reading fluency norms" and you can see how her oral reading fluency is as a percentile.  If it is low then I think that is a reason to test for sure.  That's something too where if you request an eval and you say you are concerned about her reading, then you can focus on this. 

 

I think if she has weak reading, that's the kind of measurable thing that shows up on tests. 

 

I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself well, but I think you need to have some targeted points if you write a letter. 

 

Some of the things you mention would be good targeted points, and some wouldn't. 

 

Saying she is getting extra time on tests ----- I think you need to question the teacher about this, and find out if it is more of an accommodation, and then get the teacher to say "yes, I am providing this accommodation," or quote the teacher as saying it in your letter.  Because it's wishy washy as it is, because I don't know, to me, is she the only kid getting extra time?  Or are half the kids in the class getting extra time?  But you can document this better!  I think talk to the teacher. 

 

If you talk to the teacher and feel like the teacher just isn't seeing what you are seeing because you are the one helping her at home, then I think you can document it and just share that you are really spending a lot of time helping her, in the letter. 

Edited by Lecka
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For the test anxiety, have you talked to her teacher about it?  Are there accommodations she could have this year, and then you can say "currently my daughter receives this accommodation." 

 

This will depend where you live and so local advice will be best!!!!!!!!!  And hopefully a teacher or counselor or vice-principal or someone like that might talk to you about this, maybe you can make an appointment. 

 

But anyway, where I have lived, you can request an evaluation, but they can decline to evaluate. 

 

And I'm not sure that what you are putting is making a strong case to evaluate.  Especially if her current grades are good and any standardized testing she has done is fine. 

 

So I feel like -- if you write a letter like this, or you write a letter and then the school gathers information aka your child's grades and any standardized test scores, and they are fine/good, then I don't know if they are going to go ahead with an eval. 

 

I think you need to have a strong case to evaluate. 

 

I think maybe...... the reading -- if she is a weak reader, maybe this is something.  Ask the teacher if anything from school will show her as a weak reader.  Or, maybe the test anxiety is something.  Or, maybe you will find out that she is currently being provided a lot of things that are at an IEP level of accommodation, and you can document it that way. 

 

I think the things like homework help one day a week, extra time on tests, and correcting tests, can come across like they are just regular things.  If they are really more than just regular things, I think you need to make a point that it's not usual for students at the school to be given those accommodations, or something like that. 

 

It might be that you live in a place where they don't decline to evaluate kids, though.  It's just that is something that happens where I have lived, that a parent can write a letter requesting evaluation, and then get a letter back saying that the school doesn't think there are adequate reasons to evaluate.  Then you can go back and forth on that, or bring in a private evaluation.  There are still options there.  But I think if you can, ask somebody knowledgeable about it if you are making a strong case with your points in your letter.  Unless you have some kind of "evidence" showing a low score or low performance or a lot of accommodations -- and then I think make sure to put that really clearly. 

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I've gone through this a little bit with my older son, and frankly I think unless the teacher you talk to thinks it is a sure thing, then it doesn't sound like a sure thing.  Then you have to make a good case. 

 

It's just not like it's an automatic thing that if you request an eval you will automatically get an eval and get an IEP.  I think sometimes it will come across that way hearing people talk about it, but it's not something where just because a parent requests an eval then it is all going to happen. 

 

You also might find, that she does have some needs, but they aren't something where she is going to have an IEP.

 

However there might be alternate ways that kids get help in school, besides the IEP route.  That's actually pretty common, too. 

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I should probably clarify that the reason her math / geography teacher is giving her more time on some tests, and giving the math assignments in advance,  is because I talked to him early in the year and asked him if he would do this for her.  I don't think many others (if any) are getting this help.  He doesn't do it all the time for my kid, either, but he is definitely going easy on her. 

 

He agrees that she works really hard, listens well in class, etc.  He has mentioned that she should maybe spend less time trying to be perfect ... I suspect he thinks this is partly a choice she makes (being slow).

 

Regarding test re-do's, a couple teachers allow this if kids bomb the test.  It applies depending on how low the score was.

 

As far as reading - her results vary wildly on different tests.  I think it boils down to - she is good at comprehension and oral reading.  She is not efficient at silent reading or remembering content.  It may sound strange, getting a high score on comprehension but not remembering enough content.  But that is how the scores come out.

 

She has had vision problems and has an appointment this coming Tuesday to decide if she needs vision therapy this summer.

 

Re private testing, I don't think it's a realistic option from what I've heard.  Also, I have had a bad experience with private testing with my other kid (long story), so I would really rather go with the school if I'm going to test.

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I do think that in my state, they have to test if I write a letter asking them to test.

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Okay — I would request it. If they will test with just a letter, then that is nice! Really! You really can go ahead with testing and as far as I know it doesn’t obligate you to anything with an IEP.

 

I think go ahead, see what happens, and go from there.

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I do think that in my state, they have to test if I write a letter asking them to test.

My school district will test if I put a request in. However it won’t be a comprehensive one and would be focusing strictly on learning disabilities. Also no guarantee on quality of tester which was what my neighbor faced with dyslexia testing.

 

Is she the daughter that underwent the “disastrous†WISC testing? After your experience with WISC testing and considering your children’s age, I would get solid recommendations for private testers and get more comprehensive evaluations done once and for all.

 

Now that even my DS12 is in teen mode, we are glad we did one round of testing while he was not a moody preteen and was wanting answers to why he is such a slow worker. While my kids have not participate in any youth Mensa activities, having the membership was a self esteem boost for my DS12.

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I know this more for the state I moved from, but there is some kind of wording that they have to consider your child for evaluation. But this can mean they look at your child’s records and at the letter and see if they think an evaluation is warranted or not.

 

Then they can also recommend certain things for the evaluation. And, they might not recommend the kind of testing you would like to have. They can recommend more basic testing or less comprehensive testing.

 

They can give a screening and then only do the more in-depth testing if the screening shows something.

 

Things like that. Anyway — just something to be aware of.

 

But if you are hearing they will do thorough testing in your state, then you don’t need to keep an eye out for things like that.

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My school district will test if I put a request in. However it won’t be a comprehensive one and would be focusing strictly on learning disabilities. Also no guarantee on quality of tester which was what my neighbor faced with dyslexia testing.

 

Is she the daughter that underwent the “disastrous†WISC testing? After your experience with WISC testing and considering your children’s age, I would get solid recommendations for private testers and get more comprehensive evaluations done once and for all.

 

Now that even my DS12 is in teen mode, we are glad we did one round of testing while he was not a moody preteen and was wanting answers to why he is such a slow worker. While my kids have not participate in any youth Mensa activities, having the membership was a self esteem boost for my DS12.

 

The daughter who had the WISC disaster was not this one.  That was done by a private psychologist, which is why I have no desire to try private at this point. 

 

This child who is the subject of this immediate thread topic is not suspected of having a high IQ.  Maybe a few points above 100 but not gifted.  She does have some strong areas, such as ability to think ahead and plan.  She finds some areas of math easy and others hard.  It's strange.  But giftedness is not what I'm expecting with this kid.

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SKL, we are in the same state. The school really can decline to evaluate. It happened to my family (although in our case, it was a tactic to delay evaluations that eventually took place, for reasons specific to our circumstances).But we got a "decline to evaluate" notice in writing. In any case, legally, the school can decline, saying they do not have evidence to suspect a disability, even if the parent submits evidence (we had private evaluation reports in hand).

 

That is not to say that it will happen to you. Just that it is possible.

 

I do think you have some reasons to have concerns that warrant evaluations, from your OP. But the schools we have dealt with really do want teachers to also say that they agree evaluations should happen. If the teachers will not agree, the IEP team can decide not to evaluate. The decision is made by a team that consists of at least one classroom teacher, a representative from the special education department of the public school, a representative from the school, anyone else considered important to include (there is some leeway), and the parent(s). So the parents really do have a say. But they are just one voice, and if everyone else disagrees, they can decline to evaluate.

 

Edited by Storygirl

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I would get the testing done for my kid. If she qualifies for help/different strategies, this would be a good thing as she gets closer to high school. And I say this as a former high school math teacher. Testing only gets harder, math only gets harder, and if there are strategies that make for a more level playing field for her, you want her to have that. I had students who had extra time on tests--that doesn't guarantee that they do well on the tests, but it does take away that time pressure anxiety. And if she qualifies for that kind of aid, I know that it can follow her at least to community college.

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About the reading... I would ask specifically for them to test for general reading (decoding) and for reading comprehension. There is such a thing as SLD (specific learning disability) in reading comprehension. DS13 has this listed on his IEP, though he does not have SLD reading.

 

DS13 actually scored well enough on the reading comprehension testing that they gave, and it was the statement from his teacher about his difficulties, as well as our statement as parents that convinced the school to list SLD reading comprehension on his IEP. The test that the psych gave had auditory components -- everything was either read aloud to him or was on tape -- and DS does much better with auditory input. Since that is the case for your daughter as well, I would bring that up specifically and ask how they can test for comprehension during silent reading.

 

DS13's reading comprehension is weird, because, as I said, he can sometimes do okay on comprehension tests that ask for him to recall details from the story. He can remember details, such as what the character said or did. His issue is that he does not understand the meaning of the story, or the overall point. He cannot understand inference. So he can do well on on comprehension test, depending entirely on the kind of questions that are asked.

 

I don't want to derail your thread, but I'd be happy to PM you about what we've learned about DS's comprehension issues, if you are interested.

 

And, you don't mention this, but if you think there may be any social issues -- "social" is a broad word here that includes pragmatic language, not just social interactions -- those issues can actually affect reading comprehension. I mention that, because it is not a connection that people might make automatically. The school can do testing for these kind of social issues, and the testing would be done by a speech pathologist. Which is also not an obvious thing --- to have a SLP do testing to help figure out reading comprehension and social issues.

 

That may not apply to your case at all, but I thought I'd mention it.

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I understand what Lecka has been saying, and I agree with her that some people might think there is not enough evidence to get the school to evaluate, based on what you wrote.

 

But I also know what it is like to prop a child up so much at home, just so they can keep up with the classroom expectations, and to see things that perhaps the teachers don't see as clearly. Because they have a lot of kids in the classroom, and as long as someone is seeming to keep up, they might think they are doing okay. And it can be frustrating and discouraging and tiring for both the child and the parent.

 

And it can be evidence of a learning disability or another issue. I hope that you can check in with her teachers and see if they see what you see.

 

If they don't, it may be worth thinking about private testing. I know you said you don't want this, but you could find someone else to do it this time. And with private testing showing an issue, it is harder for the school to deny that there is evidence of possible disability. Because you have some evidence right there to show them. It is possible to have private testing done and not get a diagnosis, of course (we've had that happen, too, with a different child, but even that testing was revealing and showed us what was causing the issues, even though they were not clinically diagnosable).

 

I hope you can get the help you need from the school instead, though, since that is what you desire. Schools are not the greatest at figuring out what is causing unusual issues (like comprehension issues in someone who can also do well with comprehension), however, so there is a chance you could go through the school testing and feel like there are still things you would like to know that they did not answer for you.

 

I would want to pursue the evaluations for a possible IEP, if it were my child you were describing in the OP. But you might want to see if you have a teacher on your side before you move forward. I think it's good to do it now instead of waiting until next year, because this year's teachers have now had many months to get to know your child and should have valuable input.

 

Also, do you know who to submit the letter to? Just in case .. A copy should go to both your private school and the public school. If you live in a different public school district than the district that the private school is located in... it starts to get a bit trickier. But your private school should be able to tell you which public school to submit the request to. We had some confusion about where to submit our letters, so I wanted to mention it.

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I would ask them to test all the math categories as well. There are at least two and maybe three different aspects of math that they test for. The math SLD can be SLD computation or SLD problem solving. DS13 has all of the math disabilities. But he is still good at some parts of math, while other parts are harder. His math disability tests as being very severe, but even so, it is not always obvious to the math teacher.

 

I could go on about that, but again I don't want to clog up your thread if you aren't interested.

 

It's just that some of the things you say sound like the way DS's disabilities present.

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So, here’s the thing. IDEA is changing the way students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) are identified and placed. In 2020 schools can no longer use the discrepancy model to place students for services. We had private testing done for our oldest several years ago and due to the new requirements in the DSM-V, our child did not qualify for very much despite having a huge discrepancy. The reason being that performance was within the “normalâ€/“grade level†range. So despite a large discrepancy in both reading and writing (less with math) and the psych saying this child had the classic markers of dyslexia, she could not give our child that label.

 

However, testing was useful in identifying major executive function issues (namely working the memory and processing speed). We have been able to get accommodations for ACT and the SAT (after appealing for one of them) with our diagnosis. The school provides accommodations through a 504, but our child really needs them on standardized tests, not so much on school administered tests (and a 504 is a joke at our school as far as I am concerned). We are also creating a paper trail which will be necessary for our child to receive accommodations in college.

 

I have been out of the field for quite some time, but when I was teaching it was understood private evals were far more thorough than the standard battery provided at school. You will get much better feedback and concrete information/strategies with the right private eval. The school does not have to use a private assessment in providing services. If you want to pursue testing, you should start ASAP, as the school has 90 days from the referral to complete the testing; that is half a school year in my state. It seems you are not interested in going the private route, but in our district a kid that is performing at grade level or slightly below is very unlikely to be referred for testing, even if the parent requests it. They will likely take your request, look at their data and say they do not recommend your child for testing. If you make enough of a fuss, they will probably do it rather than deal with due process. I cannot remember what the law says about parental requests when the school does not feel testing is warranted.

 

That was ramble and probably choke full o’ typos, as I am on my phone at the trampoline park on a Friday night. (I need a wig out smiley here!)

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Apple, do you have a link that explains the changes that will be made to IDEA in 2020? I can't find anything with the way I am searching.

 

I think right now in our state, school districts have leeway to decide whether or not to diagnosis by discrepancy.  I did find this article explaining discrepancy, but it is old. http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr05/idea.aspx

 

 

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There is no harm in asking the school to test her, but has others have said, the school may say that she does not show an "educational need" because her grades are too high.

If that is the case, you may have to stop helping so much. The school needs to see what she can do on her own. The "educational need" often translates to "low grades."

 

Most schools will not do much if anything for test anxiety. Have you considered some kind of counseling?

Edited by City Mouse

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About your worries about having IEP be a branding... I don't think that is the case. An IEP actually provides protections for the student within the school to get the services that are needed.

 

An IEP may actually open up college opportunities, because an accommodation such as extra time on testing can help the student to do better on the ACT and/or SAT. At college, using the disability services can help the student achieve to his or her ability, which then may open up better job opportunities later on.

 

Employers would not need to know the student ever had an IEP, unless the person chooses to disclose their disability.

 

Two of my children have IEPs, and one has a 504. One of my kids with an IEP is likely not college bound, but the other two are (unless they choose a different path).

 

None of my kids has felt poorly about him- or herself, due to being tested and having an IEP. Do we talk about it, and do they have questions sometimes? Sure. One of my kids dislikes being pulled out of class for intervention help. So we talk about that at times. But there is no doubt that the extra help is needed for him. He wishes he didn't need the extra help, because he finds it annoying, but it doesn't make him feel badly about himself.

 

My daughter has dyslexia and is in a private school for children with dyslexia and other LDs. One of the things they emphasize is that students who find the most success have learned how to advocate for themselves and their needs. Being able to name her LDs and talk about them has only been positive for her.

 

I'm sure there are kids who hate the evaluation process (really, no one likes it) and resist the idea of having a learning disability. Because there are all types of people in the world. But you can model a positive attitude, and hopefully that would make a difference.

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I have gone back and forth on this before over the years, so please forgive the redundancy

 

My daughter has always been a "pretty good student," but only because she puts in a lot of work and gets a fair amount of support, as well as some grace from some of the teachers.  From time to time it gets to be too much as she is up way past bedtime with homework or test study.  Also, she bombs many tests, and her grades tend to be propped up by doing excellent on the homework that I have reviewed or helped her with.

 

This year, 6th grade, has gone pretty well because she has the following helps - but these helps are not guaranteed by the school, because she does not have an IEP.

  • Once a week, a tutor at school helps her with homework.
  • Her math teacher usually provides assignments to me in advance so she can work on the weekend vs. being up late into the night.
  • She is given extra time to finish some tests.
  • Some teachers allow kids to improve their grade by re-doing tests at home.
  • Sometimes I read her textbook chapters to her, since reading is slow and tiring for her.
  • We listen to audiobooks which she tests on to get AR points.
  • She does an hour of "homework help" at Sylvan each week.
  • I help her to understand her homework (as needed) and usually review it before she hands it in.

I would also note that some of her issue is "test anxiety," i.e. she forgets what she knows when taking a test.  But she also has what she calls "memory problems."  She can memorize, but tasks that require both recall and logic are a challenge for her.  She can do most of it given time, but the testing process does not give the time she needs.

 

Without the help she receives, I am pretty confident she would still get passing grades, possibly "merit roll," but it would make her one of the lowest achievers in her class, which would not be great for her morale.

 

I am working with her on improving her study skills, which I think will help on several levels.  However, I am not sure whether that will be enough as the work gets harder and more complex.

 

On the other hand, I worry that testing / IEP will brand her, not only from the schools' perspective, but also from her own.  She aspires to a professional career in adulthood.  Maybe her brain will still re-wire or she will find ways to learn what she needs to know as she gets older.  She has many strengths.  I don't want anything to hold her back unnecessarily.

 

In this scenario, would you send in the letter to start the testing process?  I need to decide now, or it will be too late to get things in place for 7th grade.

 

Absolutely I would send the letter for testing. 

 

The kind of accomodations the school is giving her now are typical for an IEP. Some accommodations such as longer time for tests can be given to kids in college. 

 

If she needs these accommodations in 6th grade, it's not likely to suddenly go away in 12th grade but without an IEP, the help might. 

 

You know what "brands" kids? Wondering what's wrong with themselves. I don't know how many times I have tried to explain to parents that without appropriate testing and clinical findings, kids will label themselves some form of "bad" (lazy, undisciplined, etc.), "stupid" (when they might be average to well above average in intelligence, but have a specific learning disability), or "weird."  OTOH when someone explains to a kid: This is how your brain works and these are the kinds of things we can do to help, they find it empowering. 

 

One of the things I repeatedly told my son who has multiple issues is that kids who have challenges as kids and overcome them are better off (more resilient, more able to deal with what life throws at them) than kids for whom everything came easily. On any Ivy League campus, you'll find formerly big fish from little ponds utterly unable to cope with an episode of failure, for instance. 

 

Look for examples of people with her same issues who have succeeded in life to give her role models. 

 

If you are accepting of her differences, it's likely that she will be as well. Additionally, the information that you get from testing will give you lots of areas to explore. 

 

There is not shame in having challenges. There is an opportunity for growth, overcoming, and development of strength. 

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I have been out of the field for quite some time, but when I was teaching it was understood private evals were far more thorough than the standard battery provided at school. You will get much better feedback and concrete information/strategies with the right private eval. The school does not have to use a private assessment in providing services. If you want to pursue testing, you should start ASAP, as the school has 90 days from the referral to complete the testing; that is half a school year in my state. It seems you are not interested in going the private route, but in our district a kid that is performing at grade level or slightly below is very unlikely to be referred for testing, even if the parent requests it. They will likely take your request, look at their data and say they do not recommend your child for testing. If you make enough of a fuss, they will probably do it rather than deal with due process. I cannot remember what the law says about parental requests when the school does not feel testing is warranted.

 

That was ramble and probably choke full o’ typos, as I am on my phone at the trampoline park on a Friday night. (I need a wig out smiley here!)

 

If you get the school to do testing, they will usually at least do a WISC and an achievement test. A private psych can use that material if it is recent enough, but you'll save $$ because the school testing is free. Private testing with someone with an expertise (I'd look for a neuropsychologist) is going to give you a much broader scope of information than school testing. 

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  • Once a week, a tutor at school helps her with homework.
  • Her math teacher usually provides assignments to me in advance so she can work on the weekend vs. being up late into the night.
  • She is given extra time to finish some tests.
  • Some teachers allow kids to improve their grade by re-doing tests at home.
  • Sometimes I read her textbook chapters to her, since reading is slow and tiring for her.
  • We listen to audiobooks which she tests on to get AR points.
  • She does an hour of "homework help" at Sylvan each week.
  • I help her to understand her homework (as needed) and usually review it before she hands it in.

 

 

 

I would definitely test. She is getting quite a lot of support and accommodations; I think you are underestimating how much of a difference they are making. 

 

Having an IEP in childhood has nothing to do with pursuing a professional career in adulthood, and IEPs do not hold you back. You can have an IEP and be in advanced classes. As far as affecting the way she thinks about herself, surely she is not unaware that she is getting support and accommodations? She has to know that not everyone gets homework ahead of schedule, extra time on tests, and so on. Kids are rarely blind to their own struggles, and often relieved to discover they have a specific cause. 

 

 

You also need to think of it in terms above and beyond accommodations. She might indeed move past many of these struggles by adulthood, but the best chance of that happening is to know, as much as possible, what the specific issues are and get strategies to address them. 

 

Yep, do it now, and maybe it can all be in place by next year. 

Edited by katilac
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Apple, do you have a link that explains the changes that will be made to IDEA in 2020? I can't find anything with the way I am searching.

 

I think right now in our state, school districts have leeway to decide whether or not to diagnosis by discrepancy.  I did find this article explaining discrepancy, but it is old. http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr05/idea.aspx

This explains the change in definition in the DSM-V diagnosis criteria: https://dyslexiaida.org/dsm-5-changes-in-diagnostic-criteria-for-specific-learning-disabilities-sld1-what-are-the-implications/ 

 

My state is still using the discrepancy model, but my understanding is that it should be phasing out. The focus now is on MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) and RTI (response to intervention), at least in my state. 

 

https://www.asha.org/Advocacy/federal/idea/IDEA-Part-B-Issue-Brief-Identification-of-Specific-Learning-Disabilities/ This explains my understanding of the changes to Part B of IDEA. 

 

States have always had leeway in how they interpreted the law and qualified students for a SLD because the verbage was vague (I can't remember the exact wording, but IDEA didn't specifically define the criteria), but in 2008 only two states were using an alternative method that was not discrepancy based to identify students with SLD. When I was teaching we straight up used the "15 points between IQ and achievement qualifies a student for services" benchmark. I believe the shift away from the discrepancy model is due to the disproportionality in identification in SLD.  

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I do think that in my state, they have to test if I write a letter asking them to test.

No. They have to evaluate if they will test or not and give you notice of their decision in 20 business days. These things are proscribed by federal law. Schools very often decline to initiate an evaluation. You have the right to appeal their decision should they refuse.

 

Generally speaking, an outside evaluation or diagnosis will speed things up. Getting schools to offer an accomodation for an established issue is often easier than getting schools to pay for a full evaluation. Just something to consider.

 

If the teachers are providing that level of accommodation, they may be in favor of an evaluation to help her keep those accommodations as she progresses.

Edited by LucyStoner

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There is no harm in asking the school to test her, but has others have said, the school may say that she does not show an "educational need" because her grades are too high.

If that is the case, you may have to stop helping so much. The school needs to see what she can do on her own. The "educational need" often translates to "low grades."

 

Most schools will not do much if anything for test anxiety. Have you considered some kind of counseling?

Educational impact can be documented in other ways than poor grades or academic struggles. My sons both have IEPs but both have always performed at or very far ahead of grade level. Bringing in outside evaluations was necessary.

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I definitely don’t see any reason not to persue an IEP if she qualifies. I don’t think it “brands†a student and I also don’t think that it should be something that discourages her. I frame it with my sons, especially my older son, as something that empowers him and allows him to access the best possible resources. He knows he struggles more than the average kid with some things. He’d know that with or without an IEP. With the IEP though, he knows that there’s a legitimate explaination for those struggles.

 

My husband needed a diagnosis and an IEP. He didn’t get one. He went through high school attributing his struggles and deficits to personal failure and not understanding why certain things were hard for him. He’s super smart and can teach himself any instrument and is crazy talented at picking up new languages. He was a national merit scholar and has many talents. He graduated high school with a high GPA not because he knew how to study but because he largely didn’t need to study because he was talented and the school wasn’t that rigorous. He also failed out of college his first time around over what amounted to executive functioning deficits.

 

I think my sons are infinitely better off understanding their strengths and weaknesses than my husband was attributing his weaknesses to a failure he was unable to avert or prevent.

Edited by LucyStoner
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If you get the school to do testing, they will usually at least do a WISC and an achievement test. A private psych can use that material if it is recent enough, but you'll save $$ because the school testing is free. Private testing with someone with an expertise (I'd look for a neuropsychologist) is going to give you a much broader scope of information than school testing. 

 

 

School psychologists must administer an IQ test (typically the WISC, but districts have options) and an achievement test (often the Woodcock-Johnson, but again there are options and it does not have to be administered by a psychologist). Yes, the school is free. You will save a bunch of money having testing done through the school. I am sharing my experience that you will typically have a much more detailed report of strengths and weaknesses with a private eval and a much more detailed picture of your child's learning.

 

School's do not have accept private testing. I am not trying to dissuade anyone from using the school's services, it is just my experience that sometimes you have a kid who you know is struggling, school tests, student doesn't qualify for services and you don't really have anything to move forward with. Schools aren't generally looking at executive function skills, working memory and processing speed because they don't get you services (although they can be markers of ADHD), but those areas can have a tremendous impact on a student's performance.

 

**It is important to note (just general, not to Laurie4b directly), services are not automatically provided because a disability is identified. The disability must adversely impact the child's educational performance and their ability to perform in the general ed curriculum. Students who are making adequate progress in the general ed curriculum do not need specialized instruction, thus (likely) wouldn't receive services. The law mandates a free and appropriate education, but does not mandate an ideal education. 

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No. They have to evaluate if they will test or not and give you notice of their decision in 20 business days. These things are proscribed by federal law. Schools very often decline to initiate an evaluation. You have the right to appeal their decision should they refuse.

 

Generally speaking, an outside evaluation or diagnosis will speed things up. Getting schools to offer an accomodation for an established issue is often easier than getting schools to pay for a full evaluation. Just something to consider.

 

If the teachers are providing that level of accommodation, they may be in favor of an evaluation to help her keep those accommodations as she progresses.

Right. You as a parent have a right to request an evaluation and IDEA requires students who qualify for services be located under "Child Find", but the school multi-disciplinary team will meet to review the data and determine if there is evidence to move forward with an evaluation. 

 

Also, just because this year's teachers are willing to accommodate, does not mean next year's will be. At some point, she will run into a teacher who will not accommodate or the district will not legally be allowed to because the student does not have a documented disability (I am thinking state administered tests with time limits). Having legal protection (an IEP or 504 plan) means the school/teachers must provide those accommodations. 

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Last thing I will add, I promise! As far as identifying students and the potential stigma, I just want to say it is very common for students to have various plans these days. My kid came home just this week talking about so and so who also has a 504. It has been empowering for my kid to know that there is a brain processing issue that makes learning and focusing difficult.

 

I struggled mightily in high school and always thought I was dumb. I was embarrassed by teachers for my horrendous spelling and inability to use correct subject-verb agreement. I left the ACT and SAT tests shell shocked and demoralized. I am almost certain I have a brain based learning difference (highly likely given my kid's diagnosis and the difficulties presented by a couple other kids of mine, strong genetic component). It took me a long time and a very successful college career to realize I am indeed of at least average intelligence. Maturing and learning strategies helped, but it may have been even better to have been actively working on those strategies in high school with someone in my corner. 

 

I do not know your child's school at all, but the schools I have worked in and the schools my children have attended have all had kids with a wide range of abilities. A good classroom culture nurtures each student and recognizes we are all different. And really, getting your daughter supports in place before heading to high school can make a word of difference AND you will absolutely need documentation for ANY requests for accommodations from the standardized test giants and college. 

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Right. You as a parent have a right to request an evaluation and IDEA requires students who qualify for services be located under "Child Find", but the school multi-disciplinary team will meet to review the data and determine if there is evidence to move forward with an evaluation. 

 

Also, just because this year's teachers are willing to accommodate, does not mean next year's will be. At some point, she will run into a teacher who will not accommodate or the district will not legally be allowed to because the student does not have a documented disability (I am thinking state administered tests with time limits). Having legal protection (an IEP or 504 plan) means the school/teachers must provide those accommodations. 

 

Parents have the right to request an evaluation but these days it takes one year of data collection (progress reporting) and reading and/or math interventions before schools will do a full evaluation for an IEP for learning disabilities. It's incredibly frustrating to teachers/students/families to wait for the calendar pages to turn over, knowing higher levels of support are needed than is possible without an IEP.

 

http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/research/progress-monitoring-within-a-rti-model

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I have gone back and forth on this before over the years, so please forgive the redundancy

 

My daughter has always been a "pretty good student," but only because she puts in a lot of work and gets a fair amount of support, as well as some grace from some of the teachers.  From time to time it gets to be too much as she is up way past bedtime with homework or test study.  Also, she bombs many tests, and her grades tend to be propped up by doing excellent on the homework that I have reviewed or helped her with.

 

This year, 6th grade, has gone pretty well because she has the following helps - but these helps are not guaranteed by the school, because she does not have an IEP.

  • Once a week, a tutor at school helps her with homework.
  • Her math teacher usually provides assignments to me in advance so she can work on the weekend vs. being up late into the night.
  • She is given extra time to finish some tests.
  • Some teachers allow kids to improve their grade by re-doing tests at home.
  • Sometimes I read her textbook chapters to her, since reading is slow and tiring for her.
  • We listen to audiobooks which she tests on to get AR points.
  • She does an hour of "homework help" at Sylvan each week.
  • I help her to understand her homework (as needed) and usually review it before she hands it in.

I would also note that some of her issue is "test anxiety," i.e. she forgets what she knows when taking a test.  But she also has what she calls "memory problems."  She can memorize, but tasks that require both recall and logic are a challenge for her.  She can do most of it given time, but the testing process does not give the time she needs.

 

Without the help she receives, I am pretty confident she would still get passing grades, possibly "merit roll," but it would make her one of the lowest achievers in her class, which would not be great for her morale.

 

I am working with her on improving her study skills, which I think will help on several levels.  However, I am not sure whether that will be enough as the work gets harder and more complex.

 

On the other hand, I worry that testing / IEP will brand her, not only from the schools' perspective, but also from her own.  She aspires to a professional career in adulthood.  Maybe her brain will still re-wire or she will find ways to learn what she needs to know as she gets older.  She has many strengths.  I don't want anything to hold her back unnecessarily.

 

In this scenario, would you send in the letter to start the testing process?  I need to decide now, or it will be too late to get things in place for 7th grade.

 

Does she have an official diagnosis from a Psychologist or doctor?  

 

If so, given the info above, I would aim for a 504 and not an IEP.

 

I am the 504 Coordinator at our school.  I can answer questions for you.  

 

504s are not state specific, so the answers should be the same in your school.

 

And 504s can follow you to college for accommodations.  

it really is no big deal.  She won't go to "special classes" or anything.  

 

Off the top of my head I can tell you the following accommodations are from the drop down menu on the computer 504 list:

 

1. Extra time on tests/homework/whatever

2. Separate setting of no more than 14 students for tests

3. Computer Real Aloud (with headphones)

 

Edited by DawnM
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Parents have the right to request an evaluation but these days it takes one year of data collection (progress reporting) and reading and/or math interventions before schools will do a full evaluation for an IEP for learning disabilities. It's incredibly frustrating to teachers/students/families to wait for the calendar pages to turn over, knowing higher levels of support are needed than is possible without an IEP.

 

http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/research/progress-monitoring-within-a-rti-model

Yes, that is one of the reasons I am in favor of private evals and suggested one up thread. It is a lengthy process and you are one of many if you are going through the school.

 

Edited to add-And in my experience, a kids who is not disruptive and has average to above average grades/classroom performance is not going to be high on the school's priority list. Kids like that get services because their parents are squeaky wheels. 

 

SKL, you may find the book Bright Kids Who Can't Keep Up: Help Your Child Overcome Slow Processing Speed and Succeed in a Fast Paced World a helpful read.

Edited by AppleGreen

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I seem to recall that your ds attends a private school. I don’t think private schools have to follow the same laws a public schools.

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Parents have the right to request an evaluation but these days it takes one year of data collection (progress reporting) and reading and/or math interventions before schools will do a full evaluation for an IEP for learning disabilities. It's incredibly frustrating to teachers/students/families to wait for the calendar pages to turn over, knowing higher levels of support are needed than is possible without an IEP.

 

http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/research/progress-monitoring-within-a-rti-model

 

Federal law actually prohibits delaying evaluations in order to do RTI. RTI time must be conducted within the 60 day evaluation period. Yes, schools have used RTI to delay evaluations, which is why the government clarified that they are not supposed to do so.

 

With that said, there are some loopholes that schools can use as a delay tactic. However, once a parent submits a written request for evaluations, the school has to follow the federal requirements regarding time. If they choose to REFUSE to evaluate, saying they do not have classroom data to support the claim that there may be a disability, they can do so, but they have to decline to evaluate, not just delay. (I won't go into details, but this happened to us).

 

If a parent brings up concerns verbally, the school can respond by saying they will collect RTI data first and do so in whatever time they desire.  Often parents will discuss things with the school and accept the school's "this is the way we do it here" response. But if the parent presents a written request, it triggers the legal federal timeline.

 

The legal timeline under IDEA --- the school has:

 

* 30 days after receiving a written request to evaluate in order to decide if there is enough evidence to warrant doing the evaluations (this is where they can decline)

 

* 60 days to complete all evaluations and compile the report that is presented to the evaluation team (parents are included on the team). At this meeting, it will be decided if the student should have an IEP or not.

 

* 30 days to complete the IEP document if one is needed.

 

 

 

 

I seem to recall that your ds attends a private school. I don’t think private schools have to follow the same laws a public schools.

 

Private schools do not have to agree to accept a student with IEPs and do not have to serve the IEP. So if a student in their school has an IEP, they are not required to follow it. Some private schools will follow an IEP and have intervention services (the schools my kids attend do). But it can be hard to find one; we had very limited choices of schools that would meet my kids' documented needs.

 

However, public schools MUST evaluate students, even if they are private school students. So a private school student will be evaluated by the public school if learning disabilities are suspected.

 

How well the private and public schools work together can vary. Whether the public school will actually write an IEP (a separate step from conducting the evaluations) for a non-enrolled student can also vary, depending upon each state's laws.

 

SKL, I can give some information about the state law about this in a PM if you are interested.

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SKL, I agree with DawnM that a 504 plan can include most of the accommodations that you mentioned.

 

And it does not require undergoing the full school evaluations to get one. For my son with a 504, we brought in the psych report, and the school wrote the 504 based on that, with input from us and the teachers.

 

DH and I had been working closely with the (4th and then 5th grade) teachers to find ways to support him, because the teachers saw the struggles. During that time, we were pursuing various avenues of private testing, and we requested the 504 once we had the diagnosis. The teachers talked about what accommodations had been tried and were effective for him, and we built the 504 plan around that.

 

It sounds like you have at least one teacher who has provided accommodations who could speak to how they are important for your child.

 

A diagnosis for a 504 does not have to be a learning disability but can be for ADHD or anxiety or a medical condition.

 

The 504 was written by our private school and did not involve the public school or their evaluation process at all.

 

I don't think a 504 would provide tutoring. If extra teaching is required, that would be covered under an IEP instead.

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This explains the change in definition in the DSM-V diagnosis criteria: https://dyslexiaida.org/dsm-5-changes-in-diagnostic-criteria-for-specific-learning-disabilities-sld1-what-are-the-implications/

 

My state is still using the discrepancy model, but my understanding is that it should be phasing out. The focus now is on MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) and RTI (response to intervention), at least in my state.

 

https://www.asha.org/Advocacy/federal/idea/IDEA-Part-B-Issue-Brief-Identification-of-Specific-Learning-Disabilities/ This explains my understanding of the changes to Part B of IDEA.

 

States have always had leeway in how they interpreted the law and qualified students for a SLD because the verbage was vague (I can't remember the exact wording, but IDEA didn't specifically define the criteria), but in 2008 only two states were using an alternative method that was not discrepancy based to identify students with SLD. When I was teaching we straight up used the "15 points between IQ and achievement qualifies a student for services" benchmark. I believe the shift away from the discrepancy model is due to the disproportionality in identification in SLD.

But is SKL is correct and this child has an IQ just over 100 she is actually performing several standard deviations above ability. It is taking a lot of support but wouldn't that be expected in the circumstances. Most kids with that IQ would be B/C students not A students.

 

The reading though I would look into though perhaps it is the vision again and more vision training will help.

 

eta. And maybe an IQ test because I underestimated ds10's by a couple of standard deviations. If her IQ is closer to 120 or 130 that changes things a lot.

Edited by kiwik

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The IQ issue is trickier than that, though. There are several subtests that reveal strengths and weaknesses. Many people with learning issues find that there is an area (or more) where the subtests are substantially lower than the overall IQ, and that gap explains the difficulties.

 

And the scores on the achievement tests run by the psych will not necessarily line up with the student's grades. Schools calculate grades in such varying ways. For example, someone who does well on homework but struggles on tests can still get a good grade in the class if the homework is given enough weight in the grading. But when that student takes the achievement and IQ testing, the scores are more revealing of raw ability.

Edited by Storygirl
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Right, I think my kid is reasonably intelligent, but her talents don't translate to learning genius.  When she was tested informally at age 6, her achievement %ile was above her IQ.  That is probably still true in terms of grades, though her achievement testing increasingly reflects her difficulties.

 

 

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Right, I think my kid is reasonably intelligent, but her talents don't translate to learning genius. When she was tested informally at age 6, her achievement %ile was above her IQ. That is probably still true in terms of grades, though her achievement testing increasingly reflects her difficulties.

There’s also the issue of gaps between IQ level and processing speed, workinf memory etc. Such testing can show the need for accommodations. You will almost always get more detail with a private vs. school evaluation.

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That's a lot of help!

 

I would try to get a handle on why that is. Unfortunately school IEP testing only tells you "what" and not "why." So, whether her reading issues are due to visual processing, language processing, or some other deficiency is not diagnosed. Schools are not allowed to make any medical diagnosis whatsoever; that is the big advantage for private testing. See if you can get a referral to a different provider than the one you used before. (You'll probably know you've found someone with a great reputation if they have a long waiting list to get in.)

 

Do the IEP, too, to keep her supports in place. The pace of instruction picks up in the teen years and you risk having her fall behind.

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For those who did private testing, how did you start?  I don't just want to randomly pick someone.  I asked my kids' doctor practice (an extensive organization), but they won't recommend anybody because they say this needs to be done through the school.  So far they have not found any medical issue they consider worthy of further testing.  A mom friend gave me the name of her kid's neurologist, but she specializes in epilepsy, so I don't think that will get me anywhere.  ???

 

I have always known there is something not right up there ... never could put a name on it, and medical professionals basically pat me on the head like I'm looking for attention or something.  Or they want to go straight to ADHD without even meeting the kid.

Edited by SKL

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I didn't read all the replies, so this may be a repeat. Several things you said ring very familiar to me for my ds with a diagnosed "expressive language disorder." He is now in ps, and does not have an IEP or 504. I worked with him for years doing remedial work. If he were in a more academic school, I think he would need an IEP. I think testing for your dd would be beneficial, but you need to make sure that it is thorough enough. The testing for ds when he entered ps was very rudimentary, and did not show what his day-to-day work is really like. His work is very inconsistent. I'm okay with his not having an IEP in his current situation, but I follow his grades very closely and try to stay on top of what is going on. If he were in a situation that was more demanding, I would do a new evaluation with a private neuropsychologist if we could afford it.

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For those who did private testing, how did you start?

I'm sorry your doctor wasn't helpful. Talk to the neurologist and see if they recommend someone. Doctors do know who the "names" are in adjacent fields. See if there is a local special needs parents group who might keep a list, You could also try joining an online special needs community like dyslexia advantage and see if there's anyone local to you on the forums.

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Update:  I finally sent the letter to the school.  Immediately the teacher responded that the principal said they must offer more interventions at the school before requesting testing.  They say they want to increase the tutoring services she receives at school, which is fine with me.  I don't know yet whether this will mean they don't test her before 7th grade. 

 

Not sure what classes she will miss for tutoring.  Right now she goes during study hall.  I am cool if they make her miss robotics or even geography, which is frankly just not relevant to her the way they teach it.  I don't want them to stop her from doing choir and band (which are optional), as I believe music instruction / performance is helpful for mental development.  They have kids on IEPs also doing band and choir.

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