Friday, February 25, 2011

The Internet, Teachers, and Tutoring

I have spent the last week reaching out. Reaching out to the Internet for research, teachers for ideas and to see where they are at, and tutors to see what can be done. What has been achieved through this, not much. I am frustrated, no further in my search, and tired of hearing we expected that in regard to Thing Two.
Lets start with the Internet, the place most research has become accessible from. I have found a fair amount of studies in regard to how to identify Thing Ones issues, but nothing on how to fix them. I can only google through so many pages before my brain goes numb, but apparently it isn't enough. I refuse to accept that Thing One is Thing One and there is nothing I can do to help. The information must be out there somewhere, but where?
Both One and Twos teachers have been informed. Surprisingly Ones teacher became really engaged in the conversation and like the feedback from the assessment. She also liked the teacher I requested for next year, so we may get it. She wants to bring in the school psychologist which may mean and IEP, but I am OK with that. I will trust her judgement. Thing Twos teacher is all rainbows and lollipops, I like her immensely, but she hides a lot of his behaviors from us making it difficult to address them. I just wish she would be more honest with what is up in class. She liked the idea of meding him before the end of the year so she can see progress, I think she really just wants to be saved from his crazy behavior. Overall, the process with the teachers and the school has started, so we can hopefully start to see something start to move forward.
Last on today's update agenda is tutorng. Thing One with start an intensive tutoring program in a week, tutoring three times a week for two hours at a time. The goal will be be hopefully close the gap in her foundational education before school starts next year. This is great and exciting but expensive, the cost is worth it if it helps....BUT. My but is this, as a tutoring center, they want to make money and at what point are they ever going to say, yep she is at grade level she doesn't need us...NEVER. So how do I balance getting her what she needs to catch her up, without getting fleeced?? I know not very positive, but that is just how it is.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Report is In

Most of you know we have been pursuing figuring out what it up with Thing One and Two.
For Thing Two, too many people started to assume there was an issue and wanted to input their advice into our life, and the kinder teacher said he would eventually be considered a behavior problem. For One, though she was PASSING school, things just seemed to be a struggle and the numbers just weren't adding up.
Sooo...flash forward, we get a referal from a friend regarding a great place to get a learning assessment, we get the assessments, and 6 weeks later we know have a report.
What does the report say? How do we feel about Thing One and Two now that we have a report and an idea of what is up in there crazy little brains? We do not grieve the average kids they will not be, we do not think different about what they may or may not have achieved, we do not regret the futures we mapped for them. We simply see a path that has been traveled, but not by many and a place to start to move forward to improve who they are and can be. Independently, Thing One and Two are hilarious, creative, bright children, who are just a little kooky, and it is our job to lead them through this world to be better people and continue to improve who they are and improve the world around them.
Lets start with Thing Two and his report and the current, maybe plan. Two is a little more cut and dry, there is nothing that no one else hasn't already suggested. He received a report stating he has above average intelligence and ADHD with a sub focus of hyperactivity/inpulsivity. Are you shocked? If so you haven't spent tons of time with him. Most likely the path to getting him more 'compatible' in the classroom will be a mix of medication and behavior therapy. The meds will help settle him down enough to teach him the tools for managing himself, no 6 year old should think it is funny to drop their draws any old place. There is a slight hink in the report, apparently he has some precision issues in regards to fine motor development. His ability to copy a symbol picture was not very accurate and additionally he drew in a non-typical fashion denoting a possible occupational therapy assessment down the road. This could all be due to his general activity level and it limiting his processing through inattention. He is happy at home and school and we will continue to teach him the tools, with his teachers help, to be the likable bright kid we all see in those not so active moment.
Now on to the main course, Thing One. Talk about a knuckle ball. We expected a possible dyslexia diagnosis, maybe ADD, something in that category. What did we get? Learning Disability Not Otherwise Specified, yep can it get any vaguer. Into the depth's now, she has difficultly decoding words, with outputting processes, process recognition, working memory, social problem solving and math fluency. Yep, that is one crazy set. Her intelligence overall is average, but was so varied that they didn't even feel that the tests were accurate long term. Her abstract reasoning and thought was in the superior range, freaky smart, her working memory, phonics and math were below average by over a year. The person who compiled the report saw that as off, usually a child with learning issues isn't exactly blowing out the higher learning categories but bombing the basics, she is. What is the plan for Thing One? Where are we headed? We are going to start with an intensive learning intervention while we are on break, 1 to 1 1/2 hours three times a week to start the process. We will then go to once a week for 2 hours and an additional one day a week with mom and hopefully some friends assistance, hint hint. At the end of the school year, we will assess where we have come from. The tutoring will start back at kinder level reading, math and processes learning. Based on what is and isn't picked up over the next 4 months we may do another intensive and additionally may start some social cognition learning.
So that is where we are. I am trying to convince myself not of buy a nook and then buy every book on the market I can concerning both the Things issues, while at the same time combing the Internet in search of ideas, options, and therapy interventions.
No matter what, the kids will survive, we will survive and they will become the people that hopefully make them content, happy and fulfilled.
That is all..for now.. I assume I will start updating at a much more frequent rate from here on out.