Unlocking the learning

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 1:21 PM | comments: 0

We had a meeting today with school district people with the results of Simon's various diagnostic evaluations, almost a year late. This is the stuff that his IEP (individual education plan) would be based on if he were in the public school. The results are encouraging, actually, because they layout exactly what's challenging him, and maybe offer a way forward.

The standout metrics were around intelligence, which suggest that he probably has above-average overall intelligence, but his ability to construct a narrative about what's in his head and write it down is impaired. Furthermore, the impairment may in part be rooted in anxiety, which is getting in the way of improving those skills. This is not that surprising given the way a piece of paper with blank lines causes him to freak out a bit. The new information is the confirmation of what I hoped for, but didn't know, that there's a smart kid in there.

So on one hand, it's reassuring that he doesn't suffer from some kind of intrinsic deficit in his intelligence, but on the other, learning is impeded by the inability to translate what's in his head to coherent storytelling. Those skills can presumably be developed, but the anxiety might be getting in the way. This is still me and my bias trying to be optimistic, yes, but it also seems like we have a target: work the anxiety.

Meanwhile, our anxiety is high because we're not impressed with the private school and how they actually measure progress. It's like their intent is to keep kids happy until they're 18 and send them into the world. They can't objectively measure progress because they don't establish any real baseline. So we're like, what level is he actually working at? I mean, we could help him out if we knew, but we don't. We're not sure what he's going to do next year. His social development has been extraordinary, but academically we literally have no idea. If he goes back to public, they would do a new IEP immediately, and based on the assessments just completed, he would likely get extra services targeting the areas that he's behind, but otherwise be in mainstream classes with certain accommodations.

We're getting some other opinions...


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