Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Post I've Been Trying To Avoid

I've been trying to write this post for close to a week now, but every time I give it a go, I get too emotional and stop. Today is our meeting with the school principal and Ryan's teacher. Ryan has been having a hard time in school and we're not sure if it's a result of the hearing loss and speech delay, if there's a learning disability or what the case may be. His report card came home last Friday and we were surprised to see that he was failing Reading.

Back at the beginning of the school year we noticed that they went straight from kindergarten's "memorize these sight words" to 1st grade's "sound out these words and spell them". Ryan already has had to deal with 5 years of catching up on and relearning many letter sounds due to his hearing loss, but this was kind of a surprise to us. The first week of school they were already having spelling tests and to the best of our knowledge, phonics was never taught much last year.

We were pretty upset when he brought home spelling tests with only one or two words correct, but we worked with him nightly on them and he now only gets 1 or 2 wrong and has even once brought home a paper with all of them correct. He works hard at them and we're in return very proud of him.

Today's meeting is to go over any questions we have regarding a full case study evaluation they are going to do with him to see what is going on. Supposedly we will learn in what way his brain processes information that he learns, which will in turn tell us how to teach him things more effectively. That's pretty much all I understand, hence the importance of today's meeting - to find out more.

Bret and I also have a list of concerns written up to go over with them. Number one being that we are already half way through the school year and we are just now dealing with this? Also, why in the world did it take over a month to get the FM System in place that is suppose to be making it easier for him to hear his teacher? This could very well be a factor in why he is continuing to struggle - he got too far behind.

Another issue we have is as to why we weren't notified sooner that things had gotten so bad. We knew he was having some trouble, (and got him an after school tutor) but not to the point of failing a subject. This is suppose to be one of the best school districts in the state - the reason why we built our house where we did in time for him to start school here - and he's still having to work extra harder than his peers. No wonder he says he hates school. He's frustrated and most likely, upset with himself.

We always tell our children that it's not their grades that matter to us, it's how much they work at it. If we feel they've done their best, than we are proud of them for that. We love them no matter what and will always be proud of them. Ashley has always been a straight A student and learning just comes easier to her. She's just that smart and loves school. So when we have a child that doesn't want to go, it worries us.

Worries us. That's not strong enough. It tears at my heart because I want to help him so badly that I'd do anything. We tend to blame ourselves - that we're not working with him enough - but the truth is that we do work with him every night. I do homework with him and Bret studies with him as part of their night time ritual. We come up with all kinds of fun ways to approach it. We want to do more, but aren't sure just what more we can be doing. In our minds, we can never do enough.

Then you have the child's amazing memory. He can memorize anything. If you sat with him for an hour, you'd know everything there is to know about baseball and football. He can tell you the name of every team and what state they play for. He can tell you about various players, what team they play for or have played for. He has all this information up there and it amazes us, because it shows that he has the capacity to learn. Sometimes I feel like Bret could teach him anything. He makes learning so much fun that Ryan forgets he's learning. Maybe Bret should go with him to school everyday? Ha.

So, as this meeting approaches, I have my list ready and my brave mommy face on as I go into battle. Just kidding. It is what it is. But it's time to get to the bottom of this once and for all so that he can succeed.


maggie said...

Good luck, Lynda. Thankfully your son has really great parents who do try to stay in the loop and will take the time to help him and also, most importantly, advocate for Ryan to make sure that he gets what he needs. It makes a difference because sadly, as you already know, the schools aren't always very proactive. Go forth, Good Mom!

MamaFlo said...

Well said Maggie, I agree.
Lynda, your son is a special gift that will just take a little more time to develop (you have the love and patience to help him succeed).
Don't look at what he might loose but what you will both gain through this trial.

Mz Diva said...

There is a great book by Mel Levine called "All Kinds of Minds" it talks about kids like Ryan who may have a learning deficency in one area (reading/spelling etc.) but are really stong in another. (like oral comprehansion) I went to a seminar this summer where as a teacher, we learned how to build on strengths and then find methods to help students build confidence in the weaker areas. Truthfully, some people are weaker in certain areas and the best they will probably ever get is a "C" in the subject. (Kind of like me and math seeing a "C" was one of the happiest days of my life...I could get my college degree! You seem like you and your husband are doing everything you can do so he can succeed. Good luck at the conference.