Friday, September 14, 2012

In which new names are assigned

This summer brought seismic shifts in our household requiring some new names.

My eldest is off to the fantastic UMBC (yes, that university that's always in the news these days for being so awesome), so the new name is fcs (fantastic college student).

My remaining high school student, who struggled mightily last year in school, had some pretty intensive diagnostic tests over the summer. The conclusion is that she's a twice exceptional student, so the new name is tek (for twice exceptional kid).

Twice exceptional, in the learning disabilities field, refers to being both gifted and learning disabled at the same time. Tek operates in the "very superior" range in areas such as verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning and working memory. When it comes to processing speed and complex visual tasks the range is "low". In terms of percentials we've got a swing from 99.9 (in verbal comprehension of similarities), to 9 for visual reproduction from long term memory and 14 for processing speed.

I think this explains a lot. A genius kid that can't quickly perform very simple tasks. A kid who just can't remember homework written down on a busy chalkboard. A kid who gets a 4 on the AP test while barely passing the class.

The super-good news is that I think seeing these test results has let tek feel better about herself. We've had some pretty tough times with depression and self-loathing and harsh comments from teachers being taken directly to heart. This school year has seen a lot more smiles.

Last night, at back to school night, the teachers were very positive. One teacher who had taught tek two years ago, remarked on the marked changed in her outgoingness and class participation. Another teacher remarked about the quality of her critical thinking and what she added to class discussions. As much as I hate back to school nights, the rushing from class to class, the rushed pace, the lack of time to ask about my kid, last night was not too bad.

We still have a 504 meeting ahead of us, to hammer out ways to support tek and try to get the meaning of these test result across to the team of teachers, I'm feeling pretty upbeat at the moment.

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