Thursday, January 21, 2010

My son

This isn't adopted related, but then again there is a lot more to me and my life than adoption. I know there is at least two teachers if not more than follow this blog so I am writing to get your thoughts and anyone else who feels like they have something to add to it.
This is about Stephen is my youngest son. He will be ten in March. Here is a little background information on him and where I am getting to with this post.
I went to my then husband's grandfather's funeral when I was about 37 to 38 weeks along with him. I wasn't close to this man, because I just hadn't seen him too many times. So, I we travel to two to three hour drive to the town he lived in. The visitation is one night and the funeral and burial is the next morning.
To my surprise, I cried and cried, like I have never cried before over people dieing. I haven't cried like that since a death either. After, about two hours of crying, my then husband took me back to the hotel to rest. After, resting, he suggested we go to Kmart to walk around. So, when I got to the car, I felt a gush. So, we went to the hospital there and they said nothing was wrong.
Then, we went back to the hotel and slept all night. I felt wetness every time I moved. So, we missed the funeral and went back to the hospital. They said that my fluid was leaking but not in labor. They told us to go to the lunch and come back and they would induce me. I was scared to death to have the baby there. I mean come on. They killed his grandfather, I didn't want them touching me. So, we go back and not in labor and make the choice to drive back to our home town to have the baby.
We get back around 3 pm and he isn't born till 6 am. I had to be induced and out of all three kids it was the worst labor. But that's not my point. Well anyways, Stephen, didn't respond to the Dr's and needed medical intervention.
  • More info
  • He was tracked by a nurse because he was in the nicu section of the hospital. She came out at different times to check his development.
  • At 12 months, she was concerned that he wasn't talking much and wasn't walking.
  • At 15 months, even more concerned, now he isn't talking at all and still isn't walking. She refers him to get an assessment by early intervention.
  • At 17 months, he gets the assessment and is starting to try to take steps and still not talking. It's suggested that he get physical therapy, developmental and speech therapy.
  • Not too much later, they suggest he get Occupational therapy too and a developmental play group. He received all the therapy at home except the playgroup. Then, he started going into the centers where they have more equipment.
  • He did all these therapy's until the age of three
  • At three, he entered a pre school program for special ed. Also, attended summer school.
  • He spent the next year in the same setting.
  • Final year of preschool was with his normal peers. He continued to get therapy's at school and I took him to outside services.
  • At 5 years of age, he couldn't talk still. He had a few words here and there, but most people couldn't understand him.
  • He entered kindergarten with the IEP and some extra help, but wasn't given an one on one. We felt like the teacher did his work for him.
  • He is now, a 4Th grader. Still has an IEP and gets 300 hours a week in the resource room and speech and Occupational therapy. He stands out from his peers, but has been treated very well. His speech is still poor, but it's not bad compared to where he was.
I forgot at 2 1/2 a Dr said he had autism, but most people don't agree with it. His school calls him learning disabled and developmental delayed.

I have been feeling really discouraged lately. My son still struggles with basic math and they are doing the whole learning. They have encouraged him to use the calculator and also say it's okay if he can't write well, because of computers. He can read, but not very well. They say that he is at a O which is beginning 4Th grade, but I don't believe them. I don't see what they see.
We found tutoring one night a week and he loves it. But here is where the no child left behind is leaving mine in the crack.
My son's school district gives money to the schools based on some test scores and my son's school overall is doing well. So, they don't get any money to have tutors. I am happy that the school is doing well, but the high test scores don't really mean anything to me.
There are plenty of other schools that get this funding, but my son isn't allowed to access those funds, because it's for their students. They are judging the school on a whole and that is leaving kids like my son slipping through the cracks. We even went and talked to one of the lower achieving schools and she even said that the only way to tap into the funds is to move him to another school who's test scores are not so high. She basically admitted that he is falling through the cracks with the no child left behind act. Then, she had the nerve to say did I help you? Duh! no you didn't. Changing my son's school isn't an option. He strives on routine and I can't risk exposing him to children that would single him out.
My goal is to not send him to Summer school and work with him as in home schooling. I just don't get how he can learn 4Th or yikes 5Th grade work when he is struggling with basic math. I want to bring it to his level and also try to still expose him to the higher grades. I won't even get started on how school's just pass you on even if you aren't learning the material. Then, the high school students are shocked that they can't graduate. Why not let them? We passed them on by all the rest of the years.
Thoughts anyone?


RB said...

(6th grade teacher here) - You are SO right when you say, " child left behind is leaving mine in the crack." NCLB is a great concept, but in reality, it IS leaving children behind. Test scores are the only thing that matters now to the school districts. Any good teacher (off the record) will admit at what a joke NCLB is. As a teacher I WISH I could give my students what they need and not what is dictated for me to teach, whether they are ready for it or not. Unfortunately, you son is caught in the midst of this crappy time in education.

It sounds like your son's school has done many interventions with him. That's a good thing. One thing that I (as a teacher) wish parents would be more aware of is that each child learns differently. If your son is LH, accomodations are fine for him to use, like a calculator or a whiteboard, etc. Those are resources to get to the end product. The key is being consistent with the interventions. For example, if he is using a calculator for math, he needs to be using it all the time so that he is fluent in how it works.

Sadly, with school funding, your son's school is right when it says that the only way to access those additional resources at the "lower test score" schools is to transfer to one. As a parent though, you have the right to call an IEP meeting at any time to discuss your son's progress. You also have the right to withdraw him from standardized tests if you think that's an extra burden on him too.

Parents have more power than they know. I would call an IEP meeting, discuss your concerns and maybe increase his weekly minutes. Right now he's getting 60 minutes per day. What about an inclusion model? I think you said that he is pulled out for Spec Ed services. What about if the RSP teacher came into the classroom and worked on the grade level material that the class is working on? This happens at my school and it has helped some of my kids tremendously.

If you put up a big enough stink, the school should be moved to find additional interventions for your son. As a last resort, you may want to contact the district's special ed director and complain to them.

His Growing Child said...

(mom and teacher talking)- I only know about your son what you have posted here, but I think that the educational system stinks. It is so sad to me that your son has fallen so behind. The part that makes even sadder is that the schools are playing doctor. They are telling the parents what is wrong with their child and how to treat it. I encourage you to get your son tested and retested and retested. Do not rest until you feel they have found what is wrong with him. Perhaps the school enviornment is not the best place for him and he needs something a little different to ensure his developemental success. No one should go through this. Whatever may be causing your son's delays is not your fault, remember that. We mothers tend to blaim ourselves for things that may be going on with our children that hurt them. He has a purpose and is an amazing blessing, remember that every time you look at him. Do not settle for the fluff that the school system tells you. Fight, and fight hard because your son deserves attention and help. What sets him apart from the children of the polititions who make these rediculous laws, nothing he is a child too. I wish you the best and I will pray for you to have success and I congradulate you on being a mom, its the best.