A few people have inquired about Asher's status in the evaluation process and we wanted to wait until we'd heard everything before posting anything. We aren't at the end of this journey, far from it, but we've got a more definite picture of where we're going.
Asher is NOT autistic, but he is at risk for depression, anxiety, and emotional disturbance. He's been having behavioral issues in school because he's so far advanced beyond his classmates and he's not being challenged at all. He needs a more structured classroom situation and a stricter teacher (nothing against his current teacher, we love her and she's worked with us to get Asher what he needs).
Also...his IQ is 134. So there's that.
The reason people went into the evaluation process thinking he might be autistic is that he shows several tendencies in the way he interacts with people and situations. The recommendation is to move him to 2nd grade next year and if he's still exhibiting these tendencies, to reevaluate him and see if maybe it IS autism after all.
He's been doing 2nd grade work in pretty much every aspect of class work except reading. There, he's on a 5th grade level. His vocabulary is extremely high for a kindergartener. Not just the fact that he knows the words, but can use the correctly. And even spell some of them.
The areas where he's "normal" are his writing, which is very much a kindergartener (all caps, no spaces) and that's not anything to be too concerned about. He's below average on his social interactions with others. He doesn't do well socially, so the recommendation there was to get him into day camps and activities this summer where he'll be in a structured environment with other kids. They also think that being in a class with his intellectual peers will help a lot with that. No longer being the smartest kid in the room will be a good thing for him.
We've got him signed up for a couple of art camps at the Grace and we're working on getting him enrolled in a G&T program through HSU called Threshold. They do science type stuff with other kids and it's just a half day for two weeks in July. I think he'll enjoy it and there's a two hour seminar for parents of gifted children that Austin's looking forward to (it's during the day on Tuesday and Thursday during Asher's program so I can't go).
This past Monday we had an ARD (which I forget what that stands for, sorry) with the psychologist, the principal, Asher's teacher, and another woman who's position at TLCA I missed and talked for over an hour about what the results were and what our next step should be. Definitely skipping 1st, since he knows 99% of it already and the 1% he doesn't is the stuff they're learning right now. It doesn't make sense to move him to 1st for the last 4 weeks of school, so we're going to work on those things with him over the summer. Those things are learning to read an analog clock and the decimals that go with money. He understands the value of coins and adding them up, but if you ask him to subtract from a dollar, he gets confused. I think we'll have that figured out pretty quickly.
All throughout the meeting, they kept saying "he's like a man in a little boy's body: he's confused as to why he's grouped with all these kids who aren't as smart as he is." He lacks a filter, so he sometimes says things he shouldn't, but that's typical for a kid his age. He hasn't learned that even if you really think the people around you are idiots, it's not nice to point it out to them. We'll be working on that, too.
The TLCA administrators were sure to point out that they don't have a G&T program, and one woman was honest and said she thought he might actually do better in public school where he can take advantage of a G&T program. We told them we have a friend who has a private school she's in charge of and she wants him to come to her and we're going to be exploring that as well.
We know that she would be great for him. She could create a curriculum tailor made for him and she will NOT take his sass. She will love him, and teach him, and guide him extremely well. Plus, she's my second mother and I've known her my literal entire life. I trust her 100%. So that's a huge huge selling point. The only reservation I personally have is the social aspect.
Yes, academics are hugely important....but so are social skills. A class of 6 or 10 is intimate and close knit (I had 9 years of those from K-8), but I worry about him not getting enough exposure to other kids in a school that small. We could sign him up for other activities, but then that's more for us to deal with as far as scheduling and finances goes.
In a perfect world, we'd get the teacher we want with the socialization that we want.
So that's where we are. We're going to do what we feel is best for him. We're kicking off the summer by signing him up for all kinds of camps and VBS's (when they're available) but still letting him have a summer. We're going to keep him enrolled at TLCA until we make a final decision about where he'll go next fall. We may double enroll him to make sure we have a spot at our school of choice.
We have an interesting road ahead of us with this one. Because of course.