Page 1 of 2 [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

natesmom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 May 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 631

03 Feb 2009, 7:19 pm

... breathe. Yes, I need to tell myself that right now.

Nate no longer receives the same homework the other kids get. The math reasoning worksheets that he actually loves to do was crossed out today. He is very good at those; the highest in his class. Instead - he got math flash cards. Not flash cards of basic addition and subtraction (his current level) but just the numbers 1 - 20. He is to say them and write them down. He said them to me extremely quick!! He can write them down, too.

Is this their reasoning for a kid that takes a little longer to write down the answer. Are they going to give him basic math work - a kid whose strength is nonverbal reasoning? If it were reading fluency, I would understand but math?

This changed occurred since I spoke with the special services director. I am so confused.

I may call the teacher at home. I am bothered by this. I am also tempted to pull him and put him in the math and tech magnet school I currently work at. The special ed team is wonderful. They would let him eat lunch with them and keep an eye on him. They do that with all of their students. I don't want to pull him in the middle of the year, though. I don't think it would be good for him or healthy.



Last edited by natesmom on 09 Feb 2009, 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DW_a_mom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 22 Feb 2008
Age: 61
Gender: Female
Posts: 11,006
Location: Northern California

03 Feb 2009, 7:45 pm

Yes, breath. Get the whole story from the school before doing any other ounce of worrying. THEN decide the next step.


_________________
Mom to an amazing AS son, who recently graduated from the university (plus an also amazing non-AS daughter). Most likely part of the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (some traits).


natesmom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 May 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 631

03 Feb 2009, 8:39 pm

My husband came home and at first said that there has to be more to it - but there isn't. Nate was able to quickly tell us the numbers, how to write them and also write them. Writing them took longer but it's not because he doesn't know the numbers. He is a perfectionist and also works slowly. He saw how the teacher crossed off the math reasoning. Nate said that the teacher told him "to not let your mom or dad do this." We are going to do it anyway. We asked Nate if he likes that homework (since it is so easy for him) and he said yes.

If the reasoning is bogus it will be hard to keep him there for the remainder of this year. I will feel they are holding him back. Taking him out right now will really upset him. He is used to the routine, structure and kids. He only has three months. I am just so bothered by this. The teacher has told us several times that he is very strong at math.

I don't know if this school can meet his needs. He needs high level math beyond his grade level for math and a little more intensive reading instruction at least for now.



DW_a_mom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 22 Feb 2008
Age: 61
Gender: Female
Posts: 11,006
Location: Northern California

03 Feb 2009, 10:40 pm

Just remember that there have been so many other lovely things about this school. Find out what the school was thinking with this assignment. There are no perfect schools and no perfect teachers, but there ARE schools where our kids can be happy and thrive. So far, Nate has thrived. Maybe not gone as far as he possibly could, maybe there are areas they could do better at, but to have a teacher as tuned in as his seems to be to his personality is huge. What you are looking for here is a coherent explanation and if the explanation doesn't work for you, a willingness from them to listen to and work with you. Schooling with special needs kids is always a work in progress. It's never fully settled. Little bumps are fine. It's the big stuff we hope never happens, the stuff that might turn a child off to learning.


_________________
Mom to an amazing AS son, who recently graduated from the university (plus an also amazing non-AS daughter). Most likely part of the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (some traits).


ster
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Sep 2005
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,485
Location: new england

04 Feb 2009, 12:59 am

maybe there's an underlying reason for this ?



natesmom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 May 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 631

04 Feb 2009, 1:45 am

I wrote an email. I felt it sounded professional but was probably over the top.

You are all great and very encouraging. I honestly don't know. There are many wonderful things about the school. The special services director told me the other day that if they ever stopped accepting kids like Nate in the school, she would leave and that she loves to work with kids like him. I don't know. I will just wait to see the teacher's response. I am sure she will take everything to heart.

WHen I spoke with the teacher two weeks ago, she stated that she is going to put Nate in her top math group. Flash cards 1 - 20 is not considered top level math. He was seriously only required to name the numbers and write them. Some kids may be at that level but Nate was there 1 1/2 ago if not longer.

I am sure to find out tomorrow.



Katie_WPG
Velociraptor
Velociraptor

User avatar

Joined: 7 Sep 2008
Age: 33
Gender: Female
Posts: 492
Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada

04 Feb 2009, 9:36 am

Yes, I would definitely bring it up. Don't stop probing until you've got the REAL answer for why they did this. If your son is strong in math, then to give him 1-20 flash cards is an insult to his intelligence. You need to make sure that the entire staff are on the same page with your son. Do they know that he isn't mentally retarded?

I'm also concerned about that one staff member's comment about "If they stopped accepting children like Nate". Why would they not accept children like Nate? Back when I was in elementary, the kids with Asperger's were considered among the smartest students. Now, because they actually KNOW that these kids have AS, they're treated as if they're the dumbest students. The thought of public schools not accepting mildly disabled children sends shivers, it really does. It harkens back to the days where the severely disabled children were shuttled off to "alternative schools", where they were essentially baby-sat until they were out. Will the mildly disabled now get the exact same treatment? It's rather scary.

Hell, the kind of stories that my mom tells me about how middle-schoolers with AS are treated (from a co-worker of hers) in our own school systems makes me furious.



Detren
Velociraptor
Velociraptor

User avatar

Joined: 7 Feb 2008
Age: 41
Gender: Female
Posts: 410
Location: in the connection between the ansibles

04 Feb 2009, 9:47 am

Yeah, get the whole story first.

I can see a reason that they might be going for here and it would be totally different from what you are seeing.

1. it could just be a whole big stupid thing like you are saying.
or
2. They KNOW your child is great in math and that it is one of his favorite things. He might not need the worksheet because he is so far ahead, and might not have thought about hurting feelings by crossing it off, or that your child might actually have LIKED to do the sheet. If your child is not as good at writing then perhaps they wanted to bring something they knew he liked and cross it over to the writing? He likes numbers, so we will have him write numbers.

Definitely get the whole picture first. If it turns into the first option go after them full force (stop short of anything that would get you arrested of course :D )



natesmom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 May 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 631

04 Feb 2009, 7:36 pm

Here is and email that his teacher sent to me this morning. She is really trying hard but it doesn't answer my question to why the aide gave him those basic math facts. It was clearly written on his homework sheet and had his name next to the assignment. I want to know what kind of work he is doing when the teacher is not around. I hope that he is not just left to make designs with the manipulatives because that is what he wants to do. I do feel really grateful to have such a wonderful teacher who is supportive.

She was talking about two sessions of math because Nate is going to full day kindergarten (due to my work schedule - no choice). He was in part time before.


Here is the letter

I am very sorry you and (husband's name) are frustrated with me. I am sad that I have made you both feel that Nate is only doing basic math. Please allow me the opportunity to explain what we are doing and see if you agree. If not, you know that I am a partner with both of you in Nate’s education and I want to do what is best for him. I will begin by saying that Nate should NOT have received or be doing number flash cards. What we have found is Nate is not enjoying sitting through two sessions of Math. At first we thought this would be great, it would allow him the time he needed to finish his work. What we got was a negative reaction. Nate was giving up and not showing interest in his math anymore, which is not what I want to happen. Our thought was since Nate has expressed a desire to use more manipulatives he would enjoy going with (the assistant). When I last spoke to (the assistant) she told me Nate was really engaged in the floor activities. Some of her students need the basics, but that does not include Nate. In the afternoon (in a small group setting) he works on his Saxon Math and Facts with his class. Yesterday, Nate was able to complete his math and enjoyed the small group and the interaction. Additionally, he stayed with the group. I told Nate he had no homework because he finished it. I do not believe Nate needs to complete both sides of the Saxon Math because he only needs to work on a concept one time, any more than that and it is an exercise in paper work.

I would be more than happy to set a meeting with you and (husband). Once the report has been completed we will need to meet with special services and review those recommendations. I am no way trying to hold Nate back, just the opposite. I want to find ways to stimulate him and keep him engaged and interested in school. What I can tell you is Nate likes his new schedule and we have noticed a positive response.



Tracker
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Posts: 933
Location: Behind your mineral line

04 Feb 2009, 7:42 pm

I would agree that calming down is helpful in most situations. Unless your in a situation where quick reflexes and improved strength provided by adrenaline outweigh the benefits of clearer thinking. But unless you are being chased by an angry animal, or in a fist fight, I doubt that is the case. Anyways, time to take a right angle off the tangent, and into the center of the issue. <--that was a double entendre math joke.

There are many reasons that your son might be receiving low difficulty homework:

1. Repetition is the key to memory.

Imagine if I gave you a list off all the countries in Africa along with their capitals and asked you to memorize which capital goes with which country. You might make flash cards, and quiz yourself until you can pass a test. Then, if I waited a year, and gave you the same test, do you think you would still pass? Odds are you would have forgotten some of that information in a year. You see memories are formed in the brain by connecting nerve cells together. The more a memory is used, the stronger this connection becomes. Over time, unused connections will become weak, and eventually break. This is an important process because if your brain never severed old connections then you would have a lot more information to process while thinking; thus slowing down your thought process, and making it hard to pull out recent, relevant information due to all the cluttering memories.

This is why memories that are older are often less clear then more recent, or commonly used memories. For example, you still remember your name, even though it may be one of your first memories because you constantly recall your name, and thus re-strengthen the connection. But old information that you dont think about, such as the geography you learned in elementary, has long faded away because you dont use that memory often.

Thus, the key to retaining information, is to periodically think about it, and thus restrengthen the connection. For example, if you had taken a few minutes every week to review your flash cards, and think about the capitals in Africa then you would probably still pass a test on the subject even a year later. Likewise, your son's teacher may simply be periodically reviewing old information, not because she thinks your son is below average, but in order to re-strengthen the old connection.

From what you have told me, your son seems to have an above average memory, which means that his brain is slow to sever old connections (which may be part of the reason for his slower processing). But make no mistake, he will lose the memory eventually if he doesnt think about it. These occasional reviews serve to re-strengthen and bolster the older memories so they dont get lost as your son grows up. So long as the reviewing only happens occasionally, and doesnt become your son's only source of homework, I wouldnt consider it a problem. In fact I would consider the occasional review a good thing.

2. Grading assignments takes time.

Your son's teacher has a busy weekend planned, and doesnt want to spend time grading a bunch of papers. So she just gave the kids easy assignments like reviewing numbers, which requires no actual effort or time to grade. Overall, I understand that teachers have busy weekends too, so I can't fault her for occasionally giving out easy assignments like this. Just consider it a useful review, and dont worry too much about it. Unless this becomes a habit that hampers your son's ability to advance, dont get too worked up.

In either case, I wouldnt make too much out of it, if it happens again, you might ask why nicely, but you shouldn't start panicking over 1 easy assignment.



DW_a_mom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 22 Feb 2008
Age: 61
Gender: Female
Posts: 11,006
Location: Northern California

04 Feb 2009, 8:05 pm

I think the teacher's letter explains really well why the homework got crossed off: he didn't need to do it. Actually, if he is now in all day K he probably NEVER needs to do homework. The 2nd session IS his homework.

I wouldn't have a problem if he is doing manipulatives all through ONE of the two sessions he is getting in math. The kids can actually learn a lot about math with these, and it isn't boring.

What is still a mystery is why the flash cards came home.

But, it's good that the teacher could explain most of it, and is quite clear on what Nate needs to be doing. I am sure she will check with the aid on it.

Good luck!

Debbie


_________________
Mom to an amazing AS son, who recently graduated from the university (plus an also amazing non-AS daughter). Most likely part of the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (some traits).


ster
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Sep 2005
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,485
Location: new england

04 Feb 2009, 9:19 pm

it is good to hear that they are addressing his inability to be successful with interventions - and without you having to beg for it... sounds like he'll be fine.



Detren
Velociraptor
Velociraptor

User avatar

Joined: 7 Feb 2008
Age: 41
Gender: Female
Posts: 410
Location: in the connection between the ansibles

05 Feb 2009, 9:11 am

I bet they came home because the aide said something to the effect of "okay, everyone get a set of flash cards to take home." He was sitting there, so he grabbed one just like everyone else in the little group and the teacher just didn't think about not including him specifically in the task.



natesmom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 May 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 631

09 Feb 2009, 9:47 pm

People are so sensitive!

Nate had another accident in the after school care. We have a change of clothes for him in the teachers classroom for this purpose but his teacher didn't know where the aide put it. The teacher was still there. The after school person had him put on different clothes and those almost didn't fit. If they didn't work, he wouldn't have been in a coat again (round the other kids) with a phone call to us. If I received a phone call, I would have been really upset considering we brought a change of clothes for him for this reason - for him not to be in front of the other kids wearing nothing but a coat. I mentioned that I was frustrated about the whole clothes issue to the after school care person and she took offense (the same person who put him in a coat with nothing else last time). I was only mentioning I was frustrated to her not AT her. I explained to her that I wasn't frustrated with her at all only the situation and possibly teacher or the teacher's aide. She continued to take offense. I finally talked to the after school director who stated that the other person is really sensitive. Good grief. I was just venting to her and she took it personal. I had a right to be upset. My son was very close to being in the same situation he was a month ago, when he had an accident and had to wait in front of the kids wearing a coat. If that happened to him again, it would have been his last day.

Its like when the teacher took it personal when I asked her why Nate was getting the homework he was. I didn't not tell her I was frustrated at her. She took it way too personal. So frustrating. I work in the public school setting and really never have these issues, ever. Is it because this is the private school setting? My husband stated that he doubts a lot of the staff would make it working in a public school environment because they are so contained in their own happy little world. He has a good point.

I think in their view, 'It's a privilege not a right" to attend school there. If you have issues, you can always take your child out and send them to a public school and they are right. As for the clothes issue, I will wait to see if the teacher ever finds out what the aide did with his clothes. It's so frustrating. It's not like we have a lot of money to just go buy another special pair of those adjustable strap ones that fit him.

I know who to talk to about issues now - the after school director. She is more objective



jaelb
Hummingbird
Hummingbird

User avatar

Joined: 14 Oct 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 23

09 Feb 2009, 10:34 pm

Our son is in a private school as well. Our attention to our son's academic and behavior issues at school is perceived by the teacher as interference and criticism. We are constantly reminding the teacher how we agreed to handle certain situations and demanding that she be be consistent. We're often butting heads with the teacher and I believe she resents us. That's not hard to imagine since public school teachers in our area are paid so poorly and private school teachers make even less. We're not wealthy--we have to scrape and save to keep him in a private school--but many of the femilies in this school are. It seems we have to be in the social 'network' to get our son the attention he needs.

Public schools are required by law to meet special needs, but private schools act like you're demanding that they bend over backward when you ask for special consideration, despite that fact that you pay a pretty penny for that 'priviledge'. I wonder how much special needs training private school teachers receive.

Here's a suggestion: get e-mail addresses. Teachers, directors, aides and caregivers should all be cc'd in an email that explains where the clothing is stored etc and any other changes in his care. That way everyone is on the same page and any inconsistencies can be targeted immediately.



koadah
Hummingbird
Hummingbird

User avatar

Joined: 12 Jan 2008
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Posts: 18
Location: London, UK

10 Feb 2009, 5:45 am

Quote:
My husband stated that he doubts a lot of the staff would make it working in a public school environment because they are so contained in their own happy little world.


A lot of them would run screaming for the hills if they had to work at some of the schools around here ;)