There’s still more here and there, but I think I have the bulk of the “milestones” transferred.
Archive for the ‘ADHD & Gifted’ Category
Well, I haven’t blogged about it much, but I have become a prisoner of Tyler’s homework. He is having a really tough year. In preparation for middle school, the 5th grade students have reading, writing, and math with their homeroom teacher, and have block scheduling for social studies and science, each with different fourth grade teachers. On top of that transition, Tyler goes to the gifted teacher for reading and math. So his day looks like this:
PE, Art, or Music
So Tyler deals with three to four teachers on a daily basis, and has classroom changes almost every period. That’s a lot of transition, and he has a really hard time getting back into a calm and focused state. He gets very little done in school, and he spends most of every evening a) doing work he didn’t do in class or b) on punishment for not bringing home work he knows he didn’t do.
Y’all remember the Watchminder, right? The short version is, it was a GREAT idea, but the product just didn’t deliver. If you want the long version, see my review in the link.
So the next step in my quest for something other than myself to follow Tyler around and redirect him is the TIMEX Ironman Data Link USB Watch.
ARTICLE: Growing Up Gifted with AD/HD
I’m twelve years old and for as long as I can remember, I’ve had opposite sides to myself. I’m told that I’m “gifted” — very smart and creative. But I also have to work really, really hard at things that seem much easier for other kids, like memorizing and paying attention.
Here’s an example: In math and science and in art, I’m quicker at figuring things out than other kids. Like when my teacher tells us a new way to subtract fractions, it seems obvious to me and not to other kids. But when I’m trying to listen to someone talking or lecturing, my mind starts to wander.
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This is a personal narrative from my son, describing his ADHD.
March 6, 2006 – Monday 10:35 PM
|My name is Wild Child and I am nine years old. I go to [ABC School]. I am in 4th grade and I am in Mr. Homeroom’s classroom and I have Mrs. Gifted for reading. I am gifted and I have ADHD. My ADHD makes it really hard for me to remember things and pay attention. It also makes it hard for me to sit still. I take medicine for my ADHD. When I take my medicine, I feel like regular me, but kinda tired and not so excited. When I don’t take my medicine, I feel really excited about everything, and I feel jumpy and I want to move a lot and stuff like that. I like taking my medicine. I feel like I’m getting a whole lot better grades than I did when I was in second grade and I didn’t know I had ADHD; it helps me sit still in class and pay attention a little better. Sometimes when my teacher is giving directions, I look at him while he’s talking but then my eyes start drifting off to something else and then my brain starts thinking about that thing. One day while we were talking about math, Mr. Homeroom was teaching us about the problems for that day, and I looked at one of the math problems, a multiplication problem, and I started staring. Then my brain started reading the numbers backwards and thinking of different multiplication problems and I wasn’t paying attention anymore. I didn’t figure out the answer, so when Mr. Homeroom called me I didn’t know the answer. After that Mr. Homeroom told me to go back to the thinking table. I think I was in trouble for not paying attention. Read more…|
I’m up half the night at home researching for this and then at work I’m furtively printing documentation like mad in between tasks… I’m so behind in everything… work, housework, friends… ya know… life.
Aside from my ‘independant research’ I made a few phone calls that kinda bolstered my confidence. On Monday I spent nearly 45 minutes with the director of gifted services at the AZ Dept of Ed, and yesterday I about 30 minutes on the phone with a staff attorney from the US Dept of Ed’s Office of Civil Rights… I’ll have to post details of those conversations this weekend.
I finally confirmed the date of the next CST (child study team)/504 Accommodations meeting on Tuesday, 3/8. Tyler’s teacher, the school’s gifted teacher, the school’s SpEd coordinator, and the District’s 504 coordinator will all be in attendance… not sure about the school Psychologist. I called to follow up with Ms. SpEd, and discovered she’d forgotten all about him (eyes roll outta my head). That was the weightier of the reasons we decided to continue the meeting, so that he could attend. She’s sweet and seems well intentioned, but either she’s overworked or she’s on the ditzy side.
So my task between now and then is to sort through the two or three reams of paper I’m hefting around with me everywhere I go, and figure out how much of it I want to carry into this meeting. I have about twice as much paperwork as I had when I went to the last meeting. Mr. Teacher made a wow comment, and Ms. SpEd looked a little freaked out when I plopped that bulging 2 in binder on the conference table. I also need to get some records from Tyler’s initial diagnosis/comments from that psychologist. I’m trying to get some records out of the old school district and I am so hot with them right now… they only have scores for Tyler’s 2nd grade SAT-9’s. No SAT-9 scores for 3rd grade, and no AIMS scores. For those of you in AZ… you know the AIMS. IT’S FREAKING REQUIRED FOR A CHILD TO PASS IT TO GRADUATE FROM 3RD, 8TH, AND 12TH GRADES and they have no record of it.
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With Tyler’s report card, I also got a letter from the school requesting my permission to formally evaluate him for gifted services. Can’t remember if I posted about this at the time, but one of my reservations about sending the kids to this other district is that their guidelines for gifted services are exactly as mandated by state law… a score on an approved test of 97th percentile or higher. Our home district, because of the socioeconomic factors and high ESL (english as a second language) population, offered gifted services to students with lower scores, but I can’t remember what exactly the cut off was. This isn’t a problem for Halle, she scored “98 plus” on the Raven’s, but Tyler’s highest scores were 95th & 96th e (on the WISC III), he is below the cut off for gifted services in the Kyrene district. Of further concern to me, is that Kyrene’s initial screening test is the CoGat,which both the kids have taken and neither did particularly well on. Many of these ‘IQ’ tests are commonly known in academic communities to be racially, culturally, and economically biased. White suburban kids tend to do quite well on them… and so do white midwestern kids where these tests are normed. Brown inner city kids, not so much. And I guess it goes without saying that the CoGat isn’t the test of choice for children with learning disabilities of any kind, including ADHD. I spoke with someone in gifted services at the district, as well as with the gifted teacher at the school, before I enrolled them and was comfortable with the discussion, and it was agreed by all that we’d address whether Tyler needed the gifted curriculum after we saw how he did on the intake evaluations and in the regular classroom, since it’s more academically advanced than the one he was coming from. He was placed in the gifted reading class as a guest student the first day after his initial reading evaluation showed he was reading at an 8th grade level, and he was placed in the highest math track in his regular classroom (he missed an entire quarter on division while he was at the f-ing charter school reviewing 2 and 3 digit addition ).
So I gave permission for him to be formally evaluated, but had some reservations because I anticipated he would be given the CoGat. Next night I find out that Tyler is being tested in a group setting, and had not asked for a study corral, which is one of this 504 accomodations. Now, Tyler is the first ADHD/504 student his gifted teacher has had, so I figure it’s an oversight. I get in touch with her to express my concerns and there’s a flurry at the school because apparently, Roosevelt didn’t include his 504 when they forwarded his records. I should have known. However, Lisa indicates that Tyler’s verbal comprehension score (95th e) on the WISC, coupled with the fact that he does have a condition that impacts his performance on standardized tests, may be sufficient to formally qualify him for gifted services in reading, but they will need to qualify him with another test in order for him to go into the gifted math class. So we tentatively scheduled the testing to reconvene after Tyler’s teacher, the special resource teacher who handles special ed (aka SPED), and myself meet and develop a new 504. Because the 504 I had to go to the RSD office to get is expired anyway (they have to be redone each year). In the meantime, I’m told by Tyler’s teacher that Tyler is not allowed to have accomodations during a gifted evaluation, per the SPED teacher, per somone at KSD.
You can imagine my response. I’ve read Section 504, thank you very much, and my understanding is this… congress guarantees my son reasonable accomodations because he has a disability that impacts his learning, and to deny him those accomodations would be considered discrimination against a student protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. So basically, someone is telling me that Kyrene’s standard policy for access to gifted services discriminates against students with disabilities.
I don’t think that’s actually the intention… gifted students are a small percentage of the student population, as is the percentage of students who qualify for 504 plans. The percentage of ‘twice exceptional’ students like Tyler, who are both gifted and learning disabled, is even smaller. It seems that Tyler may be the first 2E student any of the staff I’ve dealt with thus far have ever encountered. And everyone truly seems to have the best of intentions where Tyler is concerned, so thankfully I’ve been able to approach this in a positive and collaborative manner.
So we had the 504 meeting, and really expanded on what had been there before to address some issues I see starting to crop up (there’s a lot more writing this year, which wasn’t an issue last year) and I was really happy with the classroom and homework accomodations we came up with, some suggested by Tyler’s regular classroom teacher & the SpEd coordinator, which I wouldn’t even have asked for. I’ll share more of that when it’s final though. We decided that we’d really need to meet again to finalize it since we were an hour into the meeting on a Friday afternoon, and Ms. Sped asked if I had any other questions. I asked Mr. 4th Grade about Tyler’s math performance. I wanted to know if he felt Tyler needed the additional challenge of the gifted math curriculum, or was he just keeping up where he was. He indicated that when he breaks the kids up into skill groups in his classroom, he groups Tyler with the kids who are in the gifted math class and that he felt Tyler could definitely handle it.
So then I dive into the whole ‘accomodations’ thing and explain that not only for Tyler, but for the ‘greater good’ I want clarification on the district policy as it was explained to me… to the point that I want to know what this policy is based on. I explain my understanding of 504, and that based on my understanding, their policy violates federal law… and if that’s not the case, and there is some obscure law I don’t know about that says disabled students are not entitled to protection under 504 for gifted services (which I can’t imagine, since gifted services fall under special ed in AZ), then I want to know chapter and verse what that law is and where I can find it.
We’ll be having a Child Study Team meeting to finalize the 504 plan. Ms. Sped was very candid that my points were certainly valid,but unfortunately beyond her expertise. She volunteered to make sure that both the School Psychologist and the District’s Director of SpEd are in attendance at our next meeting so that they can address the issue in detail.
originally posted Tyler’s 504 (long one)…. – CURLYGURL’s MySpace Blog | Cyndi–s Jewels