Daily Archives: March 15, 2011

My Muffin Plan

The muffins are in the oven and that’s not a euphemism, it’s a bribe. Well, not a bribe… just a thoughtful gift for the school Problem Solving Team.  We’re meeting tomorrow about Zoolander and I’m hoping banana-chocolate chip muffins will pave the way for detente between the two sides.

I know it’s supposed to be a lovey-dovey cooperative effort between parents and the school, but almost every meeting I’ve been to like this has been filled with unspoken tensions.

I can’t help but steel myself before these meetings.  I’m on their turf and there are hidden agendas, invisible rules and they all speak a foreign language.  Should I try to be knowledgeable and tough or passive and undemanding?  I know what happens when you’re nice. If you don’t go into those meetings with a clear idea of what your child needs, you ain’t gettin’ nuthin’.  If you don’t ask.  They don’t tell.

It doesn’t help that Zoolander doesn’t qualify for an IEP, a 504 or even the 2nd tier of an RtI. Why?  Because she isn’t sucking enough at school.  And why is she not sucking enough at school?  Because she’s using her cognitive gifts to compensate for her weaknesses.  

That’s the difficulty with Twice Exceptional kids.  It’s hard to get them help because many times, from the outside, they don’t appear to need it and they have to be doing really poorly to get action.  It especially helps if they do really poorly on state assessment tests.  

I still believe that’s the only reason I got real help for Lily, because her scores on the state assessment decreased from 4th to 5th grade.  Well, that and I wrote a few firm emails to heads of departments.  Oh, that AND I paid thousands of dollars to have outside experts assess Lily and provide the school with suggested accommodations and interventions.

Oops, wandered into Bitterville there.  Anywhoooo…..

I’m anxious about tomorrow’s meeting.  I’ll have to post more background on the specifics of Zoolander’s 2E learning issues at another time.  That’s at least a 3-parter, maybe 4.  Don’t wanna miss that!

Zoolandia-The Sensory Eval Pt 2

I passed Zoolander’s Sensory Eval on to her school and to our private Occupational Therapist. Zoolander began seeing our OT once a week and our OT began working directly with the school district’s OT to implement some of the suggestions from the report.

Zoolander loves her time with our OT.  They usually start the session with some kind of swinging activity, followed by work on cursive handwriting.  Our OT noticed that Zoolander had a difficult time, even with cursive, because her letter formation is far from automatic. Sometimes cursive is supposed to be better for visual-spatial kids because it’s more fluid and artistic.  

The beauty of visiting this OT is that she’s wonderful and really gets my twice exceptional kids, plus she’s close to our house, but… insurance won’t pay for her services.  Insurance insists that we can drive 20 miles to the nearest OT who specializes in grannies with arthritis and who have no training in working with kids who have difficulty with Sensory Processing.  So, there you go.

Luckily, our OT understands the expense and gives us lots of ideas to try at home, plus she tapers off her sessions once she feels the child is improving.  The books, The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder and The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun have lots of great info and activities.

It’s also very helpful that our OT works quite often with the school district’s OT.  That takes me out of the middle of things.  They talk. The school’s OT observes and then makes adjustments and provides any sensory tools that they might need in the classroom.

Zoolander now has a special balancing chair, which she says helps her concentrate because she can move around more. She is also allowed to use a laptop for written work, which she says makes writing much easier.

I know the team at school takes care with Zoolander’s placement in the classroom, making sure distractions are minimized.  They are also conscious of the fact that if Zoolander is fidgety, she may need a Sensory Break, which could just be running an errand to the office or erasing the white board.

Zoolander has shown improvement since these sensory accommodations were made, but I still felt that there was something else that was getting in the way of her learning.  So, I put her on the waiting list for a Learning Evaluation.

Zoolandia-The Sensory Eval

Let’s take a little trip to Zoolandia and get an update on 2E Daughter #2. We’ve learned a lot about Zoolander’s learning issues since I last posted about her.  Last fall, as she started 3rd grade, she had a Sensory Evaluation done at Children’s Hospital.  Here’s the summary:

Zoolander has somatosensory challenges which presents as hyporesponsive exteroception.  (So, that’s why she is never cold and doesn’t flinch at pain.  We just thought she was brave.)

Zoolander also has challenges with proprioception, which is unconscious awareness of body position and movement: speed, force and direction of movement.  (That’s why she likes to wear clothes that are too tight and small for her because it helps her body know it’s place in space.)  

This is has caused delay in development of bilateral coordination, such as riding a bike, playing the piano and tying her shoes.  (Yes, she learned to tie her shoes and ride a bike very late.  And this is definitely a big part of her struggle with piano.)  

This is currently impacting her functional performance and production of work—handwriting, piano and organization of her body to attend to the task at hand. Organization of these areas may help her filter extraneous sounds within her environment to attend to the task at hand. (This is why she sometimes has trouble paying attention at school and can be easily distracted, especially by sounds.)

AH HA!  Many mysteries explained.   What next?

%d bloggers like this: