The learning consultant in the new district summed up her report. “He is a six and a half year old boy currently in the Multiple Disabilities Class who has a history of disruptive and oppositional behavior, as well as speech and language delays.” She also noted that during her observations it appeared that my son “spent much of his time misbehaving”. She had so many examples of my son misbehaving that I actually thought it wasn’t humanly possible to have committed so many acts in a thirty minute observation. She also did mention in a small blurb that “it did appear he had delays in reading.” Then I found in the back of the report a chart with all of the scores attached on a sheet called the, “Summary and Score Report- Compuscore Version 1.1b Woodcock-Johnson lll Tests of Achievements”. I read the scores. My son scored in the 14th percentile in letter word identification, the 7th percentile in spelling, the 4th percentile in passage comprehension, the 4th percentile in spelling of sounds, the 6th percentile in writing samples.
The school psychologist completed her report as well. In her summary she also focused on the behavioral data gathered by teacher input. She noted, “Both his hyperactivity and oppositional behavior are significantly above average in the school setting.” What she did not focus on in her summary was all the weaknesses that had been determined from her testing: “Weak knowledge of English Syntax, Part to whole synthesis, Visual Analysis, Visual Memory, Visual Imagery, Spatial Visualization, Visual Perception, Visual Motor Coordination, Sequencing, Chunking, or Clustering Strategies, and significantly weak Short Term Auditory Memory.”
The results of the private central auditory processing testing also came in. On the filtered words which is an auditory task he scored in the 5th percentile. On competing words he fell in the 16th percentile. Yet on the other two sub tests my son fell in the average range. My son barely passed the test however, since they average all of the sub tests together to form one composite score he did just fall into the average range by one percentile. It was recommended that if my son continued to have auditory problems in the classroom that he be re-evaluated in one year because scoring was more “lenient” at age six then at age seven.
In the speech evaluation it was noted that my son had a “significant deficit in auditory-perceptual skills.” He also had some articulation errors noting he was inconsistently articulating sounds properly.
The occupational therapist noted in her report that my son seemed very bright but presented with mild deficiencies in fine motor, visual motor, organizational and scanning skills, postural control, and sensory processing. In addition, he was distractible, impulsive, displayed excessive physical activity and oppositional behavior.
In the meantime while this was all going on I continued my research.
Was my child an incorrigible behavior problem doomed and destined to be a menace of society?
Then I started to learn that all behavior is a form of communication. A child’s inappropriate behavior is a sign that they are upset, their needs are not being met and something is just not right. For instance, this begins at birth when an infant communicates by crying when they are hungry or need their diaper changed. I began to realize there is always a reason for problematic behavior. Children act out because they don’t know how to express themselves appropriately or effectively. They engage in challenging behavior for a reason such as getting someone’s attention, avoiding an activity they can’t do or don’t enjoy doing, or they may be sensory seeking. NO MATTER WHAT, there is ALWAYS a reason behind the behavior.
I also suspected that in addition to my son’s ADHD and Sensory Integration Dysfunction diagnosis’ that he was severely dyslexic. However, when I brought this up to my son’s teacher I was told that my child was too young to be diagnosed with Dyslexia.
August 1, 2002 two advocates and I arrived at the Re-Evaluation/ IEP meeting, tape recorder in hand. We first agreed that my son’s classification would be changed from “Multiply Disabled” to “Other Health Impaired”.
We then heard the synopsis of reports from the child study team. However, no functional behavioral assessment had ever been completed. The teacher explained the behavioral interventions she had been using reporting “some days were better then others”. But it came out that there was no progress in my son’s behavior and in fact behavioral regression had been noted throughout the year. We put the learning consultant on the spot. She admitted, “I really think that if we can get the behavior under control, he has the potential to be a very good student.” We also got the child study team to agree to hire an outside party to to complete a Functional Behavior Assessment.
It was also agreed that my son would receive speech therapy once a week, occupational therapy once a week, there would be a daily communication log that would be sent between the school and home, monthly meetings would be held with the both the staff and parents being present, a second set of text books would be provided for home, copies of class notes and study guides would be provided, social skills training would be provided twice a week, and goals to address academic and social deficits.
Now we came to the placement after pounding and pounding the child study team with question after question. To my surprise, the learning consultant said, “I recommend that he be placed in a general education first grade classroom in his neighborhood school with a full time individual aid and resource room for language arts and math.” She also said, “During my observation his behavior SIGNIFICANTLY improved when he was in the kindergarten general education classroom and out of the multiply disabled classroom.” Hadn’t I said this all along?
It was one thousand and six hundred and fifty dollars paid to the advocates for that one IEP meeting and an entire kindergarten year lost for my son. Yes, it was a first victory but I also knew I had to keep learning about this IEP process because who could afford to spend that kind of money on one IEP meeting? But I was happy because my baby would be heading to first grade with typical peers at his home school. It was going to be all better, wasn’t it?
Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT