How to prevent my son from becoming a statistic?!?!?!?!
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Post  Thu, Feb 14 2008, 12:46 pm
I know I'm his mother but I truly feel that my son is a very good boy, kind, sensitive to others, etc. He has a great sence of humor and has many friend.....problem is his learning. From early on (Kindergarten) when he had trouble learning abcs (didn't have trouble with alef bais the year before) we suspected there may be some sort of underlaying learning issue. So we began the long road of testing, both privetly, and through the public schools. He has gone to see a therapist (who simply said he see our son is frustrated and would continue seeing him to talk if it helps but he didn't see anything emotionally, educationally or otherwise wrong with him). He saw an audiologist who felt he may have an auditory prossesing disorder, some teachers swear he must be ADD (been evaluated - not that) asked the Public Schools to test, explore the possibility of Dyslexia, that came back inconclusive. All the while his IQ tests set him at the above average range. Sooooo......now fastforward many years and my ds is graduating 8th grd this year and he is MISERABLE!!!!!! He knows he can't learn like his peers. He needs a quieter, smaller, slower paced class which is provided by his yeshiva for 2 hrs a day for Gemara. Other than that he's quickly drowning!!!!! When we think to next year my dh and myself cant imagine any yeshiva where he could possibly sucseed. His selfesteem is in the toilet and has grown to hate anything connected to school. However whenever we even mention looking into "alternitive " Yeshivos - for boys with "issues" he freeks out saying that "he's not going to a looser yeshivah, he's not fry, he's not on drugs" etc. He's right in the fact that there doesn't seem to be a school for good boys who simply have learning diffrences with out the element of boys who have emotional baggage, questions of derech, are into radio, movies, girls etc.
So I guess I am hoping that someone out there knows of such a place, where a boy can remain frum (among frum boys) but get an education that better fits diffrences. We are lubavitch but at this point the quality of the education and purness of atmosphere take precidence over our personal minhagim. Any ideas or thoughts??????
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Post  Thu, Feb 14 2008, 1:14 pm
Dear Amother,

I'm so sorry to have to say this, but your son is already a statistic. He's been failing in school for 8 years.

He has already branded himself as an academic failure.

Hamesivta is the absolute closest I can imagine to the school you need for him next year. I hope that with the proper support he can rebuild his sense of self-worth and academic success.

Another Amother
Whose brother is currently homeschooling in 5th grade for similar reasons
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Post  Thu, Feb 14 2008, 1:34 pm
OP -- please PM me -- we went through this with my son who is now in 9th grade, and we found several good places.
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Post  Thu, Feb 14 2008, 1:38 pm
I have some ideas too. you can pm me if you would like
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Post  Thu, Feb 14 2008, 3:47 pm
OP here. Thanks so much for your responses. I will be PMing both middy and fox. I am eager to hear about what you have found. To amother that responded to me...what exactly is Hamesivta? I've seen it advertised in the Neshi Chabad newsletter but I'm not even sure where it is located, CH I assume. Could you tell me more about it and how it can be helpful to boys like my son?
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Post  Thu, Feb 14 2008, 8:23 pm
Would you be willing to take him to a keria specialist for an evaluation? The specialist I know has even worked with older people than your son, and with children of course. You may think he does okay with keria but okay isn't good enough to learn properly.
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Post  Thu, Feb 14 2008, 8:33 pm
OP, have you followed up on the possibility of Auditory Processing Disorder? There are several possible interventions that could help that. We used a program called Fast ForWord that was nothing less than miraculous for my son.

I don't know where you're located, but I would have to suggest further testing, privately if possible, or at least by the Department of Education. There are likely to be wonderful programs out there in which your son could thrive, but you need a better handle on what is affecting him in order to select the right one. If you do the testing privately, I would suggest that you use someone within your community, simply because s/he would most likely be aware of programs that even the most talented person outside of your community would now know about.

Sometimes, learning differences are like onions. Once you begin to remediate the first issue, you find that there are additional underlying issues that also need remediation. Also, sometimes these kids are so darned smart that they are able to compensate for years, until they get into really complex things.

Good luck. With a devoted mom like you, I doubt he'll become a *statistic*
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Post  Thu, Feb 14 2008, 10:17 pm
Dr Mel Levine, A Mind at a Time. Talks about learning differences.

Read it.

The Myth of Laziness is another one of his books.

His website is: www.allkindsofminds.org check it out.

If you're in New York there are schools that use his "Schools Attuned" for evaluating children.

Do it, and check it out.
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Post  Sat, Feb 16 2008, 9:13 pm
amother wrote:
We are lubavitch but at this point the quality of the education and purness of atmosphere take precidence over our personal minhagim. Any ideas or thoughts??????

One important thing to keep in mind is that if you put a Lubavitcher teen into a non-Lubavitcher program, you can very well expect him to be a statistic. Beware! It starts with him being the only one with two pairs of tefillin and deteriorates from there.

Have you tried Rabbi Shain's Mastermind program?
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Post  Sat, Feb 16 2008, 9:38 pm
OP here again. First of all thanks so much for everyones words of advice. So where do I start... as far as a keria specialist, he has been evaluated through his yeshiva and yes, they surmised he has difficulty reading, but other than starting from the beginning, there were no other ideas (what might be the ROOT of the problem etc). We let every teacher that he had know that he was diagnosed with an auditory prossesing disorder and told them all the stratagies we were given to help him be succesful in the classroom as well as doing his work at home. The most frustrating thing is though that every year by Cheshvan- Kisleve time it becomes quite clear that the teacher has no idea there is a problem with him and thats when we sit down and disscuss his APD. You may ask why we wait, well b/c every year we have been assured that the next years teacher has been given our sons file to read (includes the diagnoses and interventions) and they are well aware of the situation and are on top of it....and every year they have no clue! Then when he can't produce a cohertent paragraph of creative writing in class (read: 18 boys yelling/ calling out, moving around the room, people entering and leaving etc) as well as just having to get his thoughts from his head to his hand ,then on to the paper (this is a huge under taking for him!) the teacher questions him when he is able to hand something in that he worked on (painstakingly) at home if he's doing his own work! At home he is give complete (or almost) silence, a computer to type on or else someone to dictate his thoughts to. If the teacher would just read the file they would know that he can't realistly work in a noisy classroom and writing is often very hard!
As far as Dr. Mel Levine goes, I own all his books, have attended two of his lectures and got my son on the waiting list to be tested in Chapel Hill before there was testing being done anywhere else in the country. Problem was, when we filled out the paperwork to get him on the waiting list we were notified of the $2,400 fee that went along with the testing! We still stayed on the list for 2 reasons first of all, in reading Dr. Levines books you read about all these poor/innercity kids he worked with in his institute so I thought there must be some sort of scholarship or funding (there wasn't) second we then hoped that by the time our sons name got to the top of the list we might be able to "find" the money. Well it's amazing how quickly 8 months goes when your "looking" for $2,400! Needless to say we just coulden't come up with it so here we are.
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Post  Sat, Feb 16 2008, 9:48 pm
OP again. Just read motek's post. My dh and I were just discussing that very fact on Shabbos but help!!!!!!!! Lubavitch doesn't have schools to help these boys. The answer is Ottawa, or maybe Minnesota. Both have reputations that my son doesn't want a part of. He just said to me on Shabbos how much he loves learning Sichos (with an older Buchor) because they make sence and he understands what they are saying, he wants to learn yiddish so he can read them himself! He wont leave his chavrusa every week until they finsh the Sicha "B/c I want to know what the Rebbe Said!". This is not a boy who should be placed with "at risk" teens. He wanted to know if there is a yeshiva that just teaches sichos, mamaarim etc b/c "those I understand, just not Gemara". Oy Vey what do we do!?! We don't live in CH so I was under the impression that Mastermind wasn't an option.
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Post  Sat, Feb 16 2008, 9:50 pm
pm me I might have some ideas for you
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Post  Sat, Feb 16 2008, 10:19 pm
I agree about the alternative schools. probably not being the best place for OP's son , I don't know if Hamesivta. is for mainstream boys either. It might be billed as such, but how serious the kids are that go there, I'm not sure. (it's on Ocean Parkway).

I see alot of hope for your son, he sounds like a good chaddishe, frum boy, and the atmosphere at home probably has much to do with that. Plus, he is gaining that from his Yeshiva, even if he isn't catching on to the Gemara.

Also, are there more than one class in his grade?
(read: 18 boys yelling/ calling out, moving around the room, people entering and leaving etc)
This line makes me think that it's possible that your son is not in the class that gets the best teachers, either consistently, or not.

Some teachers are better, more clear at explaining the Gemara, plus they size up their talmidim's abilities well, and include all of them, giving special attention to the weaker ones.

The mark of an INexperienced teacher is that he lets those boys go unnoticed, because they are good, and not bothering anyone , and teacher mostly to the top third of the class. If your son has been getting first year or mediocre REbbe's, try to get him into the classes with the good teachers. See if you can work with the hanhala on this.

Have you had a Gemara tutor for your son? Does your husband learn with him? I think your son would benefit immensely from private tutoring, for at least an hour a day. Gemara is a very complex subject, and there just isn't enough time when teaching it to make sure everyone understands. It MUST be reviewed, and re-learned for optimal understanding. Re-learning it with a tutor can help a lot.
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Post  Sun, Feb 17 2008, 10:08 am
OP, I don't think the answer is Ottawa.

How about Baltimore? My brother's been there the past two years and since it's a small Yeshiva, it's very personalized. My brother's not the best learner but he does well there because they understand that and bring out his good points in other areas. He hopes to stay on next year when they open up a Za"l for that age, not because he succeeds so well in learning or in having good friends, but because he feels secure there.

Since it's a newer Yeshiva, I'll say that it doesn't run as professionally as other older more experienced ones, but they're okay generally.
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Post  Sun, Feb 17 2008, 11:09 am
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Post  Sun, Feb 17 2008, 11:10 am
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Post  Sun, Feb 17 2008, 12:10 pm
(typing in caps is hard to read and online is considered shouting).

Does anyone know of a program in Israel called Bocharim or something like that? For older boys?
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Post  Sun, Feb 17 2008, 1:09 pm
All the while his IQ tests set him at the above average range

If you post the test name, the overall IQ, the index scores and the subtest scores, it is possible that I can post some additional information that may help you.

From what you have described of the writing difficulties, it sounds like a working memory problem, not auditory processing. If it was really auditory processing disorder, I don't know that he would love learning sichos orally all that much.
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Post  Sun, Feb 17 2008, 10:34 pm
Op here again, I just lost a huge post so let me try again...
As far as having him switch classes, the teachers are both equal in teaching style, experiance etc ( my older son had the other teacher so I know from that). This Rebbe just ignores my son, the last interaction they had was when a small group of boys were reviewing and one of them was trying to explain a point to my son and the Rebbe said "don't bother he'll (pointing to my son) never get it anyways". This is a community school (not Lubavitch), everyone for the most part, sends there, Lubavitch and not. There aren't many options here. Getting him tutor is not an option due to monitary issues, KA"H we have a very large family, we make very little money...really little (it would shock most ppl how much we bring home weekly) and my husband who wishes he could learn with him is himself not the best learner (to be kind) so .......
As far as Cincinatti goes I have a relative who sends there and from that I know it's out of the question for my son, only a very spesific type of boy will truly succeed there. I will look into Baltimore though. Also someone suggested the new Mesivta in Coral Springs FL. Not b/c it's anything but a standard program but rather b/c it's new so it is smaller and they may be more flexable?
His whole life he has learned best by just listening, if he has to follow inside or take notes AND listen ...foget it! When the teachers are willing he takes his tests orally and any background noise is very hard for him to filter out, so noisy classrooms are a real problem. The audiologist said that APD can manifest itself this way. What is memory....(don't remember what you called it)? I honestly would have to search for all the testing data but I will look. Thanks for the offer.
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Post  Mon, Feb 18 2008, 8:59 am
Hatzlacha, amother.
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