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Ways to help ds with very low processing speed headed to public high school


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My ds is going to public high school next year (freshman) after being homeschooled through 8th grade.  Test results showed his processing speed is in the 3rd percentile.  I've spoken with his counselor who said his teachers will work with him as far as letting him have a laptop in class to take notes and extra time for tests, etc.  Are there any apps or other technology that might help him with these learning challenges?  He is taking adderall which is extremely helpful, and he can do the work - just at a much slower speed than other kids his age.  Feeling overwhelming anxiety right now, and any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

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Are they giving him an IEP?

 

Extra time on tests.

Extended due dates on time consuming assignments.

Reduced amounts of busy work.  Such as, instead of 50 math homework problems, he does 25. 

Possibly recording class lectures so note taking isn’t an issue.

Help organize and manage time, distractions when doing homework. 

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Just a suggestion — my 7th grader really likes having study halls and he even gives up electives (aka music and choir opportunities) to have study hall.  It is a break in his day and let’s him have time to do his work during the school day.  

It’s an option if he is not that interested in some electives and has space in his schedule.  

I think this is my son’s choice to make this trade-off, it is what he thinks is a good option for him.

Its too bad though it’s at the expense of electives.  

However my son is also allowed to read or play board games if he has extra time in study hall, and he has been taking chess to play.  So it’s not like study hall is just drudgery, either, it is a nice time in his day.  It’s also the main free reading he does, which I do like.  

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Yes on pursuing the IEP/504, but you probably already know about that from your subbing. Yes on reduced course load and yes on tech. If he's taking a laptop, then he can pair that with a phone and get all his calendars to sync, etc. He can do things like taking pics of the board for assignments, etc. He'll probably find his own apps. You might just sit down and talk about it, but he'll probably soon find his own.

Have you looked at Microsoft One Note? You can do it on mac and pc, and it's amazing. Virtual notebook, syncs to all your devices, can have ANYTHING included embedded docs, files, videos, hyperlinks, you name it.

I don't know what apps my dd is using right now, but he'll google. 

Have you thought about doing metronome work? It's the one thing that we've had some people on the boards here do that helped them go from single digits to 30s for processing speed. That's still a significant discrepancy, but it made the dc more functional. We've had several stories like that, enough that it's worth considering. Wouldn't cost you anything. You literally just download an app and do heathermomster's instructions for 6 weeks and decide for yourself. If you want be extra adventurous, add in digit spans, distractions, etc. as he gets stronger. But basically you just do it 20 minutes a day and see what happens. Totally free. Or pay a therapist $$ and get better results. But either way, we've had people make a jump with it.

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You didn't answer whether the school is evaluating him for an IEP. I hope the answer is yes. Have you started that process? If not, don't wait for the beginning of the school year but request evaluations now, because it takes a long time. Does he have other learning disabilities or ADHD?

DS14 has a super low processing speed. Less than one percent. Many of the things listed already in this thread are in his IEP.  Have you been talking to someone in the special education department, or just someone from the school office?

The reason that I ask is that it is unbelievable to me that there are no study halls allowed. Kids in our area on IEPs have intervention study halls, for example. Whoever is answering your questions may be giving you a standard response, instead of telling you what is offered to kids who have IEPs. Does your school have something other than a study hall time? For example, our sons' middle school calls it "advisory" period, but it really is mostly a study hall.

ETA: By "unbelievable" I don't mean that I don't believe YOU. I mean that the school has to be providing something like a study hall for those kids who need one to be able to "access their education" with help from an IEP.

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Just to answer for Creekmom, she's been subbing. Surely she's aware of the IEP process. A bunch of us have done it here, so we're all like hit the stick, do this! Definitely, definitely, defintely do this.

Are they on some kind of block system?? Why are they not doing a study hall for kids who need it? There's no way in the WORLD it's appropriate for him to be in 7-8 classes a day. That's just asking for burnout and depression, no matter how smart he is. What we saw with my dd, going from the uber quiet of home to the noise of a standard setting (university) was that things came to a head that weren't issues at home. She has issues with noise that weren't prominent at home but were HUGE in a larger setting. There's a lot of stress of just dealing with people and bustle and the EF strain and conversations and organization. 

Can you play hardball and just enroll him part-time? Like force their hand on decreasing the load. He could go half days, which chops their funding, motivating them to make a better plan. If he wants access to sports, might be enough.

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I think learning to use a Livescribe type of pen would be a really good help for lectures. He can practice purposeful "selective hearing"--getting the main points and making marks in his notes where he might have to go back for a re-listen. 

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How many subjects per term and how many classes per day?

 If possible try for a transition year where he has relatively light load as he adjusts. And try to have only one class other than math and English with significant homework demands if the school gives home work. I’d suggest having a class or two that might tend to be good for meeting and interacting with other students—art for example. Drama if it would not be a time drain to memorize lines. And PE  perhaps could be gotten out of the way  

You can ask for reduced number of math (etc) problems—but if he needs those problems to learn how to do them, it won’t be a real gain in his life to do so. Going over some math over summer or starting on the book they’ll use so he goes in ahead might be helpful. 

 

A great deal deal depends on what he is willing to do. For example, My ds (who just finished 9th in ps ) would rather get an F than stand out as “different” with accommodations. Emotional and peer relationships can be difficult at this age. 

For technology, a cell phone that can photograph notes on board could be very helpful. Especially for math, a laptop won’t help much unless he is a wiz at typing numbers and symbols if algebra and even harder if he has geometry with drawings. Also a good cell phone may have decent speech to text function that could help with writing papers, and a sound recorder.

Audio books could help for English and classes with book reading if he is a good auditory learner  

How is his executive functioning? Ability to keep track of things?

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DS19 uses a LiveScribe pen and finds it very useful. His processing speed is in the fifth percentile but the main drivers of his need for the LiveScribe are his terrible handwriting and difficulty looking up from his notes to a board and back again (visual/spatial issues). He has recommendations for several accommodations (longer testing time in a quiet room, etc.) but he's never had need of those. I suspect the areas he's gifted in compensate well for his low processing speed. I can't wrap my mind around a lot of this stuff, so I could be wrong about that but it's my guess. Anyway, academically so far the low processing speed hasn't seemed to be much of a problem at all for him. Socially--yes, I think it's more of an issue.

Our public high schools here are on the semester system. Four classes per semester, no study halls. And most math classes don't have an assigned number of problems that must be completed for homework. The homework is considered practice and the students are allowed to choose how many problems they do.

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On 6/21/2018 at 5:19 PM, Storygirl said:

You didn't answer whether the school is evaluating him for an IEP. I hope the answer is yes. Have you started that process? If not, don't wait for the beginning of the school year but request evaluations now, because it takes a long time. Does he have other learning disabilities or ADHD?

DS14 has a super low processing speed. Less than one percent. Many of the things listed already in this thread are in his IEP.  Have you been talking to someone in the special education department, or just someone from the school office?

The reason that I ask is that it is unbelievable to me that there are no study halls allowed. Kids in our area on IEPs have intervention study halls, for example. Whoever is answering your questions may be giving you a standard response, instead of telling you what is offered to kids who have IEPs. Does your school have something other than a study hall time? For example, our sons' middle school calls it "advisory" period, but it really is mostly a study hall.

ETA: By "unbelievable" I don't mean that I don't believe YOU. I mean that the school has to be providing something like a study hall for those kids who need one to be able to "access their education" with help from an IEP.

I met with his counselor after we received his test scores back (which included some modifications for his classes next year).  I was told that his test results were just one of the requirements for the IEP.  Apparently, there also has to be evidence of him struggling in the class setting, which we don't have since he was homeschooled.  So we can't get the ball officially rolling until he starts school.  I was really concerned when she told me that, but she did say the teachers would allow modifications for him from day 1, they just wouldn't be "official".  My older 2 kids both had her as a counselor, and she has been helpful and easy to work with, so that helps ease my worry a little (but they didn't have learning challenges).  I'm curious what methods/apps/tech etc. have helped your son the most?  He also has ADHD, OCD and anxiety.  (He refuses to use public bathrooms, so that's also fueling my anxiety for next year!!)

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On 6/21/2018 at 5:59 PM, PeterPan said:

Just to answer for Creekmom, she's been subbing. Surely she's aware of the IEP process. A bunch of us have done it here, so we're all like hit the stick, do this! Definitely, definitely, defintely do this.

Are they on some kind of block system?? Why are they not doing a study hall for kids who need it? There's no way in the WORLD it's appropriate for him to be in 7-8 classes a day. That's just asking for burnout and depression, no matter how smart he is. What we saw with my dd, going from the uber quiet of home to the noise of a standard setting (university) was that things came to a head that weren't issues at home. She has issues with noise that weren't prominent at home but were HUGE in a larger setting. There's a lot of stress of just dealing with people and bustle and the EF strain and conversations and organization. 

Can you play hardball and just enroll him part-time? Like force their hand on decreasing the load. He could go half days, which chops their funding, motivating them to make a better plan. If he wants access to sports, might be enough.

I think you might have me confused with someone else - I've never subbed.  I was a teacher for several years before I quit to homeschool, so I'm aware of the IEP.   I was told we can't get the ball rolling (officially) until he's in class and there's evidence of struggle (see post above).  His school has 6 classes per day - 2 of those will be computer gaming classes which I think he'll love.  I do think we could enroll him part time, but the school is half an hour away (and I'm still homeschooling our youngest).   

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On 6/21/2018 at 10:32 PM, Pen said:

How many subjects per term and how many classes per day?

 If possible try for a transition year where he has relatively light load as he adjusts. And try to have only one class other than math and English with significant homework demands if the school gives home work. I’d suggest having a class or two that might tend to be good for meeting and interacting with other students—art for example. Drama if it would not be a time drain to memorize lines. And PE  perhaps could be gotten out of the way  

You can ask for reduced number of math (etc) problems—but if he needs those problems to learn how to do them, it won’t be a real gain in his life to do so. Going over some math over summer or starting on the book they’ll use so he goes in ahead might be helpful. 

 

A great deal deal depends on what he is willing to do. For example, My ds (who just finished 9th in ps ) would rather get an F than stand out as “different” with accommodations. Emotional and peer relationships can be difficult at this age. 

For technology, a cell phone that can photograph notes on board could be very helpful. Especially for math, a laptop won’t help much unless he is a wiz at typing numbers and symbols if algebra and even harder if he has geometry with drawings. Also a good cell phone may have decent speech to text function that could help with writing papers, and a sound recorder.

Audio books could help for English and classes with book reading if he is a good auditory learner  

How is his executive functioning? Ability to keep track of things?

Thank you for the suggestions!  Executive functioning skills are poor.  I plan on reading "Smart but Scattered Teens" this summer and hope that will give us some ideas.

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On 6/22/2018 at 6:31 AM, Pawz4me said:

DS19 uses a LiveScribe pen and finds it very useful. His processing speed is in the fifth percentile but the main drivers of his need for the LiveScribe are his terrible handwriting and difficulty looking up from his notes to a board and back again (visual/spatial issues). He has recommendations for several accommodations (longer testing time in a quiet room, etc.) but he's never had need of those. I suspect the areas he's gifted in compensate well for his low processing speed. I can't wrap my mind around a lot of this stuff, so I could be wrong about that but it's my guess. Anyway, academically so far the low processing speed hasn't seemed to be much of a problem at all for him. Socially--yes, I think it's more of an issue.

Our public high schools here are on the semester system. Four classes per semester, no study halls. And most math classes don't have an assigned number of problems that must be completed for homework. The homework is considered practice and the students are allowed to choose how many problems they do.

My son's handwriting looks like a 2nd grader's (not messy, but large with lots of space between letters).  Does your son ever use a laptop for notes instead of the pen?

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1 hour ago, creekmom said:

My son's handwriting looks like a 2nd grader's (not messy, but large with lots of space between letters).  Does your son ever use a laptop for notes instead of the pen?

He says he prefers the pen because it provides a recording of the lecture.

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4 hours ago, creekmom said:

I met with his counselor after we received his test scores back (which included some modifications for his classes next year).  I was told that his test results were just one of the requirements for the IEP.  Apparently, there also has to be evidence of him struggling in the class setting, which we don't have since he was homeschooled.  So we can't get the ball officially rolling until he starts school.  I was really concerned when she told me that, but she did say the teachers would allow modifications for him from day 1, they just wouldn't be "official".  My older 2 kids both had her as a counselor, and she has been helpful and easy to work with, so that helps ease my worry a little (but they didn't have learning challenges).  I'm curious what methods/apps/tech etc. have helped your son the most?  He also has ADHD, OCD and anxiety.  (He refuses to use public bathrooms, so that's also fueling my anxiety for next year!!)

You're right, I was confusing you with someone else! What they're telling you is typical, and there are a few ways to push it. If you have a behavior like that anxiety where he's refusing to use all public bathrooms, that's a known gig across settings. Did you get a full psych eval? And did you make a WRITTEN REQUEST to the ps for them to begin evals to identify whether a disability exists? They do not have to write the IEP/504, but they DO have to do evals and follow the legal timeline. Is he currently enrolled or still legally a homeschooler? You have the FEDERAL RIGHT to evals and the federal right to begin the eval process. 

In our state, the dept of ed keeps the IEP process timeline, all the legal docs, everything on their site so you can see them. In our state the eval doc is called an ETR, so you have the federal right to request the evals. What they're saying is they want to observe a grading period first. You can push back against this if your documentation is strong enough. Is this severe anxiety about using the bathroom in public places DOCUMENTED? You push back, and you say no, his anxiety is documented as occurring at church and co-op and concerts and the park and EVERYWHERE we go and it is NOT ACCEPTABLE not to eval and have a plan in place. It is his federal right to have his disability with anxiety recognized.

In our state, disabilities are on a tier system for the funding the school gets, and anxiety is a higher tier than speech disorders (tier 1) and a higher tier than learning disabilities (tier 2). The odds of him getting an IEP for ADHD are low, and ADHD falls under OHI-other (other health impairment other). They typically 504 it. But anxiety, that's another ball of wax. That's tier 3, a big deal! You prove that and prove that you already have documentation. Take in a lawyer. That's totally unacceptable that he should go any period of time AT ALL with that disability not identified when you have requested the evals and have documentation of it being a consistent problem across multiple settings that has needed accommodations. THAT is a big deal. The ADHD, note taking, that stuff isn't a big deal. Not being able to use the bathroom is a big deal.

You need to get an advocate and get your ducks in order. It's ok for them to say wait on SLDs or wait on ADHD, I get that. It's NOT ok to say that about something that is known to occur in multiple settings where he could have serious health problems as a consequence of their failure to intervene. That is not acceptable. In our journey with my ds I used a parent advocate (free, worthless), a pro bono lawyer (somewhat helpful but no teeth), and then I consulted with a high end, HIGH END lawyer from several hours away who beat their butts in a court case a few years ago. That changed everything.

So decide what is serious. Taking notes, things the teacher can modify, not serious. Kidney infections, being sick, extreme stress, that's serious stuff. Fight that hard and don't take crap. You have the federal right to have his disabilities identified. They're going to blow you off to the extent you let them. You can be easy to work with. Say that you're happy to begin evals now and AMEND his IEP/504 after the school year to add things that could not be demonstrated concluded on now, but that they MUST eval now for things that are medical issues that occur across settings that you have clearly documented that will affect his safety from day 1. Don't budge on that.

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4 hours ago, PeterPan said:

You're right, I was confusing you with someone else! What they're telling you is typical, and there are a few ways to push it. If you have a behavior like that anxiety where he's refusing to use all public bathrooms, that's a known gig across settings. Did you get a full psych eval? And did you make a WRITTEN REQUEST to the ps for them to begin evals to identify whether a disability exists? They do not have to write the IEP/504, but they DO have to do evals and follow the legal timeline. Is he currently enrolled or still legally a homeschooler? You have the FEDERAL RIGHT to evals and the federal right to begin the eval process. 

In our state, the dept of ed keeps the IEP process timeline, all the legal docs, everything on their site so you can see them. In our state the eval doc is called an ETR, so you have the federal right to request the evals. What they're saying is they want to observe a grading period first. You can push back against this if your documentation is strong enough. Is this severe anxiety about using the bathroom in public places DOCUMENTED? You push back, and you say no, his anxiety is documented as occurring at church and co-op and concerts and the park and EVERYWHERE we go and it is NOT ACCEPTABLE not to eval and have a plan in place. It is his federal right to have his disability with anxiety recognized.

In our state, disabilities are on a tier system for the funding the school gets, and anxiety is a higher tier than speech disorders (tier 1) and a higher tier than learning disabilities (tier 2). The odds of him getting an IEP for ADHD are low, and ADHD falls under OHI-other (other health impairment other). They typically 504 it. But anxiety, that's another ball of wax. That's tier 3, a big deal! You prove that and prove that you already have documentation. Take in a lawyer. That's totally unacceptable that he should go any period of time AT ALL with that disability not identified when you have requested the evals and have documentation of it being a consistent problem across multiple settings that has needed accommodations. THAT is a big deal. The ADHD, note taking, that stuff isn't a big deal. Not being able to use the bathroom is a big deal.

You need to get an advocate and get your ducks in order. It's ok for them to say wait on SLDs or wait on ADHD, I get that. It's NOT ok to say that about something that is known to occur in multiple settings where he could have serious health problems as a consequence of their failure to intervene. That is not acceptable. In our journey with my ds I used a parent advocate (free, worthless), a pro bono lawyer (somewhat helpful but no teeth), and then I consulted with a high end, HIGH END lawyer from several hours away who beat their butts in a court case a few years ago. That changed everything.

So decide what is serious. Taking notes, things the teacher can modify, not serious. Kidney infections, being sick, extreme stress, that's serious stuff. Fight that hard and don't take crap. You have the federal right to have his disabilities identified. They're going to blow you off to the extent you let them. You can be easy to work with. Say that you're happy to begin evals now and AMEND his IEP/504 after the school year to add things that could not be demonstrated concluded on now, but that they MUST eval now for things that are medical issues that occur across settings that you have clearly documented that will affect his safety from day 1. Don't budge on that.

I really appreciate your advice!  Not sure how they can help him with the bathroom situation.  I think it's more OCD than anxiety  (he hates germs, dirty bathrooms, etc.).  He had a psych evaluation when the OCD issues first made an appearance several years ago.  I need to set up another appointment before he starts school so I have documentation.  Thank you so much for taking the time to write out the information I need!

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You never know until you ask.

They had a bathroom with a regular toilet for students who didn’t do well with automatic flushers, or would do better with a private bathroom, at our previous elementary school.  

And then they may have had previous students with this issue and have some suggestion.  

You never know, I think it doesn’t hurt to bring it up.  

It depends on if this is really likely to be a problem or not.  Like — it’s one thing if he isn’t going to like it but he’s going to manage.  It’s another thing if he’s going to skip or leave school over it, etc.  If you know it has caused big problems, that is different than if you are nervous about how he will handle it, but he is probably going to be okay in some way that he manages.

There is some magnitude of things to think about.

It is totally fine to say here you are nervous about how he will handle it!  Even if he may end up handling it.  It he is nervous about it and you end up helping him manage it or getting the brunt of it ————— then yes feel free to mention that!

But then if it’s likely to cause a big problem with his health, his school attendance, his behavior at school, his ability to concentrate at school, all those important things ———— then you probably should go ahead with requesting things for when he starts.

If you are comfortable with him starting and think it’s likely to be a rough start but he is doing better after 2-4 weeks ———— that’s a time you might wait and see what is needed after he starts and settles in.  But have understandable nervousness about it!

But if you think it might really go horribly and set your son up for very poor experiences, that is a different situation than if you think it will be hard but that he will adjust after he gets used to it, and then you can respond to things that come up and he will be able to handle it if some things aren’t perfect in the meantime.  

How does he handle it now if he’s out of the house for the period of a school day?  I think that’s what will help you think it through.  If you don’t really know, plan some outings and see what he does when he’s away from home for that period of time.  

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12 hours ago, creekmom said:

I met with his counselor after we received his test scores back (which included some modifications for his classes next year).  I was told that his test results were just one of the requirements for the IEP.  Apparently, there also has to be evidence of him struggling in the class setting, which we don't have since he was homeschooled.  So we can't get the ball officially rolling until he starts school.  I was really concerned when she told me that, but she did say the teachers would allow modifications for him from day 1, they just wouldn't be "official".  My older 2 kids both had her as a counselor, and she has been helpful and easy to work with, so that helps ease my worry a little (but they didn't have learning challenges).  I'm curious what methods/apps/tech etc. have helped your son the most?  He also has ADHD, OCD and anxiety.  (He refuses to use public bathrooms, so that's also fueling my anxiety for next year!!)

DS's IEP is around 30 pages long, and I'd have to dig it out to see his whole list of accommodations and modifications. I'm just going to throw a couple of things out for now. First, DS has a number of LDs plus ADHD and NVLD in addition to the low processing speed.

DS was in a unique situation this past year, because he received a ton of intervention at a private school. He was one of only two seventh graders (previous year, his class had 20, but enrollment declined precipitously). For some of his classes, there were two students and two teachers (general teacher plus special ed teacher). He will be attending public school for the first time in the fall, because the private school has closed its middle school, due to the low enrollment numbers. The picture of what works for him may totally change, because his new school will be doing things in a different way, but these are some of the things that have helped him:

* Extensive help from intervention teacher to scaffold his assignments and break them into chunks (smaller pieces).

* Copies of study guides for tests with the answers already filled in, because he cannot always correctly fill in the blanks as the class goes over material in class. He has to have a study guide that he can use. Prior to tests, his dad and I help him study and memorize the facts on his study guide (memorization is a strong suit for him).

* Extra time on tests, which he takes in a quiet room.

* In theory, he is to get copies of any teacher notes from the board. His teachers did not have students do a lot of notetaking from the board, though, so he didn't use this accommodation much.

*His intervention teacher would take notes in math class and give her notes to DS, because his notes were useless for studying. She also provided paper that was divided so that he had a space to write each math problem; otherwise, his writing drifts across the page, and he does not line his numbers up. (Graph paper can be good for this for many students).

* He also has a math disability. His IEP stipulates that his math homework is to be abbreviated -- only five problems per night. This is both great and problematic, because he really needs more practice than that to master concepts, but having a large volume of problems ends up being frustrating for him. He got so much in-class help last year that homework was not much of an issue, but we shall see how it goes at his new school.

* He prefers to use a mechanical pencil. I have bought him ones with a thicker barrel that hold thicker lead (.7mm, not .5mm), because he breaks the thinner lead. DS always uses pencil, but I have heard others say that using felt tip pens (or other smooth pens like roller ball) can help.

* He had a Chromebook issued from the school and will next year as well, so he gets to type all writing assignments, other than things written in workbooks. Typing is much, much easier for him than writing by hand.

* His intervention teacher worked very hard with him on keeping a planner for his assignments. At his new school, all assignments will be posted on the computer, so he won't need to keep a planner any more. But tracking his assignments and keeping his binder (and even his locker) neat were things his intervention specialist really worked on with him.

* Extra copies of his textbooks to keep at home, because he would come home without the materials he needed for his assignments.

* Any pages that he has to fill out for assignments are supposed to have large lines and plenty of space to write in.

*He has extra time to complete assignments, though he did not use this accommodation much. Since his class was so small, his teachers would just adjust as needed.

* He has preferred seating in class, so that he can sit close to the board and see better. I'm not sure he appreciates or uses this accommodation, but he has it.

* DS also has a reading comprehension disability. This may not apply to your son's needs, but DS gets all written material delivered multiple times, in multiple ways. For example, the intervention teacher will read it aloud with him. Or he will listen to an audio version. Or we will read it aloud with him at home. Mostly all of this, every time.

There is much more, I'm sure, but that is what comes to mind.

 

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To be very, very honest, the most important help that DS is receiving is that we have just moved to a different school district, because we researched and discovered one that we thought would meet his needs much better than the district where we lived before. He especially needs small classes and individualized attention, and the public school district we were in before was huge and impersonal. He needs so much help that it was worth it to move.

By the way, he was homeschooled through fourth grade and attended fifth through 7th at a private school. We could only send him there, because they had an intervention program (most private schools around here do not have intervention at all, or only offer minor assistance). The principal only agreed to admit him and his sister (with dyslexia) if we agreed to have them evaluated for IEPs. Yes, yes, yes, we wanted that!! (Some private schools will not work with the public school to write an IEP). We submitted our written request immediately.

So we were shocked, absolutely shocked and furious when the case manager then told us that our kids had to be in school for a period of time to get teacher input concerning whether they suspected learning disabilities. We sat there at that meeting, with piles of documents from private neuropsychs and diagnoses of LDs on paper stacked on the table and in the hands of the case manager, and were still told we could not proceed with evaluations right away. We had to wait for a quarter to pass. The case manager told me that she normally made homeschoolers wait out a whole semester, but she would only make us do a quarter, because we had diagnoses already.

Did I mention that we were furious?

I think we could have appealed that to our state board of education. However, we decided not to, because we thought DS would end up with a better IEP if his teachers had the time to get to know him. We decided that since there was a positive aspect to waiting, it wasn't worth the fight, in our situation.

So, yes, I'm not surprised that your school told you something like that. If you feel up to challenging it, you can contact your state board of education and see if it is legal there for a school to make homeschoolers wait before being evaluated for IEPs. There is a kind of loophole in the federal regulations, so it's worth seeing what your state rules are.

In any case, if you have not yet, you should put your request in writing, if you have not yet. They can tell you anything verbally, but once your request is in writing, they must respond properly and legally, using official forms. The time line is important, so getting things in writing is important.

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On a personal note, I was very distraught over enrolling my kids in school, after having homeschooled them from the beginning. But things had reached a state where change was needed, and we needed to give school a try.

I thought that DS would have a really hard time learning. That he would tune out and not absorb the material. That he would fall behind. That he would have trouble participating. (These things are not just because of the low processing speed; he is a complex kid). I was worried that he would not learn as well in school as he did while homeschooling.

And, you know what? School has turned out to be a very good environment for him, overall. We have had to advocate for him to get certain types of help. He does have some of the problems that we feared, but he has also grown and has adapted, and he enjoys being at school. Does he like the work? No. But the daily structure and the social environment have been very good for him.

So I know you may be nervous about your son entering school in the fall, but it may end up being a great experience for him. For you, it may sometimes be frustrating and nerve racking, as you advocate for him. Honestly, just expect that, so you won't be taken by surprise. I hope it turns out well for all of you!

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I do agree about the written request.

Otherwise it’s like you are just chatting, and nobody will remember exactly what you have talked about.  You are likely to have the exact same conversations over and over.

That has been my experience.  

The written request seemed like a big deal to me — it is not!

It is really just the normal, expected way to do things.  

Without a written request it is on more of a chatting, informal level.  

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I don't understand - if he has a formal evaluation - written documentation - then why on earth does he have to wait to fail to prove he needs accommodations to succeed?  It is all fine and dandy that teachers will accommodate unofficially but there seems to be something amiss with this process.  If you have a child say, with a hearing disability, and it is documented, you don't wait until the child fails before you provide an interpreter, note taker, etc.  Those supports are set up from day one. 

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Lots of kids go in with ADHD and don't get IEPs. Not even all kids with diagnosed SLDs get IEPs. It's a very different thing from a hearing disability that is set in stone, definitely going to occur everywhere, and definitely getting them a lawsuit if they don't have a plan. So that's why I was saying it would be more effective to focus on the part she CAN demonstrate is significant and occurring everywhere and needing a plan. If a kid gets UTIs because he's with them 8 hours and won't use their bathroom, that's a problem. And if he has a medical history of some kind of consequence like that happening, she should take in the documentation and prove it.

But yeah, for SLDs, for ADHD, they're gonna wanna see if it's an issue with them. And, in all fairness, kids ARE different in school. There's herd effect, higher support, more structure. Some kids with ADHD take off and do really well in that environment. The IEP is for he functions in their environment, not what his medical diagnoses are, and they can't know that till they see. 

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Also in high school, for some kids they are trying to get them off of accommodations so they are ready for college.  

It depends on the kind of accommodation.  Some continue in college.  Some don’t.  

Then it matters if you are going to have some kind of placement for a student.  It is always better to have students in the highest placement possible.  That means regular classes.  

Well — if you really know your child is not going to be able to show up and go to regular classes, you need to push things ahead of time.

If you are worried but basically expect them to go to regular classes and basically be fine, although they may need some accommodations, that is a different situation.

I think if there is a literal concern of the child doing really poorly in some way, that is different than worrying and expecting some problems but in context of going to regular classes and doing okay.

Its just not the same.

For high school though if you expect college then students need to do more for themselves to be getting ready for college, and accommodations need to move towards ones that can be present in a college setting, even though more is possible in high school.

But some things are more for students who need to get through high school and aren’t headed for college.  It’s just not the same situation.

So I think some things are available but they aren’t the best thing for a college-bound student who belongs in regular classes.  

They both need problem-solving and stuff, but it’s just not the same.

I say this, as a parent who has one son who has  exited IEP services and no longer has an IEP, but in ways he probably could/should.  But he is doing okay and learning a lot in the process.

I also have one son in Special Education and for his situation he would HAVE to have stuff set up before he started.  He would HAVE to.  

These situations get lumped together in some ways, but they are really so different, and what is appropriate is very different.

My older son we expect to attend college and so he has got to figure out how to manage some things, because no one will do it for him later.  It’s also an appropriate time for him. 

My younger son will need a much higher amount of support and it would be deeply wrong  and misguided to leave him without it.  

But that doesn’t make it wrong for students more like my oldest son to not have an IEP if they can get by without it.  

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On 6/22/2018 at 6:31 AM, Pawz4me said:

DS19 uses a LiveScribe pen and finds it very useful. His processing speed is in the fifth percentile but the main drivers of his need for the LiveScribe are his terrible handwriting and difficulty looking up from his notes to a board and back again (visual/spatial issues).

2

Some primitive reflexes can mess with this when they aren't integrated. I think it's one or more of the neck issues. My son had this issue--his eyes and his hand were basically unable to function independently. So, if he had to look up from the board, his hand would move. If he moved his hand, his eyes would move. As Peter Pan said, vision therapy can help with this, but probably only VT that does extensive bodywork. My son had a series of movements he had to master over time. They got progressively harder, and then we added in a metronome and then distractions. It was very much like something they would do it OT or PT. He still has some neck reflexes (they can crop back up with a growth spurt or with altered proprioception due to things like a connective tissue disorder), but the copying is SO MUCH BETTER. He still has pretty slow processing, particularly auditory processing, so we are moving in the pen direction so that the "missed" pieces of the lecture can be retrieved in the context of the selective notes he's taken.

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On 6/23/2018 at 8:09 AM, creekmom said:

Thank you for the suggestions!  Executive functioning skills are poor.  I plan on reading "Smart but Scattered Teens" this summer and hope that will give us some ideas.

 

EF skills has been our biggest problem. It gets in the way even of being able to effectively use available accommodations. 

 then adding to that is the normal process of teens wanting to pull away from parental help. 

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On 6/24/2018 at 12:48 AM, Storygirl said:

On a personal note, I was very distraught over enrolling my kids in school, after having homeschooled them from the beginning. But things had reached a state where change was needed, and we needed to give school a try.

I thought that DS would have a really hard time learning. That he would tune out and not absorb the material. That he would fall behind. That he would have trouble participating. (These things are not just because of the low processing speed; he is a complex kid). I was worried that he would not learn as well in school as he did while homeschooling.

And, you know what? School has turned out to be a very good environment for him, overall. We have had to advocate for him to get certain types of help. He does have some of the problems that we feared, but he has also grown and has adapted, and he enjoys being at school. Does he like the work? No. But the daily structure and the social environment have been very good for him.

So I know you may be nervous about your son entering school in the fall, but it may end up being a great experience for him. For you, it may sometimes be frustrating and nerve racking, as you advocate for him. Honestly, just expect that, so you won't be taken by surprise. I hope it turns out well for all of you!

This gives me a lot of hope - thank you!  I've been waking up in the middle of the night in a panic thinking that I haven't prepared him well for public high school, but it's definitely time for him to have a new teacher.  He's really sick of the one he's had since preschool, LOL!  His older sister will be a senior, and she's doing really well and loves the school/teachers, etc.   I really hope he has a good experience.  Thanks for all your help!

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7 hours ago, 1shortmomto4 said:

I don't understand - if he has a formal evaluation - written documentation - then why on earth does he have to wait to fail to prove he needs accommodations to succeed?  It is all fine and dandy that teachers will accommodate unofficially but there seems to be something amiss with this process.  If you have a child say, with a hearing disability, and it is documented, you don't wait until the child fails before you provide an interpreter, note taker, etc.  Those supports are set up from day one. 

It doesn't make sense to me either.  She made it sound like more of a formality, though.  We can put pretty much any modification in place that we need to, it just won't be "official".

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1 hour ago, creekmom said:

It doesn't make sense to me either.  She made it sound like more of a formality, though.  We can put pretty much any modification in place that we need to, it just won't be "official".

 

IME that is true and will probably work out fine. 

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I think it will probably work out fine, too.  

Its just easy to say “oh the teachers will allow x, y, z” and then the teachers may or may not.  

But then you can adjust from there.

To be honest I have had times where I didn’t like what a teacher was doing at first, and then I turned out seeing that it worked better than I expected.  

Edit:  at the same time she could be putting you off, and maybe some teachers will be very flexible and some won’t.  

I had it overestimated to me how much class work could be typed, with this kind of thing.  The counselor was not aware of exactly every single thing in every classroom, if that makes sense.  But it is fine, too.  

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2 hours ago, Lecka said:

I think it will probably work out fine, too.  

Its just easy to say “oh the teachers will allow x, y, z” and then the teachers may or may not.  

But then you can adjust from there.

To be honest I have had times where I didn’t like what a teacher was doing at first, and then I turned out seeing that it worked better than I expected.  

Edit:  at the same time she could be putting you off, and maybe some teachers will be very flexible and some won’t.  

I had it overestimated to me how much class work could be typed, with this kind of thing.  The counselor was not aware of exactly every single thing in every classroom, if that makes sense.  But it is fine, too.  

 

At high school level a lot of teachers at ds’s school seem to be requiring typing for many assignments.  And dictating to an electronic device seems to be fine (for everyone) unless it’s a spelling or grammar related assignment where that would defeat the assignment. 

The main things that it seems like op’s son might need that at our school are not available to everyone pretty much anytime would be recording lectures if applicable, extra time for tests and assignments, and whatever might be needed for the bathroom issue. 

It might help to prepare him to both tell his mom asap if he isn’t getting what he needs, and also even before that, for the boy to have a person , , SPED advisor or some adult, at school to go to right away if he needs help getting what he needs. 

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