Saturday, June 1, 2013

Q&A #261

Questions inspired by the questions! So- with the modifications- do you suggest them? Does the Reg Ed , the Resource teacher or the therapists? How specifically are they written in the IEP? Have you had to come up with them on your own? Accomodations vs goals- do you have many academic goals or do you focus on accomodations first and if those don’t work move on to a goal? I was told here that the math and reading taught in resource is not the same curriculum as what is being learned in Gen ed. So that if the child is pulled for math resource even during the math time in class, they aren’t getting one on one attention assisting with what they are being pulled from. They work on “resource math which come from SRA.” Which it seems would then put them at a disadvantage come testing times. I’ve also been told to be weary here about taking the option of the alternative testing because it means that then they are no longer on a regular diploma track.
Modifications to the curriculum should be a team decision, and you, as the parent, should be part of that process. Kennedy's special ed teacher and I met this year about a week before her IEP meeting and talked about different goals she would have for 3rd grade, different modifications she would need to meet those goals, and what we could do to make her year a successful one. That really helped both of us so when we got to the IEP meeting there were no surprises and everything went smoothly. :) Kennedy does have academic goals. I can't remember off the top of my head how many right now, but there are 3 or 4 for each academic subject (except for science and social studies because she pretty much does what the rest of the class does in those subjects). We did the goals first and then put in any modifications needed for her to reach those goals. Kennedy does some math and reading with her class and then she does some in the resource room to reinforce what she's learning and help keep her going forward, but even when she's in resource she's still working on a modified version of what her classmates are doing. They're just adjusting to her pace. I hope that makes sense. As far as the testing goes, I've heard the same thing. I don't know HOW they can say a child in 3rd grade is off the diploma track. OR if they do alternative testing one year, does that stop them from taking the regular state testing the next year? AND by me opting Kennedy out completely throw her off the diploma track as well?? I asked at her IEP meeting too and they weren't sure but said they'd check into it. Most importantly, do I care if she gets a regular diploma? I mean, realistically, she'd have to pass algebra to get a diploma and then what? I'll be able to say, "She got a diploma! YAY!" But at what cost? I don't know. I still feel like 3rd grade is too early for me to have to make that decision, and maybe she needs to make that decision for herself when the time comes. It's a lot to think about, for all of us as parents of kids with special needs, I know.

i need to chat with you to find out how you opted out of the state test, I just found out last week the my other kids could opt out too....just wonder how difficult it is. as for William we still have a few more years but something Im thinking about doing research on:) 
For now, I just said in her IEP meeting, "She's not doing it." and they said ok. No fights. When the time comes, I don't know if there will be forms to sign or what... I guess we'll see. One of my other friends left this link in the comment section after your comment though, hopefully this will help!! "To the pp... this website may be helpful. You can search information by state. Hope that helps! :)" 

If you can opt Kass and Kam out of the state test, what's the point of the test? I understand opting someone with an IEP out of the test, but it seems kinda unfair that the test is optional if your parents don't want you to have to take it. 
Well, I personally have a lot of issues with state testing. I think it's terrible that teachers are forced to "teach to the test" sometimes starting as early as kindergarten. I think it's unfair that in many states teachers' jobs and pay depend on these test scores which puts undue stress on them especially when some kids blow the test on purpose by making designs with their bubbles or filling in all "A"s all the way down because they know it doesn't affect them. I also think it's unfair that in some states it DOES affect the students' grades to a large degree because some students simply don't test well and are otherwise excellent students. I don't know if I believe that state testing gives an accurate picture of where your student or your child's school falls in the grand scheme. There have been stories of teachers helping students cheat and more. That being said, I have never and probably will never opt Kass and Kam out, even though I DO like the fact that I can. (I very much like having a say in my child's education even when I do "go with the flow".) It does teach them to deal with stress and hopefully will prepare them for SATs. Of course it doesn't stress Kameron out at all and he just breezes right through it. Kassidy does kind of fret about it but always does really well in the end. I just tell them to do their very best and take their time. I personally only know one other family who has opted their typical children out of the test, for many of the same issues that I stated above, and that's their choice. Does it skew the results of the school as a whole? Maybe. But what matters more? The child's individual test scores and progress or the school's cumulative test scores? I guess it depends on how you look at it. 

 I'm just curious about a couple of things. Were you able to see Kellsey one last time before you finalized the plans? I didn't know if that would have helped you with the closure of it all. Also, I know you won't be sharing details with us, but will you be able to continue to keep up with her progress through the years? I hope that one day down the road that you will have contact with her and see the impact your decisions made on her for the good. I look forward to continuing to read about the adventures of you and your Special Ks! :)
We actually weren't able to... part of it was location issues and we didn't want to confuse Kellsey. Her new family is keeping us in touch through mail, phone calls (with them, not with Kellsey since she's still not talking) and pictures. They promise to keep in touch throughout the years so we will know how she's doing, and they've generously offered to house us any time we would like to visit. Down the road, that might be something we will do... We'll see. 

Just wondering....
will you and/or your mom have contact with the family to keep up on her and is she staying in TN?

First question answered up above :). She is not in TN. 

I was curious how one goes about finding such a wonderful RAD experienced family like you did for Kellsey? Also, since they apparently know what to do to help Kellsey thrive so well, couldn't they have taught your family or your mom what to do that would have worked best for you too?
If you are an adoptive family dealing with RAD and need some help, feel free to email me. We have been very fortunate to have connected with a network of families walking all different paths in this adoption journey who are there to support and lift each other up in whatever ways necessary. 
As for Kellsey specifically, we needed to take into consideration the unique needs of ALL 5 children and as I said in my original post, I will not continue to defend our decision, so I guess you'll have to trust that Frank, my mom and I know what we were doing and what is best for Kellsey and the rest of our family.

I've been checking in to see if there was any news about Kellsey. I hope that her family will let us know what she is doing and how things are for her. I know you have done what was best for your family but I am attached to Kellsey too and this seems like a death. We are all mourning. 
I have really been debating how to respond to this question. Honestly, I find it a little bizarre. Kellsey is not dead. She's fine. In fact, she's better than she's ever been in her entire life because she's finally in an environment that can meet her very unique needs. So it seems like instead of mourning for her, you would be happy that she has the best advantage at life. We didn't put her back on a plane to Ukraine, she's not rotting in an institution there where she'll never see sunlight. She will have a good life full of love where she will be able to live to her full potential and be the very best Kellsey she can be. Unfortunately her new family does not blog and is very private, so I'm sorry that you're sad about not getting anymore updates on her. Since I really haven't done many updates on her here in the past year, it shouldn't make much of a difference. We DID do what was best for our family AND what was best for Kellsey. I'm so sorry you (and apparently many others) are sad about our decision and I thank you for your care and concern for Kellsey. She's very obviously loved by many. 

11 comments :

Tamar SB said...

Hear, hear to not teaching to the test! My 3rd grade students just took the ERBs (private school test) and a week out I reviewed how to carefully read directions and use what you know to answer and of course, how to fill in the bubble. I teach for them to learn and grow and be happy. Naturally, what we've covered was stuff on the test (-:

They took the test and are so happy its over - as am I!!

Jacki said...

Renee,
You continue to amaze me :)
You have to be one of the strongest people I know!
Love you!!!

Vivielle said...

There were so many comments on your "Letting Go" post that I thought i;d leave this here. You and Frank are clearly wonderful parents, and I know that you would do anything for your children. I am sorry that you are facing criticism and I am praying for your whole family. Those of us who have not had to face such a decision should not judge or question you, especially considering what great parents you clearly are. :)
I hope that your summer is wonderful!

Alice Fraggle said...

I just wanted to pop in here to say that I was also a little attached to Kellsey (not that I don't love the rest of the K's too!), so I'm sad that we won't get updates on her, but that doesn't matter because she's THRIVING! That's so exciting! I'm sad that I won't get to see her sweet face as she grows up, but she's not my kid in the first place (haha!), and secondly, she deserves to be happy, and to reach her full potential. Since she can now do that, I'm happy knowing that she'll be happy. :)

Designs by DD said...

How about an update on your mom? She's part of the special K family too. I know you have missed having her close to you!

Lynn said...

These words give such hope. Praying hard!
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
My email address

Kaylee114 said...

I'm so glad you were able to find Kellsey a good new home where she can be happy and safe. Since you clearly had a heart for adoption, would you and Frank ever consider adopting another child down the road, or has this experience turned you both off to another adoption?

my family said...

thanks renee for the site and info. i think we must have similar opinions about the state tests. my girls dont need to opt out of fear they may fail, for me it is more if just the point....what is this one test showing? its not showing if they know the info b/c the student may not be a good test take. furthermore. the stress they put onthe kids is horrible (not teachers) other higher ups have told students they would call their parents to punish them if they did bad, another class was told their teacher would be fired if they did bad. of course my kids who make good grades worry and they kids who dont care, well they still dont care, so mixed up

Debbie in PA said...

I read daily, but usually don't comment - just wanted to say what an eloquent answer to the last question. What a wonderful gift you have given to Kellsey and your entire family.

Debbie -PA

Monicas Mom Musings said...

Renee,
In response to the final question on here I just want to say I kind of understood what she was saying. I think it's more mourning the loss of getting to watch her grow which is part of what you mourn when you lose a child. Of course you DO get to get updates about her which is more than us loss moms do have. You're right, her life is not over, it's just beginning, but I do think you can have some similar loss feelings with the questioning how your life would have been different or what if you had done something else. Probably more par for the course of parenting in general though not necessarily when you lose someone either forever, or just to another family.

Monicas Mom Musings said...

Oh yeah and I hate state tests. Here in CT they decide what classes my kids get in based partly on how they score on these exams. It royally screwed up Natalie's 8th grade year and I had to fight with them to get her in the right classes because they were basing her class placement on 6th grade test scores because they didn't have the 7th grade test scores yet, which showed she belonged in advanced classes.