Principal, Psychologist, First-Grade Teacher --
I thought I should take the opportunity to explain, for the record, why I chose not to follow the recommendations of Ms. H's report for more testing for my daughter, YD. I gave this matter a great deal of thought. This was not a decision I made lightly or out of prior bias. Here is some of my reasoning:
1.) The report was written in a particular context. At the time, Natural Friends was hoping that we could get a 1:1 aide to work with YD in the classroom. The only way the state would pay the aide's salary was if YD had a documented medical condition. So Ms. H knew that her task was to support the case that YD had a disability that would justify paying for an aide. She was looking for evidence of a medical disability, and what we look for, we tend to find.
2.) Ms. H observed YD for a couple of hours in the classroom and saw YD engaged in panicky, disruptive behavior. Based on the behavior she saw, she made recommendations and theorized possible diagnoses. Now YD is in a different environment, and her behavior has improved considerably. If Ms. H observed YD today, she would see different behavior, and probably make different recommendations.
3.) The underlying problem is that YD doesn't like to be tested. Ms. H mentioned that most of YD's test scores were artificially low because YD was so resistant to taking the test. Testing, especially when carried out by people YD doesn't know well, is not a very effective way to find out who YD is, what she needs, or how she could best be helped.
4.) YD has already taken a number of psychometric tests (especially in reading and language development), and no-one has found evidence for any disability.
5.) The more time YD spends being evaluated and treated by specialists, the more she will come to believe that something is wrong with her. This will undermine her self-confidence and make it more difficult for her to learn. Instead of testing and evaluation, I think it's more productive to give YD intensive teaching so we can bring her academics to the level they need to be.
In summary, I would like to say that I take all recommendations seriously, but that doesn't mean I follow them all.
Thank you for your consideration.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
So, as a follow-up to my little contretemps with the school psychologist (described in a previous post), I sent this e-mail to the principal, the school psychologist, and Younger Daughter's teacher at Fragrant Hills: