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Seeking Squirrels

Would you ever "hold back" your child a grade?

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I've always been okay with my kids' grade level being based off of their age and where they'd be in PS and just doing work at whatever level they need. In the past this has worked for my 10yo. She used to be way above grade level in reading, a bit ahead in math, very behind in writing and handwriting.......you get the idea. But the areas she was ahead she slowed down a lot and the areas she was behind caught up. She is now in the same grade level of material across the board. However, this level is one behind her technical stated grade. She is 5th this year, but as I'm nailing down plans for next year I notice everything will be 5th. She has some SN (SPD, ADHD, GAD, possible HFA), so I don't really anticipate her recovering this gap.  Her maturity level is also quite low, often functioning closer to 6 than 10. Her friends are all a year or more younger (except one who has the same dx). 

So, would it be in her best interest to call her 5th grade next year, when she'll be doing almost entirely 5th grade material, even though she was 5th this year? I'm not really fussed about a label so much or worried about how she's doing now. My concern is for when we get to high school and graduation. I know it's still early but from where I'm sitting, I think she'll need the time. What grade we call her does matter because we go through a charter and report. I'm guessing it will be easier to adjust her grade through them now than it would be in 10th/11th. 

I guess I just feel like it's one thing to grade a child based on age and work anywhere and everywhere, and another to call them one grade when they are working entirely at a different one and that probably won't change. I just want to do whatever will be best for her. 
 

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I held my daughter back a grade.  She needed to graduate a year later (and even then she might take a second senior year, this time due to health issues which have slowed her down). 

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You have no guarantees she won't continue to fall behind her peers. Also, without updated evals, you don't have info to target whatever might be going on. For instance, if the attention component is holding her back, put her on meds. But if it's maybe some undiagnosed language issues from possible ASD that are affecting reading comprehension and writing, then you're looking at totally different interventions.

The people I've known personally who dealt with this did grade adjust, yes. My ds is in that similar position, because quite bright but with a list of issues. He is not currently adjusted per his IEP but it is inevitable that he will have to be. Because of his maturity issues, it is in his best interest to be grade adjusted. Once you leave the school system and graduate them, the supports drop off dramatically. Think even about DE. My ds is bright in enough that in theory he might DE, but he won't be ready to do this till later. He's already on the older end of his grade because of a fall bday, so let's do the math. If I were to adjust him *now* he'd be a 10 yo 3rd grader, which sounds absurd to most people. We'll probably adjust him before high school age, so he'll be a 16 yo 9th grader. 

There's no way around it with my ds. It's not in his best interest to graduate early, as he loses his scholarship, access to transition services, etc. 

What happens to her socially if you grade adjust now, and what happens if you do it in middle school? I would do it at the most logical time when the change will be smooth and the least disruptive for her social events. If you talk with our IEP team, academics alone aren't a reason to grade adjust. I would look at the whole picture. Will grade adjusting now improve her placement/fit socially? It doesn't change how you teach her. I would definitely try to bill it as something positive, something helping her accomplish her goals. 

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I agree with Peter Pan on evals.  I waited until my kids were in high school so that we could have one evaluation done that would count for things like SATs and college accommodations.  But I am a special ed teacher and the evals were not surprises for me.  I knew exactly what they would find.  Others will benefit from earlier evaluations. 

When we held back, I did the same grade's materials but with different books.  To repeat the exact same stuff would have been torture for her. 

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We had DS take a third year of middle school and it was the best decision we ever made. He is immature and just behind in all his school work. The older a kid is and the more entrenched they are in a peer group at a certain grade levelcan make it harder, but he managed pretty well and it was a good decision all the way around.

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Under the circumstances you describe, I would probably lean toward 5th next year based more on her maturity level, supported by her academic level.  Will she be aware / concerned about this?  When is she turning 11?

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My oldest did 3rd grade twice (of course not repeating material but we called both years third grade) and I placed all three of my summer birthday kids in the next lower grade from the beginning.

Is she currently on the older or younger side for her grade?

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If she might not like the idea of "repeating" a grade you could frame it as stretching out both 5th and 6th grades--a year and a half of 5th and a year and a half of 6th (so promote her to 6th next January).

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She will be 11 in June. Her only friend that is not over a year younger has a birthday just on the other side of the cutoff so though they are both 10, she is "4th grade" this year. I don't know if it would bother her or not. If I could phrase it in a positive way then I think in many ways she would like it, she would be the same grade as her friends. I do worry that she would see it as a negative, but that may be my ps experience coloring that. 

We have an intake appt for ASD eval in April. She was evaluated just before turning 8 and the doc said no autism. When I shared those results and her reasons for no autism, it was questioned. And has continued to be questioned ever since. The older she gets the more it becomes apparent there is definitely something else beyond the dx we already have. So we are re-evaluating. 

As for classes and things: Our co-op groups by age range not grades so no change there, plus we are flexible with if a kid needs to be in a different group. She is in swimming which is grouped by skill, ninja warrior style training class is by age. Theater is the only thing she does that is based off grade and she is in the 2nd-4th grade class this year. I didn't feel she was ready to join the 5th and up class plus her one same age/different grade friend was joining so the teacher let her stay. 

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59 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

Will she be enrolled until age 21?

Just untill she graduates and only if we stay with them. We receive a lot of state funding by going through them so it is worth the small bit of reporting we do. 

29 minutes ago, maize said:

If she might not like the idea of "repeating" a grade you could frame it as stretching out both 5th and 6th grades--a year and a half of 5th and a year and a half of 6th (so promote her to 6th next January).

Oh I like this idea. That might go over better if we do this. 

 

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One of mine, due to some health issues that were affecting his day to day ability to get through school, took two years to finish second grade work.  Some books we ended up spacing out longer, other subjects we just did another program of similar skills during the second year.  I told him that he hadn't finished his second grade stuff yet, so we were going to take more time to finish it up.  By the end of the second year ,he was beginning some of the third grade books that he would have been doing.   Excellent decision for him as a student, and excellent choice for me, as a teacher.   *I* needed the reminder that no, he just wasn't at ___ level in ___ subject yet.  It took some the pressure off both of us to not feel that he was sooo behind.  

Five years later, I don't regret that decision at all.  He is in a good placing for his academic ability and his emotional maturity.   He is making slow and steady progress, and that is more important than his age compared to his grade. 

Another child of mine was a very bright 4 about to turn 5 year old who was already reading, printing well, and almost done with his K math book; he wanted in on his older brother's lessons.  Based on *his academics*, I put him in K that year.   Fast forward about 10 years, and I wish I could take that back ;)  --and I've thought that  for the past 5 years.  He's still very bright, but his ADHD and the emotional mess that can go along with that drag him down academically.  He really needs more time to mature and learn better skills.  But holding him back now in high school would be very insulting *to him*.   So we press on. 

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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WIth a June birthday along with all you have said, I would lean even more toward 5th for next year.  It is not uncommon at all for a child to enter 5th at that age.

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Sure, I'd call next year 5B/6A or something. And have her graduation just before she turns 19, right? That's well within the range of what people do from the beginning.

I know somebody (also a June baby) who took a second senior year for college admissions reasons--as her mom said, Who is ever going to know or care what was your exact age when you finished high school? She's almost done with graduate school now and doing great.

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2 hours ago, Seeking Squirrels said:

Theater is the only thing she does that is based off grade and she is in the 2nd-4th grade class this year.

Given her summer b-day, I would go ahead and call her 4th this year, which means 5th this fall. She's socially placing as a 4th grader, working as a 4th grader, and well it's all even, like you say. My ds is a 4th grader right now because of his fall bday and he has been 10 the whole school year. So yeah, I would call her 4th and just tell her that her b-day was on the line and that she's falling in better with the 4th and that's the way you'd like to go. I would definitely do that. 

Then, in a few years as you walk up to high school, you can stop and assess whether an *additional* grade adjustment is to her benefit. By doing it now, that's a discussion you can have. It may or may not be necessary. But she's so so young for her grade that I would DEFINITELY go ahead and adjust her own now, absolutely.

And when you have the evals, try to get language testing. Will it be multi-factored (at a clinic with psych, SLP, OT, etc.) or just a psych? If it's going to be only a psych for the eval, then I suggest you work now on getting her SLP evals for narrative and expressive language and an OT eval. 

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2 hours ago, Seeking Squirrels said:

Just untill she graduates and only if we stay with them

I'm not sure this is in every state, but I think in our state if you have an IEP you can continue till 21. 

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2 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Given her summer b-day, I would go ahead and call her 4th this year, which means 5th this fall. She's socially placing as a 4th grader, working as a 4th grader, and well it's all even, like you say. My ds is a 4th grader right now because of his fall bday and he has been 10 the whole school year. So yeah, I would call her 4th and just tell her that her b-day was on the line and that she's falling in better with the 4th and that's the way you'd like to go. I would definitely do that. 

Then, in a few years as you walk up to high school, you can stop and assess whether an *additional* grade adjustment is to her benefit. By doing it now, that's a discussion you can have. It may or may not be necessary. But she's so so young for her grade that I would DEFINITELY go ahead and adjust her own now, absolutely.

And when you have the evals, try to get language testing. Will it be multi-factored (at a clinic with psych, SLP, OT, etc.) or just a psych? If it's going to be only a psych for the eval, then I suggest you work now on getting her SLP evals for narrative and expressive language and an OT eval. 

 

The results of her first neuro eval actually sent us to an SLP for a full eval there. The result there was an expressive language delay, but it was very specific to ability to narrate. She did about 4 months of speech therapy and then was dismissed as having met all her goals. Which she did do in the office, but practical application was still not great and I do still see issues there. 

The one we're trying to get her into is a neuropsychologist. They do have an SLP in the offices as well, so I don't know if she would refer her straight over. I will find out more at our intake in April and hopefully it isn't *too* long of a wait from there to the eval. 

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Ok, so update the narrative language testing. If it has been a while, there's more material out there now. She needs to be able to GET OUT her narratives, and she needs to understand the relationship between narrative and expository writing. If she doesn't nail that, it will hold back her reading comprehension and her writing. So definitely, definitely update that narrative language testing (and the SPELT structured photographic expressive language test) as that's probably not a done deal, over, non-issue. It may be what's holding back her academics, which is why you don't have any guarantee that she'll continue to move forward. But that's something evals can sort out.

https://mindwingconcepts.com/collections/thememaker/products/thememaker-quick-start  Here's something to help you see what I'm talking about with the connection between narrative and expository and why the breakdown can still be showing up. The skills got harder so going back to freshen those skills and apply them at the next level may be necessary.

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9 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Ok, so update the narrative language testing. If it has been a while, there's more material out there now. She needs to be able to GET OUT her narratives, and she needs to understand the relationship between narrative and expository writing. If she doesn't nail that, it will hold back her reading comprehension and her writing. So definitely, definitely update that narrative language testing (and the SPELT structured photographic expressive language test) as that's probably not a done deal, over, non-issue. It may be what's holding back her academics, which is why you don't have any guarantee that she'll continue to move forward. But that's something evals can sort out.

https://mindwingconcepts.com/collections/thememaker/products/thememaker-quick-start  Here's something to help you see what I'm talking about with the connection between narrative and expository and why the breakdown can still be showing up. The skills got harder so going back to freshen those skills and apply them at the next level may be necessary.

I never considered that the narrative issue could need re-addressed as she gets older and the work changes. That makes perfect sense, though. I will find out if that will be done through this new psych. If not, I can go through Primary Children's rehab. That's where she did speech and OT before. She's done OT on and off since her initial dx of SPD when she was 6. 

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1 minute ago, Seeking Squirrels said:

I will find out if that will be done through this new psych.

The test you want is the TNL (test of narrative learning). It's a standardized tool, not too expensive, takes about an hour to administer. No, I'd be shocked if the psych does it. I've only heard of *one* that does and I've been to a scad of them. They usually just administer a screener like the CELF and move on.

An SLP can do a dynamic assessment of narrative language, but I would not think a psych would be trained in that. There are some psychs who prefer dynamic anyway. I needed data for an IEP fight, so that's why we did the TNL. Some SLPs think it under identifies, but it worked out well for my ds. So the issue is not whether the TNL is good but only whether it under-identifies. It was developed by the Gillams out at (Utah State? I forget) who have their SKILL Narrative curriculum.

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7 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

The test you want is the TNL (test of narrative learning). It's a standardized tool, not too expensive, takes about an hour to administer. No, I'd be shocked if the psych does it. I've only heard of *one* that does and I've been to a scad of them. They usually just administer a screener like the CELF and move on.

An SLP can do a dynamic assessment of narrative language, but I would not think a psych would be trained in that. There are some psychs who prefer dynamic anyway. I needed data for an IEP fight, so that's why we did the TNL. Some SLPs think it under identifies, but it worked out well for my ds. So the issue is not whether the TNL is good but only whether it under-identifies. It was developed by the Gillams out at (Utah State? I forget) who have their SKILL Narrative curriculum.

I will call then and get a referral in through our ped for the SLP.  So I want the SPELT and the TNL? 

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I would. But I'm saying you have to ask the SLP upfront. If they don't own the tests, they don't own them. The SPELT is unique because it doesn't have models or multiple choice. She can't bluff. Either she can say the constructions or she can't. Most other language testing uses multiple choice at least half the test, for real. It caps at around 9 btw, but that's mainly because by that point basically everyone should be passing it with flying colors. 

So you're wanting expressive language testing and narrative language testing, and then when you have the prospective SLP ask flat up what they're going to use. I've never done testing through a hospital. Maybe they own tons of stuff so it's easy? That would be amazing.

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No. The "grade" just has to do with a child's age. It has nothing to do with academics, not for homeschooled children.

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I would not at this stage. I would get evals done for all the reasons said above. And I would maybe start preparing her for the idea that school might take her longer than some of her peers. However, there's no way I'd put the "extra" year in after 4th grade. She's young. And there's no point. I might consider doing it before high school depending on the goals going forward, but that's years away. I'd re-evaluate down the line.

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I've felt like it was very important how I frame things for ds for the long-run, because a dc who is on the spectrum or possibly on the spectrum is going to be a lot more rigid. They might get ideas in their head about how it's going to be, and then that's really hard to pull back on. Lots of kids can, but a spectrum kid is going to bring it the whole way. It might be way it's on the op's mind, if she's seeing that tendency or potential.

So like with my ds, who is not yet grade adjusted because the school does not yet want to do that for his IEP (because of their stupid we would teach him where he is mess), I tell him that graduation dates are flexible, that some people need longer, that some people take time in the middle. So I've been telling him for several years it can happen and building in that mindset that it's going to be flexible. Reality is I'm probably going to need that time. 

So is that another way to handle it? Sure. Depends on what you're trying to make happen. You could even talk it through with her. I think if she's hanging with peers in that lower grade and it makes social settings work out well, that can be nice. Like going to camp is often by grade. Does it fit her to be the lower or higher grade for going to camp? Same thing with youth groups, co-ops, etc. Right now, my ds placement is fine in social settings when he's put in by age grade. So he's 10 and a 4th grader. But I WILL NOT allow us to have stress over high school readiness because of the grade designation. There will come a point where it will matter and we will change it. 

Even my dd, who was always very precocious and ahead on things and scoring quite well, I wished would have baked an extra year. She's just straight ADHD for her diagnosis, but I just had that sense. And she was like no, no, I'm OUTTA here. Fine, she left. But after a year of college, she was like OH that's why you wanted me to bake another year. 

So it's ok to go with your mother gut on this. You might be picking up subtle things you haven't quite put together yet. Do it when it makes sense and improves something. If you want to wait, have the conversation so you're building that flexibility if you need it down the road.

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9 hours ago, Seeking Squirrels said:

We have an intake appt for ASD eval in April. She was evaluated just before turning 8 and the doc said no autism. When I shared those results and her reasons for no autism, it was questioned. And has continued to be questioned ever since. The older she gets the more it becomes apparent there is definitely something else beyond the dx we already have. So we are re-evaluating. 

I know how this feels...my son has had two evals where we were expecting autism, and just ADHD each time.  I wish they didn't get rid of Aspergers.  My son's last eval just re-iterated severe ADHD, but this time added social delay and mentioned we should look at pragmatic expressive language.  So many of the symptoms of Aspergers without supports other than medication!

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

I've felt like it was very important how I frame things for ds for the long-run, because a dc who is on the spectrum or possibly on the spectrum is going to be a lot more rigid. They might get ideas in their head about how it's going to be, and then that's really hard to pull back on. Lots of kids can, but a spectrum kid is going to bring it the whole way. It might be way it's on the op's mind, if she's seeing that tendency or potential.

....

Yes, very much this. Right now she is pretty socially unaware of what it means to go forward or back a grade. And while she is aware on some level that there are 12 grades and then college, it's not on her radar yet. She hasn't counted down the years to graduate, she hasn't figured up what year that will be. If we're going to need an extra year, much better to do so now than once she has become aware of all those things. 

I actually talked to her briefly today just to feel her out. She couldn't even remember for sure what grade she was but guessed 5th. I mentioned maybe 'changing' what grade she was because kids with her birthday could be 4th or 5th right now.  I gave her a very brief run-down of why it could be good and assured her if we did it that it wouldn't actually change anything we did. She just said okay and asked for cookie dough. So again, very immature and not on her radar. That will catch up to us eventually. And yes, once it does, she would dig in her heels and not accept the change. She doesn't care now because her grade means nothing to her. 

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7 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I would. But I'm saying you have to ask the SLP upfront. If they don't own the tests, they don't own them. The SPELT is unique because it doesn't have models or multiple choice. She can't bluff. Either she can say the constructions or she can't. Most other language testing uses multiple choice at least half the test, for real. It caps at around 9 btw, but that's mainly because by that point basically everyone should be passing it with flying colors. 

So you're wanting expressive language testing and narrative language testing, and then when you have the prospective SLP ask flat up what they're going to use. I've never done testing through a hospital. Maybe they own tons of stuff so it's easy? That would be amazing.

Yes, it's amazing being so close to Primary Children's.  They have several satellite locations for rehab so we don't even have to go all the way into SLC for therapy or evals (though we've spent a fair share of time at the main campus too) But they all have access to the same tools so they have a lot. And for the TLN, you said it was maybe Utah State and it could be, but University of Utah is more likely as they have a strong medical focus and Primary is affiliated with their medical school and hospital. 

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My daughter has a late July birthday, so if she would have been born one month later, she would be a grade lower.  This is a big part of why I started homeschooling.  I felt she was far too young to pack off to school.  In 2nd grade, I wanted to hold her back a grade, even though she does well academically, because I felt her maturity level was lower.  We are enrolled in a public homeschool, and they said I couldn't hold her back without a psych exam, and since she is ahead in school, they just sort of shook their heads at me.  I remember discussing with another parent who had circumvented the requirement by just taking her son out of the school for 3rd grade, then re-enrolled him the next year for 3rd grade (check your state laws).  I wasn't interested in the exam or the removal from the program.  Now we are at the end of grade 4, and I feel like she is fine.  She is definitely more mature than the 3rd graders we know.  One of our school's high school advisors told me how I can keep her in high school for 5 years without any impact to her record, so I may do that unless I feel she is incredibly mature to graduate at 17.  That seems much too young to be off to college.

Anyway, I have thought about holding her back, from K through grade 3.  Now I think I'm finally ok with her grade level, but I still keep in my mind that she is young for her grade.  With any kind of struggle your child might be having (I don't know all those acronyms), I wouldn't feel badly at all about holding your child back.  I think it's very common with a summer birthday.  I also think it is better to do earlier when it has less impact on friendships.

 

Edited by parent
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I don’t find that I’m especially tied to grade levels. When DD’s friends were all starting kindergarten and she was determined to do so and clearly advanced, I agreed to it even though she was a year young. When we moved and decided to sign her up for an independent homeschool charter, I enrolled her by age, and she therefore repeated second grade on paper, though her materials were all not second grade. Now, due to both social and academic fit and not having access to certain classes and camps due to her official grade level, she’s requesting a double grade skip, and I’m supporting her in her request to the charter. 

Except for access to programs that admit only by grade level, I find the designated grade level to be a non-issue for us. Therefore, I would only retain or advance anything out of the norm because of best fit in grade-based programs. Anything further seems like it can be adjusted more easily as a child transitions from middle school to high school, when there’s often a clearer picture of how the academics, maturity, and mental health pieces all fit together.

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9 hours ago, Seeking Squirrels said:

She just said okay and asked for cookie dough. So again, very immature and not on her radar. That will catch up to us eventually. And yes, once it does, she would dig in her heels and not accept the change. She doesn't care now because her grade means nothing to her. 

Bingo. Just do it. It doesn't matter to her and it's protective at this point. It places her better socially and sets her up. I'll just tell you, that's pretty oblivious. My ds is that oblivious, and he's labeled ASD2. Nobody who knows him thinks he will be done at 18/19. He's probably gonna keep that IEP and be going till 20. So you're seeing more factors than just academics here. Look at the whole picture and do what is protective for her. It's more traumatic for you than it is for her, and it's a bigger deal to you than it is to her. I've watched so many people on the boards have regrets about their kids with delays launching too soon that I'm not setting myself up for that. It's the society saying you can't take longer. Think about that. To you it's OBVIOUS she needs more bake time, and it's social pressure not to do that, to launch her anyway. They don't know her or what she needs. Be confident in taking care of your kid and giving her the bake time to be ready to launch. There are lots of ways to launch now (DE, stay at home and commute, take a job and still homeschool till you're 20, etc.). You'll work it out.

9 hours ago, Seeking Squirrels said:

for the TLN,

Here's the link to order. I really like it. I blend it with the SGM stuff from MW just because I'm a nut. http://usu-works.mybigcommerce.com/order-the-updated-skill-manual-3rd-edition-with-new-online-digital-materials/

6 hours ago, parent said:

Anyway, I have thought about holding her back, from K through grade 3.  Now I think I'm finally ok with her grade level, but I still keep in my mind that she is young for her grade.

Yes, that is what I did with my dd. It's a good way of handling it for a dc. The main issue for the op is probably not the academics but a growing sense in her gut that the long-term path here is different, that the dc is going to need more time at home, and getting on a path that makes that inconspicuous and not filled with conflict. But yes, as long as there are no significant developmental delays to require more bake time, you are handling it EXACTLY RIGHT.

6 hours ago, parent said:

I also think it is better to do earlier when it has less impact on friendships.

Good point!

 

Edited by PeterPan
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DH and I talked it over and we are in agreement. So from our end, we are now considering her 4th grade this year. I have an email in to our charter to find out what needs to be done to adjust it on paper. But they don't require specific work based on the child's stated grade, so it really doesn't matter much until 9th when their benefits and requirements change. If we change now as far as DD knows, then if I need to wait and change later with the charter she'll never know the difference. 

And yes, she is often very oblivious to things like this. She struggles with jokes, she doesn't get sarcasm or idioms, she's sees no difference in being good friends with a 10 year old and being good friends with the 5 and 3 year old next door, she will curl up on my lap saying "mama, mama" right in front of other kids......Ya I could go on. BUT, she mimics really well. We don't see a lot of these things at co-op or when she was in PS for most of 3rd. If we're in a small group or with people she knows well she's more herself, but any time there is a lot of people (like co op and classrooms) she becomes quiet and behaves perfectly. She's often still oblivious to instruction or discussion around her and I've had to tell teachers to make sure to address her when giving an important instruction or she will miss it. We were told that was "anxiety winning" and that's why it wasn't autism, because "autism can't be overrode by anxiety." 😕 

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There are lots of "5th" grade-age kids in 4th. We have a new Scout coming in--he's 11.5 but in 5th grade. That's fine. We held one dd "back". We bumped her up a grade so she could run  with the MS x-c team as the local running club wouldn't take her that young. So, then she "repeated" 8th because I wanted her to have all 4 years of high school eligibility. 5th grade is a perfect time to do this, as you don't want to "repeat" a high school grade. Another Scout--the parents gave him the gift of an extra 8th grade year--best thing they could ever do. He's still an immature 9th grader this year, and will be 16yo this summer. With a July birthday, no way was he ready to be a soph this year. He just doesn't get stuff--has to be explicitly taught everything.  He won't be launching at 18.

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On 3/6/2019 at 12:36 PM, Seeking Squirrels said:

DH and I talked it over and we are in agreement. So from our end, we are now considering her 4th grade this year. I have an email in to our charter to find out what needs to be done to adjust it on paper. But they don't require specific work based on the child's stated grade, so it really doesn't matter much until 9th when their benefits and requirements change. If we change now as far as DD knows, then if I need to wait and change later with the charter she'll never know the difference. 

And yes, she is often very oblivious to things like this. She struggles with jokes, she doesn't get sarcasm or idioms, she's sees no difference in being good friends with a 10 year old and being good friends with the 5 and 3 year old next door, she will curl up on my lap saying "mama, mama" right in front of other kids......Ya I could go on. BUT, she mimics really well. We don't see a lot of these things at co-op or when she was in PS for most of 3rd. If we're in a small group or with people she knows well she's more herself, but any time there is a lot of people (like co op and classrooms) she becomes quiet and behaves perfectly. She's often still oblivious to instruction or discussion around her and I've had to tell teachers to make sure to address her when giving an important instruction or she will miss it. We were told that was "anxiety winning" and that's why it wasn't autism, because "autism can't be overrode by anxiety." 😕 

My 10 year old is very similar to yours.  She has some diagnoses (OCD, sensory processing issues, slow processing speed, ADD).  I was thinking Autism spectrum as well. but was told no because she can carry on a conversation and is empathetic.  We will have her reevaluated at some point.  I still think ASD.  Anyway, we call this year 4th grade but she is doing all 3rd grade work.  Next year, she will do all 4th grade work,  but she will still go in the 5th grade Sunday school class, etc.   I expect we will have to adjust grades at some point.  I think she will graduate at 19 and I am fine with that. 

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3 hours ago, jkl said:

My 10 year old is very similar to yours.  She has some diagnoses (OCD, sensory processing issues, slow processing speed, ADD).  I was thinking Autism spectrum as well. but was told no because she can carry on a conversation and is empathetic.  We will have her reevaluated at some point.  I still think ASD.  Anyway, we call this year 4th grade but she is doing all 3rd grade work.  Next year, she will do all 4th grade work,  but she will still go in the 5th grade Sunday school class, etc.   I expect we will have to adjust grades at some point.  I think she will graduate at 19 and I am fine with that. 

My very clear Aspie can carry on conversations and is empathetic. I think that there are some big misconceptions out there even among testers. 

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1 hour ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

My very clear Aspie can carry on conversations and is empathetic. I think that there are some big misconceptions out there even among testers. 

How do you sort this out?

I have a couple of kids with similar diagnoses to those listed above. Parents of autism spectrum kids will ask me if they are on the spectrum, and frankly I've always thought of them as spectrum-ish. But the neuropsych who did there evals didn't think so.

I've wondered about taking them somewhere else for evals, but maybe they really are just skirting the edge of diagnosable autism spectrum.

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3 minutes ago, maize said:

How do you sort this out?

I have a couple of kids with similar diagnoses to those listed above. Parents of autism spectrum kids will ask me if they are on the spectrum, and frankly I've always thought of them as spectrum-ish. But the neuropsych who did there evals didn't think so.

I've wondered about taking them somewhere else for evals, but maybe they really are just skirting the edge of diagnosable autism spectrum.

Ds is an extroverted Aspie. So he likes to talk to people. But he doesn’t always read people well. He was told in his Autism support class in college that people with ASD tend to be able to read other people with ASD well, while they can’t read NT people well. He told me that in his case he finds this to be true.   He understands NT people’s words but not their tone so that can lead to misunderstandings in conversations that are other than factual. 

His lack of being able to read people can be mistaken as lacking empathy but he does care about people very much. 

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7 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Ds is an extroverted Aspie. So he likes to talk to people. But he doesn’t always read people well. He was told in his Autism support class in college that people with ASD tend to be able to read other people with ASD well, while they can’t read NT people well. He told me that in his case he finds this to be true.   He understands NT people’s words but not their tone so that can lead to misunderstandings in conversations that are other than factual. 

His lack of being able to read people can be mistaken as lacking empathy but he does care about people very much. 

My ds13 has problems understanding tone of voice and why it matters. I don't know if he has trouble reading tone in others (probably?) but I've talked and talked and talked with him about how his tone impacts how others respond to him and he doesn't seem to be able to grasp it.

Getting him to talk about anything non factual--and especially anything personal, even "how was your day" or "what did you do in class today?" is nearly impossible. That feels to me like a form of anxiety, even a kind of selective mutism.

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16 hours ago, jkl said:

told no because she can carry on a conversation and is empathetic.

If someone actually half knew what they were talking about, they would have been able to tease out the conversation deficits, as they're assuredly there. The issue is not whether they can have a conversation. The issue is whether they can repair, whether they talk flexibly about topics other than what they're interested in, whether they can talk with their peers as easily as with adults who handle all the repairs, etc. etc. 

And as far as the empathy, that's so stupid. We have mirroring neurons. What a common, idiotic misconception. Now social thinking and perspective-taking deficits, that we could talk about. But there are new standardized tools to tease that out, so again they didn't have to say something stupid like "well she seems so nice and is empathetic". That's how girls present. What an idiot. Never even read the data.

Here's info on the CAPs. It's brand new and could be done in addition to the SLDT. https://www.smartspeechtherapy.com/test-review-clinical-assessment-of-pragmatics-cap/

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

If someone actually half knew what they were talking about, they would have been able to tease out the conversation deficits, as they're assuredly there. The issue is not whether they can have a conversation. The issue is whether they can repair, whether they talk flexibly about topics other than what they're interested in, whether they can talk with their peers as easily as with adults who handle all the repairs, etc. etc. 

And as far as the empathy, that's so stupid. We have mirroring neurons. What a common, idiotic misconception. Now social thinking and perspective-taking deficits, that we could talk about. But there are new standardized tools to tease that out, so again they didn't have to say something stupid like "well she seems so nice and is empathetic". That's how girls present. What an idiot. Never even read the data.

Here's info on the CAPs. It's brand new and could be done in addition to the SLDT. https://www.smartspeechtherapy.com/test-review-clinical-assessment-of-pragmatics-cap/

Thanks for this link!  I'm collecting info for our next round of evals:)  I think there is so much more still to be learned about how Autism presents in girls!

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6 hours ago, jkl said:

Thanks for this link!  I'm collecting info for our next round of evals:)  I think there is so much more still to be learned about how Autism presents in girls!

You might like to go to AAPC and search through what they've got. Anything by Ruth Aspy is going to be very well thought out. She helped with this book on conversation                                             Talk With Me: A Step-by-step Conversation Framework for Teaching Conversational Balance and Fluency                                     

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Here's my take -- do what is best for your child each year.  The grade level only matters minimally to the state -- and may matter for certain educational opportunities.  Talk to your child as they start to mature about opportunities based upon age-grade or other grade, what their goals are, what they would like to achieve.  The grade level (for us) becomes permanent only IF the PSAT/NMSQT is an issue.  Otherwise, it will not matter.

  • I made the decision to hold my oldest back in the 6th grade (extended 6th for 2 years). I did submit my NOI to VA, for two years with the same grade level - I did not get any blow back from the state. Gave him an option at the end of 8th to count his 8th grade year as high school, or start high school the following year -- and what each choice would look like/could mean.  He wound up graduating at 18 vs. 17. He also took a gap year -- so will not begin college until he is nearly 20.  But, he is very happy with how these decisions have worked for him.  There wasn't a single question about his academic record from any of the 6 schools he applied to.  And no issues with the college he begins in the fall.
  • DD#1 (PonyGirl) was given an option to accelerate and graduate early in 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th --declined every time.  She was offered early admission to a university and also declined.  She is very happy with her decision.  She will be commended, we won't know about NMQST until the fall (she is actually on the bubble for our state -- if the state has the high end cut off of 222, she misses it, if it goes to the low end of 221, she's in like flynn).  She was born in January.
  • DS #2 (PokeMan) was also given a similar choice at 8th grade, and has zero complaints about his options.  He is very excited about the extra opportunities he has as a high schooler because of it.  He is excited about the opportunity to test out of multiple courses through AP and dual enroll in high school.  He is now motivated to try for National Merit.  He is excited about the possibility of graduating college with no debt and a dual degree (or more).  He has clear goals and works toward them.  This was not the case 12 months ago (he is a rising sophomore, as opposed to a rising junior and will turn 16 about 2 weeks before the beginning of his junior year)
  • DD#2 (Blondie) will be given an opportunity to decide her path next year -- she's not my most motivated student, and I do feel she can benefit from another high school year, but will ultimately leave that in her hands.  She's my last summer child.  She is far more capable than what she shows academically.  But social situations matter much more to her than my older three.  Regardless of her decision, she still has to complete the same general requirements as her college-bound siblings (4 years of math, 4 years of English, 3 years of Science -- Bio, Chem and Physics, 3 years of foreign language, Western Civ, USH, Govt, Econ, Geography & World Cultures, Philosphy & World Religions, typing, Microsoft Products, health/PE, cooking, and art.)
  • DD#3 (Boo) I currently have zero plans to do anything different with -- but it will depend upon how these next few years go.  My gut feeling is that she will graduate with her age-grade cohort (and she has a January birthday).  She has some delays due to a major speech issue, but is at grade level.  I do feel she will continue to progress beyond grade level in the coming years and "catch up" to her older siblings.  

It is very important to me that my kids start developing their own sense of who they are and what they want as part of their graduation process.  I feel no need to rush it, but will push them to do the most difficult work they can handle -- but not *every* course needs to be the same level.  My oldest daughter's history course is not the same level of intensity as her math and science courses, and that is by design and her choice.  She could handle more -- but I don't believe in doing more for the sake of doing more -- there needs to be purpose behind it.

 

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I think I probably would in your case.  I think the main reason for grade levels for homeschool kids is so they are matched up appropriately in cases where they are interacting with kids or teachers etc in school type settings, or of course if they end up in school at some point.  It sounds like it's a whole package deal og maturity and acadeic level, and may be lomg term rather than something that will even out in within a year or so.

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On 3/19/2019 at 3:24 PM, jkl said:

My 10 year old is very similar to yours.  She has some diagnoses (OCD, sensory processing issues, slow processing speed, ADD).  I was thinking Autism spectrum as well. but was told no because she can carry on a conversation and is empathetic.  We will have her reevaluated at some point.  I still think ASD.  Anyway, we call this year 4th grade but she is doing all 3rd grade work.  Next year, she will do all 4th grade work,  but she will still go in the 5th grade Sunday school class, etc.   I expect we will have to adjust grades at some point.  I think she will graduate at 19 and I am fine with that. 

This is similar to some of what they told us. She makes eye contact and initiates interaction.

On 3/19/2019 at 8:18 PM, maize said:

My ds13 has problems understanding tone of voice and why it matters. I don't know if he has trouble reading tone in others (probably?) but I've talked and talked and talked with him about how his tone impacts how others respond to him and he doesn't seem to be able to grasp it.

Getting him to talk about anything non factual--and especially anything personal, even "how was your day" or "what did you do in class today?" is nearly impossible. That feels to me like a form of anxiety, even a kind of selective mutism.

DD doesn't get tone, either. She perceives anger if she doesn't like what someone says, she does not sense frustration or "this isn't funny" from us. She will also speak to others in inappropriate tones and does not seem to understand what was wrong. 

On 3/20/2019 at 8:26 AM, PeterPan said:

If someone actually half knew what they were talking about, they would have been able to tease out the conversation deficits, as they're assuredly there. The issue is not whether they can have a conversation. The issue is whether they can repair, whether they talk flexibly about topics other than what they're interested in, whether they can talk with their peers as easily as with adults who handle all the repairs, etc. etc. 

And as far as the empathy, that's so stupid. We have mirroring neurons. What a common, idiotic misconception. Now social thinking and perspective-taking deficits, that we could talk about. But there are new standardized tools to tease that out, so again they didn't have to say something stupid like "well she seems so nice and is empathetic". That's how girls present. What an idiot. Never even read the data.

Here's info on the CAPs. It's brand new and could be done in addition to the SLDT. https://www.smartspeechtherapy.com/test-review-clinical-assessment-of-pragmatics-cap/

I've seen DD struggle with this. I remember clearly a time she was on the phone telling a friend about our dog. It was on speaker so I heard the friend respond about our dog, DD said something else about our dog. Friend said something about what pets she has. DD said something about our dog. Friend said something about what she'd done that day. DD said something about our dog. This continued until I intervened and got her attention and told her quietly to ask friend about her new house (they had just moved a state away). 

DD shows extreme empathy toward animals. People not so much, but I know it's there. We just usually have to explain how or why someone is feeling/acting/reacting a certain way. 

 

I talked to DD's therapist about possible ASD and she is as unsure as us about it. She agrees with getting her re-evaluated. 

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https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?name=Social Thinking Social Communication Profile  You might find this article helpful. Social Thinking deficits cross labels, so you can end up with those deficits but have a variety of DSM labels. 

In general, as far as your evals, the more skillful your person at the ADOS, the better. Now the ADOS can miss girls, but a person who's really really good at the ADOS also understands how to tease out what they're seeing. So definitely take your time picking the person and find someone who has experience with girls.

There's a new video test for pragmatics, the CAPs. Might yield good data on her. You'd be looking for an SLP who specializes in social thinking who can administer it. It's newer, so it might be hard to find. Would be worth it though. There are also SLPs trained by Michelle Garcia Winner (of the Social Thinking stuff) who can do a dynamic assessment that is really helpful. They'll usually run narrative language, a test of problem solving, some screeners for theory of mind, and a bunch of stuff for social thinking. You can find the practitioner list on their site. https://www.socialthinking.com/Clinics/Clinical-Trainee-Directory

The psychs are the ones people lean on to diagnose but really the SLPs are dealing with a lot of the actual intervention, which is why they tend to have really useful tests, etc. Going multi-factored like that can give you a lot of actionable info, more than if you only go to a psych. Now there *are* some psychs who do narrative language testing and more detailed testing, yes. In general though, even if you pay for a neuropsych, those screenings will be pretty limited. The CELF radically under-identifies language disability in these kids and yet it's the most common screener done by psychs. So build a team would be my advice.

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My youngest's birthday is April 27.  When we decided to send her to school at age 9, she normally would have entered as a fourth grader.  But she has some learning disabilities, severe anxiety, and is possibly on the spectrum.  She was academically a bit behind, although very asynchronous.  More importantly, she was emotionally young.  She was also, at the time, physically very small for her age.  Crucially, she had no idea what grade she was in, so when we sent her to school, there was no sense that she was "repeating third grade."  The private school we wanted to send her to would accept her into third but not fourth, based on her academics, so that made it easier.  It just seemed like the best decision at the time.  

At 13, almost 14, and finishing up 7th grade, I'm no longer sure that enrolling her in the younger grade was absolutely the right thing to do.  She hit puberty a bit young, and as she's gotten older, she no longer seems emotionally young, although she's still kind of spectrumy.  Most of her friends are several years older.  But, I don't think it was a BAD decision.  There was no emotional baggage about repeating.  Her birthday is late enough in the year that she's really not all that much older than most kids; at least here, most summer birthdays are red shirted, so while she's the oldest, it's really not by very much.  She's doing well overall.  I think it was the best decision we could have made at the time, and I don't think it was a bad one.  

But honestly, with a summer birthday, I would absolutely grade adjust.  Around here, in school she almost certainly be the youngest, because anyone with a birthday of June 1 or later is almost automatically held back.  Of course, if she's aware of her grade level, I'd want to do it in a way that's as non traumatizing as possible....stretching out fifth grade or deciding to be in the same grade as her friend or whatever.  

For what it's worth, the whole girl autism thing has been really tricky here.  My kid has passed the ADOS twice (once at five and once at 8).  However, everyone who knows autism at all and works with her much at all thinks she's on the spectrum.  And if you go straight by the DSM guide, she definitely fits the definition.  But it's all pretty subtle stuff.  

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52 minutes ago, Terabith said:

At 13, almost 14, and finishing up 7th grade, I'm no longer sure that enrolling her in the younger grade was absolutely the right thing to do.

If you want a laugh, our girls share a b-day. :biggrin: My dd was never behind academically, but as we approached high school I really wanted her to have an extra year for bloom time. So my dd was not retained, because academically there had been no warrant, but as a mom I saw it would have been good at the end. It took her a whole year at college to finally blossom and realize WHY I had said that. 

It's easy to jump ahead later and sometimes hard to retain if they get things in their head. 

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15 hours ago, PeterPan said:

If you want a laugh, our girls share a b-day. :biggrin: My dd was never behind academically, but as we approached high school I really wanted her to have an extra year for bloom time. So my dd was not retained, because academically there had been no warrant, but as a mom I saw it would have been good at the end. It took her a whole year at college to finally blossom and realize WHY I had said that. 

It's easy to jump ahead later and sometimes hard to retain if they get things in their head. 

That's kinda what I figured.  Skipping ahead would be hard with the school system, but if she really needed to, we could take her out, homeschool for a year, and enroll her in the higher grade.  My birthday is May 2, and I always felt like I was in the right grade, so it felt weird, but when I was a kid, the entrance date was somewhere in December.  I was often one of the younger ones, but I was never the absolute youngest.  And I'm not sure that would be the case anymore.  The Waldorf people are often kinda nutty, but I think there is something to their "seven Easters" for first grade entrance.  That's always seemed about right to me.  

I actually wish my kid would let me homeschool her next year.  I think a year to really work on algebra and essay writing would be really beneficial to her, but she is adamantly opposed.  She feels strongly that while she's kinda ASD and a bit antisocial that she is healthier when she is forced to be around people every day.  She says the structure and herd effect of school is good for her, even if she doesn't like it.  So....yay, self awareness, but academically, I think a year at home would be really helpful.  Oh well.  

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17 minutes ago, Terabith said:

She feels strongly that while she's kinda ASD and a bit antisocial that she is healthier when she is forced to be around people every day.  She says the structure and herd effect of school is good for her, even if she doesn't like it. 

That's some really good self-advocacy!!!! That's amazing and really encouraging. If she's thinking like that, she can problem solve, especially with you there to help her. Like she might see herself that she'd like more time at the end or some help with essays. She doesn't have to homeschool to get either of those. What is the age for them to go to their IEP meetings? Does she have one? That would get really interesting.

And you know, my dd made it work. She went to a very safe place for college and we gave her some structures that she pushed against but that maybe kept her safe. So there are ways it pans out. She might take a gap year before doing the next thing and just volunteer. Sounds like she'll figure it out. Means you've taught her well. :smile:

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The age to go to IEP meetings is 14.  She turns 14 at the end of April, and her IEP meeting is April 2.  I asked her if she wanted to come.  She was adamant that she does not want to come.  She says that she feels uncomfortable and self conscious with people talking about her, and she would rather not be there.  So....she's not going.  I asked her if she had anything she wanted me to ask for, and she says no.  She feels school is going well.  And mostly it is.  Her tutor (who works at an autism school and is pretty sure she's on the spectrum) suggested I ask for the ability for her to take a five minute break when she's frustrated.  She tends to shut down.  It's an amazing idea, but she does not really have either the self awareness to know when she needs a break or the self confidence to ask for one.  At the private school, I always included in my "what you need to know about working with her" spiel at the beginning of the year that there are times her brain shuts off and that it's counter productive to push then.  Don't put her on the spot.  Just move on and ask somebody else.  But she was never able to ask for this herself.  I had to explain to teachers to look for the glazed look on her face.  That worked okay in elementary, but I'm not sure it will work when she has seven teachers a day and none of them know her well enough to know what to look for.  So I will ask for the break accommodation, but I'm not sure if it will do much good.  

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