Well, that was a bumpy few weeks. Got back from the bliss of (an albeit unproductive but much needed) Writers Weekend to dive straight into the teeth of school meetings and a fun little head cold. But I’m starting to dig out from under everything, so now I can tell you about it.
First off, the school meetings. Xander has to go through a battery of tests every three years to gauge his development and learning strengths and weaknesses. This also confirms his ADHD challenges and compensations. His developmental pediatrician wanted a new version of this, even though he’s really not due until the fall. I can request the eval at any time, so I did. And since I was at it, I decided with all the problems she’s been having this year, Hero needed to be tested as well, so I put in that request. Unfortunately, that was right around winter break, and then when they got back, it was midterms, so they didn’t start doing the testing until the middle of February. Then we had to find a time we could all meet (and I do mean ALL) to go over the results, so it was another two weeks for that to happen. So we scheduled to meet on the 17th. In the meantime, I got an email from Xander’s case manager from last year, asking when I wanted to schedule Hero’s IEP meeting. My first response was, “Hero’s got an IEP?” and my second was, “She’s got Mrs. Stonis for her case manager! YES!” Jen knows us, knows how I work, and in addition to having supported Xander last year, she’s been the support teacher in Hero’s science class all this year, so she knows how Hero works, too. But the fact that she’d qualified for an IEP before we’d even met to talk about the test results told me that yeah, they’d found something.
I’d booked out a couple of hours from work that day over my lunch hour to go to these meetings. Boy, did I woefully underestimate how long THAT would take. It ended up being closer to 4 hours. That’s because we also did Xander’s IEP update meeting, and I don’t know why but those always take an eternity. But it was all really interesting. Yes, Hero’s tests confirm that not only is she ADHD, she’s REALLY ADHD. Just inattentive fortunately, but still a major academic problem. She was there while we went over the results, which I think was good for her to hear that her problems aren’t because she’s stupid or because her teachers don’t like her. She got a lot of positive reinforcement, and seeing her high IQ score helped her get the fact that she’s not stupid. Because she’s not. She just doesn’t have the discipline she needs to get her work done regularly.
Xander’s results didn’t bring any surprises, although for the first time they were able to get him through the whole IQ test and get a result that we all think is more in line with his abilities. He had tested at 86 the last two times he’d taken it, and we all agreed that was just because he couldn’t sit still for the test. This time a lot of it was on an iPad, and he really liked that, so got more done. He’s high average, which yeah, is what I’d thought all along. We went over his IEP with a fine tooth comb, since next year he’ll be at the high school with a bunch of new support people who don’t know or understand him. It’s one of the things I really like about his current team, they are really looking out for him and making sure he has what he needs. Next year will be an interesting time as I break in the new team…
Then last week we had Hero’s IEP meeting. Which was the two of us sitting down with Jen and a blank IEP and saying, “Okay, what do you need?” Lots of organization/executive function support, mostly. We talked about the peer tutoring and the afterschool homework club she’s been going to, but Jen thought once we got the IEP in place, she wouldn’t need those as much. We compromised, so she’s going to go to the homework club once a week, which will let her start going back to her only remaining extracurricular activity as well. I have to take her out this weekend to buy a bunch of binders for her new organization system. And now I have someone at school who will double check that the work I’m making her do at home is actually getting turned in. Which is half the battle.
Now I’m just waiting to hear back from CHOP about getting her in to the ADHD center for evaluation and to start making the decision on whether or not she needs medication. It’s such a hard decision, but I know it’s made a major difference for Xander, and I don’t want to deny her the help she needs if it really will help her and isn’t just a crutch. We’ll see how the changes and the IEP go before we make any final decision. Of course, it can take as long as a year to get in to be seen, and I still haven’t heard back from them despite having put in the appointment request at the same time I put in the testing request with the school.