Saturday, April 24, 2010

Four Hours Down, Four To Go

This past week Holland had 2 sessions of testing with two different people. During our initial meeting, the testers asked if there were any motivations that he would need. I said, oh yes. He's motivated by money - it's his 'love language'! I told them about the weekly "yes, mom" contest we'd been doing and said I'd bring in the poker chips and they could give him whatever they felt he earned for the work.

The first test was on Monday and after arriving and sitting down for about 2 minutes, I could tell it wasn't going to go smoothly. He already complained of being too tired and not wanting to be there. I had Egypt with me and just assumed I'd be able to drop him off and run errands with her. Well, he wouldn't even leave the office to walk over to the testing area. He was freaked that I was going to leave him and started to cry. The tester looked at me and mouthed "it's not worth it to continue if he does this." I told her it wouldn't matter if we came back - he'd still feel the same way later. I finally was able to convince him to at least go look at the room where he'd be so he could be familiar with it and ready for when we DID come back to test. He wasn't cooperative, but managed to show some interest in all the cool toys she had in her office. After about 10 minutes, he finally warmed up to the idea and Egypt and I sat at a table for two hours, right outside her office. Big window and all so he could see that I never left. I was totally unprepared to entertain Egypt for two hours. Luckily, she had these cool magnetic shapes that she played with and I let her play a few games on my iPhone.

He finished the testing and earned 5 poker chips. On Friday we went back for two more hours of cognitive testing (Monday was for reading and writing). I had to drop Egypt and Romania at my mom's house because Romania didn't have school that day. Holland was less thrilled about me leaving the testing area, but due to confidentiality reasons, I couldn't sit in the outer office because there were other kids being tested. Holland reluctantly agreed and I sat in the main hallway for almost 2 hours. This testing was more fun for him - matching, sorting, manipulatives, games. It didn't really feel like testing to him, so he had a good time. He earned 6 poker chips today and the tester even showed him how to play poker during their break.

This week he has one more session with each tester. Then we will schedule a meeting to discuss the results. I did talk to the language tester and voiced my concerns over the possible change in disability status. She said that if the paperwork would have crossed their desk without prior approval, they would have red-flagged it. She said they take those labelings very seriously. And the woman that wanted to change his status didn't even have the authority to change it on her own (how was I to know that?). But that's good. At least I know that more than one person involved has to know what's going on before a huge decision like that is made. She did tell me, based on her first session, that he didn't strike her as MR. He has obvious reading and writing deficits and the bipolar adds a huge variable to that ability to learn something. It was hard for her to know if he would have performed better if she had pushed him more. But he gets frustrated so easily when he's forced to do something he's not good at. (aren't we all??!)

I also called a Parent Advocate place this week to find someone to go with me to the IEP meetings. I'm not sure how helpful they're going to be. They aren't allowed to interject their opinion. They are there to take notes and help you voice your opinions and ask for services. I asked the helpline if they would be able to steer me in the right direction for services and she said no. Added to the befuddled mess is the fact that I homeschool and not all of their advocates know much about laws pertaining to homeschooling and IEP's. Great.

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