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504-ing a firsty...long
Old 12-25-2014, 10:43 PM
 
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Who also happens to be my own kiddo.
My son is passing his content and has even mastered end of the year benchmarks in reading levels and sight words. He is more of a verbal child to say the least.
This year all of a sudden his teacher and my principal (kiddo is on my campus) start raising a ruckus about his handwriting skills (honestly it isn't spectacular despite him attending daycare and private school AND his mommy is an early childhood teacher). I agree that he needed help and asked for a pt/ot consult or adaptive equipment: i-pads, computers..etc. I was told soo sorry he doesn't have a disability, too bad.
Meanwhile, he was also encountering diff w staying on task, fidgeting, blurting or just disrupting classmates as they worked independently. Of course, I supported his teacher by punishing him, agreeing that he should face consequences like lose recess to complete classwork, redirecting him, contracts....etc. Long story short, I took him to pediatrician for ADHD eval and he was diagnosed w Hyperactive.
My principal and vice p aren't thrilled b/c now they know I want an IEP so that his issues can be addressed. It was ok to make him feel like a reject and complain about his "deficiencies", but they are peeved.that I want to go.through the chain and officially address it.
I even unofficially had an OT come on and observe him and his teacher. OT recommended that his teacher basically give him the accommodations that I.had been asking for all along (which really peeved her btw).
Teacher told me it is a burden to her to make accommodations for one child when the other kiddos are doing something different. I even offered to help her and loan her manipulatives including OUR PERSONAL laptop. My son is adept at typing. Teacher was trying to convince me that he was earning a handwriting grade on all CONTENT (um NO, maybe 2 separate grades, but content is.content and handwriting is just that!!!!!)
I am going to request an ARD and I need some advice:
Other than:
1.more time to work
2.shorter assignments
3. Frequent breaks
4.positive praise/reward chart/earn incentives
5.incorporate the use of technology to allow him to type or otherwise take tests to prove mastery vs handwriting.
6. I still want an official OT/PT consult to determine what else can be done to improve his handwriting and address his hyperactivity?
7. Send home incomplete work or projects b,/c she claims she doesn't gave time to "hold his hand".
8. Request that he not be responsible for work done over weeks but rather break it into sizable, manageable chunks. Kike projects. He has issues w keeping up w things also. Even from his room to my classroom, I don't always get things as I should, and I have purchased folder tabs and Sheet protectors and zippered pouches.
°°°°What else should I request that would be beneficial which I may be overlooking?
The ratio of teacher to students is 1:23.

I even purchased a resistance band to.tie around his desk so as to allow him some movement and a large class clock that shows the red in place of minutes for time to keep him on task and make it easier for her as well as to help other kiddos w time management.
I have taught pre-k through first so we do the sensory stuff and I purchased handwriting without tears, and therapist unofficially stated to change his writing grip, he also has issues copying things when looking up and then looking down transferring to paper, he is a lefty and has had a nutty teacher already try to change his dominant hand....why??

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. I want whats best for my son to be successful and I would prefer to try medication as a last resort.
I know, its my personal preference.

Another tidbit is that on my campus parents readily "red shirt" .kiddos or purposely hold them behind one to two years to.give them an "academic advantage" over other peers in the same grade, ya think?.
My.principal has already had a ranting moment w me insisting that she would fail him for handwriting (wth?) {REALLY? } AND it would also allow him to "mature". My response was he has a June bday and why would I hold him back if he passed the content and I don't mean barely passing, he excels on reading and science. He is also passing other content: math and social studies, although he can be careless w word problems in math, but still above average. Obviously, he is failing handwriting.
{I also feel that.b/c such a big deal has been made about his handwriting and he and the entire class knows-he lacks confidence or motivation.}
Thanks very much again for allowing me to rant and receive some amazing input from the experts.


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Your first job
Old 12-26-2014, 05:26 AM
 
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Your first job is to your child. Forget whether anyone will get mad at you for figuring out what your child has going on and what your child needs. Go get your own independent evaluation - a neuropsychological evaluation. Make sure your child does not have dysgraphia, or if your child does have dysgraphia, find out what your child needs and fight for it.
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good luck...
Old 12-26-2014, 06:27 AM
 
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A boot to the head to the teacher that said it "would be too hard".

The private school I work at will not do IEPs, and only very mild 504 plans.

Be prepared for a battle. If the school doesn't accept federal funding, they don't have to do an IEP. Or so it has been told to me. Not a special ed maven by any means.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=2198. This site is great.

What happens at my school, they'll accept anyone, but after the kid totally derails (we have no sped certifed teachers), they are *strongly* encouraged to leave. If the kiddo is extremely disruptive, they are ask to leave even quicker.

Our school will only do 1/10th of what the public does.

I hope your school works with you, and you don't get thrown under the bus with both hands. Read about your rights in your state. Believe me, those administrators know exactly what they don't legally have to do.
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:57 PM
 
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It sounds like your school has very high standards for a first grader. First graders doing long term projects? I work with many first graders and none of them are organized. Most of them lose things and have trouble staying in their seats. These kids are very young still. At 6 or 7 years old you can't be expected to have impeccable handwriting. Nor can you be expected to stay on task for hours at a time. I would find fun ways for your son to develop the fine motor skills he needs. See if you can get him into drawing. There are tons of How To Draw books with superheroes and such. Completing mazes, puzzles, etc. are all good for fine motor. If you want to work on actually writing you could have him write silly sayings and give him points for things like bumping the top and bottom lines, having a period, etc. Make it a game and have him level up. Handwriting Without Tears also has a good program for helping students who struggle with handwriting. I wouldn't let them pressure you into retaining him. Also, perhaps he's bored. If he's already met the end of year benchmarks he may be above his classmates. I can't really think of any little boys who like to write though. Many boys have horrid handwriting. Tell his teacher he's aspiring to be a doctor and has to practice writing illegibly.
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red shirt
Old 12-26-2014, 03:25 PM
 
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Quote:
I want whats best for my son to be successful
It sounds like your child would be better off in a different environment. His school, his principal and his teacher are going to make his life miserable. I am appalled at the way they are treating your child. He seems to be a liability to them rather than a valuable student.

My step-DS was in a similar school with similar attitudes, although that was over a decade ago, and I hear that it has only gotten worse at his old school. With a much more supportive staff he might have succeeded, but they were not out to make him succeed. They were more interested in the school's high ranking than to be bothered with helping my DS. Year after year they even refused to discuss a 504, and he never got one during his entire school career in that district. His biological mom and stepdad eventually put him in a private school that specialized in students with ADHD. At that point he absolutely despised school.

I am very much aware of the practice of "red shirt" but had not heard this term before. I first learned about "red shirting" when my GDD#1 moved from one state to another and landed mid-year in kindergarten. With a mid-August birthday she was already the youngest child in her class in the new school. Turned out that she was not just one year younger than most, but often two years younger. The girls were so much bigger and more mature, and I realized that these kindergarteners would have been second graders in my school.

Now that she is in 2nd grade, her classmates are essentially 4th graders, which is a social nightmare for my GDD#1. It's great for the school because they can claim that their students are all highly successful. Thankfully, my GDD#1 is a good student and is able to keep up with the class, but if your DS already has issues now, I can't see them get better in higher grades.


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504 for student
Old 12-26-2014, 08:36 PM
 
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Quote:
My son is passing his content and has even mastered end of the year benchmarks in reading levels and sight words.
This is going to be an issue. If he is passing all of his coursework, then why does he need accommodations through a 504 let alone an IEP? He is able to access the general education curriculum with accommodations.

I have seen some students do fine with ADHD early on and then it's impacts them more late, so I think it's good to have a diagnosis.

As for an IEP, that would be for students who need specialized academic instruction, meaning he has an "input" issue rather than an "output" issue. Again, that does not seem to be the case here. Based on what you're saying, if he does qualify for anything, it would be a 504 for accommodations.

You did mention private school, and I don't know of any private school who has IEPs. They have their own version of a 504.

I hope that helps somewhat.
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Old 12-26-2014, 08:49 PM
 
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Your district still gives a grade in handwriting? And handwriting failure can cause a first grade to be retained? Is this correct?
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Sounds like a 504 for handwriting might be.
Old 12-28-2014, 12:47 PM
 
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In order, but most states dont allow IEPs unless the students academcs are Impacted, and handwriting isnt a qualifying disability....at least in a public school in my state.

I had a middle school boy with severe hyperactive ADD and he used an IPad and keyboard, dragon naturally speaking app, and a mini electronic keyboard that would record his typing for all of his assignments that involved writing. When it comes to handwriting, the bottom line is that we don't have to have beautiful handwriting anymore...we use computers for nearly all writing. As long as it's legible, I would get him accommodations and leave it at that.

As far as holding him back...I wouldn't because what would be the point? He obviously knows the content already!
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504
Old 12-28-2014, 01:35 PM
 
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I am also looking into the dysgraphia as "Passerby" mentioned. I am almost positive that that is one of the issues that the OT had mentioned/suggested we look into as well.

Yes in Texas at least we still grade on handwriting, although I agree that it is a lost art with the current technology. I still feel that he should be able to print at least. We don't teach cursive, at least in this district, my other district expected it.

I think at this school everyone wants a cookie cutter kiddo and the teachers complain about having to do anything "extra". I am glad I taught in my previous district; the standards were higher, the students were more challenging in every possible capacity (mostly Title 1 campuses) and it made me a better teacher with more realistic expectations.

I do agree that some of the fuss is about our school image/ranking and some of it is just nonsense and petty. I will NOT hold my son back if he is passing his content, nor will I allow him to be failed over something so petty. I could personally care less if he fails handwriting b/c holistically, I don't expect him to be an expert at everything. We all have strengths and areas of growth.

I will however work with him to ensure that the handwriting issue isn't something deeper that needs to be addressed and raise a ruckus to get him some accommodations/mods in place for the meantime. I have also been wondering if this is the best placement for him. I am considering moving him to a nearby campus as an alternative if things don't improve.
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:12 PM
 
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My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD-inattentive type the summer before 4th grade and because she was at grade level, she gets no accommodations. In 1st grade, homework would take her an hour and a half because she didn't really want to do it so she would sit there and do anything but the homework, which really was not that long (10 mins worth). Neither rewards nor punishments would work very well.

She needed constant reminders, she rarely completed work. Her 3rd grade teacher was the one who clued us in on her behavior, and she said that she has kids who are way worse off because they don't listen, don't complete work, and are behind grade level. She is intelligent so she appears to learn without much repetition. She was assigned a buddy to remind her to write in her planner (along with other things). We had to be on top of her about her assignments, and everything.

She started a low dose of Adderall at the beginning of 4th grade and I'm told the difference was significant. She was able to participate in group discussions whereas before she was usually daydreaming. She finished her work more often. She didn't see any difference, so I've started pointing out her tendencies. She didnt like to practice her flute at first (the learning curve made her want to quit), so you could tell every second was torturous ... She would do things like hang upside down to try to make it more stimulating. I was trying to teach her how to sew the other day, which she really wanted to learn, but she was creating stories with buttons or poking around in my stuff while I was trying to show her things. She doesn't take her meds during breaks or on weekends but she really has limited control and she is now in 6th grade. She has forgotten to take her meds and you can just look at PowerSchool and the times she forgets coincides with a slew of missing assignments.

She is still on the same low dose of Adderall, but it's not a miracle pill, she has a checklist to check off every single morning before she leaves for school. We go through her backpack and binder at least once a week to organize any loose papers. I told her she must write in her planner every single period, even if she just writes "none" so she doesn't forget to write her homework down. I'm still working on getting her to check PowerSchool herself. She does have terrible handwriting but I think that is from carelessness and disorganization than from anything else.

I am telling my story because I really hate how the ADHD meds have this stigma which makes people rule them out. A kid like my daughter needs a person 1 on 1 with her to get her to do her work (and it is a torturous experience for both parties, trust me on this.) and that is a lot to ask of a teacher with 22 other students to teach. I get tired trying to stay on top of her (and her siblings). The meds simply help her direct her focus... Like I said, she herself doesn't feel any different, but she is much more successful at what she wants to do because she's not feeling the intense urge to stimulate her dopamine levels with something more interesting than the task at hand (even when the task is something she does want to do or learn about). It takes an insane amount of willpower to fight against that.

My other daughter has horrific handwriting (2nd grade) so I've had her do handwriting practice sheets at home and any homework or writing needs to be done on "handwriting" type paper. If she doesn't have lines with the middle line, her writing is a horrific mess. This has helped some.

For projects, you can be the one to break them up into manageable chunks.

Hope this helps some. I know the frustration of attention deficit.


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