Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

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deerhart
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Re : Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

Postby deerhart » Mon Jan 15, 2007 05:32 pm

The school gave you an absolute line of bull to get you to back off. Alex was diagnosed by the school at age 4 (he was not quite yet 5)!!!!!!! Of course they can't diagnosis an LD they haven't done the testing on her to even start!

You need to INSIST they do a FULL evaluation on here, including cognitive testing (an IQ test). Tell them your not excepting the half hearted evaluations and if they deny you then your immediately filing for mediation/due process hearing under IDEA. At this point of the year, they should be doing evaluations for all their suspected/known SPED students going into 1st grade because most states REQUIRE the school districts to give the educational diagnosis prior to 1st grade (some require it by midway through Kindy, Alex's was done in the months right before his 5th b-day). They are using the excuse of holding her back 1 year to avoid doing this.

Heck, she could have visual tracking problems, decoding problems, dyslexia or a number of different things going on that are complicating her ability to read and write and holding her back won't do anything but frustrate her. Heck at this point you don't even know if she really DOES know how but just can't show it.

Have you considered getting private testing done, maybe a neuropsych or at least a psychiatrists/psychologist who could start the IQ testing and such. Many insurances will pay for it fully except for a deductible or copay (Alex's neuropsych testing cost us $30 and we had it done at age 5.5).

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Re : Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

Postby amiejo » Mon Jan 15, 2007 03:26 pm

I dont want to dwell too much on the school testing but I do want you to know that what the school told you is wrong. They can diagnose a learning disability in a 5 year old. Florida state guidelines say that it is the school districts responsibility to evaluate any student suspected of having a learning problem as well as document interventions prior to the evaluation. If a parent requests the evaluation, they are required to do the evaluation and do intervention while testing.

They may mean that it is hard to diagnose the disability at a young age...as a psychologist I do know that it can be difficult to show a learning disability in a 5 year old with traditional testing guidelines for special education...but that does not mean that they cannot test.

I will say on another note that my husbands parents always say they wish they would have held him back because he struggled in elementary school with reading. They really think it is because he was a September baby and just made the cutoff. He even says it would have been better to be the oldest than the youngest!

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hannahsmom
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Re : Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

Postby hannahsmom » Mon Jan 15, 2007 10:03 am

Anne -

I did like your point about her being older and being able to drive sooner [:)] I was a mid-September baby and started kindergarten at 4 so I was always younger than everyone. My friends could all drive in 10th grade but I didn't turn 16 until 11th grade and I was so jealous! So thanks for bringing up that point [:D]

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hannahsmom
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Re : Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

Postby hannahsmom » Mon Jan 15, 2007 09:59 am

Thanks so much for your advice and input, ladies. I knew you all would make me feel better [:)]

I signed the paperwork to have Hannah tested on November 1. The only thing that has happened so far is that she was observed by the counselor. On Friday she had me sign a release for testing by the speech pathologist. From what I was told at our meeting, the only thing available to her at this point is speech, and that's ONLY if she qualifies by the state education guidelines, which are different than the medical guidelines. I don't think she will qualify becuase we had her tested for the ESE pre-k when she was both 3 and 4, and she wasn't "severe" enough. They don't have any special reading programs or anything like that for kindergarten. They said they can't diagnose a learning disability in a 5-year-old. We do have a private OT and ST that we are on a waiting list for, but those aren't cheap! My mother (who is a teacher) went to the parent-teacher conference with me - thank goodness! She asked the principal if Hannah is held back, and she is still at the same point next January as she is right now, what then??? The principal said then at that point, they would do further testing. The thing that the teacher and principal kept saying is "she's so young." I also have concerns such as Fiona and Anne that Hannah is already tall for her age. This is just so ironic because she was never on the charts, then all of a sudden she sprouted up and is one of the tallest children in her class! I don't want her to tower over the other kindergarteners next year. I guess we will just wait and see how the year ends. Erin - your son gives me a ray of hope - that he was not the same student in May as he was in January. Hannah was like that in pre-k last year, so maybe she will prove everyone wrong [^]

Thanks again for everyone's advice!

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Re : Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

Postby amiejo » Sun Jan 14, 2007 08:51 pm

This is such a hard topic to handle. It's that time of year that the schools start talking to parents that have kids at risk of retention (it's all the talk with parents and principals in the schools I work in). Most of the time, I push principals not to retain because the research doesn't really support it. Like Erin mentioned, there has to be a plan in place on how to address a problem not just retain as the only strategy. Most of the children that I do see retention helping are the youngest ones in Kindergarten. Some are just not developmentally ready for reading and need the extra year.

Hannah has a history of needing some therapies to achieve. You should have the school do testing. Many schools dont like to test students in Kindergarten because they are in that developmental stage but with her history...they should test. You need to find out exactly what areas of reading she is struggling with. Have they started reading interventions at all?

As Erin said, put your request in writing. That is the only way that they have to do the testing if a parent requests it. Verbal requests do not matter. Send a copy of the letter to the school principal and the school psychologist. Most schools wont fight a parent request for testing (its too much time and money to go to mediation over an issue that they will most likely loss).

Get the testing done this year. That way you can have a plan for next year if they retain or not. Also, start the request soon. The school has 60 days to complete the request. They will not finish by the end of the school year if it isn't started soon.

Take care.

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annegarrett
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Re : Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

Postby annegarrett » Sun Jan 14, 2007 04:35 pm

Hi there,
Three of my four are cusp babies (September 9, August 30 and October 2) with the cut off here being August 31st. And they are boys, so I held all three back, over the objections of their father. (I should add I have a Masters in Teaching and was a certified K-8 teacher for years). My 10 year old has special needs (my HELLP delivery) and is very mainstream and normal in appearance but his printing (like Fiona's Jay) is illegible and he gets marked down for it. His math skills are exceptional. My 2nd was very large for his age so we worried about him always being the biggest but even a year back he struggled academically and we also had to spend a lot to get him up to speed. I remind myself this isn't a race and would rather my kids get there than that they get there with some kids we barely know. In terms of social skills, my eldest (who was gifted) struggled the most with being with kids his age because even though he was years ahead intellectually, he was years behind socially. I think the main thing is you want the first few years to be solidly successful and positive. Studies show that kids who are behind in the 3rd grade have an 80% chance of being behind when they are in 8th grade (and so on...)so putting in the time and energy for a successful first few years is time and energy well worth it. Also, it is great being the oldest kid in the class because when they are 16, they are the first of their friends to drive and that is very cool.

Take care,

heather100
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Re : Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

Postby heather100 » Sun Jan 14, 2007 02:10 pm

Big hugs to you, Suzanne. It does sound like holding her back is the best thing although I'd be sad just like you. But it's not your fault, mama!!!

Is it just me or is kindergarten much more difficult than when we were kids? I have heard the stories so often of children being held back. Maybe I just have a bad memory but I don't recall reading, writing, and doing math in kindergarten. I guess since my daughter is not even two, it's hard for me to understand what they can do at 5.


Oh well!!!

deerhart
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Re : Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

Postby deerhart » Sun Jan 14, 2007 01:44 pm

I will step in here to say a few things.

One, recent studies show that for the most part retention without ANY other interventions does not work. Why? Because it isn't very often that the child simply doesn't get what's being taught there is something else going on. Whether it be an LD or that they simply need to learn the material in a different manner then it was presented. Thus, most now are pushing that if a child is to be retained (held back, not promoted etc..) that there be a specific plan in place to address the specific needs of the child, not just a repetition of the previous material (because the child didn't pick up the material the first time around, how will presenting it again the same way change anything?)

SO now the question should focus on WHY she can't read or why her writing is so poor. Is her writing poor because of fine motor skill problems? Is her reading low because she has difficulty decoding or because she has difficulty with answering the questions they are asking or because she has phoenimc awareness problems?

PLEASE put your request for testing IN WRITING. Force the school to test her and if they won't appeal it while getting your own testing done. If you know the tests they are relying on I will gladly help you find the information that should help point you in the write direction. If they are SIMPLY rely on the work she's producing in the classroom.. well let me tell you that can mean next to nothing depending on what the problem is.

She still has almost half the school year left and if you or the school can figure out what the actual issue is, then you can focus on that in order to see if it is truely an age thing OR if its truely a problem that needs to be dealt with. The Alex that graduated from Kindy at the end of May was NOT the same child that existed in January of that year. But without ever discovering why she's having problems with it, retention may not be as successful as expected.

I am not sure why so many people believe it is helpful, because very rarely will someone suddenly get something just because its repeated again. Most of the time, you only get it because its presented in a different format or different way or because you've been able to solve the problem that was preventing you from getting it the first time around.

cindync
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Re : Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

Postby cindync » Sun Jan 14, 2007 01:38 pm

I would not feel too bad about it, there are lots of kids whose birthdays are right at the cutoff, and their parents hold them back, or they go, and need to repeat kindergarten. Kid who are full term, and did not have to deal with the struggles as your daughter has.

My son's TK class is mostly children whose parents held them back for one reason or another--my son I believe is the only in their who should, based on age, be in the 4 year old class, but he is advanced so they let him in the TK. He just turned 5 Friday so was not eligible to start kindergarten.

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Re : Down in the dumps over parent-teacher conference

Postby youtan » Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:10 pm

Ya, I can hear your disappointment. So sorry she's struggling so in kindy this year.

My youngest's b-day is on Aug 9th - cutoff Sept 1st. He's allowed attend kindy this August - but we're pretty sure we're keeping him in pre-k. But, we do hestitate a bit to hold him back because he seems so ready.

Its a difficult decision - and I'm sure you did what you felt like was best at the time. Try not to look back and worry that it was the wrong decision, because it probably wasn't at the time. Keep pushing for help from the school for your concerns.


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