I finally did it. After years of struggle, and months of putting it off, I sent A’s teachers/counselors/principal a detailed email describing what we’ve been going through and begging for help. I finally came to the conclusion that I can do all the reading and researching and implementing here I want, but without the help of the people with him for the better part of the day, I’m just Sisyphus. This was the first time I sent an email to everyone. Before now, it was just a “please help” email to a single teacher, maybe two. This time was “PLEASE HELP AND HERE’S WHY” to anyone who could help him. Vague promises of accommodations are no longer enough. Not for this kid. I want it in writing, I want it in an IEP, I want it to follow him to any school he may attend.
Tom and I have ideas of what he needs to succeed, but as this is our first trip to this particular amusement park, we know there are things we’ll miss without guidance. Here’s where you all come in. If you could have any accommodations for your child at school, what would they be? Aim high, money no object, flip off the state testing. What would your perfect accommodations be? What is the perfect world for a gifted kid in elementary school?
Tweet this, stumble it, shout it to the heavens. Let’s get a discussion going. Our kids can all benefit.
Great topic, Jen! I haven’t got any suggestions yet, but make sure to forward it to the district’s Student Services office. They’re the ones that issue IEPs and are ultimately legally responsible for making sure they’re enforced, so they can put heat on the school from their end. They’re major PITAs,but if you send it to them, you’ve at least got a paper trail if you need to go over their heads to the state level (Yeah, my kid’s only 3 and I’ve already taken my problems with the district failing to provide his services to the state grievance committee. It’s gonna be a long K-12!)
One of the accomadations Stud had was a personal one-on-one aide. He had major issues with oppositional defiance, as well as serious problems with organizations. She did SO many thing for him, ranging from helping him record his assignments in his assignment notebook to acting as a buffer between him and his teacher during a meltdown.
I’d want our school to focus on excellence. I want expectations to be extremely high. I’d also want the curricula to be free from politically correct crap and heavily pro-America.
I’m looking forward to see what kind of response you get!
I think the point of an IEP is the fact that it’s individualized, and what may work for one child might not for another child.
That said, what has been helpful for E-Niner is the fact that he has a one-on-one aide. What has also helped him in terms of the gifted aspect is that he’s a grade level higher than where he should be. He should be in kindergarten, but is in a remedial first grade class instead. He is more academically challenged in that environment, which he needs. In areas where he’s behind, the aide is able to help him. There are areas where he’s ahead even in his class, and there again, the aide helps, too. And often times, “his” aide can help other children so that the teacher can spend one-on-one time with E-Niner. It’s a really nice mix.
This has worked out for E-Niner so far, but I don’t know if it’s the magic formula that will work for him forever. He also attends a therapeutic school, so they are focused additionally on his emotional development and social development. I don’t know if his kind of accommodations would translate into a more mainstream environment.
This really doesn’t answer your question on what I think the best environment would be for gifted kids — and I guess the answer is that it varies by the kid. This is what’s working for E-Niner right now. He’s having lots of success at school, which translates to a lot of success at home, too.
We are facing this same issue right now. We have our 1st meeting with the child study team at school on Tuesday. I am still trying to determine what would be ‘pie in the sky’ best for our son, but hearing everyone’s suggestions is awesome. We don’t think he will qualify for an IEP but are hoping for some written accommodations under 504. His issue is visual processing so things like more time to finish tests and assistive technology(scratch paper, being able to type homeowrk rather than write it, etc) would be helpful.
Its a very individualized kind of thing. We need the option for more time on tests (taking them outside of class sometimes), an extra set of textbooks, when possible large reading assignments are done via book on cd, and some assignments and projects are amended.
i think the thing that has made the most significant difference for my daughter is being able to be with kids who are like here. in kindergarten, she didn’t have any good friends because they all thought she was weird. now she is in a gifted option program and she has a wide variety of friends. she is even one of the more popular girls in her class. i feel so thankful that she has gotten to know people who share her sense of humor, her personality quirks, etc.
in your situation, i would want to find a way to get your gifted child together with other gifted children, at least once a week or something. i think it can make a world of difference for self-esteem, etc.
I think schools need to recognize that gifted children are gifted 24 hours a day. They need to be clustered, taught at a higher level with like-leveled classmates regardless of chronological age, at a faster pace with minimum repetition. Once they take standardized tests, they shouldn’t have to practice them over and over which is tortuous for them and can make them hate school. School districts shouldn’t be using them – it can be hurtful.
I was beyond frustrated when my child’s school insisted on maintaining the status quo – I finally gave up and started a private school for gifted. No parent of a 100 IQ child would agree to have them in a class where the majority have 70 IQ with curriculum geared to the lowest level, but that is what we are told should be fine for gifted children!