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He was probably drinking a beer during this interview.

Today I called out the school psychologist because she wants to wait an entire year for an IEP re-evaluation knowing that my son is going to fail his IEP goals for the second year in a row and waiting to add a therapy that it is very apparent he needs (I had no idea that writing was a separate category from fine motor skills and if I had known that 2 years ago I would have fought for it because it was very apparent he couldn't write during his initial evaluation). But it prompted me to finally sign him up for a full neuropsych assessment so we can get a dysgraphia diagnosis. So I spent an hour filling out the form, digging up past medication doses and therapy dates, and decided to take the dog for a walk. When I got back, all that work was gone. I almost cried. But later I went to fill it out again and it remembered my email so it recovered everything. Thank God. Still took another 30 minutes to finish. The psychologist has already emailed me to thank me for my anal-rententive documentation and will be in touch to schedule within 48 hours.

I'm so done with this advocacy shit. I know no one is going to offer a magic cure but can we at least figure out what's wrong so we can get him some help? I'm tired of this kid being treated like crap by lazy and/or mean adults.

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Officially for real finished my book. It is now a PDF. Feels weird/terrifying/awesome/massive relief man.

Sold my house and went skiing today!

Not only was there a pool, but earlier in the day we took them to one of those family fun centers for a few hours, a geek store which was mainly for me but they still got a few toys themselves, and go

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50 minutes ago, Destiny Skywalker said:

He was probably drinking a beer during this interview.

Today I called out the school psychologist because she wants to wait an entire year for an IEP re-evaluation knowing that my son is going to fail his IEP goals for the second year in a row and waiting to add a therapy that it is very apparent he needs (I had no idea that writing was a separate category from fine motor skills and if I had known that 2 years ago I would have fought for it because it was very apparent he couldn't write during his initial evaluation). But it prompted me to finally sign him up for a full neuropsych assessment so we can get a dysgraphia diagnosis. So I spent an hour filling out the form, digging up past medication doses and therapy dates, and decided to take the dog for a walk. When I got back, all that work was gone. I almost cried. But later I went to fill it out again and it remembered my email so it recovered everything. Thank God. Still took another 30 minutes to finish. The psychologist has already emailed me to thank me for my anal-rententive documentation and will be in touch to schedule within 48 hours.

I'm so done with this advocacy shit. I know no one is going to offer a magic cure but can we at least figure out what's wrong so we can get him some help? I'm tired of this kid being treated like crap by lazy and/or mean adults.

Drinking whisky here...

I assume next year would be his tri/ reeval?  With only a couple weeks left, they are probably overwhelmed and it is pretty much impossible for them to do---not their fault...they are overworked and underfunded and testing this year is an absolute nightmare.  Go back to the school and ask the team to do a reeval when things lighten up for them in the fall (not when they come back right away). 

But yeah...that sucks.

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Can we just all move to Durango and enroll the kids in your school? 

I'm currently researching options for Luke for after we move to Austin. Luke really thrived in a structured program, so we're seriously considering finding him something. We're mostly looking at private classical schools, Montessori schools, and hybrid schools at the moment.

I'm also flagging everything with part-time or university style programs for the big kiddo for when he enters high school in the next couple of years. Noah does well with our homeschool schedule and lifestyle, but he does miss his co-ops where he learns fun things with friends. Plus, apparently we've run out of the will to do science experiments with him, so it'd be nice to let him partner up with other kiddos for that one now that he's doing lab sciences. 

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35 minutes ago, Hobbes said:

Drinking whisky here...

I assume next year would be his tri/ reeval?  With only a couple weeks left, they are probably overwhelmed and it is pretty much impossible for them to do---not their fault...they are overworked and underfunded and testing this year is an absolute nightmare.  Go back to the school and ask the team to do a reeval when things lighten up for them in the fall (not when they come back right away). 

But yeah...that sucks.

He isn't due for re-eval until May 2022. So he would go another year without writing services. So he would realistically be in 3rd grade before they would offer writing services. Considering we've known this was an issue in Pre-K, I find that rather unacceptable. His teacher confided that the psych is terrible and she avoids her at all costs. I would be ok with a re-eval in the fall, actually, I realize that they are running short on time and everyone is burnt out. But I am tired of them treating the IEP meeting as an annual check the box event instead of trying to figure out what he really needs. The fact that he hasn't met a single goal in 2 years is a huge red flag. I get that its been a weird 2 years but its clear that the first school he went to for Kindergarten completely failed him and COVID was a convenient cop-out. (They actually just announced that they are changing up the developmental Kindergarten for the same reasons I hated it. Kids like my son are put in a class with severe intellectual disabilities and the teachers struggle to meet the wide variation in needs, instead of doing a better job forming classes based on their needs. It also forces the kids to switch schools every year for awhile, which is disruptive and stressful for kids and families.)

I am hopeful that he will get recovery services this summer, they just announced that they are working on it. He should probably be eligible for behavioral support as well but I would happy if he just got some extra fine motor work. His PT at this school is amazing and I'm honestly considering a variance if he gets to go back to general education because I think he has been much better supported there (and the psych at his home school sucks too).

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23 minutes ago, Destiny Skywalker said:

He isn't due for re-eval until May 2022. So he would go another year without writing services. So he would realistically be in 3rd grade before they would offer writing services. Considering we've known this was an issue in Pre-K, I find that rather unacceptable. His teacher confided that the psych is terrible and she avoids her at all costs. I would be ok with a re-eval in the fall, actually, I realize that they are running short on time and everyone is burnt out. But I am tired of them treating the IEP meeting as an annual check the box event instead of trying to figure out what he really needs. The fact that he hasn't met a single goal in 2 years is a huge red flag. I get that its been a weird 2 years but its clear that the first school he went to for Kindergarten completely failed him and COVID was a convenient cop-out. (They actually just announced that they are changing up the developmental Kindergarten for the same reasons I hated it. Kids like my son are put in a class with severe intellectual disabilities and the teachers struggle to meet the wide variation in needs, instead of doing a better job forming classes based on their needs. It also forces the kids to switch schools every year for awhile, which is disruptive and stressful for kids and families.)

I am hopeful that he will get recovery services this summer, they just announced that they are working on it. He should probably be eligible for behavioral support as well but I would happy if he just got some extra fine motor work. His PT at this school is amazing and I'm honestly considering a variance if he gets to go back to general education because I think he has been much better supported there (and the psych at his home school sucks too).

It sounds like he should qualify for summer programming/ extended school year (ESY)...is that recovery services?  From just responding to what you wrote, his behavior might be primarily tied to the inappropriate placement and teachers not being able to meet the diverse needs (totally not their fault). 

These program offering decisions are made at the district, not the school level.  That's the shitty part is that the teachers and school admin have to justify district level decisions.  And frankly, I have little respect for district people in general...people that no longer have skin in the game are making policy decisions they don't have to enact or students they don't have to teach.  Oh, you have all the answers...you come co-teach this class...oh you can't?  How convenient.  Fuck them.  Get rid of district offices and give me a few more teachers in the building.  That is why I am thankful to be where I am.  I do what I want.  

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I'm glad you're there, we need people like you in education. I am so thankful for his teacher, she is amazing and I am only dealing with this lousy placement because she is his teacher. I told her if she's not coming back she needs to let me know because I will start fighting harder for a general education placement. (And I do think that's a risk because she is way too good for this district.) And yes, they are calling Extended School Year recovery services this year because of COVID. They are making it clear that this is a one-time thing and don't expect it next summer unless its academic-related.

We have a new director of Special Education this year. I think she knows it is a shitshow and is trying to change it but won't badmouth the district or others, which is pretty big of her. I noticed the lousiest SpEd administrator underneath her is going back to being a regular school psychologist. She seems to be trying to undertake an overhaul but knows it will take time because of red tape and a cultural shift.  They move painfully slow on everything out here and struggled to pivot to a hybrid school model. Now that they were basically forced by the governor to bring back middle and high school, they are too exhausted to figure out how to bring kids back full-time until next year. So they've just given up and said look it will be back to normal next year.

I strongly suspect he is not doing well because of the self-contained placement. I really want him in general education or a gifted placement (round 2 of testing tomorrow) with some resource room supports. But the handwriting struggles also make that difficult, and I don't think a general education teacher will be able to give him what he needs when they have 19 other students. I think it is a combination of frustration with not enough academic challenges as well as frustration with not being able to express himself like his classmates. He has great verbal skills but can't put it on paper. Most of classmates have ASD or ASD and ADHD combined. They really struggle with social skills and breaking out of their comfort zone, which is totally to be expected. But maybe not the best modeling environment for him, either.

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Oh man do I hate the upper levels of the district. It's hard. It's like counterbalancing a bunch of stuff at one time to keep a lot of people happy. It's one of the reasons I quit teaching for a few years and tried my hand at restaurant management. It's one of the reasons many teachers quit teaching in a few years of college graduation and get MBAs to run businesses or real estate licenses because hustling for for a living is far easier than working with district edicts and lame programming choices you have to mold your class to work into. 

Fortunately I went to a charter school for my second go around and ended up liking it but honestly these kids have to test to get into this school and I'm teaching to a much easier classroom than I would have if I stayed in "gen pop" schools. Now my nightmares always constitute having to call home and speak to a parent. HAHAHA. "Hola! Yo soy maestra por sus Hijo. Ello tiene problemas con trabajo de casa." and then they laugh at my Spanish and hang up. Or I'm getting cursed out in Spanish for calling during my conference period early in the morning.

I am kinda of loath to suggest it for your little one, Destiny, but you may want to start searching for some outside programming that you pay out of pocket for other than what Hobbes suggested.

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We're doing OT once a week with him outside of school, they told us he really needs to be there 2-3 times a week because his motor skills are so bad, but they are full up and we are on the cancel list to squeeze in extra sessions. We've been doing that since last June. He's actually been doing really well at these appointments and they're figured out what works for him, but it's difficult to implement in a school environment. Heavy work is fabulous but they don't have a trampoline at school and a lot of things are considered dirty now because of COVID. Also an issue because of COVID and masks: he can't use his chewy necklace and he has some pretty strong oral needs. My husband chewed a lot of gum as a kid. I have fabulous insurance but we have struggled to find him community supports for years. There is a real shortage out here for therapy options for kids like him, and half of the child psychologists won't take anyone under 10. So parents like me are totally effed.

I also spent 90 minutes yesterday filling out forms for a neuropsychological profile and dysgraphia evaluation. We have an appointment December 1. So basically I'm going to be an alcoholic.

Gifted testing round 2 today was also a shitshow. My husband dropped him off and knew it wasn't going to go well because his proctor was some grumpy old lady AND she had another kid (it was supposed to be 1:1). He didn't even get back in our driveway before she called saying he needed to come back. I picked him up and basically she was annoyed because he said the headphones were too small ("They're not, they can fit an adult.") and he wouldn't stop spinning in his chair. (So get him a chair that doesn't spin?) These are all fixable problems and she refused to work with him. Then she said don't bother rescheduling, I would just try again next year. Oh hell no, lady. That is not your call. Then I had a backpedaling voicemail before I even got home. I have a feeling she didn't look at his IEP ahead of time and realized she totally screwed up. So tomorrow we will be having a discussion on what real supports look like (like us sending his own headphones or actually putting him in a 1:1 room where he doesn't need headphones, or maybe letting him stand or provide a chair that doesn't spin), and requesting he get the same proctor as the first time, who said he did a great job and was able to nicely tell her he was done. Once again, I'm going to be an alcoholic.

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I can't imagine someone expecting a gifted kiddo to not spin in a chair. People who do gifted testing should understand giftedness. 

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1 hour ago, Destiny Skywalker said:

We're doing OT once a week with him outside of school, they told us he really needs to be there 2-3 times a week because his motor skills are so bad, but they are full up and we are on the cancel list to squeeze in extra sessions. We've been doing that since last June. He's actually been doing really well at these appointments and they're figured out what works for him, but it's difficult to implement in a school environment. Heavy work is fabulous but they don't have a trampoline at school and a lot of things are considered dirty now because of COVID. Also an issue because of COVID and masks: he can't use his chewy necklace and he has some pretty strong oral needs. My husband chewed a lot of gum as a kid. I have fabulous insurance but we have struggled to find him community supports for years. There is a real shortage out here for therapy options for kids like him, and half of the child psychologists won't take anyone under 10. So parents like me are totally effed.

I also spent 90 minutes yesterday filling out forms for a neuropsychological profile and dysgraphia evaluation. We have an appointment December 1. So basically I'm going to be an alcoholic.

Gifted testing round 2 today was also a shitshow. My husband dropped him off and knew it wasn't going to go well because his proctor was some grumpy old lady AND she had another kid (it was supposed to be 1:1). He didn't even get back in our driveway before she called saying he needed to come back. I picked him up and basically she was annoyed because he said the headphones were too small ("They're not, they can fit an adult.") and he wouldn't stop spinning in his chair. (So get him a chair that doesn't spin?) These are all fixable problems and she refused to work with him. Then she said don't bother rescheduling, I would just try again next year. Oh hell no, lady. That is not your call. Then I had a backpedaling voicemail before I even got home. I have a feeling she didn't look at his IEP ahead of time and realized she totally screwed up. So tomorrow we will be having a discussion on what real supports look like (like us sending his own headphones or actually putting him in a 1:1 room where he doesn't need headphones, or maybe letting him stand or provide a chair that doesn't spin), and requesting he get the same proctor as the first time, who said he did a great job and was able to nicely tell her he was done. Once again, I'm going to be an alcoholic.

What test?  Sounds like the CogAT.  If it is, the CogAT really isn't good at identifying 2e students.  Schools like it because it is cheap to administer, anyone can proctor it, and it can be done in a large group setting.  Thus, it is a very good tool for universal screening.  Can you ask for the WISC-V?   It is 1:1 and has to be given by a qualified school staff, usually the school psych, and is much better at detecting 2e students.  The reason the WISC is better is twofold.  On the CogAT, students just work until they are done.  On the WISC, the psych can prompt the student to focus between items, give necessary breaks, etc.  The second reason is it gives index scores that could qualify a student.  For example, most kids (non-2e) index scores are generally all within one standard deviation of each other--such as

Verbal Reasoning: 112

Visual Spatial: 108

Fluid Reasoning: 123

Working Memory: 115

Processing Speed: 113

Composite (average of the scores): 114 (composite is generally worthless and should NOT be used for gifted identification---only index scores)

Compare this to a 2e student whose scores might look like the following:

Verbal Reasoning: 130

Visual Spatial: 128

Fluid Reasoning: 131

Working Memory: 138

Processing Speed: 62 (most 2e students low is either PS or WM)

Composite (average of the scores):  117

Now, the 2e student, because of the lower processing speed is going to need more time.  People, including teachers, may think he isn't that smart.  Also, because of the low processing speed, he is more likely to be distracted and off task.  This student has an index score over 130 so should qualify for gifted services.  The CogAT would not detect this--there you have verbal, quant, and non-verbal. 

1 hour ago, Cerina said:

I can't imagine someone expecting a gifted kiddo to not spin in a chair. People who do gifted testing should understand giftedness. 

People who don't understand testing children should not test children. 

Some kids in gifted programming need that support, some don't.  Some kids in gen ed need it, some don't.  Some students in special education need it, some don't.

Anywho...I have become highly suspicious of gifted programming/testing for sometime now. 

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Yes its CogAT, and yes, the administration of it is lazy. They also have them take the Iowa test. Honestly, its a joke for a "gifted" assessment. I don't think our district really cares about 2e kids, honestly. One of my friends daughter took it and scored 99 percentile in written and math but 88 percentile in verbal. She has an IEP for speech. They told her that she didn't get in because it needs to be 92 and above in all areas. I don’t have a ton of faith in this test whatsoever. Other nearby districts seem to be much better about identifying 2e kids, because I have 3 of them in my Girl Scout troop and they are all in other districts. (I'm starting to think every girl in my troop is neurodiverse in some way, some are just better served by their school.)

I'm not sure if the neuropsych assessment would cover this, but he does do testing for gifted kids.

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1 hour ago, Hobbes said:

Anywho...I have become highly suspicious of gifted programming/testing for sometime now. 

Me too! And it's the #1 reason we homeschool. 

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6 hours ago, Ms. Spam said:

UGH. It sounds like you have a yucky school district.

We do. Honestly, we are looking at moving out of district. 2-3 miles south or east would put us in districts that have better SpEd supports and are much more supportive of inclusion. Basically I will have to sit and watch Redfin or whatever and then fight for a house. If they can't get him to a general education classroom by the end of next school year, we're out. If his teacher changes, we are also out. She is literally the only reason we are sticking around.

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Yeah, Gold Lion (AKA E) says you are an awesome dude, and I concur, Jacob! Good call on the Station! Great brew and great food there!   I love San Diego! 

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Some random pics from my vacation in San Diego this past weekend, which included a 4 hour yacht cruise to see some whales!  

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The Reliant!

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The whale was too fast for my phone cam! 

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I hope Jacob's junk looks better than last time I saw it. 

Today I got my 2nd covid shot. My arm hurts like hell again. I also got an eye exam, and my vision has indeed gotten worse. But I was able to order 3 pairs of glasses on Zinni Optical for only like $180, and the exam didn't indicate any health issues either (no glaucoma, diabetes, or high blood pressure). All in all, it was a pretty good day. 

Sunday was my last final for the semester. I'm officially finished with my associate of arts degree! That took 20+ years but whatever, it's finally finished. 

Friday we head to Austin to stay with family because on Saturday morning we all head to Carlsbad, NM for a week long camping vacay. We're going with my sister, brother-in-law, 19 month-old niece, my brother, 3 year-old nephew, and my mom. They're all staying in my sister's brand-new giant-ass RV. We're staying in our cabin tent. 

And when we come back, I start my new job! So things are looking up around here. 

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