So----why isn't he?
First off, if you've read our past posts and beginnings, you can know that MJ was originally placed in a full time gifted program. This was something he was placed in because he scored 99% on the tests and ranked within the top 14 kids in the school district.
As we were directed to doctors and counselors to seek out what was wrong, they did a massive amount of testing. At first what came back was how incredibly smart MJ was. The school's special ed teacher explained how he could not even show us the results of some of the tests because MJ scored so high above them that there wasn't even a place on the graph to list him. When we had him tested at the children's hospital for special heath care needs, they told us his IQ was in the "genius" range.
We always knew MJ was pretty smart, but from what these people were telling us, he was super smart. So we know already that he did not fit into a regular classroom. We allowed him to be in this gifted program to fit to his academic needs.
Now, when the school came to us and explained that something was wrong and we needed to get help or figure it out, we were in the gifted program already. He wasn't having problems academically, but the problems were because of shakiness, awkwardness, communication, handwriting, etc.
We are still in the program and MJ has little if any problems with academics. He scores above 99% of the nation through different tests. He reads 200 words per minute. He is very very smart, and so when people comment that he should be removed from the gifted program because he is not up to par, well, it upsets me a little.
I know Asperger's is a little different. It is still a disability. (Now I don't mean this in any way negative because I feel it isn't so much a disability but a different perception on life and thinking and Aspie's are in sort of a culture of themselves.) They allow kids in wheelchairs or deaf or blind to be in a gifted classroom with some sort of accommodations, so I say, what is the big deal to allow a child with Asperger's some sort of accommodations?
He deserves to be in the gifted program just as much as any of his other classmates. So, he has some issues with organization, with speech, with awkwardness, with interpreting non literal things, and then he has a bit of a processing delay, but why should any of these things force him to be put in a special ed classroom?
MJ doesn't seem to fit anywhere. He doesn't qualify for special ed because he is so far advanced that they won't put him there. I don't think it would be a right place for him anyway. We don't want to put him in a regular class because he would be bored. But then in a gifted class he is still having problems not because he isn't smart enough, but because of the speed in which they demand.
The timed tests, the pressure for neat handwriting and fast writing, and the importance of organization are killing MJ. It is not that he can't do any of these things. He just has a bit of a delay in processing, and then he has some fine motor coordination problems that make his handwriting to be extremely unreadable and slow. He can be organized, but he can't remember things very well without being constantly cued.
So---what do we do about it? It is the constant struggle even to know what to do that is frustrating. We turned to the school district right after his diagnosis to see what to do. They told us they didn't care what kind of diagnosis we had, but they would not accommodate any child unless they were failing academically.
So here we were. We had a super smart kid who could do OK in the classroom because even though he was slow, or weird, or had communication issues, or couldn't write very well, he would still be able to score high on tests. But what about letting him live up to his true potential? The specialists told us he scored so super high on all the cognitive and thinking and academic testing, but that his processing level was way below even average. So then what do we do?
The older he gets, the more pressure is put upon him to be faster, quicker, neater, remember things for yourself, understand, etc....
This is why we have been trying to figure things out pertaining to his Asperger's. We do not know what is right or wrong or quite where he fits in. We do not judge any of the teachers or think they are wrong. We just look for an answer and hope there can be a way made for MJ to get the best education he can without so much anguish. So please don't judge us for bad choices or comments we make with this blog. Maybe years from now we'll look back and say it was bad, or it was good, but this is just a journal and a learning experience to us all. Maybe somewhere we could have helped someone else who was struggling with the same issues.
We also maintain a blog relating to being a parent of a gifted child that you can read at www.parentingthegiftedchild.blogspot.com if you are interested in any of those adventures.