Thursday, July 21, 2016

Esme's testing and meeting

The meeting was fairly quiet - there were probably a lot of things I could have or should have said... but I didn't. because it gets intimidating faced with a group of people who will be in control of how good or bad the year can be.  I did say that Esme would be a challenge.. but I should have said she is a really good kid.  But did I have to say that?  She is!  She is an intense, loving, funny kid who really has a firm sense of herself but also has no idea yet why she can't be herself with other adults the way she is with us ... We understand she will have disagreements, need to talk about things, need to be put in her place for the time being about things (like bedtime at home) etc... but it doesn't affect our feeling that she is a good kid... just sometimes an exasperating one.  But that is human.  And when you start telling someone to control their natural emotions (I don't mean running and screaming, I mean common conversational emotions we all have) and act like a quiet robot all day long... then we cause deeper problems for the future.

I know.  Sometimes I still have to tell myself to loosen up, say what I mean instead of nothing and sometimes stand up for myself by saying No, or saying I really do want something that others aren't interested in at that time.  And I'm happier when I acknowledge these things.  Things build up otherwise.

On to Esme's testing.
She scored at or above grade level in everything except timed reading passages, timed math calculation, spelling and written expression.  At the same time an untimed test that measures 'quality of written content' scored her extremely high - but did not take off points for wrong spelling, punctuation or grammar as the other test she scored low did.  This is 'textbook' I was told (not by them, but by the speech and language group I belong to) for a child who started out with an expressive language delay.  Those are the areas related to word retrieval, order and 'expressive production'... which takes her a bit longer than other children her age.  It will likely be a 'weak point' to be worked on all the way up through college.  It is similar to a type of dyslexia, but not in relating what word is being read -- what word/symbol/math fact is being extracted from the many that relate to what is being seen/heard.

Her actual reading, actual math problem solving and application of knowledge scored far above age.    When she is not under pressure and has something laid out in front of her that is not spelling or writing, she knows her stuff and shows it.   They stated her actual knowledge and ability to apply it is superior to her age level - while pointing out the weaknesses in language related areas.

Overall the test placed her at a mean grade equivalent of fourth grade, and a year ahead.  But, the spelling and writing definitely do show she needs to start in third grade.  Those will affect her progress in tasks that will be important in other grades.  She wants to go into third grade - she has high hopes of meeting the same children she was with in first grade and becoming fast friends again....*Mama jitters*

They mentioned some about a small town, people talking about choices etc... She is eight.  We pulled her out of that bad environment with what I have been told was a very badly matched teacher... we pulled her before the bullying and erratic discipline behavior turned into something that would cause long lasting effects.  The most important fact to me as a Mom was her language skills were still poor when it came to time and describing situations with other people.  The teacher was resistant to explain her reasoning for the constant detentions and when she did - they made very little sense or - worse - were noticeably insensitive to Esme's language difficulty.  So - it cut down the stress and anxiety for all parties for me to teach her from home.  It took Esme several months to calm down and get less anxious about 'school' related things after that.  I still feel we made the right choice at the time but wished our resources had been greater in this area to have a better alternative for social groups and teams to participate with during the homeschooling years.

Her spoken language has improved greatly.  We have no trouble talking about what happened today vs. yesterday anymore - if something DID happen or DIDN'T happen.  She does still sometimes twist instructions all around and miss the entire point of something.. but *sigh* well.....  Her vocabulary is greatly expanded - the test showed that.  I told her she could return when I thought she was ready.  She's ready to try.  It won't be a piece of cake - but we're ready to take on the challenge again.

She is excited - a bit worried.  I'm trying not to be worried to death... but that is my personality especially when it comes to her.  They said the class placement info will be up next week.  I need to call the bus garage and get us on the route, and then shop for her materials in the weeks remaining.

They said they'd give her their all to make a good adjustment back.
I'm trying to do that too, and not be too critical until I see if anything has changed for the better.

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