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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cast #5 and Meeting update

As usual she is laughing hysterically!!

I let her use the spreaders!! She loved doing it herself :)

Her legs are SO stiff!!!

I spend the time between the cast coming off and the Dr coming in to clean her off and stretch her legs and feet as much as possible!!

The Dr spent quite a bit of time stretching her feet before the plaster was added

The finished product!!
I can not believe this is only her 5th cast!
What an amazing process! Who da thunk it!?

Today was the first time she asked how much longer till she is done with casts and walking :(
I think she is getting tired of it. We keep telling her how great she is doing.
I also told her today that once her feet are done she will have a little surgery and then have to wear her final casts for 3 weeks. I keep telling her there s a pair of pink sparkly shoes at the end of this process!!!

This part is long, but it helps me sort through things in my mind :) :)
We had our meeting this am with the school for Danny. Dan was there to make sure we got the answers we were looking for. Turns out that there is a new state wide process for handling kids with any kind of delay. Since we signed off on Danny's ESE last year he falls into the new process. (We had to explain why we signed off - um, cause we were told to!)

The way it was explained is that the State of FL now has a Tiered program in place. All kids automatically fall into Tier 1. During the first couple of weeks of school ALL kids are given various tests to see if any qualify to move to a Tier 2. During Tie 2 the child is tutored by their teacher in the areas that they tested low in. 6-8 weeks later more tests are done to see if the child is moveing up adequately on the learning curve to catch up with the "norm". If the chid does not show adequate progress they move to Tier 3. Tier 3 is when ESE services are brought in to supplement the teacher.

As this is a new process it is a bit confusing for everyone. The assistant principal (AP) said it take a couple of weeks or all the kids to be tested state wide. They have to spread it out cause they kept crashing the computer. Danny's teacher is supposed to be done this week. The AP, guidance couselor and others meet every Friday to go over any kids that have issues. I guess Danny was brought before the group last week cause of my email :) :)
They promised that they will discuss Danny again this Friday and will make sure they have the test results from his teacher. I asked if it was a conflict of interest for a teacher to be doing the testing and then be responsible for having to put in the extra time for anyone that moves Tiers. He said that may be, but the teachers have to do the testing on everyone on certain days so they can't NOT do it.
We talked about moving Danny into 1st grade, which of course is the easy way out.
We told them in our opinion that would not be best for him. Academically he would find it more appropriate and easier. And he would require less services from the school system. (ding ding ding)
BUT, he has already had some comments made about him being 8 and in the 2nd grade! And how do you explain to him and the other kids that he has been in 2nd grade for a month now, but is being moved down!? Not even thinking about the fact he is in Cub Scouts with 2nd graders!
He has been working SO hard!! I explained how much he has improved in just a month of school .
I explained that he suddenly has to worry about the direction of his letters and numbers, he has to suddenly keep his letters and numbers between the lines and worry about the dotted line in the middle. Now they are working on sentences and punctuation!!! Not even talking about how he is getting tests every week and he had NONE before.  It is very telling to me that he is not having behavioral problems at school.
Because he is not reading yet it affects everything else they do. But he is SO close.

I told the AP that it is not fair that he tries this hard and then we take the easy way out. Besides what do we do next year?? It is time he gets the help he needs now! He needs to be compared to the 2nd graders. He deserves it!
So hopefully we hear from the AP or guidance counselor next week with his test results and that he has been officially moved to Tier 2. His teacher will then start tutoring him weekly and start the clock ticking on his 6-8 weeks before being tested again.

I don't know if I explained it right, but we felt much better when we left the meeting. We actually met for almost an hour!


Jodi said...


I sure hope you guys get what you want and what Danny needs....I'd hate to see him go down to 1st grade, for the reasons you pointed out.
It's a struggle with Michael too, same age. I wish I had someone to help! It gets so frustrating doing it myself.
I don't enjoy being 'teacher' but I would enjoy LESS sending them to school, just because I don't like what they are taught and what they pick up from others.

It didn't work so well with our older ones.

Anyway....good luck!

Molly said...

Orton-Gillingham. Seriously. I just started at a school that uses this method to teach letters and whatnot. Email me at nobabynoblog at gmail dot com and I will tell you more.

Anonymous said...

You should request a formal evaluation be done by the speech language pathologist for your son's reading and writing and any other related problems he may be having. SLPs have very specialized knowledge of reading and writing and in my opinion should be the primary person to diagnose a reading/writing disorder! Unfortunately, RTI (the tiered model) can sometimes delay children who are in need of extra services from being identified because of the lengthy process of documenting the child's failure to respond to each tier and because it must be implemented correctly by trained professionals which often doesn't happen. If I'm not mistaken, if you formally request in writing that an evaluation be done, the school is legally obligated to do that evaluation within a certain number of days.

Also, the responsibility of tier 2 instruction should not fall solely on the teacher. There are other trained professionals who are capable of providing this more intensive instruction such as reading specialists and SLPs and at the very least, they should be consulting the teacher on evidence based strategies that she could be using in the classroom. To my knowledge tier 2 also does not automatically mean that the child will be pulled out of the classroom for that more intensive instruction (which is good and bad!)

So... please please please write a letter requesting a formal eval so that your son will not be overlooked!

-A current SLP graduate student
(Disclaimer: because I am still in school and learning about RTI and have no experience working in the schools, I may not be 100% accurate or have the full picture but I hope that I have helped a little bit!)

Anonymous said...

I would check out the wrightslaw website - it has a wealth of special education information. RTI (the tiered approach) is the new norm, but if you put a request in writing that he be tested in certain areas (academic, speech etc) they still have to respond within 5 school days, and give you a formal consent form - once you sign that they have to test him within 30 school days, under federal law. The state can't supersede federal law under IDEA. 30 days now is running into late October/early November depending on your school schedule.

I think you're right to keep him in 2nd grade. The correct services will help a lot more than an extra year with littler kids, doing the same material all over again.

Shelley said...

I just hate to hear about a little guy who is working hard, yet not "measuring up". I have to say that is one of the reasons we homeschool...schools have to have some kind of standard for ALL kids of a certain age, simply because they have a large group of kids and must implement at least a "one size fits quite a few" curriculum. Development proceeds so differently in different kids (even amongst my own six!). As long as a child is progressing, he should not have to feel that he is constantly "behind" some artificial standard. Schools, especially public schools, are bound by all kinds of regulations that force them to pigeonhole kids and deal with them accordingly. (Sorry, didn't mean this to be a rant, I just want to see kids free to enjoy learning and feel good about their progress!!!!!!!!) Our 6 and 7 year old boys would both probably be considered "behind" in the writing area, but by the time they are 9 or 10, no one will know whether they learned to write at 5 or 8, right? If there is one thing I have slowly learned as a parent, it is to trust your "gut"....your mom's heart knows when something is not best for your child. May God give you guys wisdom as you make decisions about Danny's education.