I need some feedback on the problems a student is having

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by crunchytxmama, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    Oct 19, 2011

    I'm having a hard time putting my finger on what is going on with this third grader. He is new to our little private school, and I'm conferencing with mom on Friday.

    Issues he is having:
    I think he is an ELL...Mom speaks Spanish at home and I don't know how long they have lived in the U.S., but much younger sibling speaks much more clearly than he does.

    His speech is poor, and this is more than just his accent. His speaking seems labored and slow, but he is a bright boy with intelligent ideas. His speaking voice is odd....sort of like he always has a frog in his throat.

    His writing and handwriting is awful. He physically struggles to write, though he tries to write neatly. I cannot understand his writing at all. He still reverses B and D, even though his name is three letters long and the second letter is a D. Everything I have tried to help him with this has failed. He has the B for Bed on his desk, I've taught him the hand signal to also help remember this, and I correct it every time I see it, but nothing has helped.

    His reading is low, because he struggles to decode, but not nearly as bad as his writing.

    He falls on the playground every single day. He is very clumsy. He struggles to pay attention and forgets things like where he put his glasses, multiple times per day.

    He doesn't strike me as being LD...he's pretty bright, does well in math and his oral reading comprehension is good. I'm thinking maybe dyslexia?

    I'm struggling with how best to help this student. We don't have special ed resources at our small parochial school.

    I could really use some feedback!
     
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  3. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    Oct 20, 2011

    anyone?
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 20, 2011

    I think you are doing the right thing by conferencing with mom. Let her know how you really want to help and show how you care like you did in your post. Hopefully that will help her open up and give you more information.

    I think you are also being wise by finding out as much as you can about this child especially academically. I would continue o play detective. Even though you are at a private school, federal law allows you to go to the public school district where the child lives for a child study to see if he might need testing. Some public schools are very uncooperative about this, but they realize it is the law under No Child Left Behind. My principal has built up a good relationship with the nearby school district so this has really helped. You might have it a bit more difficult if your principal hasn't done this before. Testing though seems to be the smaller issue here.

    There isn't any magical answer that I know for his child, but continue to find out as much as you can. I would especially praise and build on his strengths such as math. As far as his weaknesses, I am concerned about his lack of exposure possibly to English. You might encourage the mom to have the child listen to stories on CDs. He needs to hear as much English as possible. You could check out some from the library to loan her if your library doesn't have any.

    A tough situation...I think you are handling it well.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 21, 2011

    You're doing all of the right things--making observations and gathering information. When you meet with mom, I would find out about his school and medical history. How did he do in school last year? If he has had struggles in the past, what did the school do that worked well? Has he had a complete check-up (including vision and hearing) recently? What is he like at home? What is his facility with Spanish? Encourage as much exposure to English as possible, including books on CD or on-line.

    I quoted the one part of your post to point out that having a Learning Disability does not preclude someone from being bright. A Learning Disability is diagnosed when there is a large discrepancy between scores in different areas. (For example, one of the students I am testing right now has scores in the 95th %ile in his math skills, and below the 5th %ile in language skills.)
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 21, 2011

    Find out if his speaking in Spanish is also a little strange and if he can read in Spanish. It may be just an English issue, but it may go across languages.

    Dyslexia is a type of learning disability.
     
  7. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 21, 2011

    I definitely think the ideas to pursue outside help are worthwhile if you find the difficulties so overwhelming that you can't make progress in class.

    The one issue that you mentioned that seems particularly concerning is the falling down constantly in class. It could be some sort of visual acuity/processing issue, considering he is both experiencing fine and gross motor difficulties across environments. That would be something extremely difficult if not impossible to address as a classroom teacher. That would be something I would strong encourage the family following up with a medical evaluation, if they'd be open to doing it - even beyond a special education evaluation.

    In terms of what to do in the meantime, I would develop an academic support plan that focuses on the specific skill deficits you are noticing. So, within writing for example, break down his writing difficulties into different subcomponents first of all - writing fluency, handwriting, spelling, grammar, etc. Then, identify approximate skill levels in each area (e.g., can successfully write the letters s, t, d, but not u, w, etc.). Then, identify goals in each area (e.g., now can write 6/26 letters successfully without guidance, with a goal of 15/26 in 6 weeks).

    Of course, then it's intervention time! Once you have specific skill areas identified, you may have some good ideas of what to do at that point, and you could also post here specific areas you'd like ideas for, and people probably would have some good thoughts.
     
  8. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    Oct 22, 2011

    Thank you all for your help! Unfortunately, this little boy's family situation has just gotten really rocky. His mom pulled me aside on Thursday morning and told me that Dad left the family on Wed. night. They are separating and he went back to Mexico. My student is very sensitive and is heartbroken.

    Anyway, I decided now would certainly not be the best time to really jump in headfirst with a "we need to figure this out NOW" attitude. I decided to spend some time with her gathering info about his previous school experience and her impressions of him academically. It was very productive! For one thing, I found out that his education was only in Spanish until last year. We discussed that he is having problems with writing, and she agreed that she could see him struggling with it. I told her that I would work with him and we'll watch for a few weeks and see what happens.

    Ed, I found your idea of developing an academic support plan very helpful. I'm a second year teacher at a private school and we don't have a specific method for intervention. I made a list this morning of some of his skill deficits and will start working with him on some specific goals. Thankfully, this child loves to learn and has a great attitude about school, so I have high hopes for him!
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 22, 2011

    Sounds like you're taking the right next steps. If you need help with anything, you know where to find us :)
     

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