Josh's Journey
Kindergarten x2: Notes from a school conference state Josh is not progressing with reading as hoped. He wasn’t progressing at all. The district was refusing to teach him or acknowledge his disabilities.

Josh repeated kindergarten the next school year. Once again he cried everyday at drop off. He was so far behind academically it was starting to feel desperate.

I was still a student and could not afford a full blown educational-psych but I manged to get together some money and took Josh to a developmental optometrist for a private evaluation. The developmental optometrist identified cross-dominace which is a form of dyslexia and recommended vision therapy. I also had Josh privately evaluated for occupational therapy (OT). That evaluation also resulted in recommendations for services. I provided the reports to the school.

The school district told me that they could not give OT services to a child who just had a speech Individual Education Plan (IEP) (I found out later that this is not true). They also would not provide the recommended vision therapy. The school district also declined to provide the education psychological testing that I had requested.

His teacher agreed that he needed testing but she couldn’t make the county approve it anymore than I could. Notes for a SST meeting state Josh is not progressing with reading as hoped.

He wasn’t progressing at all. The district was refusing to teach him or acknowledge his disabilities.

Kindergarten: Scores from the speech evaluation were shockingly low!

Pre-K had been rough but I was hopeful that Josh would have a better year in kindergarten. Unfortunately he cried again, everyday when I dropped him off. Now some people might say “well then why did you keep sending him?” To be perfectly honest I didn’t know what else to do.

Once again conferences with the teacher validated my concerns with Josh’s speech and now with academics. He could not read or write his own name at 5 years old.

At a student support team (SST) meeting I expressed concerns regarding intelligibility and decreased ability to sound out words and spelling. The school district’s Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) finally agreed to observe Josh in the classroom setting. Her observations lead to formal assessment. I thought “ok, this would have been better last year but now we have got the ball rolling!”

At the same SST meeting I brought up that Josh was struggling academically and I requested an educational-psych evaluation to look for learning disabilities. The county declined to conduct that evaluation. I also requested Josh to repeat kindergarten because he was not emotionally or academically ready for first grade. My older daughter had repeated kindergarten and then gone on to excel in school, even testing into the gifted program. I thought maybe Josh just needs a little more time to mature.

In November 2005 Josh was found eligible for speech therapy services. His scores from the evaluation were shockingly low! Normal scores range 85-115. Anything below 70 is a severe impairment. Josh had scores in the 60s!

His teacher reported that Josh loved to participate in classroom activities such as use of the computer and listening to stories and that he has a desire to learn. She also stated that he is performing below grade level in all academic areas and often becomes frustrated when unable to complete classroom activities. Throughout the school year I continued to express concerns about his pre-literacy skills and it’s relation to speech concerns. Josh was placed in the Early Intervention Program, which is a regular ed classroom with children who are struggling but not in special ed.