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New to this site, seeking advice or expereince re: 4th grade son


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RedFlame January 21, 2009


Hi, My 4th grade son, while smart and thoughtful, is not a motivated student.  In addition he is struggling with some anxiety issues.  I am beginning to wonder if the public school system is "good enough" to address his needs.  I think he has had some pretty good teachers, but on the other hand, there seems to be very little time or creativity on the side of the teachers to address students like my son, who need a little extra push.  I don't fault the teachers, as I am fairly certain they are overloaded with responsibilities.  On the other hand, last year, one of his teachers actually complained to me about students in her class who didn't seem to care about learning, and I remember thinking, but isn't it the teacher's job to reach out to those students and ignite an interest?


Anyway, each year I keep saying, so far it's acceptable and I won't look into alternatives.....but then I ask myself, what am I waiting for anyway?  Last year we had an incident with the school in which they administered an assessment (psychological in nature) without my prior consent, and shortly after that my son started exhibiting a lot of anxiety and issues.  So the question is, did the school catch it early, or did their actions have deeper consequences. 


Any advice or suggestions, or perhaps some of you have dealt with something similar with one of your children.  How did you help your child, did you stay with the public schools, even if you found them somewhat lacking for one of your kids, and fine for another?  Thanks!


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1seremen January 21, 2009


RedFrame:
Welcome to GS community!

As a parent with experience with the school system, parents are the only ONE person who need to find and seek the truth. The school system struggles to tell many parents the truth concerning their students. The truth always come out during the damaging stage, when the teacher and school cannot manage the student's problem.

Your situation and that of other parents are very sad and only YOU can help your child. If you can afford, seek professional help else way and speak with your child's pediatrician. My school district will not minister any test without the consent of the student's parents, so check your school district policy on test administration.

Best wishes!

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sbozarth23 January 21, 2009


Hi RedFlame,

Welcome to GreatSchools!

Thanks for joining Elementary School Parents group, we can always use another voice! In regards to your question, I would like to invite you to join the following group.

Learning and Attention Difficulties http://community.greatschools.net/groups/11554

This group is full of information about assessments, suggestions, and advice concerning questions just like yours. Also, if your struggling to find a school that is suitable for you and your son you may want to join this group.

Choosing the Right School for Your Child http://community.greatschools.net/groups/11558

You may want to also checkout these two awesome groups for new members.

Community Feedback Forum http://community.greatschools.net/groups/11530

Getting to Know You http://community.greatschools.net/groups/11532

In my search for good schools for my stepson I've found there are going to be good/bad things in every school. What I've tried to focus on are the top five things I'm looking for in a school. Speaking of top five things that make a school great check out this discussion http://community.greatschools.net/q-and-a/329241/What-five-things-make-a-school-great

I'm sorry I wasn't able to directly answer your question. However, I hope to see your opinions on other discussions in Elementary School Parents group and on GreatSchools website.

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maggie93215 January 21, 2009


If you think there is a problem then why have you not had him tested? Remember it is always best to catch something early so it makes change easier. Remember kids are alot smarter then we think they are so your child is probably feeling all your anxiety as to what is going on with him. (you know what I mean) after he is tested you then can proceed to the next step, which would be how to best help him cope with his individual issues. I have a child who wouldn't talk for the longest time and I knew something was not right however everyone from the pediatrician, to the private speech pathologist kept telling me that my child was very spoiled we(his family) would do everything for him and that is why he wasn't speaking. (you don't know how upset I was getting I know we all do spoil our kids but come on!) I finally asked the private speech pathologist to give me a referrel so I could get my child into the public pre-school system, and it took about 1 month of waiting and finally I got a call to enroll my child and his first day was July of last year he was 3 yrs old I met with his teacher and asked her if he could get tested by the speech teacher she said she would recommend it and guess what I was so happy she told me he did in deed have a bad speech impediment as awful as it sounds I was happy to hear that my child had a problem that could be fixed!! (that is all I could keep thinking, thanks for finding the problem now lets get on it and start fixing it!) my son turned 5 yrs old and he is talking my ear off, its wonderful! well good luck with your situation and keep me posted.

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sherylem1 January 21, 2009


Hi,
I too have been thru similar experiences with my son. I agree that teachers are so overloaded, that they can not always give that special attention that your child might need. I would request in writing that your child get tested, an IEP, this could point you in the direction that you need to go. If he qualifies, it can provide him the extra attention that he may need and require. It is true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. We tried communication with my son's school before kindergarten, but he did not have an official diagnosis and therefore did not qualify for any services thru school. We already had his pediatrician on board and went forward with a psychiatrist which firmed up a diagnosis right before his 2nd grade. All the sudden the gates opened and he was able to get the help he needed. That is the best feeling for a parent - you finally feel like you are moving forward. I would find out what your schools policy is and also discuss with your pediatrician. You are truely the only one who will truely advocate for your child, you do have the right.
Good luck and Best wishes.

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RedFlame January 21, 2009


Hi Maggie,

What type of tests are you referring to?

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sherylem1 January 21, 2009


HI,
What I did was write a letter to the principle as well as my childs teacher and request an IEP. The school has to respond, I beleive within 30 days and will start all kinds of testing, IQ, autism tests, ect..., there are various people in the district that perform the tests, school psychologist, questionairs for parents and teacher regarding your child, and others. Once they have completed the testing they will set up a meeting with you and will present you with the results. The results will usually determine whether your child qualifies for services, OT, speech, one on one, an aide, special ed, ect... For us it was a good starting point. We than talked with our son's doctors and secured further services. We also talked with our pediatrician regarding diet, behaviors, ect. What we learned is that is takes a team - we now have not onlya pediatrician that works with AS kids, but a psychiatrist, a behavorial therapyst, Occupational therapy as well as the program he is in at school. It is called the BEST program and offers a very small class, teacher and aide help. social skills instruction, Occupational therapy, as well as getting to go into some mainstream classes when behaviors permit. The school does not always offer as much help as the kids need, and that is why it is so important to have help outside of school. Diagnosis is key I beleive. I hope this helps.. good luck. sheryle

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RedFlame January 22, 2009


Sherylen, What if I don't believe he has a diagnosable learning disability, but rather he simply a "normal" kid who likes some subjects and is bored by other subjects and his personality is not "driven." It's almost as if he views a lot of his school work as busy work. He loves science and science experiments, as those are hands-on, but when it comes to sitting down and doing the school work, he doesn't much care for it. I've read some of the symptoms of learning difficulties/disorders and while perhaps my son fits some of them, such as lacking focus, he doesn't fit others, and it is my thought that his issue is related to personality. He is perfectly capable of focusing when it's a subject he finds interesting.

Thus my original question: If the school only teaches to those students who are motivated and teachable thru the mainstream methods, at what point do I consider private school as a good alternative? Why do I have to get my son diagnosed with a disorder? Why can't it be that the education system is so overrun by bureaucracy, that they have moved away from actual teaching. The teachers are so over burdened that they simply do not have the time to teach creatively or capture the interest or spark the motivation of the children who are motivated by other things. The teachers have an agenda they must get a certain number of items covered and accomplished in a day, and kids who aren't mainstream are getting left behind. I sit down in the evenings with him and spend some one on one time with him, and what I find is that he doesn't read the directions, instead he "thinks" he knows what to do and rushes to fill out the work to get it over with as soon as possible. Once I slow him down, nag him to read the directions out loud to me, nag him to write neatly etc etc...he does beautiful work in the proper time frame. What I find in the school is that they believe the kids don't need "nagging" and reminding and they think the kids should become responsible enough to sit down and do the work, quit talking, quit day dreaming and get down to business. This is only 4th grade.

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sherylem1 January 22, 2009


I agree with you, teachers are very overburdened. They do not seem to have time for anyone who learns differently. Also due to class size, they do not always challenge a child or even get involved enough to stimulate that spark. For us it has been a journey, and this was the best way for us to help our son become motivated to learn. Thru the IEP process, my son was able to be exposed to different ways to learn - he worked in the garden at school - which incorporated science and sometimes math. My son also is very hands on. Before he recieved a diagnosis, we thought he was a little engineer in the making. He is extemely smart and high functioning and therefore mainstream learning just bores him. I am not sure the IEP process is right for your son, but pulling his out of the system might be. I agree with you that teaching is not the number one priority for schools these days. For us taking the process further opened up doors that were able to stimulate learning - it opens up the lines of communication with the school. There may be programs within the system that you are not aware of. But if I were in your shoes and feel that public is not stimulating him or providing him what he deserves, than I would go private. There has got to be a teacher out there who is in it for the love of teaching and for kids sake. I have run across those with my son. I would listen to your gut, You are the best advocate for him. Kids are just not aloud to be kids anymore, carriculums are more advanced and they want our kids to be little adults. This is the time they learn processes - how to study, what interests them, ect... It is a shame. I took my frustration and anger and went forth - my attitude " not my son, you will give him what he deserves, he will not be overlooked". For us we knew something was different with our son, For you, not the case. There is a place for him to thrive, an environment that is condusive to learning - perhaps a teacher change - a different perspective. Bring it to the schools attention, that this is just not acceptable, if you can do it so can the "trained professionals". Did not mean to ramble, I feel your frustration. It is a shame that kids are all viewed as cookie cutter and not individuals. He is lucky to have a mom like you. Good luck. sheryle

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maggie93215 January 22, 2009


Redflame
I was thinking of the IEP, or tested by the school psycologist. Maybe the work is not challenging him. Or maybe he does have some sort of disorder but knowing is better then not knowing.

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RedFlame January 22, 2009


Maggie & Sheryle,
Thank you both so much for being so encouraging and giving me some ideas. I will have to give this some thought. I am not sure that turning to the school for help is our best avenue. I have already had a "run in" with them last year when they administered a suicide assessment to my son without my prior consent. He got in trouble in class and sent to the principals office for the 1st time ever and he was very distraught and some of his language apparently was "red flag" and they "had" to administer the assessment, which had very leading questions. I don't even know if my son knew what suicide was until that point. Anyway, I've been in touch with the head of the psychology dept. of the school system and she has since revised the assessment to be more age appropriate and everyone at the school knows NOT to give my son any more assessments or even to send him to the counselor's office without calling me first. He is the type of child who will automatically assume that since he's going to the counselor's office, it is a BIG DEAL. So instead of feeling reassured, it has the opposite affect and it causes him to "Wallow". Then this past summer he started getting panic attacks and spent most of the summer obsessed and fearful about throwing up. (it was sparked by a bout of food poisoning we all had a year earlier.) YES, he is seeing a therapist and he has made a lot of progress! I am actually now wondering if perhaps he has a sleeping disorder, because I read that during restless sleep the part of the brain that controls anxiety and depression is stimulated. I'm hesitant to send him off to a sleep clinic just yet because like I mentioned, in his mind it will be this BIG DEAL and his anxiety will kick in and he will start obsessing about that too. Poor Kid!!!! He was making strides and then this tummy virus started spreading thru the school and he is back to being consumed with worry. At least this time he is bouncing back a lot faster. Sorry to ramble on so, but of course I have a lot to consider, and I do want him to enjoy learning and being a kid!!!!! I'm still trying to figure out why there is such an emphasis on grades so early on in school? What have they done to school? LOL



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