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Terabith

Fantasy Test Battery

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I'm thinking ahead.  Catherine is due for her every three years testing this spring or maybe next fall, and while I have little say in what tests she is administered, I'm wondering what I should hope for.  She's previously tested as gifted, but she struggles greatly with spelling and seems to have no visual memory whatsoever.  Writing is not a strength.  She decodes okay, but she has really extraordinarily good comprehension.  (Still don't know how you can comprehend better than you decode, but whatever.)  Math is getting to be more difficult and I'm worried about it as she gets older, possibly because working memory is so abysmal.  Her processing speed isn't great, but working memory is really handicapping.  I don't think public school is serving her well academically, honestly, but we really can't afford private anymore, and socially she prefers public.  She has a lot of anxiety and the whole is she/ is she not on the ASD spectrum is a perennial one.  She has a fantastic vocabulary and in general communicates well, but I wonder about language holes, especially in pragmatic language and flexibility.  I don't think she has ADHD, but I have wondered if ADHD meds would bump the working memory, or if the really, really bad working memory indicates she does have it, even with no behavioral concerns.  So pondering what we need: 

updated IQ - maybe WISC (I don't want her to have Woodcock Johnson....the kid who scored around 135 on WISC at 7 scored something like 80 when given Woodcock Johnson.  Even the tester was like, this doesn't mesh with the kid I see.  Woodcock Johnson Cognitive seems to hit all the areas where she struggles), achievement testing (probably something like Woodcock Johnson?).  I'd like something that looks more in depth at writing skills....maybe Test of Orthographic Competence?  Anything else?   Something to look at her ability to compose a paragraph or do authentic writing tasks.  Maybe a CTOPP.  It's been awhile since they did one of those.  Wondering about language testing.  She had the CASL a few years ago, and it's really not in depth enough to peg issues.  Maybe Test of Narrative Language and Test of Problem Solving?  I'm not sure what could look at math or attention or if there are ASD specific tests.  

Just pondering.

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47 minutes ago, Terabith said:

She has a fantastic vocabulary and in general communicates well, but I wonder about language holes, especially in pragmatic language and flexibility.

These are not ASD-specific tests, but they are more sensitive to finding language issues than, say, CASL or CELF...besides TOPS and the Test of Narrative Language, there are some social pragmatic tests. I think one is called Social Language Development Test. https://www.superduperinc.com/products/view.aspx?pid=LST4190#.XArKVmhKgdU

Besides the ADOS, which I would want someone familiar with 2e ASD girls to administer, there are surveys for parents, teachers, etc. to fill out that are specific for autism. They are usually behavioral. ASRS is the name of one, I believe. Both parents and teachers fill out those forms.

Here are some for ADHD: https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/evaluations/types-of-tests/types-of-behavior-assessments

Adaptive behavior is important--it looks at lifeskills, social, etc. in a different way than some of the other scales do.

There are a lot of tests for memory, but I am not as familiar with those.

I think CTOPP is a good idea if you have decoding issues going on.

47 minutes ago, Terabith said:

(I don't want her to have Woodcock Johnson....the kid who scored around 135 on WISC at 7 scored something like 80 when given Woodcock Johnson.  Even the tester was like, this doesn't mesh with the kid I see.  Woodcock Johnson Cognitive seems to hit all the areas where she struggles), achievement testing (probably something like Woodcock Johnson?). 

The lower scores on a WJ combined with IQ scores and other tests IS often what you need to arrive at a diagnosis for any kind of SLD. For gifted kiddos, the diagnosis is often one of discrepancy vs. an absolute diagnosis.

FWIW, I have two 2e kids, and their WJ performance is hilarious. Child 1, it hides ALL of his language issues (which are abundantly clear on the Test of Narrative Language and show categories of problems on TOPS--this child is basically unable to write anything of substance) and his difficulties with math (which are quirky and don't seem to be "math" problems at all. Child 2, it's just...discrepant even when he does quite well on other measures of language. But that kiddo is discrepant everywhere--for every cluster of subtest scores on any test, he'll have like 2/3 ceiling scores and then 1/3 something average or slightly above average. It's across the board. That kiddo is a pretty good writer and has some functional skills. He's just taking cognitive hits from all sides and compensating very well. He also has some discrepant math scores in spite of actually being ahead in math.

Your kiddo sounds a little like both of mine, but on academics more like Child 2. The WJ shows just how hard a kid is working to have decent, average scores. (It's unclear to me if your DD had 80th percentile scores on WJ or scores like someone with an IQ of 80 would be expected to score.) I would NOT use it as the final word on your DD's skills and abilities, but I think if you are looking to show that intervention is/isn't effective or that she needs/doesn't need help, then you want the WJ. 

I would definitely want more testing (CTOPP, language, etc.) to round out what the WJ says though. Or maybe even MAP testing if she's not doing that already in school.

53 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I don't think she has ADHD, but I have wondered if ADHD meds would bump the working memory, or if the really, really bad working memory indicates she does have it, even with no behavioral concerns. 

 The bolded is quite possible. Again, rating scales should help with this--giving her a novel task that requires EF skills and attention might also evoke interesting observations.

My kids both have more inattentive symptoms than anything else, but we do have some impulsivity there as well. But inattention is the biggest factor and doesn't always look like inattention. In earlier years, it looked defiant. 

56 minutes ago, Terabith said:

she has really extraordinarily good comprehension

I read this is not terribly unusual for dyslexics that compensate well (and have heard it from dyslexics themselves). I would look at it several ways to see if you can tease out potential issues:

  • Do you get good answers when they questions are open-ended or just when they are multiple choice?
  • How about on things like math, where EVERY SINGLE word makes a difference? This can show up in following directions or word problems.
  • Direction following in general--does she tend to miss a word here or there and not do things correctly if she's given novel directions or things that are out of context?

Just some thoughts. HTH

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She has had the ADOS at least twice, although not in about five years.  Neither time did she score as having ANY autistic traits, but every doctor and psychologist has said she is autistic.  I’m not sure experts on 2e teen girls exist.  I’d be willing to travel if they did.

 I meant she bombed the Woodcock Johnson Cognitive battery.  It didn’t show a discrepancy between aptitude and achievement, but she did so much better in the past on WISC or Stanford Binet.  Woodcock Johnson Cognitive relies heavily on working memory in all subtests.  She scored where I would expect on WJ Achievement but much higher on other IQ tests.

In terms of reading comprehension, she does well with both multiple choice and open ended questions, except for remembering names.  She follows written directions well.  Math, I’m not sure.  Public school math befuddles me.  There’s no textbook or anything, and they don’t get tests handed back.  I have no idea what she does or doesn’t understand.  

We have done ADHD rating scales, and neither parents nor teachers rated her inattentive.  She has decent executive functioning.  She has very poor memory.  But if you give her a checklist, she can carry it out.  She’s very conscientious, mature, and responsible.  I think her adaptive skills are good, but I worry about driving.  Severe anxiety and terrible working memory might make multi tasking and driving dangerous.

Honestly, we have no idea what is reasonable to expect from her in terms of college, employment, or independent living.   Just absolutely no idea how to plan for her future.   I don’t know what we need to work on.   School doesn’t seem to be teaching her to write, and I’m not sure they’re teaching her math.   I’m trying to get her through Wilson and typing at a reasonable speed.   

 

Edited by Terabith

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https://www.txasp.org/assets/conference-materials/2015/sld identification new slide format for handout.pdf  Here's a fascinating discussion of the CAS-2 vs. WISC for identifying SLDs.

No, I would not expect the ADOS to show anything at this point. I think if everyone who works with her says she is on the spectrum, then she. One, it's a spectrum. Two, there are like 83 genes they're looking at leading into it, so it's just not a homogenous enough thing to say she has to look like someone else. 

I think you could actually profitably do a couple evals. If you dig in on the smartspeechtherapy blog, she does a lot on language testing. Sometimes, like kbutton did, you'll find a psych who has the TNL and will run some narrative testing. Just in general though, I think that's uncommon. So if you wanted to dig in on the language and get the TILLS, SLDT, TNL (or a dynamic language assessment), etc., that would be an SLP, a really good SLP who specializes in language who actually owns the tests. Good luck finding that. You could do a tele-eval for that with Ellesseff from the Smart Speech Therapy blog. She actually has all the tests. She has some other ones she runs that are interesting too (conflict resolution, etc.). 

I think back up and figure out what questions you want answered and what changes you want to make happen. If you want to know why she's having trouble writing, that's your super-skilled SLP eval. If you want to know what accommodations she needs in school or how to prepare to transition to college/graduation, that's your psych. Make your list of questions like that and figure out what you want to make happen.

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1 hour ago, Terabith said:

Honestly, we have no idea what is reasonable to expect from her in terms of college, employment, or independent living.

Yes, this is the stuff the psych is prepared to discuss.

1 hour ago, Terabith said:

I worry about driving.  Severe anxiety and terrible working memory might make multi tasking and driving dangerous.

Then I suggest finding a psych who would do the evals and continue on with therapy. She may need a combo of therapy and meds.

Also consider interoception work to see if she could become more self-aware and use strategies.

2 hours ago, Terabith said:

I’m not sure experts on 2e teen girls exist.  I’d be willing to travel if they did.

Hoagies Gifted has a list. There was one that listed here in Ohio that specialized in girls, and I think she practiced in another state as well. 

 

2 hours ago, Terabith said:

she did so much better in the past on WISC

Those scores may continue to shift or be all over the place because of the effect her language issues are having. 

3 hours ago, Terabith said:

I'd like something that looks more in depth at writing skills

Again, if you pick the right SLP, see if they can do that testing.

3 hours ago, Terabith said:

Maybe a CTOPP.

CTOPP wouldn't tell you as much as the TILLS. 

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2 hours ago, Terabith said:

I meant she bombed the Woodcock Johnson Cognitive battery.

I forgot they have achievement and cognitive both. That makes more sense. 

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Thanks!  I hadn’t even heard of the TILLS.  That’s a good question about what questions we have.  At this point I don’t know if her difficulty writing is because of her disabilities or because she’s never been taught.  I think it may be a combination.  I’m not certain there ARE language issues.  She’s very articulate and communicates well, so not just vocabulary.   But there have been some crunchy things on past testing that seem to be related to either working memory or rigidity.  In daily life, she functions well.  I’m just not sure what we should be aiming for.  

I wish she could get better math and writing instruction.  If she got solid instruction and still struggled, that would tell us more.  But the public middle school seems to be a place where no education takes place, and she doesn’t want to homeschool again because of social stuff.  Which is great that she wants to be with her peers.  But I’m kinda stuck in terms of education.  

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Is she going to be 14 before this next IEP that you will be working on expires? If so, the school must include transition planning, which means they have to help develop some plans to figure out what she will do post graduation. Transistion planning includes things like exploring career options, developing job skills, and working on life skills, such as budgeting. Our current school had some great transition planning this year during DS's IEP meeting (he is 14), and our student services coordinator is connecting us to some county and state programs -- one state program for job training and the county for additional services.

Some schools are better than others at this, and we chose this school district in part for their transition planning, which was better than other surrounding districts.

But the fact is that once the student is 14 (or to turn 14 during the IEP period), the school is required to do transition planning with you.

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11 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

Is she going to be 14 before this next IEP that you will be working on expires? If so, the school must include transition planning, which means they have to help develop some plans to figure out what she will do post graduation. Transistion planning includes things like exploring career options, developing job skills, and working on life skills, such as budgeting. Our current school had some great transition planning this year during DS's IEP meeting (he is 14), and our student services coordinator is connecting us to some county and state programs -- one state program for job training and the county for additional services.

Some schools are better than others at this, and we chose this school district in part for their transition planning, which was better than other surrounding districts.

But the fact is that once the student is 14 (or to turn 14 during the IEP period), the school is required to do transition planning with you.

Ohh, that's a good point!  Yes, she will turn 14 at the end of April, so transition planning might come into it.  I know they look at jobs; do they look at whether or not college is reasonable?  Driving?  It's stuff like that that I don't know.  The driving really concerns me.  It would be hard to be a functional adult where we live if you cannot drive, but her working memory is SO bad, I'm not sure that she can hold multiple thoughts in her head at once, and driving really does require that.  To some extent, it might be a "we won't know until she tries it," but I'd like a ballpark idea.  She's interested in cooking, and that's really reasonable, I think, but I also don't want to burn bridges with regards to college if she is interested in college.  She's so smart; I think that she should be able to handle it in theory, though I think community college would be a better starting point for her than university.  But that's based mostly on her writing skills, and if someone just sat her down and taught her how to write with something like IEW and then Writing with Skill, I think it's within her capabilities.  Public middle school is just NOT impressing me.  I don't even know where to start with math or where to look.  I think I want her to take Algebra 1 next year, regardless of whether or not they deem her "ready," because I think her brain might cope better with the abstract nature of algebra and also because it would be easy to take it two years in a row to solidify it.  Whereas if we wait till ninth grade to take it, it's harder to repeat.  

If we're thinking fantasy....what I'd really like is if the psychologist we met when we toured Brehm Preparatory School a couple summers ago could do her re-eval.  He glanced at her past testing, talked to her for 30 minutes, and explained to her and me more about how her brain worked than any expert we've seen in the rest of her life.  More than the neuropsych who did her multiple days worth of testing when she was seven.  That guy just GOT her.  (I so wish we could send her to that school.  Sigh.  Stupid $70,000 a year.)  I don't know if that psych does evaluations, but we could travel there.  My best friend lives in that town.  

I'm trying to think outside the box.  Maybe once she graduates from Wilson/ OG, maybe her tutor could work with her on writing?  Or math?  Her tutor is amazing, but I don't know if she'd be comfortable with that, but Catherine adores her, and she loves Cat.  She's just a gem of a teacher, and I don't think it's a coincidence that she works at the autism school.  Cat is much higher functioning than her students, even her "high functioning" students, so she says working with Cat is like lightning and super rewarding, because she catches onto things so quickly and she's very engaged.  But she's similar enough to her students that that same skill set works wonders for her.  In a lot of ways, I think the autism school would be great for her, would really build her self confidence, and it's very individualized, but it's so pricey.  And the school is never going to be willing to send her.  She's not a behavior problem.  All her teachers at the public school love her.  She's getting A's and B's with no accommodations in honors classes, but again, I'm NOT impressed with the instruction, and her grades are all over the place.  100's and 60's.  She's either rock solid or lost, and there's no way to tell what she's lost on, even for the teachers, because so many tests are on the computer and based on standardized tests and all the TEACHERS get is a score.  

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We didn't talk specifically about driving. In our state, high schools used to include driver's ed as an elective, but they don't any more (at least at schools I am familiar with), so driving does not seem to be addressed in the IEP. But we also didn't ask!

I'm concerned about DS14 driving, too, and he actually can get his temps in 10 months. eek! I am hoping that he doesn't really realize that and thinks that driving starts at age 16 instead of 15 1/2.  He's old for his class, so his peers hopefully won't start talking about temps for awhile yet.

I am guessing that our county services can address driving concerns, but I haven't connected with them yet to ask.

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Driving is on my mind, because my oldest gets her permit this May, and my kids are only 17 months apart.  Driver's ed is actually included in tenth grade health, here, although because we held her back, she'd be eligible for it second semester of ninth grade.  

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But yes, here we discussed whether college was the plan or not. For now we all agreed that it's probably going to be work instead of college after graduation. Or perhaps a vocation related certificate at the community college.

Our school asked DS14 for his own ideas, and he said he plans to be a rock musician. Now, he is talented musically, but the chances of him having a career at that are slim (to none, with odds on none). It's great for him to have as a hobby or even to do paying gigs but there is so little chance that it would pay his rent.

The student services head asked us if we think that plan is reasonable, so we had the chance to give our input. She left his plan in the IEP, because she does not want to discourage, but included that he would explore career aptitude and interest ideas with an interventionist, and she talked through the vocational school option with us (which is limited for him, but we identified one possible program).

So his IEP says that he will continue to develop his skills as a musician but also do additional job training. I think it will get more specific as he gets older.

In our state, he has the right to stay in school until age 21 with an IEP, and I think that is federal law. So he actually has the option to do four years of high school and then do the vocational school program as post-graduate training. I don't know if we/he will choose that path, but I like the idea of it for him, because I think the older he is and more time that he has to mature, the greater his chances of launching into adulthood. He will graduate at 19, but we anticipate he will me immature for his age, as he always has been.

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If driving is part of the school curriculum, it definitely should be discussed at the IEP meeting. The team, of course, has to agree that they see a possible problem, so I would be prepared to make the point that you have definite concerns.

In our state, if you don't pass the test within a year of getting the temps, you have retake the exam to get the temps renewed (which is the part about traffic laws). I'm telling myself that we have as long as we need to work with DS on driving, and that if he needs more than  a year, he can extend the temps. But he won't like that, of course, so I am hoping to have him start when he is older and (fingers crossed) more mature.

He does have lower memory and processing speed, but his WM is not where I notice his most worrisome issues related to driving. He has very poor visual spatial.

I think your daughter has good visual spatial?? Maybe that strength will kick in for her, and driving will unexpectedly come easily. We can always hope, for the best, right? But I agree to still prepare for the difficulties to rear their head.

DS14 definitely has the ability to surprise us. He can do some things now at age 14 that I never thought he would do when he was 11. So maybe he will do okay with driving. We've got a 17 year old, so we've been through it once with a typical teen, and it wasn't fun!!

Edited by Storygirl
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2 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

But yes, here we discussed whether college was the plan or not. For now we all agreed that it's probably going to be work instead of college after graduation. Or perhaps a vocation related certificate at the community college.

Our school asked DS14 for his own ideas, and he said he plans to be a rock musician. Now, he is talented musically, but the chances of him having a career at that are slim (to none, with odds on none). It's great for him to have as a hobby or even to do paying gigs but there is so little chance that it would pay his rent.

The student services head asked us if we think that plan is reasonable, so we had the chance to give our input. She left his plan in the IEP, because she does not want to discourage, but included that he would explore career aptitude and interest ideas with an interventionist, and she talked through the vocational school option with us (which is limited for him, but we identified one possible program).

So his IEP says that he will continue to develop his skills as a musician but also do additional job training. I think it will get more specific as he gets older.

In our state, he has the right to stay in school until age 21 with an IEP, and I think that is federal law. So he actually has the option to do four years of high school and then do the vocational school program as post-graduate training. I don't know if we/he will choose that path, but I like the idea of it for him, because I think the older he is and more time that he has to mature, the greater his chances of launching into adulthood. He will graduate at 19, but we anticipate he will me immature for his age, as he always has been.

Yeah, that's an interesting thought.  I wonder if Cat will even keep the IEP.  Her spelling is still really bad, but it's the only area where she's significantly below grade level.  Her spelling now always obeys the rules, but when there are multiple options, she just picks one at random.  The other day she wrote "polar bear" as "poler bare."  She writes Bible as "Bibull."  Follow the OG rules and pretty readable to most people, but just...not accurate.  

We held Cat back when she started school partly because she was a bit behind academically, but mostly because she was immature socially and emotionally.  But she made a huge jump at puberty, and she's actually really mature for her age now.  Her best friend is a tenth grade boy.  Granted, an immature and very ADHD boy, but older for sure.  She handles most executive functioning tasks well.  I think it's going to be hard for her to graduate at 19 now, and I kinda regret holding her back, but it was the best decision we could have made at the time, I think.  I don't think she's likely to be willing to stay in high school till 21; she's already rolling her eyes at immature middle school kids now.  She's just very asynchronous.  The working memory is definitely what's holding her back the most, I think, but we've tried some home remedying stuff, and it's tough to find a low enough starting spot that doesn't lead to immediate frustration.  

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Yeah, her visual spatial is good.  And she's cautious and the opposite of impulsive, so those are all good traits with driving!

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Oh, and DS14 has two younger siblings. One who is only 8 months younger than he is, and the other is 15 months younger than he is (weird adoptive family spacing). So I do worry that he might see his younger siblings get their licenses first.

Which is why I'm kind of hoping he is hesitant to go for it and wants to put it off. Then it will be his choice that delays him, not his disabilities.

He totally in no way seems like he will be ready to drive in a less than a year!!!! Man, he can't even flush the toilet!!

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DD13 is dyslexic, and after three plus years of OG, I worried that she might lose her IEP. She had SLD reading plus SLD writing. She did lose her SLD writing designation, because her scores in writing went way up, but she retained SLD reading. Her reading scores are affected but are propped up by her great comprehension (yeah, she is a poor decoder with high comprehension), but I think they may be borderline for a specific learning disability designation by some schools. Her school is for kids with dyslexia and other LDs, so they get it and don't want to pull IEPs, but I'm sure there are other districts that would consider her scores good enough (I think they were in the low average range, which some schools like to consider acceptable because, you know, low average is still average. 😡

But she had SLD Math added to her IEP. Which I thought should have been in there before anyway. Not that I want her to have another official LD, but it gives us a safety net in case she ends up losing SLD Reading at her next re-evaluation.

Interestingly, I have always seen her trouble with math when helping her with homework in recent years and in homeschooling before that. But her teachers see her as stronger in math. Here's the thing -- she can understand math concepts. That is not where her disability lies. So in class, she can grasp what is taught and demonstrate understanding. But later on when doing homework, she can't remember it. It takes longer for the concepts to get into her long-term memory and stick. The teachers don't necessarily see that, because the next day, in class, she sees the examples given again, and so again in class, she can do it. The teachers don't see the frustration of forgetting, because it happens outside of class time.

But her low scores on the math testing for the IEP this go-around were in math calculation .Totally not a surprise. We discussed it at her initial IEP meeting three years ago (with a different school district), and they said that the calculation issues didn't mean SLD math calculation, because once she hit middle school, she would be able to use a calculator anyway. I didn't agree, because I KNEW there was a SLD math calculation possible under IDEA, but I didn't push it, because she would be getting intervention for math anyway at her dyslexia school.

This year at her re-evaluation, she scored very low in calculation and got the proper math SLD designation.

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I hope the teachers at the school can see your daughter's weaknesses as well as the strengths. Sometimes they can, and sometimes they can't. And I hope that whatever tests they run, that her difficulties show up!!  Both DS14 and DD13 had their re-evaluations this year, and it was interesting to see what differed from past testing.

I can't do it tonight, and I will be out of town tomorrow to help my dad with his move, but I will look in DS's ETR to see what tests the school SLP ran. It was very interesting this year. He passed the pragmatics of the CELF (he has been low on that in the past but was average this time), but she ran another test that showed his weaknesses. I'll come back to tell you it's name, but it may not be for a day or two.

 

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Thanks.  I hope they are able to see it clearly, too.  Part of the issue is that they are no longer allowed to use the discrepancy model, so they don't look at achievement in relationship to intelligence.  I worry about math, but I can't really pinpoint where the issue is.  Last year, her math teacher was very good, and really explained concepts well and gave lots of scaffolding, and she really thrived and made a lot of progress.  This year's teacher does not appear to do anything like that.  I want her in the honors classes, because it drives her absolutely batty when kids don't behave/ follow the rules, and apparently the non honors classes are cesspits of behavior.  And I think the issue is more the teacher rather than the difficulty of the material.  There is no logical progression.  They just kinda decide each day what they're going to do in a very fly by night way, and that doesn't really work well for her.  Nobody can even tell me what material they are covering for the year, let alone for the week.  And papers aren't returned; work is done on the computer, but they don't get those tests back, either.  It's just a mess.  I'm really impressed with the public high school, in general, but I'm not impressed with the middle school.  

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2 hours ago, Storygirl said:

In our state, he has the right to stay in school until age 21 with an IEP, and I think that is federal law. So he actually has the option to do four years of high school and then do the vocational school program as post-graduate training.

I've heard of other people keeping IEPs, etc. till 21, but do they have to start high school later to do that? Or you're saying they would pay for vocational school for him by keeping his IEP? 

Our ps said ds would have 4 years once he started high school. They seemed pretty rigid and close-minded.

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Huh.  That’s weird.  I’ve definitely seen kids with special needs in high school into their early 20’s, even when I was a kid.  

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

I've heard of other people keeping IEPs, etc. till 21, but do they have to start high school later to do that? Or you're saying they would pay for vocational school for him by keeping his IEP? 

Our ps said ds would have 4 years once he started high school. They seemed pretty rigid and close-minded.

I asked if there was some kind of qualification for extending the graduation, and our special ed coordinator said that having an IEP gives an automatic right to stay in school until 21, without any additional evaluations, approvals, or qualifications required.

I'm sure there are schools that resist it. Because it dings their grading by the state to have delayed graduations. But I was told it is the law for it to be automatic. I have not researched it to verify, but she had no reason to make it up.

I don't doubt that your particular school would object to the idea and that you would have to fight to hold them to the law. Sigh.

DS will be 19 at his projected graduation anyway, because he started K at age 6. So he could do a two year vocational program (just as a typically aged student -- no extra fees) and still graduate at 21. Our school says that each district handles graduation differently, but ours lets them walk at the ceremony and get a blank "diploma" or maybe a certificate, and then they get the diploma when they are finally done two years (or whenever) later. Other schools do not let non-graduating students participate in the ceremony (which does not really apply to a homeschooler, but is just something related that we learned).

The vocational program is just half day. All of the classes count as electives. So if the required courses have been completed, this theoretical older vocational student would have the other half of the day to work, if they had a job. Or she said that she knew of an older student who attended vocational school for half the day and took community college courses the other half. (Not sure if the CC would be self pay or if the older student could still qualify for dual enrollment -- we did not discuss that, because it is all hypothetical for DS. Kind of suspect CC would be pay-for-yourself).

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Terabith, if you can get your DD qualified more broadly for her IEP than an SLD, she might have more of a chance of retaining it. It sounds like she could maybe qualify under Other Health Impairment if your state has that category. It's often used for ADHD that rises to the level of needing more than a 504 can provide. I also think it's a really good idea to point out that she thrived with remediation and is probably still doing "well" because of that. I would point to the added demands of high school on her working memory, etc. Supposedly, they aren't supposed to remove supports that are working.

One of my kids qualifies based on autism and one as OHI. The one with OHI as the qualification has a million small problems plus a health issue that requires adaptive PE. The health issue was undiagnosed originally, and the original OHI minor was for ADHD and CAPD--he qualified for speech, but with those two other conditions affecting his learning that bumped him up. They can call CAPD an SLD, but the school personnel pointed out that the kinds of intervention he specifically needed were not things that would go well with an SLD language designation. Anyway--just saying there is more than one way to skin a cat.

13 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I've heard of other people keeping IEPs, etc. till 21, but do they have to start high school later to do that? Or you're saying they would pay for vocational school for him by keeping his IEP? 

Our ps said ds would have 4 years once he started high school. They seemed pretty rigid and close-minded.

They sometimes push back, but it's the law that they can stay until 21. As you get closer, if your school doesn't get with the program, I would be getting a lawyer again. Your district is nutso. 

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13 hours ago, Terabith said:

Huh.  That’s weird.  I’ve definitely seen kids with special needs in high school into their early 20’s, even when I was a kid.  

Her contention was that they were gonna start a clock ticking as soon as he was called high school, and 4 years and boom. But that was before they switched his disabling condition to ASD. They're real dragons to deal with. 

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12 hours ago, Storygirl said:

I asked if there was some kind of qualification for extending the graduation, and our special ed coordinator said that having an IEP gives an automatic right to stay in school until 21, without any additional evaluations, approvals, or qualifications required.

I'm sure there are schools that resist it. Because it dings their grading by the state to have delayed graduations. But I was told it is the law for it to be automatic. I have not researched it to verify, but she had no reason to make it up.

I don't doubt that your particular school would object to the idea and that you would have to fight to hold them to the law. Sigh.

Thanks for explaining that! Our behaviorist had talked about kids staying longer, but the SN coor was so imprecatory, I couldn't figure out how they did it. And of course with DE laws here, etc., extended time in high school is a big deal. But it's important, because ds functions so many years behind. He's sort of all over the board, and I think their tendency, because he's gifted, will be to say see he tests at such and such level. But he doesn't FUNCTION at that level. He's just now doing multi-digit subtraction. He FUNCTIONS like a 1st grader, and his IEP says 4th grade. He's just starting to read books, like a 1st grader. He's just starting to write words, like a 1st grader. Even his style of how we work together is 1st grade, like what I can do with him. And his need to be with me and his dissettling when I'm gone a lot is very young too. He's just going to need that extra time to bake.

12 hours ago, Storygirl said:

The vocational program is just half day. All of the classes count as electives. So if the required courses have been completed, this theoretical older vocational student would have the other half of the day to work, if they had a job.

Ok, I hadn't thought about vocational school. Interesting, I'll look into it. I had looked at the 2 year tech programs, but, like you say, they have courses that may or may not be realistic for ds. We'll have to see. But it sounds like your new school is really doing a lot to get your ds on a functional path, which is FABULOUS.

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