Determination

After waiting nearly eight weeks from the time the request was made until the observations and testing was done, the Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team Conference (MDT) concluded that Doodicus did not meet the needs of an Individual Education Program (IEP).

In short, his ADHD is not detrimental enough to require special considerations from his school.

It’s funny, this mixed feeling I have about that. Of course I’m thrilled to know that on the one hand his ADHD is not keeping him from excelling in many areas of his school work, including “strengths in nonverbal reasoning/visual processing.” On the other hand, he will be twisting in the wind in the areas we know will be his Achilles, especially next year in 4th Grade which is heavy in writing and reading assignments: “[Doodicus] struggles most in writing and the creative process. He will require numerous prompts, examples and guidance with such assignments.”

A reminder that the eight weeks wait is because the one school psychologist (the same one we met with two years ago when Doodicus was in the 1st Grade and we first found out about his ADHD) for this district is through the public school and our son goes to a parochial school. The public schools get priority. By the time the doctor was able to observe Doodicus in class, the major hurdle that he seems to have – adjusting to an adjustment to his schedule – had already been surmounted.

How can one feel disappointed with the determination when Doodicus brought home straight As for both quarters completed so far? He is finally doing his homework nightly without too much nagging. After twelve weeks in school, he had eleven perfect spelling tests. The exception? The first test when he didn’t know what to expect.

The psychologist provided us with two and half pages of narrated observations. I’ve paraphrased some of the more interesting points below. To me anyway, since we aren’t describing your kid, right?

  • His desk in appearance is somewhat disorganized (very diplomatically said because I have seen the inside of his desk – it’s the reason he’s had several late assignment slips since he can’t find anything) but his school work is very neatly done (his handwriting is enviable, even by me).
  • His best friends are from outside interactions; none from school.
  • He rotates his head when speaking, either to the left or the right and rarely at the examiner, and responses would need repeating as he is soft-spoken and speech more monotone. Apart from this, he’s rather articulate using words uncommon at his age. The words were not so advanced as they were just specific.
  • A relative weakness for him is working memory, which is the ability to acquire and store diverse information in short term memory, to sort it, and then to present it in a new format. Math story problems, presented orally, is one example of a task requiring working memory.
  • He’s a reluctant writer. He can rewrite a sentence to correct grammar or punctuation but seems unable to create a paragraph on his own.
  • Other notable characteristic he has is that he seems to have a high level of anxiety but not in the clinically elevated range. For example, he expressed a concern of his mother’s health…He’s a worrier and seems to have greater self-doubt than most.

Like I said, most of it probably seems like a lot of mumbo jumbo because we aren’t talking about a child you know personally. A child who internalized so many of his emotions, by the end of the day he’ll burst into tears because instead of getting eleven french fries, he only got ten; a child who once frustrated with his homework will take an eraser and rub the paper so hard it rips into shreds; a child who still needs reminding to use the bathroom.

So, yeah, no disability, but with that means no additional help. Next year I won’t wait for the frustration and fighting before asking for IEP. I will request a new evaluation with the first request for tuition. Maybe the psychologist will squeeze us in first this time.

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7 thoughts on “Determination”

  1. I feel for you. It’s tough when your child is in a gray area, but you know they need help with certain issues. Labels sometimes get in the way, but sometimes they are what you need to get that assistance. While we are still in the very early stages of dealing with special education (Alex had an IEP meeting in October at age 3) I can really relate to the stresses that the process brings to you. You just want what’s best for him but it’s so hard to know what he really “needs.” Hugs to you as you navigate these murky gray waters. Doodicus is a special and wonderful kid and I hope that there is the right kind of help available for him to continue to thrive and succeed.

  2. You have more luck than I do – we had to do all our testing privately as the school system would likely never have allocated the money to a student who is not a behaviour problem and/or not testing consistently below grade. Our medical system might eventually have coughed up the money but we were told it would be a wait of at least one year.
    And after all of the expense of private testing (somewhere over 2 grand), there will be additional funding allocated to my son’s school (because of the whole DCD, gifted-LD thing) but it is block funding. The school will decide who to spend the money on and almost assuredly it won’t be my son as he isn’t a problem in the classroom and isn’t falling behind in anything.
    harumph
    DinoD

  3. We are in a similar boat with D. In fact, the parallels with Dood are uncanny (aside from the fact that my D is one year younger).

    D was tested in 1st grade, which is actually earlier than in the public schools here. In fact, the public schools don’t identify kids for in-depth testing and oppy for IEP until 2nd grade. So in our case, we benefited in that non-public takes priority in the early years. He also had the oppy to take some reading/grammar/math reinforement classes even before he was tested.

    That aside, D was ultimately tested a year ago and qualified for no addt’l assistance. Testing determined that he has generalized anxiety, but no specific disorder or learning disability. The irony is he is doing great in 2nd grade, but still behind in key, specific areas (he can ace a spelling test, but can’t recall the words to write a paragraph). The standardized testing in 2nd grade doesn’t reveal the true issue. Like you, I am concerned that 3/4th grade are going to be very difficult for him.

    The bulleted list you noted… almost exactly word for word from our assessment. This year, D was pulled our of basic skills reinforement classes (which he attended during the school day in 1st grade and I thought benefited him) because he tested out of them. Yet I still see a marked difference between him and his classmates.

    It’s frustrating. I have had tutoring on the side (not currently) and this past summer I enrolled him in a reading clinic at a local university (which he loved and helped him a lot to keep the skills up over the summer). I may do that again this year. Other than that we decided to focus on the anxiety issues he is having hoping that will help him in school. The psychologist suggested karate, and that has made a great improvement in his self-confidence (he’s been doing it for 6 months). Is Dood in any activities like that?

    1. Shelli, we have tried sports activities including football this fall.
      he was really into until the last couple of weeks bc other kids on the
      team told him he should quit (another story for another post). we
      tried TKD a couple yrs ago before we knew about the adhd and that
      didnt go well bc he would be off in the corner doing his own
      thing. it’s something we should look into again. the problem with
      athletic activities in max’s case is that it can actually increase his
      anxiety bc he can recognize that he’s not athletic.

  4. Huh, kind of a mixed result. You want him to get help he needs, but then it’s nice they think he doesn’t need that much help…but it seems better to me to err on the side of help!

  5. Concern for his mother’s health? I wonder why that could be…

    Sooo, good news/bad news then. Shouldn’t they at least provide a recommendation for a tutor, or special help in the areas of difficulty? I mean, since he already has an ADHD diagnosis, wouldn’t that qualify him for something extra? And since parents can’t be relied upon to fund such things…maybe the school could help? Seems like a mistake to wait for there to be a big problem. Good luck – and get in there at the end of the school year with your request. Why wait for the tuition bill?

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