Stunned

We went to GB’s CSE today. I showed up with my printed agendas, not knowing what I wanted. The people around the table read my agenda and unanimously agreed with everything on it. It seems that the state changed the requirements and what GB’s class is doing is driven by state requirements and totally unrelated to what they did the two good years she had in the class. The bottom line is GB’s IQ of 71. They want to move her out of the academic track into a life skills class- for kids who will not be able to earn a diploma. We agreed on a 30 day trial to start January 2, 2013. GB will transition over the next three weeks. She will change to a third school. change teachers and aides and all service providers.

I am sad, close to tears and over the top angry. GB has to make yet another transition, my baby is being labeled mentally handicapped, and it is all because her birthmother couldn’t be bothered to deal with life without alcohol.

8 thoughts on “Stunned

  1. I understand your heartache – if only we could change the circumstances surrounding the birth of our special children. Then GB would not have to face the struggles she is now trying to life with. And my foster children would not be battling bipolar disorder; and another would not have brain damage in addition to her spina bifida.
    But all we can do is cope with the NOW – and GB is so blessed to have you to advocate for her. Giving her a label does not change who she is – nor your love for her – but enables her to receive the help she so desperately needs.
    Another change in school, class and teachers is regrettable – should have been avoidable – but hopefully will reduce the anxiety that GB has been experiencing. Once she has less pressure, positive experiences, and is able to learn at her own pace, I hope that her anxiety will dissipate, that she will enjoy her learning experiences, and that her self-worth will increase.
    God bless you – GB is loved, and knows it, and she has you to thank for that.

  2. I feel for you.

    I know that you work in the education field, so what follows may not be absolutely new for you.
    However, I know that anxiety can make results appear worse than they actually are. Unstable BP can also make results appear worse than they actually are.
    For me, the most important is not her IQ, her tests results, whatever you want. It sounds a paradox, but tests will never be an absolute tell tale about GB’s abilities to learn.
    It gives clues, it says that she has learning issues. True.
    But after that, it does not mean that GB won’t be able to do this, do that…. Maybe yes, maybe no.
    Maybe she will be able to earn a diploma, maybe not. We don’t know what the future holds.

    If moving GB to a life skills class can help with her anxiety, then, she will learn much better. Helping with her anxiety can only help her BP and her ASD symptoms.
    Her tests results can improve, even if she will still have her learning issues.
    And GB can also do things that no one would had expect from her with her “low IQ” and her FASD.

    So, if I were you, I wouldn’t give too much credit on the definitive prognosis because a prognosis is only a prognosis, and I would concentrate more on how to help GB.
    A prognosis is an hypothesis, a possibility, an opinion about how well the person may fare. The person can do better, or worse. Even the best professional can be wrong in his prognosis.
    99% of the time, a professional in the education field don’t have psychic abilities, even when they feel like they must waste their breath by doing the most grim prognosis they can do at the moment. They need to make grim prognosis to take the power on people and pressure them to comply. The classic scare tactic.
    Don’t waste your energy on dwelling about a prognosis, because a prognosis is never to take for granted. No matter how “good” the professional is.
    So, don’t give in their scare tactics, you’ll exhaust yourself for something who does not matter.

    Concentrate all your energy on how to help GB, it’s all what matters right now. Let the rest go and let God.

      • I did not read this post as if you were in disagreement with the plan…maybe you were in some ways hoping that they would disagree with your perspective and give you a pep talk…sometimes it is tough to be right. I think in the long run GB will be able to learn more and be better prepared for to live HER life in an environment that is less stressful for her. As hard as it may be for us to except our kids need to be met where they are not where we wish they were. She is a sweet kid, she deserves to be happy as well as educated…I don’t think you are asking too much!

  3. You can ask that GB’s IEP services be changed to address her needs in the “least restrictive” way possible, which could be her remaining in her current classroom with more heterogeneous teaching. One educator says it much better than I can: “In schools that are practicing appropriate and responsible inclusion, many children are working on individual goals at their own level in heterogeneous classes. Large group (or whole class) instruction is at a minimum, since that approach misses so many kids (including the gifted and talented learners). Small, closely supervised, cooperative activity-based learning groups are common, and individual needs are met via individual (sometimes computer-assisted) tutorials (sometimes requiring additional staff but often involving cross-age groupings with students from other grades with the same needs.) The focus is on accountability for both teachers and kids, as well as mastery of content and skills at a level that is commensurate with childrens’ need and potential.” [Read more on FamilyEducation: http://school.familyeducation.com/special-education/parents-and-school/42653.html#ixzz2EHkPR1u3%5D I’ve been moving in the opposite direction with my daughter, who also scored a 70 on an IQ test in the past: pushing the school to remove her from the small, self-enclosed classroom and integrate her more thoroughly into the general education stream. It’s been a struggle, but I believe well worth it, because she rises to the level of expectation around her, which is generally much higher than in the life skills classroom. Parents never have to agree to a particular placement that the school suggests, nor do they have to accept the validity of the testing that the school provides. You can always request independent testing and recommendations, and you can always advocate, with a lawyer, for what you believe is most appropriate for your child long-term. An IQ of 70 is borderline and does not have to mean the end of formal education. It’s *your* choice for your daughter now. Good luck!

    • I kow it sounds horrific to you right now, but for us, the Life Skills Class was the best thing that ever happened to us. He learned at his own pace which is of course slower in some areas, but faster in others. It met his needs more than any other placement we ever had. It was much more tolerant of his moods, his anxiety and his needs and even his wants. They were much more in tune to his needs and his desires. Most importantly HE was happier. He was not stressed and he was thrilled to go to school each day. I think it will be a very positive experience for GB.

  4. 71 isn’t “MR” diagnosis for insurance purposes, it is surprising it is for educational purposes. For example in VA, if you wanted to get an “MR waiver” for assistance, the IQ must be under 70…so 71 would not qualify, it would be considered “borderline low/MR IQ”…

    IEPs are rarely a good experience, I hope the 30 day trail period goes well!

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