Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Today's Post: Part 2--IEP redux

This morning was my 8th grader's IEP meeting/3 year review. As part of that process, I requested that his psychological testing be repeated. There were no surprises. A 65 point discrepancy between his verbal comprehension and his processing speed subscores. (>99th percental vs 16th percentile).

It's no wonder that he excels at tasks in which he can use his verbal/language abilities and struggles with more abstract tasks (like math tests) that are timed or induce stress to the mix.

The split amongst his subscores is even more pronounced than it was in his prior testing of 5th grade. So as his peers have matured and improved in their processing speed, he has not.

I think the test results and they way they were explained by the psychologist even startled some of my son's current teachers. P is so good at covering for his difficulties, that it's sometimes hard for me to see his performance accurately.

I am quite concerned about the math. Currently, he has provisions in his IEP to take untimed standardized tests, but there isn't any accommodation for his class-based math exams. And he's failed 2 exams. Amazing to realize he's still pulling a solid B average in this accelerated math class. When he has time to process, he seems to be able to understand and demonstrate his knowledge. But he is not successful with the same kinds of tasks on tests.

I can help him organize and plan for all of his other subjects. The math is beyond me. And it's not an issue a basic tutor is likely to be able to help him with. It seems to me that in a typical testing situation, he is unable to call on his own resources to overcome his cognitive/learning deficits. It's not exactly a math problem, nor is it a study habit's problem, but a problem of matching the testing to his cognitive abilities.

I think I will be meeting with the school and his math teacher to discuss testing accommodations.

Today's post, part 1: Thank you

I appreciate those of you who commented on the blog or via email about my last post. I am less stressed a week later, having had some process time.

Am I any more disposed to move? No. But my fight or flight response has damped down and I can work through the process without the sense of impending panic I felt in the past few weeks.

One of the reasons this problem has been so difficult to work through is that it concerns the future/wellbeing/success of the person I generally problem-solve with. Normally, my husband is the impartial and reasoned sounding board. This time, he's drowning in the same fears and anxieties as I am.

To his credit, he knows how difficult even the idea of moving is for me and he's arranged for me to spend a day in this town to get a sense of what I think of it before we talk further. I'm a kinesthetic processor--being there will do what internet research and brochures cannot.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My long absence

I'm sorry for my long absence from blogging here. First an update: my father's health is stabilized currently. I appreciate the notes and emails of support I received. The news is mixed--he won't need dialysis emergently, but he will likely need to start with it within a year. His kidneys have been slowly failing for many years (undiagnosed hypertension) and there's little they can do to halt the process. He is on a kidney sparing diet and off some medications that actively harm the kidney. And he's determined to stay as healthy as he can. In fact, he's doing better than the rest of us in adjusting.

I honestly thought I was holding it together--I even managed to juggle my work around my parents' medical needs and seemed to be doing fine. Then my husband got offered a job out of state. A terrific job. One that pays more money and will probably mean less work stress for him. It should be a no brainer, but I'm a wreck.

I've been in this house for 14 years. I feel safe here--physically and emotionally. I'm connected to the schools and they have been (for the most part) amazingly responsive to my childrens' needs. My boys are happy. They have friends and interests here. *There* is a big unknown. *There* is finding a new neighborhood, new schools, new friends. *There* is leaving the safety of *here.*

*Here* is everything I've ever wanted.

Except for the fact that my husband works close to 80 hours a week, with little control and little support. He cannot continue at this pace--it isn't healthy for him.

If we must move, my children have me to support them in the dislocation. But there's no one to support me in that way. I am anxious and frightened and my emotional first response is an automatic 'no'. I am working hard to stay in the moment and not give in to this blind panic about anything different.

It is so very hard.