I thought I would give you all an update on the issues with Isaiah and school. I received an e-mail yesterday from Isaiah's teacher that basically said that she was hoping break would help Isaiah recharge and refresh, but he continued to have difficulties in class following directions and writing. Basically, he was asked to sit and write about his "Best Day of Winter Break" for 30 minutes straight. He only wrote two sentences. I won't share my thoughts on making 7- and 8-year-olds write for 30 minutes. We are planning to meet next week. I contacted Isaiah's speech therapist, who he sees to only work on the /s/ and /z/ sounds, and asked if we could conduct an evaluation to assess for a disorder in expressive language, which often can be manifested in writing in school-age children. She wants to meet with me to discuss it further. My hope is that through this meeting we can all clear the air and get to the bottom of this issue. I feel that the teacher is treating this as a behavior issue, when I view it as a skill deficit. Please keep my family in your thoughts as we work with the teacher and the school to figure this out.
We have been discussing whether Isaiah is in the appropriate school enviroment as well. We chose his school for him. He goes to a university laboratory school. They have an abundance of gifted students and district averages on standardized tests are far above the norm. You must enter a lottery, have a sibling who attends the school, or have a parent who is an employee, to get in to the school. Isaiah got in via the lottery when he was 5. At the time, we felt this would be a great place for Isaiah since his scores on many tests have always been above average. However, we are starting to wonder if his current class is too competitive and if he feels that he is not as bright as he truly is. We don't want to base our decision on the current situation unless we cannot find a way to help him feel success at school. He is on target academically with all areas except for writing at this point. He has many friends and appears to be well accepted socially. However, he will attend this school until he graduates. It is a K-12 school.
Good luck! I never have any advice to offer, but I have been keeping tabs on all of this.
~Jackie, mommy to Aiden (11/2/10) and Zoe (VBAC 11/27/12)
Poor little dude. It does sound like he is not thriving with his current school position. I hope you guys are able to get him an a enviroment that can help him the most.
I'm definitely keeping you guys in my thoughts. Keep us posted on how the meeting goes.
I'm sorry you are dealing with so much stress. The job of an assessment team is a lot easier when you are working with someone else's child! I'd be curious to see if Isaiah truly has deficits in expressive language as that wouldn't be my initial instinct. My initial thought would be behavioral, but now that you described some details regarding his educational environment, I would suspect that this may be playing a large role in his difficulties (including the teacher maybe...). Hang in there and good luck! You are doing a great job supporting your son.
(off topic question: does your selpa/state require a full assesment when considering a language impairment?)
Mommy to 2 amazing little boys!
Angel babies 6/9/07 & 11/16/07
Do I truly believe there is an expressive language issue? Somedays, I wonder. He sometimes struggles with word retrieval and often has difficulty with conversation. There are ocassions where I have no idea what he is trying to tell me because what he just said followed no logical sequence. Until this year, he also had difficulty with the questions, "How are you doing?" and "What are you doing?" He mixed them up all the time. I think what makes me suspect that it is possibly a skill deficit or a confidence issue, not a defiance issue, is that he struggled with it at home too. He often says his brain doesn't work when writing and he struggles to come up with ideas and sentences. I also think it could be a curricular issue in that there isn't much being done to make writing fun for boys. Have you ever read the book, "The Trouble with Boys"? The first time I read it, Isaiah was really little and I wasn't so sure about it. I have revisited it a few times since he started school and have been doing even more assessments with boys at work. It makes a lot of sense on several issues, including discussing reading and writing with boys.
Indiana only requires achievemet and language testing for language impairment. I mainly asked the speech therapist about the assessment because I felt that I needed some input and a professional opinion about his language. If they decide in our meeting that they do not feel that we need to do an evaluation, I will be just fine with that.
P.S. Isaiah started openly talking with Craig last night about writing. He told Craig that he would rather write with pen or marker, or be allowed to use a computer, rather than write with pencil. He also said that he wishes he could draw more pictures with his writing--which is something that I read about in the book I mentioned earlier. He was really honest and said that he really hates to write and they write a lot in his class. I am hoping I can talk to him later today about this a little more and see if he will open up some more about it. He did tell me a couple of weeks ago that he also struggles to come up with sentences to write depending on his topic. He wrote 6 sentences about Cinderella on Friday. When we asked him what was different about that writing assignment and the one he was asked to do on Wednesday, he said that it wasn't a test.
I'm sure you will develop a great plan of action at your meeting. Good luck and thanks for letting me share my thoughts!
This last book you posted sounds interesting. If you read it, I'd love to hear if it gave you some useful information.
And thanks for the tips on the other books you mentioned (Trouble with Boys/ Raising our Sons). I actually ordered both as I am always interested in parenting books, especially when they also relate to my job! I look forward to reading them.
Mommy to 2 amazing little boys!
Angel babies 6/9/07 & 11/16/07
Thanks! I am just glad I have a place where I can get my thoughts in order. It is really hard to be a parent and have so much knowledge. It is hard not to overthink. I think I also struggle with knowing what my son is like at home. He really is such a neat kid and he has so much going for him that to have such concerns at school makes me wonder what is going on at school. Isaiah certainly has his weaknesses too, and I am able to recognize those things.
I appreciate your input and it was definitely noted. I am hoping we can get to the bottom of this soon. I guess I will know what our plan is tomorrow morning. I have a feeling that the teacher is not going to appreciate my input about Isaiah missing recess. However, he was in tears over it yesterday in the car because he had to miss recess again. He says that he feels like he is a bad kid. To hear that from your child is heartbreaking and enraging at the same time.
I hope you find the books helpful or at least interesting. I will let you know if I read the Boy Writers book. I almost purchased it yesterday, but I want to spend some money on getting Isaiah set up at home.
We bought a new printer/scanner yesterday and are setting up a blog for him. It will be private, but we thought he might enjoy doing some writing and scanning his pictures into a blog that is only for him. We also bought him a really nice journal and some markers. He was super excited and starting drawing and writing immediately. He wanted to take his writing in to show his teacher, which shows how much he wants her approval. He is craving that right now.
That's great Isaiah told Craig some things that he wishes were different about writing. I think it's a great idea to set up a private blog for him, and I was going to suggest taking Isaiah to pick out his own pencils (since I'm sure he has to write with those at school and not markers ). I think you guys are doing great things to help him...I hope he starts to love writing after exploring different ways to write!
KUP after your meeting tomorrow.