Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Special Ed Road & other stops

Special Ed Road
We attended a Kindergarten party at Sam's new school today, which has made me feel good about the school choice. The teachers were lovely, the kids and parents all seem nice, and the diversity is really something. Kids in every color of the rainbow! And parents with tattoos, which always comforts me for some reason (even though I don't have any...though I am seriously thinking about an eyebrow piercing).

Sam did of course have a meltdown in the middle of the event, and one of the teachers tried to help and was very sweet and gentle. Which brings me to the results of his recent evaluations...officially Sam has been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS, but the thinking is that he likely has Asperger's. I have been reading a lot about Asperger's; he is not exactly a typical AS kid, but when the subtleties are examined, AS really fits.

Knowing that he has AS is not as upsetting as you might suspect, because I think of it as a tool to understand and help him. I have been trying to teach him some social skills in an academic kind of way, and he seems to respond. He certainly doesn't get the social cues and nuances intuitively. It's like translating a foreign language to him.

Along with (and typical for) AS, Sam also was determined to be very smart. The words "gifted" and "genius" were tossed about. His language and educational assessments were mostly average, which is obviously a discrepancy with his high IQ. Because he is not blatantly below average, the central school office felt he didn't even need an IEP and tried to deny any services! His IEP team was very supportive, however, and fought to get him the IEP. At this point, the services he will get are 30 minutes of counseling per week and 1 hour of reading comprehension support per day. The IEP team all informally agreed that he would be most appropriately placed at Lab School but of course, clinical and professional judgement mean pretty much nothing in the school system, and Sam will have to "fail" in a regular school with minimal supports. Then we can request another IEP, probably add more supports, wait for him to fail again, and do it all over again.

Of course it is POSSIBLE that he will do well and magically all the issues will vanish, but that is not realistic. I am very saddened because I know Sam has been set up to fail, as have his new teachers and school. If I was wealthy, I would just send him to Lab, but that is not a possibility, so we must continue to travel along the Special Ed Road.

Vacation Time!
I'm on vacation until 8/20!

Sam and I went to the mountains of New York (specifically Gabriel Pond in Whiting Hollow) for a few days to visit Hannah and family. We had a lovely time swimming in the lake, eating ice cream, napping in a hammock (me) and playing Harry Potter (Sam).

We plan to take a 2 day trip to Sesame Place sometime next week. Sam has an evaluation scheduled, and for the rest of the time we plan to be in the pool!


At 7:02 PM, Blogger Patterson said...

Well you guys sound like you are on a good path. One that will help everyone in the family deal and live better. If Sam needs an IEP I am so glad you have found advocates for him. It must feel very frustrating knowing where he would do best but being forced to make him fail first.

What school did you pick? We will be at the pool tomorrow with some friends (not members...) and will see you there! I hope.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger jackie said...

That sounds like the best road to follow, altho a very frustrating one. I have several friends with kids who have Asperger's, and they all said the same thing-- it is a way to help their kid get along in the world, which is what we are all trying for, right?

Let's get together over your vacation!

At 9:21 PM, Blogger sharon said...

How would they measure "failing" kindergarten and/or first grade? I'm guessing he'll do fairly well academically, but can a child "fail" school due to emotional/behavioral problems?

I'd imagine that kids with Asperger's would have the hardest time in middle/high school (don't we all) but would do really well in college. Some links you might find interesting:
The second one is the site of a college professor who has Asperger's


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