June 17, 2012,
G.S. asks from Hopatcong, NJ on June 16, 2012
What to Expect from the Child Study Team
We were notified when we rec'd our 2nd grade daughter's 3rd marking period report card that her teacher felt it best that she repeat the 2nd grade. Up to that point she has never displayed A's & B's but we've never been contacted regarding this. Upon speaking w/the teacher at our conference we again discussed some issues w/the teacher that has been weighing on Haley since she had begun kindergarten and felt that if she had been given some additional help that hopefully she'd be able to move along to the 3rd grade. The beginning of the 4th marking period she was put into additional classes and was signed up for a summer program that is 4 weeks. In the meantime I was advised by our famiy therapist to have an evaluation done of her by the Child Study Team and in just speaking with them, they were baffled that this had never been recommended by the teacher. Our daughter is very, very sensitive and since before she started school we have been dealing with our oldest daughter (11 at the time) having been sexually abused and that involved extensive therapy w/DYFS & weekly appts, my husband had been diagnosed with cancer, he lost his job of 23 yrs and last summer we lost our home. The director of the study team could not understand how her teacher didn't do something sooner, which to me is neither here nor there. We are getting her the help she needs now and at this point in time if she needs to repeat the 2nd grade then so be it but at least they will take this summer program's results into consideration before deciding whether or not she is ready for the 3rd grade. What I am wondering is what the process is with the study team. He explained that they will have a team of 3+ meet w/Haley but I would just like to get some info from you if possible. I appreciate any positive feedback, trust me we've beaten ourselves up enough over what we could've done better :) Thank you!
So What Happened?™
Sorry such a delay in the update. She will be going ahead to the 3rd grade and she has an IEP which will be put in place for this year. She did extremely well w/her IQ test, and is at an 8th grade level w/certain areas of study, but displays difficulties in Math and Language Arts/Reading. I appeciated all of the responses I rec'd and am hopeful that she will do well now that this has been addressed. Although we still have a bad taste in our mouths for her previous teacher, we have accepted things as a personality conflict and are just thankful that we have the tools available that we do to get our daughter the best schooling. Thank you again!
S.L. answers from New York on June 16, 2012
The CST(child study team) will comprise of a learning consultant, a psychologist, and a social worker. The social worker will ask for complete history, how was the pregnancy, delivery etc. when did she learn to walk, talk, use bathroom. The psychologist will give her tests to determine if there are learning differences, If needed they will pull in and Occ Therapist or Speech Therapist. Remember you know your daughter best. If you think there are emotional issues (from all the upheaval in your family) that are preventing her from learning then you need to think how retention will affect her emotionally.
Dont wait for the CST to complete their evaluations and discuss them with you , that will take most of the summer. Get her tutoring, look for free tutoring,and see waht tutor says after the summer. get her counseling ASAP all thats going on with your family must be affecting her. Good luck!
2 moms found this helpful
J.W. answers from St. Louis on June 16, 2012
Here is the problem, schools and therapists love to make these fuzzy names. No one seems to use the same fuzzy names. Although my kids have a mess of support in place and have probably seen a team like you describe I can't be sure.
One thing that would be helpful to figure out what they are talking about, is it through the school or is this a private study?
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J.F. answers from Bloomington on June 16, 2012
If the team is through the school, then I may be able to shed a little light on this for you. Our teams name was SIT (Student Improvement Team), so Jo is right, all the school's have their own names for this type of team.
The team is usually an administrator or two, a handful of teachers, the school counselor, and anyone else who makes sense to help kids at the school. I was a member for a few years, and helped rewrite the informational packet we gave the parents.
The idea of the team is to figure out what is going on with a kiddo, suggest accommodations, interventions, and make suggestions to the classroom teacher & parents. To help figure it all out, the parent is asked to give as much information as possible (like the last person said, pregnancy issues, delivery, family stressors, etc.).
Then the team tries to make the best plan possible for the kiddo. Sometimes the team, parents, or classroom teacher suspect a learning disability. To diagnose a disability, the school has to jump through a few hoops. The team has to do the first part (as mentioned above), have the teacher do several of the accomodation/interventions suggested by the team and measure those outcomes. For instance, ff the kiddo makes the same amount of growth in months as he/she was doing the accommodations/interventions, then a learning disability may not be the issue. So if your daughter made up some serious ground over the summer, than a learning disability was NOT the issue.
If a learning disability is still suspected (kiddo is getting further behind), then the team asks a child psychologist (most school districts have their own) to test the child. Depending on the age of the kiddo, this may take a few days. The psych will pull the student for short amounts of time in the school day to test him/her. They don't want to overload the student, and don't want them to miss classwork.
The other thing that is usually done is someone (our school counselor or another teacher did it) would come into the classroom to observe the student. The student never knows. The person will sit in the room with a notebook. The teacher usually says the person is there to watch the teacher teach a lesson. The observer will compare the student with another student in the classroom. He/she will count how many times the student seems engaged, asks questions, fidgets, etc. (The child is compared to another student because it's not fair if the student is disengaged and so are all of the other students because the teacher has a boring lesson --- or if the child is on the excited side of things and so are all of the other kids.)
Once everyone collects this information (and the team meets usually once a month), the testing will confirm a learning disability or not. If a LD is diagnosed, an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) will be written for the child, and services will be given based on the child's needs. If the child only needs help in math, then the child may get 30 minutes of extra help in the Resource Room (what the special education room is now often called) a day/or week. (The amount of time depends on the child's needs...this was just an example.)
What is important to know, if a child is on an IEP, the school will almost NEVER hold a child back a school year. She would continue each grade level, but receive extra help through-out the year.
A parent can always decline services, MUST be invited to the annual IEP meeting to discuss the next year's benchmarks and goals, and the child will be retested every 3 years. If the child tests at grade level at the time of testing, he/she will no longer require services (the goal!).
Students who qualify for services means that there is a good chance the student will receive the help he/she needs that as time goes on he/she will not need as many services as they go, and test out. Unfortunately, there are kids that are already working at or above their "potential" and will not receive ANY services!!! (This actually angers me.)
What jumps out at me if I were on the team. Your family has had lots of VERY stressful events. This would lead me to believe that your child has "lost opportunity." We used this phrase when a child lost days of school due to whatever, and/or when a child wasn't able to be there emotionally. Most kids in this situation make up a lot of time once they are ready, but need the individualized approach to go back to where they left off. (Tutoring is a great way to do this. Summer school is good, but it is still teaching the most recent concepts, not necessarily where she left off. She has some "potholes" in her concepts.
Now, if she were in my classroom, I would have suggested we start a case file on her to get the ball rolling. It takes MONTHS to do the above work to get a kid approved to be tested. I would have started this awhile ago, while we worked on accomodations/interventions that are measured and documented. I think that is why the director is upset.
PM me if you have any more questions. I'm sure I've left something out!
If you plan to work on her, my first piece of advice is to figure out her learning style and what she is interested in. Again, feel free to PM me, and I can help with some ideas. :)
Best of luck, mama. It is definitely unfair how one family can be hit so hard with very stressful events.
G.C. answers from New York on June 17, 2012
Please don't beat yourself up. Child study team is the term used in NJ. I am a learning consultant in NJ. Like the other poster said the team is comprised of three individuals and often a speech therapist. They will run a series of evaluations that will help you figure out cognitive ability, social history/ stressors, and educational skills. They may also look at language skills. Often as educators prior to third grade we see "soft signs" of something getting in the way of learning but it is not atypical for a student needing to be sent to the Cst around end of 2nd / 3 rd grade. Earlier then this is it difficult to tease out if it developmental or something more like a learning disability. Don't beat yourself up because if the school had sent her to the team earlier they made not have been about to figure out what was truly going on.