Ooh, I think you might be sorry you asked that.
I just got back from a meeting at the school with our school psychologist: ie the man who has the job of deciding who needs extra help and accommodations with their learning.
My kid learns funny. She has these weird gaps in her knowledge and ability. When sharing these gaps with friends a couple of years ago, they suggested I have her assessed for a processing disorder with a tutor they knew, admired, and had worked with.
The tutor said, "Ah ha! Processing disorder! We can tutor for that." We tutored. My kid learned. All was well.
The tutor also said, "Her scores qualify her for a '504' should you think she needs one. A '504' will ensure she is allowed things like scratch paper to solve her problems on (for tests that don't have a lot of room for showing your work) and other accommodations like extra time to take state tests."
|Bin full of frustration.|
I was told my tutor's opinion wasn't valid, and that my kid was probably just lazy.
Frankly, the law requires that he have a 504 meeting with me within 25 school days of my request no matter what his opinion is. He made it very clear that we could have the meeting but that he would not recommend a 504 or even further assessments at the meeting therefore it would all end there.
And this, my friends, is why everyone hates American Public Schools so much.
Now here's the rest of the story about my kid and why it might kind of apply to this blog: She's also gifted. She can read and write well above grade level in two languages. (She's in an immersion school language program so it's not THAT impressive.) For kicks and giggles she writes and illustrates her own little books and she writes and performs her own songs and plays. The psychologist said because she was so gifted in her language abilities, she could not have a processing disorder.
If you made it to this blog searching for "Bad at Math" would you post a comment telling us if you are a writer or if you student is a great reader/writer? And if you are a regular here because you are a writer (professional or armchair!) will you post a comment mentioning if you are also bad at math?
As I kid I did "fine." I was "average" at math until I made it to high school. And even there, I understood what was being asked of me. But I was unable to perform it once I was facing a paper full of problems that needed to be solved. Once I got to college and we did all of our work on graph paper and with calculators, my failing grades immediately turned to straight A's. I want my child to bypass the "failing grades" part of the math experience and go straight to the "I both get it, and can prove it" experience.
Dyscalculia links and references:
What is Dyscalculia? http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyscalculia/what-is-dyscalculia
Romance Writer Nell Dixon on Dyscalculia: http://nelldixonrw.blogspot.com/2011/02/dyscalculia-day-march-3rd.html
Bad at Math? http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/making-change/2011/oct/19/bad-math-you-may-have-dyscalculia/
By the way, the specific thing I have requested from our school district is a reassessment to see how my daughter has responded to the work we are doing and to see if she still qualifies for the 504. I'm not jumping the gun, or overreacting, as the psychologist suggested. I'm attempting to use the channels set up in our school district for these situations to make sure my child's educational needs are being met.