Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Conundrum

It's that time of the week again! Time to link up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. This is a really simple meme where you write about a topic centered on the letter of the alphabet. This week's letter is the letter "C." C is for conundrum.

I looked up the definition for conundrum and one of the meanings was for anything that puzzles. We definitely have a conundrum to figure out over the next couple of weeks.

My daughter was accepted into a gifted magnet school. It's really well-regarded, but has a reputation of not being the best place for kids that are on the spectrum. We don't know the degree of truth. It's possible that while some kids may not fare well at this school, my daughter would thrive. Who knows?

So, over the next couple of weeks, we have to sort out where my daughter best belongs. We have a meeting with the gifted magnet school officials to show samples of my daughter's work and discuss her strengths and her issues to see if this school would be a good fit. We're going to try and visit a class at the school too. In addition, we're visiting classes at her current school.

Why move to the magnet? It's a really well-regarded school that addresses the educational needs for kids that are gifted or high-achieving. Also, our daughter tends to socialize better with other smart kids. It's like she has something in common with them. Also, she will have more options open to her down the road for middle school such as other gifted magnets that she may not be able to go to if she stays at her current school. We all know how awful those middle school years can be, so having options is a really good thing!

Why keep my daughter at her current school then? It's a good school that has good teachers that have served my daughter well over the last two years. My daughter has done a great job with socializing and making lots of friends. Also, the administrators and teachers seem to adore my daughter and are invested in trying to keep her at her current school. The gifted program coordinator, who is also a fifth grade teacher, had a long discussion with my daughter's current teacher about her. They were at a ballgame together, and she said the discussion lasted six innings of the game!

Based on this discussion, she met with the principal of the school and used my daughter as an example of a great kid they might be losing unless they change the way they teach gifted kids. Based on this discussion, they're going to start a gifted program in second grade instead of starting in third. Also, they're going to have separate gifted classes instead of small clusters among all the classes.

While these changes are great, they still don't address the middle school issue. They do make it harder for me to pull my daughter out of a school where she is obviously loved.

I remember how scary it was when my daughter started elementary school. I wasn't sure how she would handle herself in a classroom. I was worried that teachers would hate getting her assigned to their classroom. These fears were totally unfounded. She's come such a long way since her autism diagnosis! And while I'll have the same worries if she transfers to the gifted magnet (Can she handle the increased academics? Can she handle the added pressures? Will the teachers and administrators tell us she doesn't belong there? Will she make friends?), I also have to have the belief that she'll come out just fine.

She always has, so why should I expect anything different?

It's a conundrum!

13 comments:

  1. These are fears that most parents would have but you are right, they are magnified when you have specific worries.

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  2. I'd go to the new school. they said they were devloping a program last year for my son and they never did. Sometimes it takes longer to develop these things than they say.

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  3. Oy! I don't envy you this dilemma. Both sound like good options and both also have drawbacks.

    The best I can say is that since they each have such clear strengths, it seems whichever school you chose WILL be a good choice for her, and we have no way of knowing what might have happened had the coin landed on the other side (quantum physics and parallel universe theories anyone?)

    Go with your gut and don't waste time torturing yourself about whether it was the right choice, There IS no one right choice here, either will work and also have ups and downs. And crystal balls? Nobody has them. Just invest fully in your choice and know that you have advocated well for your daughter.

    And? Good luck!

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  4. my middle son was found "to be on the spectrum" last year after doing great for the previous four years while living with me. needless to sayI wasn't included and very rarely consulted now about his education or how its handled. I made the egregious(spelling) of telling the assistant princinpal that the word spectrum means from 0-100% which is true I've looked it up so for them to say a child who may not be social as others is "on th spectrum" really irks me. I know and have friends with autistic kids and also children with aspergers syndrome and I find it quite sad that a real disease and one that is tough enough to handle has become the a.d.d. for this generation. Todays busy lifestyles demand more from all involved in raising a child not just the parents and not just teachers either sorry i'll just step down off my lil soapbox here and maybe go turn it into a go kart. thanks for the write

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  5. Definitely lots to consider...knowing how you have expressed yourself in past posts...you will come up with the best decision for your daughter. What does matter is that you do have her best interest at heart...your daughter is blessed to have you in her life...there have been times when volunteering at the schools, where a child is lost in the shuffle, because the parent just didn't care if there were struggles or challenges...

    Blessings & Aloha!

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  6. It's a conundrum indeed! All the best as you research as much as you can to come up with the best answer.

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  7. My gut feeling on this is to let her stay where she is the happiest. She is still young, and her smarts are not going to disappear. I know enough about this spectrum to realize that she will thrive in the atmosphere where she is the most comfortable.

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  8. Both schools sound great! How wonderful to have two great choices!

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  9. No matter what decision you make, there are no guarantees with anything. Period. Whichever way you go I know you will make the decision wth care and love...and she will have that care and love to help her through any change.

    You are an amazing writer. Perhaps you can try envisioning her in the new environment and writing a small piece of fiction about it. Maybe that will show you more truly the direction you want to go.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post this week.

    Conundrum is such a perfect word to describe making difficult choices.

    Please let us know what you end up doing!

    Thanks for linking.

    A+

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  10. I know you have been thinking about this for a while. I would be just as stressed about this choice, even though both options are good ones.
    It is good that you are thinking about middle school too, since that is supposed to be the hardest socially.

    You'll never know if the other choice would have been better, so once you make your decision, don't question yourself.

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  11. sorry for what happened.

    blessings, when you version differ from the school officials, things will be extremely hard.

    You could choose to enroll her to a private school for a while, a break from the touchy situation is good for you.

    Happy Mother's Day.
    you deserve the best.

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  12. I'm going through a placement conundrum myself right now and I'll literally eat my guts out over it every minute of the day until I make the decision. It just feels so monumental...it's hard not to think of it as potentially changing the course of their lives. Unfortunately there's no crystal ball, and that whole "go with your gut" thing is sometimes less than clear.

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  13. I googled asperger's and magnet school and found your blog!

    We're in a similar position- my 6 year old PDD-NOS brother made it into an accelerated magnet school that caters to bright and gifted kids. It's hard, his school clearly wants to keep him, and kindergarten has gone well, but at the same time the gifted program does not start until third grade, and he's a couple grade levels ahead of his class. Plus there is more bullying at his school.

    the magnet school has kicked out at least one other spectrum kid because he was too high need. there is also another spectrum kid applying to kindergarden, and C is so high functioning a lot of people question his diagnosis. So confusing!

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