Monday, June 8, 2009
Javier in a Nutshell
Javier just turned 12. He's finishing up 6th grade right now. He's a sports nut, there really isn't a sport he doesn't like, and he's yet to find a sport he isn't good at, and anyone who's ever seen him play will tell you the same thing. His coaches adore him, and right now his biggest concern is which professional football team he wants to play for (Giants!), but his coaches think he's more suited for soccer. Too bad soccer isn't as popular in the U.S. as it is in most other countries.
Aside from his athleticism, there's really not much more to Javy. He likes to read, and does spend most of his free time doing so, but his grades in school are terrible! If he doesn't get an athletic scholarship to a great college it will be because he couldn't keep a minimum grade point average in high school in order to remain on his teams! He is basically doing the bare minimum when it comes to school work, even though he's been warned and lectured until I'm blue in the face. I swear I could yell at him until his ears bled and my throat exploded (we've come close to that a few times)but he still wouldn't bring those grades up at all. I know he can do better, he's not stupid. He just doesn't want to do the work. He'll lie, cheat, and steal to get out of doing homework (he's literally done all 3). Sometimes the lengths he goes to in order to get out of doing something take more time and energy than it would to just do it, but somehow that's what he prefers to do. When he was younger I'd insist on checking his homework, and I was constantly appalled at how terrible it was, so I'd make him do the entire assignment from scratch. He'd bring it back worse than the first time. I'd tell him we'd keep this up all night if he didn't do it correctly, and sure enough, we did. Over and over he'd bring back something worse than the previous.
Thankfully now in middle school he has study halls, and he also has a free period at the end of the school day in which he is supposed to complete his homework before he comes home. Now I don't even bother to check it anymore, I would just end up with a headache. I do get phone calls now and then telling me he hasn't turned in assignments or that things were done poorly, even for his standards. So he'll get his lecture and punishment, and we move on. No more stress and agony, at least not on my part!
This has basically been an ongoing problem since day 1 with Javy. His preschool teacher had a son with a learning disability, and she was certain Javy had one too. She got him tested, and it came back borderline. He got some speech therapy that year to help with his vocabulary and comprehension.
In Kindergarten I told the school of the tests the preschool ran. I tried to get more help for him. They told me that since he wasn't getting failing grades, there was nothing they could do. Same thing in first and second grade. In third grade we moved to a new school district and he did begin getting some help, but then we moved again and we started from scratch in the new school district.
Along the way I'd tried to get him tested for ADHD. My brother had it, and I saw some similarities between Javy and my brother. However getting him tested was easier said than done. One doctor told me it would cost $600 for the testing. Another would want to see him weekly at $75 a visit. I held out hope that the school would eventually do something and I continued to hound them explaining why he needed the help. Still I got nothing.
Finally when he was in 5th grade we brought him to a new doctor who told us he probably has a learning disability, and that the school should test for that. I was also told by various people in the school district that if you ask for your child to be tested for LD, they have to do it, by law. So, I asked. His teacher promised me he'd look into it.
In our district, the help a child would receive from school (what we used to call Special Ed) is called AIS. I forget what it stands for. Well, I spoke to the math AIS teacher at Javy's school, and she went about explaining to me how difficult the laws are set up, and how a child would literally need to be mentally handicapped in order to get any sort of AIS help. In order to get help a child would have to still not understand a topic after being taught the same topic for about 15 weeks straight. Honestly I think even kids with mental disabilities can pick up on something after 15 weeks of the same thing!! Really!
So, thanks to this idiotic "No Child Left Behind Act", my child is actually being left behind!!