Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Quest for an IEP

It's no wonder more students don't get the help they truly deserve.  Honestly, it is SO unbelievably hard to get a public school to provide services for a child.  In my case with Kiddo, she's "near the average range" so they hesitate to see her as in need of services.  Okay, so basically since she's barely scraping by with regard to spelling and writing, they're willing to let her keep doing that.  Another problem, even with her issue (language based learning disability) she has jumped two reading levels since the beginning of the school year.  So for that, YAY!!  She's reading at grade level.  That's huge for Kiddo since she has consistently tested low on any reading test since Kindergarten, even when her daily classroom reading and our own observations at home, said that she was far more of a capable reader than what the tests show.  But YAY!  On-grade reading level!  Woooohooo!  I celebrate all victories these days!

Then there's the school testing.  When I presented the school with the Outside Evaluation, the coordinator actually said, "well, your doctor did all the tests, he barely left us anything to do!"  Wouldn't that be a good thing?  But no, she was annoyed that the school had very little left to do.  On top of it all, I requested that Kiddo be evaluated for learning disabilities back in December.  It's now March.  It's been 3 months!  Three months that she could have been getting help toward figuring out how to overcome her learning disability.  Three months of nothing. 

First they lost my original request.  Or, let me rephrase, the request never got processed.  So it was never put in to be processed until I called two weeks ago to find out what was going on. Then there was a delay in processing even getting me the consent form in order for them to perform there tests.  And now our post-testing meeting to "see if she needs an IEP" won't be until the first week of May.  May?  So basically we're going to put something in place to be done for a whole month and then it'll be put on hold until next fall.  So in other words, nothing is going to get done.

I've also figured out another reason why kids don't get the services they need.....it's too bloody difficult for their parents to figure out how to ask for things, what to ask for, and what to do with it when they get it.  There are timelines for all of these things, requests, meetings, testings.  I didn't know that.  And basically, I still don't know it.  I'm fortunate enough that I have a very smart sister-in-law who has been down this road so many times that she knows all the street signs in and out.  And she is kind enough to bestow her wisdom upon me.  Without it, I'd be lost.  There is no easy-to-find roadmap to getting your really bright kid services.  And that just sounded stupid.  But that's all I've got for now.  I'm too tired from my educational assessment journey.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

There's Always Spell Check

In the midst of dealing with trying to get evaluation reports from the independent doctor who charged us a ridiculous amount of money, an evaluation from the school system that was supposed to do the eval over a month ago, and an IEP meeting from the same school that doesn't seem to want to do anything to help my kid get services she needs......in the midst of all of that, Parent/Teacher Conferences descended on us.

Come to find out, even with the "mild language-based learning disability", she has bumped up over two reading levels.  She is at (perhaps even a bit above) grade level.  Yay!!  That's a huge step for her.  But as we discovered during her testing, Kiddo doesn't have a problem with 'decoding'.  Her main problem lies with 'encoding'.  In other words, her learning disability doesn't inhibit her reading, but it severely inhibits her being able to put pieces of the word together to spell it correctly.  This is the crux of the problem, of course.  She spells WELL below where she should, well below what her intelligence says she should be able to do.

In going over recent test scores, the Teacher mentioned that Kiddo's writing was getting better.  Then I asked about the spelling issue.  Teacher says, yes, the spelling issue is there but that she really doesn't want any of us to worry about it because, "After all, there are always things like spell check!"

Wait.  Back up.  Say that again?  Spell check?!  THAT'S your solution?!  Come on!

Yeah, I know, I'm overly sensitive about it all at this point.  But spell check?  My kid needs to learn to spell.  Yes, spell check will make things *slightly* easier.  But only *slightly* and only if she's at a computer.  That doesn't help if she's writing something longhand.  Notebooks don't have spell check!  Test papers don't have spell check!  And no matter what anyone says, spelling counts.  It always counts.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will get the report from our doc soon, that the school will stop losing our requests for evaluation, that they will perform their evaluations and go everything that needs to be done so that my daughter can learn how to spell something more than her name and "duck".  Okay, yes, she knows how to spell more than that, but I don't want her relying on a computer to help her get through a paragraph....or a sentence.  Cross your fingers for me.