Friday, 5 March 2010

The Mother bear is angry

We've been lucky so far; no real medical issues, although a few close shaves; no real behavio(u)r issues (although I do realise it's early days); so I don't have to become a roaring mother bear very often on behalf of my cubs. But this week I'm raging. Aploplectic even.

The Queenager has been diagnosed with a fairly significant learning disability since 2001. A bit like dyslexia only it affects math(s) and spelling, plus some spatial and processing issues thrown in. In short, she sometimes has a hard time of it and has to work really hard to stay on top of it. Like many kids with these challenges however, she scores very highly in some subjects and really low in others so the average numbers look, well, average.

Anyway, she's a junior in high school (Lower 6th) and is about to start taking the exams she'll need to get into most colleges. (American kids apply by the end of the calendar year and generally know where they're going before leaving school.) If she were to take the SAT test, she is allowed extra time, a quiet room, stop-the-clock breaks and a computer instead of writing by hand. She needs all of this to finish the test on time. Like many kids however, the ACT test (just another board of similar exams) is better for her. The questions are easier to understand and the math component is less advanced. Unbelievably, ACT have turned down all her requests for accommodations (ie. extra time etc.)

Despite the fact that we have professional diagnostic reports dating back to 2001, and a letter from her neurologist advising the breaks to prevent migraines, they are saying that she's average, and further more, they don't have to rely on advice and/or reports from a third party. It's as if they haven't read the reports at all. And BTW, given that we probably wouldn't be allowed to self-diagnose her problems, what's the point of asking for reports if you're going to turn round and say they don't mean anything?

There is a lot of tension in the house at the moment, and it's hard for me to "behave normally" because I'm so upset for her. It is inconceivable that some of her peers are getting extra time because of "text anxiety" that has just been diagnosed this past year, and yet we are being told there's not enough of a paper trail, and not enough proof of  impairment for my daughter. It is hard enough for these children in school and in life without having to put up with this kind of idiocy. It's like giving a colo(u)r blind child a multi-toned bar chart to read.

Anyhoo, I am learning to breathe again, and we are appealing the decision. I dread to think what will happen if they turn down our appeal though.


Expat Mum


  1. That sounds so frustrating. If you don't win the appeal, will the SAT test with the quiet room/computer etc be of any use to your daughter?
    Let's hope they think again
    Trish x

  2. It's pathetic isn't it. The support isn't good enough. And you shouldn't have to appeal because there should be no need.

    Good luck with it.
    CJ xx

  3. oh no, how awful! I hope you win the appeal!

  4. My blood is boiling in empathy. Hope that the appeal goes through okay for you.


  5. She has accommodations for the SATs but finds their style really difficult, as do a lot of kids these days. You spend more time figuring out what they're asking.
    Not really sure what will happen if the appeal fails. The school is going to send an official letter of complaint because of all the requests, her is one of the most deserving. There are a few colleges who don't ask for either ACT or SAT so we may have to look at them. Severely limits her choices though.

  6. Garner as much evidence as you can, if poss, Expat Mum, particularly if you are aware of where they have made accommodations for other children with the same learning needs? Is there anything out there on the Internet that says others have/have not had support in this way with the SATs, and how they fared?

    Best of luck with it all, sorry you are left in limbo with all the stress, you and yours... x

  7. Lots if hugs. It is not easy.

    Over the years I, like you have found that my worries and anger on my kids behalf has caused tension in the house and has impaired me. The last such incident was when my 19 year old was having a tough time in the army and he ended up with panic attacks and it took us a while to realize what it was.

    I found that what helped me was to remember, that even though I am his mother and I am there to support him, this life of his is his own journey. I believe that our souls chose a path for us for a reason. Sometimes to learn through adversity , sometimes by support, sometimes from opposites.

    The minute I started viewing it as his journey, although i was concerned from him, I did take a lot of pressure off of me and what was going on in the household.

    I also truly believe that from tough times like these that you are going through, there can be lots of positives. I know I had a lot of heart to hearts with my son. I know he learned that his parents where there for him and to support him. So there was good from tough.

    Hang in there!

  8. Thank you everyone. Yes, it is her journey but it's SO unfair at such an early age. And as she said, it's not like you choose or want to have such a learning disability.
    Unfortunately, you can't make comparisons to anyone else - not even the "average person" which is ridiculous. They will look at her excellent reading and comprehension scores and probably decide that she's good student, despite the fact that it takes her twice as long to get there.