Thursday, March 06, 2008

My Abs


My darling niece Abigail is struggling in school, always has. My sister has tried to request her to be tested for a learning disability but they refuse every year. She can not retain anything, she can be helped to sound out a word and the next time she sees it (next sentence) she doesn't recognize it. She reverses her numbers and some letters, she barely reads at a 1st grade level in 3rd grade, she fails every test with an average of 50% but gets 100% on all homework automatically so she isn't failing and they won't test her for an LD. Even with a family history of Dyslexia they pushed her off on the teacher next year. The school this year finally gave her a meeting but refused testing, they did admit she was an example of a "child falling through the cracks". My sister has tried to get an independent evaluation done but her insurance won't cover it. She, at my insistance, is requesting another meeting to demand they test her or put it in writing so she can appeal. She is a beautiful child and she is under so much stress just trying to keep up with her peers.

7 comments:

Lindsay said...

I had a friend who was told her child was not dyslexic enough to be helped. Their solution was to stop all help they were giving her with homework, projects etc which of course pulled her grades down. Only then did she get help.
I'm guessing that either Abigail's parents are supporting her in her homework or the absence of time pressure means she is performing better. Much as it goes against the teacher in me to suggest this: perhaps she needs to fail her homework too so that her grades drop and they give her help. Normally I would never suggest not helping your child at home, but if it is the only way to get her assessed then I would do it. Long term benefits outweigh the short term negatives I think.

Mongoose said...

I had a girl with severe dyslexia in my youth group for two years. The other leaders kept telling me "there's nothing wrong with her, it's just her mother fussing." Hmmmmm... Yeah, she's twelve and she can't tell if her shoes are on the wrong feet and her shirt is on inside out and it's her mother fussing?????

I have nothing constructive to offer but I just wanted to share that because I sure feel for her and her parents. It's just ugly when people dismiss a child's struggles.

I hope y'all figure something out.

Anonymous said...

It was my understanding that according to federal law, a parent can demand a child study to be done and that the school must comply within a certain time period. One key, it is easier to force the school to comply if the request is in writing ... try this link for more info ...

http://www.ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/iepguide/index.html

Anonymous said...

They can refuse to provide services if they can prove that she doesn't need them but THEY CANNOT REFUSE TO EVALUATE HER! Yes, I am yelling. Contact whatever advocacy group there is for kids with disabilities in your area. I bet there is a lawyer who thrives on writing letters or, even better, they can quote you chapter and verse of the law you will site in your letter. Go get 'em.

Anonymous said...

....letter to the editor? letter to the school board? local tv station?? They always love to jump in on these things!

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess it's the homechooler in me, but I would personally stop trying to work with such an extremely unhelpful school and start teaching her at home. I have friends who have dyslexic and disgraphic kids, and some have gotten training to do Orton-Gillingham and other methods at home. Nobody cares (obviously) about her future like her own family. The irony is, once that decision is made, sometimes the school gets all frantic and suddenly has a Big Plan for helping her. So parents need to be careful how you extricate a child from the school. Of course, not everyone can drop what they are doing and begin homeschooling. But it is a practical option to consider. -- Rachel

Soontobemom said...

I am a third grade teacher in South Georgia, and we test any child who appears to be "falling through the cracks." We also set up intervention plans for any child who fails progress reports, report cards or even benchmark tests. If a child fails the CRCT, they are automatically red flagged and tested for intervention. We are mandated by the state to do these things (according to our administrators). I would contact the state department of education and file a grievance. Also, I teach EIP, which means that all of my students do not qualify for special ed, but they are not on grade level. They all have intervention plans, and I can have no more than 14 students in my room. I actually have only 12, but it is a challenge because I have accomodations and modifications for each student. We have to meet on them every 8 weeks, and there is an intervention team for each child...which the parents are urged to be a part of. However, in my county, that is a struggle in itself. We can't seem to get many parents to show up for anything. If you would like, I could get up some different stuff for you to pass on to your sister. I know of several different strategies and resources that might help her become a much better reader. Our school spends two hours a day on reading instruction, and they take reading extremely seriously. I would be happy to get some stuff together to help her out. Just let me know.