Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mismanaged Education=Lost Time

VISITOR:Our younger son was diagnosed with Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia. It took the 2 years to get testing done after we told the school district of the problem -  that is what our case is about now. The case lays out the time line through the end of September, when we filed. there have been things that have happened since then so I am sending you that too. They found him not eligible for Spec ED in December after we filed, despite the results of their own IEE tester, a Neuropsychologist. 
The Judge even makes a mention in his motion on the stay put provision that our son had been found by several professionals to have an IDEA-qualifying disability.  Then they redid his 504 accommodations, such as they were (copy enclosed).  The best part of the new 504 plan - they agreed that he had dyscalculia and then referred him to the county library system for their online math "tutoring" program - basically homework assistance, in lieu of math education at school.

 We have fought the district over this issue for over 7 years. We started with our older son when he was diagnosed with dyslexia, slow processing, difficulty with sequencing ( verbal IQ 147 , processing things in sequential order 75) and an audio deficiency that made it difficult for him to focus on a single conversation in a noisy room - his mind jumps from one sound or conversation to the next and the next, so he hears part of everything but he also misses key information when, for example, the teacher is lecturing.  He was diagnosed in 5th grade but nothing was done until end of 8th grade.  Even then we had to go through mediation to get the accommodations recommended by the IEE (a Neuropsychologist  contracted by the District).  They provided some of the accommodations they agreed to for 1 year.  In that year, his GPA went from .98 (end of 8th grade) to 3.67 for 9th grade.

The next year they took the accommodations away because he had good grades so he didn't qualify for special Ed. We actually received an e-mail to that effect from the Director of Spec. Ed.  He failed his first semester of 10th grade, so then they claimed it was because he was socially and emotionally disturbed and wanted to test him for a social/emotional disorder based on their claim that the neuropsychologist had told them so in a meeting that year. We later found out that what had really happened was they had contacted the Doctor about taking his accommodations away because he obviously didn't need them, due to his good grades. She informed them that if they took the accommodations away they would cause him emotional harm. We finally took him out of the school because they administration started to harass him with teachers telling him that we just wanted to give him a "free ride" and that there was nothing wrong with him. One teacher, in front of the entire class, asked a student sitting next to our son "What's the definition of moron? Answer: a kid with an IEP."

He passed the test for Running Start (a program that lets high school students take college courses during 11th and 12th grade for both high school and college credit) but he is now 19 and hasn't graduated from HS or finished his AA.  He refuses to even discuss asking for accommodations in his college classes, because he feels like he'll be singled out again and lose what he has by asking.

If there's anything you can recommend or point us in the right direction so we can get this resolved and get our younger son the help he needs - help that we can't give him - I would really appreciate it.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Your school system is totally operating in disregard of federal law: both IDEA and No Child Left Behind. He should have an IEP and a Transition Plan, as well as an Assistive Technology Evaluation and subsequent plan. If he has not finished high school, there should be a plan to do so. If they have illegally exited him from high school, contact your state rehabilitation office for assistance with high-school completion and a plan for vocational training. See GUIDANCE FOR THOSE 17 and OVER. For your younger son, follow this GUIDANCE FOR KIDS AGE 1 to AGE 21.

Thesis on dyscalculia- why not well known?

VISITOR:  I am currently undertaking a research study for my Masters Degree in Education and am trying very hard to think of a suitable topic for my thesis study. I have a keen interest in supporting learners with numeracy problems within my field of science, as science and mathematics are often considered to be closely linked. Having been a child myself who was identified as gifted at sciences, yet provoked a 'cause for concern' within maths and numerical applications I feel that this is an area which is very close to my heart and I would like to conduct this study with a view to raising awareness of dyscalculia. I also would like to investigate the reasons why dyslexia specifically relating to literacy is recognized and effectively supported, yet those with an inherent difficulty in understanding mathematical problems are largely unrecognized.
I am writing to you in the hope that you might be able to provided me with some literature which could provide me with some data relating to students with dyscalulia, in terms of estimations as to how many cases are identified each year, what schools do to support these learners, how they can be identified etc. Many thanks.

DYSCALCULIA.ORGThe best book to read is this one: Why is Math so Hard for some children? Here are the latest research articles/reports on dyscalculia: Reports.
Here is a list of dyscalculia researchers and experts, with links to their sites and articles: Dyscalculia Experts.  Here is a master's thesis on dyscalculia: The Dyscalculia Syndrome (1998). Feel free to be in touch through the process. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hurdle: 4 years of high school math

VISITOR: I cried when I read the Letter to My Math Teacher. Thank you for taking my call today. It was a relief to talk to someone knowledgeable about dyscalculia. The school says they never heard of it. My son has all of the symptoms. He doesn't want to look any different than the other kids, but he can't keep up. He tries heroically but can't remember from one day to the next. How is he going to get through 4 years of high school math when he can't sequence or factor or multiply consistently? Help!

DYSCALCULIA.ORGHere are some key resources:

This is a lot, but feel free to email as you go.

California College Student Needs Help

VISITORI came across your site and I was in tears……..I have Dyscalculia and have struggled with it since age 6. I live in California and I would like info regarding math course waivers as well as being tested & diagnosed with Dyscalculia. Can you provide me info on both of these issues?

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Yes. Information on course waivers: http://www.dyscalculia.org/college-math-ld/course-waivers. Info on being tested for dyscalculia: http://www.dyscalculia.org/diagnosis-legal-matters/guidance-for-17-years-old. David Mills is an expert tutor in California:  http://www.mathanxiety.blogspot.com/.