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OT - Nervous about school evaluation - **UPDATE**


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  #1  
May 31st, 2012, 05:52 AM
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My 7 y/o DD has some difficulty in school. She has some sort of learning disability but I am having difficulty getting any help in finding out what exactly it is. I think she might have dyslexia but so far nothing certain. Before we moved in Feb. she was in title 1 and getting some extra help. After moving, the new school said she didn't qualify for title 1 so she hasn't been getting the extra help she needs. She has fallen so far behind. After a few weeks of school, I started making phone calls and I was able to get her into a program after school to get some help, but it hasn't been enough. She will be going in to 2nd grade next year and still has difficulty reading my 4 y/o preschool books. I've had many conversations with her teacher, who supposedly used to be a title 1 teacher in an inclusion classroom but this year they school district had moved her to a regular classroom. This teacher has stated that she agrees Holly needs some sort of inclusion program and believes she does show a lot of signs of dyslexia. Mrs. Deschenes said she will give her the extra help as long as time permits in her class to show her 1 on 1 when she can... Mrs. Deschenes also told me the school district didn't have the means to give her an evaluation so if she didn't qualify for title 1 she won't be getting it next year either. Mrs. Deschenes said she would get her a reading test and see where she places.... Results came back as right on target, which I KNOW isn't true, because i have her read to me every night. So I called and asked for a copy of her results, that way I could appeal that decision... Wouldn't you know it, it wasn't a "formal test with no formal results" - grrr

DH older daughter is a psycologist in an elementary school in New Hampshire and she told me that every school district needs to evaluate when requested, so she told me who to contact and what to say... So I went above Mrs. Deschenes head and requested Holly be evaluated. I guess they legally have 30 days to do the evaluation and 45 days to have a formal meeting with me to get the results... Mrs. Deschenes was pissed that i went above her head and called me to let me know how unhappy she was that i went above her head... Oh well, I need to do whats in Holly's best interest to get her the help she needs to do the best she can in school.... A little while later I learned that Mrs. Deschenes was on her Evaluation Team... This makes me so nervous because I have pissed her off so much, that she has taken it out on Holly. When I send in a note to have holly come home on the bus and not stay for her extra help because I have an appointment and can't pick her up afterward, she REFUSES to let holly come home on the bus. Holly is usually almost in tears knowing that I need her home on the bus and her teacher won't allow her to and walks her to her extra help.....

Well today is my meeting with her evaluation team and I'm so nervous that the evaluation won't show anything because her teacher has interfered.... Holly is the one that is going to suffer!!! I know there are some teachers on here, do any of you have any experience with the evaluation process? What should my next step be if this is the case? Her pediatrician says I need to go through the school so I'm not sure if the school says she is fine and normal, then idk if they will then evaluate her since we've already gone through the school... I KNOW there is something going on, just not sure what..

**UPDATE**
I just got back from the meeting and I'm even more confused.. So my fight is definately not over with them... And I'm surprised her teacher was actually on my side this time.. Holly tested 85 in the majority of the areas they tested. The team told me 85-115 is average. She got a couple 84, and some that were 115 or higher... When he teacher gave her the dibbles test and some other testing, Holly is only at a reading level G and going into 2nd grade she should be at a reading level L. Mrs Deschenes recommended her for summer school and I should find out either this week or next, if she made it. I guess it will depend on others levels and who is most needy.

The team is recommending NOTHING for next year. No title 1 or even after school help because she tested average. I'm confused on how she could test average with the specialists and only test at level G in class? Something doesn't sound right to me.... I asked the "specialists" if she tested so well because it was 1 on 1 and they agreed it was a possibility. So i tried to argue with them that a regular class room is not 1 on 1 and she must obviously need that. They still wouldn't budge... They said that since she was only there not even half the school year, that next year they will be able to get a better understanding of what she might need so I won't be able to do anything until 3rd grade and we'd have to wait and see if she improves at this point or not... If I wait until 3rd grade to help her, she will be so freaking far behind she won't even have a chance of catching up. They also said they don't seen any warning signs of dyslexia, and writing most of her letters backwards is still normal at this point... But its a lot more to it and even her teacher thinks that. They told me that since there was no warning signs for dyslexia, there was no need to take her to her pediatrician.. Now I don't know what to do and what my next step is... Guess i need to research it. And i'm not sure how i feel about summer school. I don't want her to fall more behind but that poor girl works her butt off all year. Just so confused at this point. I don't want something to be wrong with her but i don't know, maybe she is just slower at learning? DH thinks i should just wait and see what 2nd grade brings and take it further if we need to in 3rd grade.. But i don't want to let her get that far behind.

Last edited by kristap4; May 31st, 2012 at 09:07 AM.
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  #2  
May 31st, 2012, 06:04 AM
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I am not a teacher, but my son has an anxiety disorder which makes it difficuclt for him to acclimate into new settings... I have never had a problem when requesting a PPT (Planning Placement Team) meeting - I'm surprised that teacher was acting as though it isn't the law to do so

Try to keep your cool and remember she is only one of the people that are in the meeting... At my son's the Principal or Vice Principal have always had to attend, along with a teacher, the nurse and a counselor, and a member of the Special Education staff. If the meeting does not go as you would have liked, and even if it goes well, I would speak to the Principal of the school or even the Superintendent of Schools about that teacher's actions... I can't believe she is allowed to be a teacher! Another thing that could be very helpful, is to speak to a member of your local Board of Education - I imagine they have that in MA too - they are the elected body who oversee the actions of the school system and can have a lot impact if needed.
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  #3  
May 31st, 2012, 06:17 AM
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So sorry you are having this problem. I wish I could be of some help but I can't. Getting my 7 year old daughter evaluated was very easy. Her teacher was just as on board as me because she thought that Amanda showed a lot of signs of dyslexia as well. So we had her evaluated at the begining of the school year. After that she went every day for extra help. End of the year she ended up getting an award for the most approved in reading. She went from reading 14 words a minute at the begining of the year to reading 90 words a minute at the end of this year.

Its sad that the teacher puts her feeling before the needs of the children. You sound like you are determined to get the help your daughter needs. So just keep pushing. Good luck!
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  #4  
May 31st, 2012, 06:17 AM
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According to the "meeting invitation" i had gotten, the team consists of her teacher (mrs deschenes), a speech therapist (which isn't her issue), the coordinator (the higher up that I contacted), Me, DH, and a Special Ed. Teacher... I had assumed the principal or asst. principal would be there as well, but neither were listed as going to be there...

Mrs. Deschenes is very well liked at that school and I have spoken to the principal about that incident that i mentioned where Holly wasn't allowed on the bus. Nothing ever happened because she claimed she thought it was for a student named Hailey and not Holly... I asked Holly and Hailey is NOT even in extra help, so Mrs. Deschenes is a crock of ****.... I'm trying not to stress about it, but I just have a feeling Mrs. Deschenes has something up her sleeve.... And yes we do have a local board of education but from what I understand its like 1.5 hours away. I have to look further into it though.
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  #5  
May 31st, 2012, 06:49 AM
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There should be contact info for the members online...

It is awful when these teachers are allowed to get away with stuff! You are doing this for the right reason & hopefully everyone else at the meeting is not blind to the fact that she isn't improving. Just don't give in to what they want unless you agree with it - they have to take your concerns into consideration. I hope it goes well, please KUP!
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  #6  
May 31st, 2012, 07:05 AM
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If they continue to give you trouble with the evaluations Is there a program nearby that Is not run by the school that could give her some specialized attention. I know in my home town there was 1 called Every Mind Is Precious. specialized individual attention parents could drop kids off or attend with giving peace of mind and opportunity to be involved with the learning. they even held parent days where they would show progress give the parents personalized tips on the methods that seemed to help the most. It was longer then most after schools and a little more expensive but I know 2 people whos kids went there and both said it was the best decision they ever made. Only 1 went to the daily classes but the other said even just with the monthly parent days the tips she was receiving made huge improvements at home.

I know Its still not the same as her having the all day attention she needs but if she gets stuck in regular classes having at least a little bit of the specialized attention she needs afterward may help alleviate the struggle. maby you could just find something like this to help out until you ram in the board of educations face enough that they actually do there job. or for a year or two until miss jackawho is out of the picture.schools can be annoyingly political sometimes Im so sorry that you have been caught in one of there stupid moments. I hope every thing works out.
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  #7  
May 31st, 2012, 09:07 AM
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Update in original post
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  #8  
May 31st, 2012, 09:30 AM
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I'll respond better later as I'm presenting a training and have to get back down there, but that is a crock of bull. I was going to recommend you write the letter because that is correct they are legally obligated to assess within the 30 days.

Your daughter should be getting some sort of services from what you said.

And no, it is not normal for an end of year first grader to write most letters backwords. One or two? Yes. Most? No way! I'm so mad for you!
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  #9  
May 31st, 2012, 09:47 AM
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That doesn't sound right at all. I hope you are able to figure something out and get her some help. I would also worry about her falling behind even more. Kinda sounds like they don't want to do anything because they don't have the funds/staff for it.. So sad.
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  #10  
May 31st, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Im in the same boat as you basically. My daughter is in the 3rd grade. There is obviously something wrong but no one knows what. She really has a hard time reading. She was held back last year. The teacher said she would be held back AGAIN this year. I had put in writing for testing. They have 30 days to do so. They didnt. I went ready and armed with the papers saying I requested it and NO WAY would they be holding her back in 3rd grade for 3 years and no help for her. The teacher said they were putting her through. I will request it again in the new school in TN. Its so hard to get help for these children who are needing it. Why?
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  #11  
May 31st, 2012, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaTennesseeGirl View Post
Im in the same boat as you basically. My daughter is in the 3rd grade. There is obviously something wrong but no one knows what. She really has a hard time reading. She was held back last year. The teacher said she would be held back AGAIN this year. I had put in writing for testing. They have 30 days to do so. They didnt. I went ready and armed with the papers saying I requested it and NO WAY would they be holding her back in 3rd grade for 3 years and no help for her. The teacher said they were putting her through. I will request it again in the new school in TN. Its so hard to get help for these children who are needing it. Why?
So their answer was to go ahead and move her to 4th grade!!! Ugh! That will only make things worse for her. I am so glad we homeschool! We had our kids in school for a few years when we lived in Mississippi. One reason we put them in was because I needed a break but also my son wasn't doing well with his reading. I had tried several differnt things and he was getting behind. He was in 2nd grade and they tested him to see what grade to put him in. His was average or above on everything except reading. We may have been able to let him start in the 3rd grade but the counselor and dh and I all felt that he would likely get discouraged and fall behind if his reading wasn't where it needed to be. I did not want him to get discouraged and start to hate school at such a young age. My dh had some bad teachers and he hated school and never worked to his potential and he didn't have a learning disability but he had moved and got slightly behind and then spent the rest of his time in school feeling like the others had some info that he missed out on. He did enough to pass but never really tried. I didn't want that for any of my kids. By the end of that year he was reading on a 5th grade level. I know its not the same, he didn't have a learning problem, more of a motivation issue and I needed a break. But they don't need to just overlook the problem and pass them on. It makes me mad that they just want to avoid a hassle rather than find out what kind of help the child needs to learn. I hope you have better luck in TN!
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  #12  
May 31st, 2012, 10:51 AM
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Oh wow! I'm angry for you too! That is crazy! Taking a "wait and see" approach with a child is horrendous!
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  #13  
May 31st, 2012, 11:37 AM
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I think the wait and see approach is the worst thing to do. The farther they get behind the wrose the problem will be the harder it will be to catch them up. I am so sorry your having to go through this.
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  #14  
May 31st, 2012, 01:22 PM
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I agree, i hate the wait and see approach. By then she will be so far behind. I am researching on what to do so i don't have to wait and see but it is all so confusing right now.
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  #15  
May 31st, 2012, 01:41 PM
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I feel odd answering this question. I am a teacher. I've had several kids evaluated and had some held back. It's not always the teacher at fault but the distinct or school itself. Ive tried to have a child held back in kindergarten (she came in march and was never in school) the poor thing knew nothing. I had kids reading as high as f/g and her level was AA. The school told me I couldn't hold her back in kindergarten because she was to tall and they put her in first grade. I really felt bad for this littl girl. Even the school I am in now, I have children tested for things I see in the classroom and when they get tested the are high or average. I've also noticed that some of the tests that are given are much simpler then what I would expect from my students but I still see a big difference and i feel so bad for the child and here is just so much I can do in the classroom for those students. It's all a business to them and them trying not to spend more money so they can get more funding for other stuff that isn't needed. Urgh these things upset me when kids don't get help and when the schools don't support the teachers opinions.
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  #16  
May 31st, 2012, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Almondeyes View Post
I feel odd answering this question. I am a teacher. I've had several kids evaluated and had some held back. It's not always the teacher at fault but the distinct or school itself. Ive tried to have a child held back in kindergarten (she came in march and was never in school) the poor thing knew nothing. I had kids reading as high as f/g and her level was AA. The school told me I couldn't hold her back in kindergarten because she was to tall and they put her in first grade. I really felt bad for this littl girl. Even the school I am in now, I have children tested for things I see in the classroom and when they get tested the are high or average. I've also noticed that some of the tests that are given are much simpler then what I would expect from my students but I still see a big difference and i feel so bad for the child and here is just so much I can do in the classroom for those students. It's all a business to them and them trying not to spend more money so they can get more funding for other stuff that isn't needed. Urgh these things upset me when kids don't get help and when the schools don't support the teachers opinions.
I know that its not the teachers fault. But her teacher was so pissed that I went above her head, she was taking it out on Holly. That is why i was so surprised in the meeting when she was actually on my side. I have called her dr. anyway and spoke to the nurse about getting her an appointment. They are supposed to be calling me back tomorrow because she wanted to talk to the dr. and see if she wanted to see holly or just send in a referral. I know just before Holly started kindergarten, her pedi gave her a referral because she was thinking she might have auditory processing issues, but when I called the specialist, they told me she couldn't be tested until she was 9 y/o and she isn't there yet so I'm still waiting for that... Since starting school though, she has a lot of dyslexia "symptoms" , so i'm thinking that might be an issue. I'm not sure if the 2 are related in any way, but her teacher was thinking dyslexia as well... I can't imagine how hard it is to be a teacher, and I personally could never do it. I have enough issues keeping my own 3 on track, never mind a whole classroom full of kids... I just hope we can figure out what is going on with holly so I can help her do better and re-build some of her self esteem.
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  #17  
May 31st, 2012, 03:36 PM
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I agree with Cigdem that it could be that the school isn't wanting to provide services and not the teacher's fault. Unfortunately, it happens. I've sat in on meetings where I had to sit by while the special ed director told the parents their child no longer needed services, and then come to find out the student is still having the same issues later on and is referred for services again. It's illegal, but unfortunately schools do it to save money on SPED staff.

That said, their lines are a crock of *****. First of all, it is completely unprofessional and unethical for the teacher to behave in that manner. I've actually ENCOURAGED parents to write letters to ask for services. Schools have a process where the teacher notices problems, brings the concern to in-school people to discuss it, try strategies, and then after several meetings if it isn't resolved try testing if there is a need. However, there have been times when the parent wants their child assessed and I know it won't get through that process to testing and I'll actually say to the parent "Have you written a formal request for testing?" I'm not allowed to tell them to write the letter, but it's a little loophole a lot of good teachers use.

I'm a reading specialist. Your school has high standards if they require an L at the end of first grade. It's typically an I. If your daughter is a G, then she is only two levels behind the "norm" for end of first grade. Concerning, but not as bad as it sounds with your school's standards. However, you obviously want her performing to your school's standards and I would, too. Typically Level L is mid-second grade.

It is not normal for a child to still be writing most letters backwards at that age. Especially if your school has such high standards that they are requiring reading at a Level L at the end of first grade. Very few children should have letter reversals by the end of first grade. In fact, with a good kindergarten program you shouldn't even see that many reversals by the end of kindergarten. I can count on one hand the number of kindergartners and first graders we have still making reversals at the end of the year. Some of the common ones to make backwards are S, 3, g, and q (basically letters and numbers that are very similar to another letter that is formed in the opposite direction).

It's sad you have to go to your pediatrician, but if you do and your pediatrician finds your daughter has some needs that require an IEP, your school has to honor it. It's sad, but some parents have to go the route of hiring an advocate to get what their child needs. It shouldn't be that way.


I agree that the wait and see approach is wrong. I hope you figure out what's going on and can get Holly the help she deserves.

Stacey in my state it is illegal to hold back a child more than once. Parents have the right to refuse retention as well. Research has proven that the higher the grade, the less effective retention is as well. I'd really only advocate it for kindergarten and maybe first grade. I hope that your school in TN will provide better for her. You're right, parents shouldn't have to fight for their children to get the help they need.
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  #18  
May 31st, 2012, 03:52 PM
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Thank you Robyn. I was going through the reports they gave me at the meeting and I notice the Dibels Test report wasn't in there. If I request that will they give it to me? That is what the teacher said she tested at level G. And they all told me that she "should" be testing at level L going into 2nd grade. Good to know that it would normally be level I, but she is still going to be so far behind in this district. Especially since we have no intentions of moving any time soon.

Holly has most issues, with b,d,p,q,w,m,e,s,3,7,2,9 - those were just what i remember seeing from helping her with homework this afternoon. Oh she also gets her left and right mixed up all the time still too. My sister and her son both have dyslexia and they are fighting the same exact fight in FL right now. Only he is in 4th grade and has no health ins so she hasn't been able to get him tested by his pediatrician. She says that I should hire an educational attorney, but I don't think we can afford one. As a last resort, we will, but I shouldn't have to.
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  #19  
May 31st, 2012, 05:11 PM
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They are assigning reading levels based on the DIBELS? DIBELS doesn't do that. They just do "At, Some, and Low" risk. The DIBELS is purely there to assess how much a child is at risk of having reading problems. If they want a true reading level, there needs to be a different assessment designed for that purpose. There are three main assessments that can be used to give the letter levels that they are telling you:
1. The Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System
2. Rigby PM Benchmark Assessment System
3. Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) (The DRA doesn't give letter levels, but they give number levels that correspond to a reading level).

Here is a link to a parent brochure about the DIBELS. http://www.fcrr.org/assessment/PDFfi...ntBrochure.pdf

Yes, you can ask them for a copy of the DIBELS. I did a Google search for text level correspondence between DIBELS and guided reading level and did get a chart, so that may be what they are using, however I would not rely on that as an accurate representation of how she is doing just because this is not what the DIBELS was designed to do. However, on the flip side, it is important she is able perform well on the assessments and standards they use. I just don't think it makes much sense, unfortunately. It could also be why you are having the discrepancy between how she performed on the testing versus how she's doing in class.
http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/...essmentorf.pdf
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May 31st, 2012, 05:24 PM
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I forgot to say, I don't know if the school can even make a diagnosis of Dyslexia. If I remember correctly it's a medical diagnosis and it would need to be assessed through a doctor anyways. Don't quote me on that, though.
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