By Delia, contributing writer
(Delia’s story starts before Christmas break last year. She will be sharing more about her story and outcome in the next several weeks. Enjoy)
I graduated from college more than fifteen years ago. During my years spent receiving my degree in special education, the paper that I learned the most from was one that I wrote for my class on learning disabilities. It turned into the largest paper I had ever written- 35 pages with fifteen pages of appendices.
It was entitled: Cerulean Sky- The Twice Exceptional. It documented the under-represented populations of students who are gifted with learning disabilities. It made me realize that every student’s intelligence is not a black or white issue but there are many shades of gray. A student can be exceptionally talented in art but struggle in academic pursuits or may be gifted in math but struggle to read.
Needless to say, I never imagined that 16 years later I would be struggling with my daughter’s school to get her the help that she needs. My daughter, Sweet Pea, is extremely intelligent. I had her tested for gifted the summer after first grade because she seemed to innately understand multiplication and division. However, as time went on, I noticed that she had difficulty focusing at home to complete homework and chores. As the years progressed, her problems with focus migrated into school as well. I started receiving notes from her teachers complaining about her distractibility.
Her teacher last year seemed to complain about her behavior more toward the end of the year. I figured it was time to seek some help. I had the school complete the ADD evaluation forms and I completed the parent form. I scheduled an appointment with my pediatrician and went in thinking things would be resolved. Unfortunately, I got into that appointment and was blindsided by the pediatrician that according to the teacher’s form there was no problem. Feeling utterly confused, my husband and I left that meeting and resolved to wait and see what happened in third grade.
Well, this year has been the worst. Within the first three or four weeks, I received more than ten notes. Sweet Pea was getting more and more frustrated with school. My husband and I decided it was time to contact the local psychologist that our pediatrician had recommended and start the process again. Many more forms were sent this time. We, including Sweet Pea, filled out the forms and returned them quickly to the doctor. As we waited to hear from him that the report was finished, things got even worse.
Sweet Pea started coming home upset about school. She whined about getting in trouble for talking and being off-task. She expressed to me that she was bored most of the day. Things escalated last week to the point where she felt physically ill Thursday morning. Luckily, my husband was on second shift that week and was able to calm her down before she had to go to school. Thank God that this is the last week before Christmas break. The activities they are doing in class are distracting her and keeping her interested.
I had contacted the gifted teacher at the beginning of the week about having a meeting before the break, but was told that wasn’t possible. I dropped off a copy of the evaluation report within an hour of receiving it Wednesday. I spoke with her teacher on Friday about more challenging work and received the answer that she needs to complete her third grade work first so that she can give her a grade. Needless to say that left me more upset.
It is now the last half day of school before the break and I have yet to hear about a time and date for our meeting. I am not feeling very hopeful about resolving this issue without a very angry Momma Bear coming out at the meeting. I hope that the administration is ready for a fight. They are not dealing with an uneducated momma here. I have a degree in special education and am doing my research. They better be prepared to change their archaic view of what gifted education is supposed to look like. I will not be satisfied until they do.