We're back from Eligibility. Special education is a funny thing. You have to provide huge amounts of evidence, and missing a single piece can mean the whole process is derailed, especially if the problem is not academics, but Everything Else.
IDEA is now supposed to cover "functional skills"- a child's ability to participate in a classroom environment with his peers. It is not supposed to be just grade-based. There are many facets to education; you can get all the answers right, and not be able to button your coat or handle the group dynamics, and you should be able to get help to be successful and learn the skills you need to do these things. However, it is far easier to prove an academic problem before hand. It tends to show up on their lovely little standardized tests with nice, neat little numbers to measure.
Having a highly intelligent child complicate things. A child who compensates in a 1:1 setting during testing to come into the "normal" range may actually be able to display real giftedness if given the appropriate accommodations. But how do you prove it? How do you prove a child will have trouble in a classroom until they are actually in one? Do you have to allow a child to fail before providing them with the help they need to succeed?
According to the school, you do.
We had evidence of problems ahead. We had a strongly worded diagnosis and letter from our psychiatrist. We had recommendations and information about Andy in group situations and the problems he had from an occupational therapist who has worked with him for three years. We filled out forms about the behaviors we were seeing at home. It came down to Andy's teacher from last year. You remember, the one who was teaching her first class ever? And her opinion of Andy's behavior based her experience of... one class. In a group of 18 children.
Since her scores all came out "normal", we have no evidence that ADHD is impacting Andy in the classroom. Well, except for the OT's notes. And the psychiatrist's experience.
So we have to let him loose on a teacher and a class with no accommodations for the start of school.
It's not all bad news. His teacher, Mrs. B, was in the meeting, as was Mrs. Huff, so she's well-warned. She also got a look at him (she let us go see her classroom), so she has some idea what we're in for. She does email. We already have the next meeting scheduled, because the guidance counselor looked around the table and made it clear that her prognosis was we would be returning to the table within weeks. The roadblock was exactly where we knew it would be.
I still have a massive headache from the lack of logic and sense here. What is the point of having committees and real people talking about a child, with a child clearly in need of support, if they can't give that child service due to a first-time teacher in a completely different setting can't fill out a form accurately?