Firstborn: The Start of Third Grade


August 25, 2004 I sent two letters to follow up the July 27th meeting. The first requested to follow up on setting up a second re-evaluation-IEP meeting to develop appropriate and measurable goals since nobody was in attendance who could determine the instructional implications and identify all the needs of my son that were identified in the most recent evaluations.

In the second letter I expressed my disagreement of the district’s denial and reasons set forth to provide vision therapy and asked that they reconsider their position.

In addition, I wrote up my yearly revised essay that I would distribute to all of my son’s third grade teachers, aid, administration, nurse, etc…. I did this every year. I called it, “A picture of my son” and it was a snapshot overview of my him because although I knew all the teachers were suppose to read my son’s IEP I knew they all didn’t so I sort of prepared a cheat sheet.

It read, “He is a very sensitive and caring child as I am sure you will soon find out for yourself. He enjoys helping others and is willing to share. He will be turning nine in December. He is diagnosed with Double Deficit Dyslexia (phonological, rapid naming, and visual components), ADHD combined type, and Sensory Integration Dysfunction.”

“He has at least normal to high intelligence although he struggles with reading and writing in particular. He finally started to read in second grade because of the one on one Project Read instruction implemented through his IEP. However, he is still below grade level and lacks fluency. Although he can now read he still lacks self esteem because he is greatly aware that his peers are far beyond him with their reading skills. In addition, writing is difficult for him. He makes frequent spelling errors because he spells phonetically. He makes incredible effort to learn despite every avenue is laborious for him. He responds best to positive reinforcement. His great interests tends to be with science, nature, art, and hands on projects. He becomes easily frustrated when having difficulties with his work. He becomes overstimulated and hyper when in noisy situations such as assemblies, a noisy classroom environment, or music class. He may need to take a break
by being allowed to take a walk to go to the nurse’s office or get a drink of water. He has not ever abused this privilege and only asks for breaks when necessary. He can also overreact to touch because of his sensory issues. He is very particular about his clothing and people touching him.”

“He thrives off a consistent routine so therefore I ask that you be consistent as well as rewarding him when his behaviors are good. He may need additional time to transition and work should be modified (not watered down). Please understand because of his ADHD and sensory issues that classroom and environment noises can be distracting to him at times as well as overstimulating. He also continues to work privately with an occupational therapist.”

“He is also very sensitive to his environment and has many allergies. Mostly are environmental but he suffers from allergies red dye, certain mints, certain latex objects, and iguana’s which have ended him up in the hospital.  Please check for red dyes in any candy, juice, ice pops, or chips that you may offer him. If he is working with markers or paint he must wash his hands thoroughly after wards. In addition, he should use a plain glue stick verses the pink or purple glue sticks. This is because if he has any remnants of red dye on his hands and touches his face he can have a horrible reaction. In the event of a reaction, he has dye free benadryl at the nurse’s office.”

“We also limit his dairy intake due to the fact that an overabundance of it causes him stomach issues as well as behavior problems. He can however have an occasional ice cream or chocolate milk.”

“Difficulties for him are as follows:

1) poor impulse control
2) auditory difficulties
3) lacks short term memory
4) turn taking
5) long writing projects
6) loud noises
7) reading
8) anger and frustration
9) easily distracted
10) modulation
11) transition

Needs:

1) extra time and help
2) consistency and routine
3) breaks when needed
4) multiple warning signals before ending an activity
5) positive reinforcement
6) repeated oral instructions

Strengths:
1) science
2) art
3) loves listening to stories
4) hands on and mechanical projects
5) tends to be the caretaker
6) long term memory
7) good mannered
8) athletic
9) easily makes friends
10 giving and loves to please others”

I ended it with, “Any concerns regarding my son I can always be reached at either my home, work or cellular phone number listed below. I am also available to help with parties, special projects, and class trips. Please notify in advance so that I can find childcare for my other two younger children. I look forward to open communication between the staff and myself and a wonderful school year. Thanks for taking the time to read this!”

On September 2, 2004 I received a letter from the district denying that they had failed to have in attendance someone who could determine the instructional implications and identify all the needs of my son that were identified in the most recent evaluations. They stated that, “According to New Jersey Code, all of the appropriate personnel were present and in addition, we included a Reading Specialist to help us ensure that your son’s needs were met.” They also said that we could re-meet on September 10, 2004. Of course, I accepted. Third grade was about to start and the IEP was not settled. At least my son’s one and one reading services would not be taken away as the district initially planned. Every victory for my son was a slow painstaking process and I knew that I had to continue my vigorous advocacy for him, even though it affected every area of my life including my family, my marriage, my business, my eating, and even my sleep. I prepared for September 10th……

Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT

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About danadogooder

Happily married for 20 years except when he is pissing me off! ' Mommy of 3 boys, a yellow female lab named Curious, 2 kitties Trouble and Kornelia, and bird and fish! Yes, we have a Zoo! Love to cook, entertain, and travel. I give new meaning to, "You can't fight city hall" Cause I fought worse, "Yes, The Board of Ed! " I live in a houseful of ADHD, Dyslexia, Auditory Processing, Sensory Integration and Allergies!!! I love being a Mom, to have fun and am always joking around! My job titles are: Wife, Mommy, Advocate, Friend, Maid, Cook, Self Employed Business Owner among many others!
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