Oppositional. Obsessive. Impulsive. Frustrated. Gifted. 2E.
Poor Eli is racking up a LOT of adjectives right now. 2E says a lot! If you're not familiar, it is used to describe a child who is "twice exceptional"...in other words, a child who is simultaneously gifted and has a diagnosis of a problem that interferes with learning...in Eli's case, a sensory processing problem. Suffice it to say that I've been spending a lot of time at his school lately, in conferences. I've had more than three hours of conferences this week alone.
I'm not exactly surprised by everything that's happened. The issues we are having are EXACTLY why I didn't initially plan/want to send Eli to public school....but even still, I think the ultimate decision to send him has been correct. Eli's always had some difficulties managing his behavior in group settings, beyond what is typical for his age...and I think participating in school may be the best way for him to learn to manage his behavior. Eli actually really wanted to go to Kindergarten (and deep down, I think he still wants to!)...and I'm so grateful for such a wonderful school that is really trying to meet his needs. I think it also really helps him to continually get the same reinforcing messages from many adults in his life, rather than just from his parents and grandparents.
This fall, when Eli's behavioral issues were escalating, like they tend to do in late September/early October, we felt as though he needed help beyond what we were providing at home and school. So, that's when we went for an evaluation...and came out with a diagnosis and information on sensory problems. Eli started occupational therapy shortly afterward, and it's making a big difference for him. Initially, his issues at school improved, and when Sunny left, the issues at school improved even more (though issues at home escalated somewhat).
Two weeks back at school, after Christmas break, his behavior was back to where we were in this fall, and that's where we are today...though if you ask me, I actually think his behavior may be actually worsening over time. At this point, we believe that many of Eli's negative behaviors are driven by his sensory issues and anxiety, though there are definitely some I don't understand (such as WHY he would lie about taking an AR test that he earned a 90% on). While pulling him out of school completely to go full-force in homeschool has been considered, I'm afraid that it would give him a sense of failure for not even completing his Kindergarten year. I also feel like his best chance at doing well in elementary school is at his current school...they've been very supportive and are invested in him doing well.
Our current plan to help Eli is multi-faceted. We are going to continue "afterschooling" because it gives him a chance to really exercise his brain...and I'm going to start sending work to school with him, in an effort to support his teacher. At this point, according to the testing reports sent home by the school, Eli's abilities are equivalent to students in the end of third grade...but this is also where the test stopped (the test he was given was electronic, and stops testing when the student demonstrates achievement that is 3 grade levels ahead of what he is enrolled in). Testing to officially enter the school's gifted program hasn't been provided yet, but will be soon - and the gifted coordinator at the school level is already providing some support in the classroom. In the meantime, he's being encouraged to pursue independent projects, independent reading, and we enrolled him in an online course for gifted second graders.
We are also going to work with his school to develop a 504 plan, so that the accommodations that he has for his sensory needs (the ones that are working) will be documented and continued, and so that he can be evaluated by the school's OT, which will give him another layer of support. I've also asked that he not be given repeated warnings when his behavior is inappropriate...instead I've asked that whomever he is with either give him an immediate consequence or a sensory break. We're also working with his teacher to look for patterns in his behavior, so that we can better intervene; his principal is already beginning to consider the best classroom for him next year.
At this point, we're going to also wait-and-see how he does, before pursuing any further evaluations. Eli is still begging to be homeschooled full time, and told me this morning (when I said "Good Morning") that "It isn't a good morning when I have to go to school."
I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about him.