2nd Annual Halloween Hike, Bat Caves in Griffith Park

Our Halloween Hike was a lot of fun! We met at a picnic area for Halloween themed food and games. Then we hiked up the trail to the Bat Caves. This is where the original Batman series was filmed in the 1960’s.

The front of the cave is where the Bat Mobile was filmed coming out of the cave.

The tube-like cave branches off in several directions that open onto a large gravely area. There are two labyrinths made out of stones collected by previous visitors. Its fun to walk the spiraling path to the center of each one, reflect on your thoughts, then follow the spiral back to the beginning.

There are many hiking trails going into the hills of Griffith Park and some leading to the Hollywood sign.

We walked back to our cars just before sunset and said our good-byes. It’s wonderful to be with other families that are also twice exceptional and understand our journeys.

Hope you can join us soon!

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Hello, again

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this site. I’m planning to get back in the groove and try to keep up with posting at least once a week. I will be sharing resource links, articles, news and more information to help support our G/2E community.

We have a several ways to keep in touch with our community. (1) a large Facebook group called Twice Exceptional/ 2E Network International, https://www.facebook.com/groups/2E.Network.LA, (2) a Yahoo group which is smaller and also international, called Twice Exceptional/ 2E Network LA, and two meet-up groups for families in the Los Angeles area called Twice Exceptional/ 2E Network LA  https://www.meetup.com/Twice-Exceptional-2E-Network-LA/, and Growing Gifted in LA/ San Fernando Valley G/2E  https://www.meetup.com/Growing-Gifted-In-LA_SFV-G2E/.

I also have a business page on FB for those who would like to follow me  https://www.facebook.com/2E.Network.LA/.

And I have a business page for my business Silly Seal Aquatics & Fitness, personal fitness for all abilities   https://www.facebook.com/SillySealAquaticsandFitness1982/.

I hope you will find us on one of these community sites and join us for more sharing and support.

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CA Science Center Meet-up

We had a fun time at the CA Science Center yesterday. We had 5 families, with 5 adults and 7 kids (6 boys and 1 girl). We saw the IMAX movie Galapagos and then had lunch. Afterwards we went to see the Endeavour Space Shuttle and had some extra time to explore other areas of the museum. Four of the boys tried out the space shuttle simulator and two of the boys tried out the high wire bicycle. We stopped for ice cream at McDonald’s on the way home. A lot of fun and socialization!

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CA Science Center

This Saturday, Feb. 7th is our next meet-up group at the CA Science Center. We’ll meet at the front entrance at 11 am. IMAX movie at 11:30 (Hubble 3D), then lunch, visit the Endeavour Space Shuttle, then some free time to explore. (Some families may be joining us later if they prefer not to see the movie.)

Please RSVP to our yahoo group:

or to one of our two meet-up group sites:
http://www.meetup.com/Twice-Exceptional-2E-Network-LA/, and

Friends and family members are welcome. Hope to see you there!

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Learning About Autism

We went to the monthly FAA (Foothill Autism Alliance) meeting last night in Pasadena. The panel of speakers was 4 teen-agers with autism who use assistive technology to communicate. The parents were there to aid them in giving their presentations to the audience. Several of the parents mentioned how much their child started to bloom and blossom when they were finally able to communicate their thoughts and feelings. It was heart-warming to see and hear how much the teens have grown and how much the parents were excited and proud of their achievements!
Please contact us if you are interested in attending future meetings. We are working on building a car pooling group.

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Middle School & High School

** This is an excerpt from our yahoo support group, 2E Network LA: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/2E_Network_LA/info

Our older son went to Holmes MS Humanities Magnet. The program is all about the social sciences and a lot of writing papers, which is not his strong area. We had our reservations and he struggled through the program, barely passing the 8th grade, only because he had the IEP (students with IEPs are not allowed to fail a grade level, it makes the IEP team look really bad). The admin were not very supportive and it was an ordeal for us.

He went to Cleveland HS Humanities Magnet, mostly because he wanted to be with his friends, which was his main concern. The admin seemed to be a little more supportive with his IEP. I think only because they are more concerned with helping the students prepare for college. We were able to obtain Ed Therapy as an outside service for him but it didn’t work out because the providers were not certified. I’m still disappointed that the district did not help him in way that was appropriate for his needs (ADHD).

He receieved a F in his Spring semester English class and the IEP team decided to “downgrade” him (on paper) from the AP English to “Honors” English, which they said would allow them to give him a passing grade of D instead of an F. He would have had to attend summer school in order to graduate. This is the way the IEP team coverd themselves. On his exit IEP, he did not reach his goals, which has us concerned about his not being prepared for college, but we’re going to let him try going to SFSU and see what happens. He is very excited about going, but if he needs to come home we will help him find a different path.

Our younger son tried going to Porter MS Gifted Magnet, but was recovering from some serious health issues and needed to have an IEP. The admin denied his eligibility, stalled for the entire year, which caused him to basically drop out of the 6th grade. Then they offered us eligibility if we would agree to NPS placement. It was a package deal because they didn’t want him in the Gifted Magnet with an IEP. I accepted their offer because he was having increasing stress and his health was declining. He felt very rejected and depressed, and although he is still attending one of The Help Group schools, he is still struggling to recover his health. It’s not the best environment for him, but he says he wants to stay there because he has friends at the school. He has had a great deal of difficulty making friends over the past 4 years and I am still looking into alternative placement for him.

That’s a brief overview of our experiences with middle school and high school in the LAUSD. Sadly, it has not been a good experience for either of our boys, and has been very stressful for our family. Our younger son still attends school only part time, so I have not been able to return to work and I help with the bills during the summer months by teaching swimming lessons.

Starting this support group has been a good resource for me and I wanted to help other families who may be going through similar experiences with their 2E children. Now we are reaching out across the country to other parents and professionals and gradually growing in numbers and resources.

Thank-you to everyone who is voicing your questions and suggestions. For me, doing research to help anyone, helps all of us. 🙂 Marcie

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Moving On To College

I just returned from taking our oldest son to SFSU for his orientation. On this trip I had time to reflect on our journey through elementary, middle and high school together and I thought of some things I’d like to share with the group.

Both of our boys went through Balboa Gifted Magnet ES, which at the time had API scores in the high 990’s. I chose Balboa specifically because I wanted our boys to be in an environment with other gifted children. I learned that the teachers were, for the most part, exceptional educators, some of them having certificates in gifted education (which I would recommend looking for). In the 7 years that we were at Balboa I learned alot about special education, how the school district’s special education system works, or doesn’t work for our 2E boys and I learned how to fight for them and for their education. It was very difficult and I know that some parents would rather move their kids than fight like I had to. But, in retrospect, I think I would do it all again.

Our oldest has been able to keep most of his friends from the gifted ES. Some of them were scattered for middle school and then reunited at the high school level. But he has also remained friends with the kids who went to different high schools because they had common friends and common interests. These are the friends he will have known for most of his 18 year lifespan.

I’m very proud of our DS1 and his many accomplishments in Science, Math and Music. English was not his strong subject, but he struggled and passed his classes. Yes, he had an IEP, which he hated because of the “stigma” he perceived. But without it he would not have made as much progress, and may have had to repeat some classes. I don’t know where the alternative path would have taken him, but I did what I thought was best for him, and he is now going on to college and moving out on his own (to campus). I could have some regrets but I’m proud of myself for what I have learned and accomplished in advocating for him and for our younger son, as well. (He has two more years of high school). I’m excited and looking forward to starting a NEW CHAPTER in our lives as DS1 moves on and spreads his wings.

In summary, I would recommend taking up the fight for the best education you can find for your child, what ever the path may be. Get the best schools and the best teachers you can find and fight for the services and supports that your child needs to have. They have as much right to the best schools and the best teachers as any other students. And they have us to stick up for them and fight for them. And we have each other for resources and support. Best wishes! 🙂 Marcie

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Today is our oldest son’s 18th birthday. He wants to spend the afternoon and evening with his friends. I’m so glad he has friends to spend it with. They want to go hang out at the mall, then go to a fund raiser for their Robotics club, that he organized. He’s the treasurer of the club, and this is his senior year in public high school. He’s getting ready to graduate in June. We’re looking forward to another celebration for him, then sending him off to college. He seems to be doing well. He tells me he’s doing fine. He hates it when I worry about him. He wants to be done with his IEP and move on. I’m concerned about weather his EF challenges will make it difficult for him to transition to dorm life and more independence. I want him to become more independent and I’m looking forward to helping him with the transition to college, but I want him to be prepared to be successful. And I’m just not convinced, yet. Anyway, for today, and tomorrow, and the next week, we’re celebrating!  Yea!!

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Feeling Discouraged

I’ve been advocating for our DS1 since he was in the second grade, 10 years ago. Now he’s getting ready to graduate from HS and go out into the world and spread his wings. Will he be successful? I hope he will be, but I’m not certain and I worry that he is unprepared. The service that the school district agreed to give him (finally) is not working out, and we’re running out of time to advocate for any changes in his IEP during this final spring semester. The admin is talking to me about scheduling his exit IEP, but I feel he still needs to have the service.
What should I do? We are out of time. I feel like the school district has won, just by being so maddeningly inefficient. I’m thinking of seeking out a private provider to see him over the summer, which we will have to pay for. We are struggling to recover from our financial challenges of the past year. Our DS2 needs my attention and more of our energy and resources to survive his NPS.
I’m exhausted and I feel like giving up. The school district has “won”. Our boys are not getting the support that they need to be successful. I hope the district will be happy.

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Thoughts About Blogging

It occured to me this afternoon, as I thought about my most recent post, that maybe I’m being bitter about all of my  experiences with the school district. Maybe I come across as angry and it turns off the admin so they don’t want to listen to me from the start. Maybe it’s all my fault that we have had such a difficult time getting special education services for our two kids. Well, I thought, I AM angry.  My children are precious to me and it angers me when school district admin don’t feel the same way as I do about my kids. I need to write about it. Maybe that will help me feel better.

Maybe it will help me feel less angry at the admin who told me “We don’t do IEP’s at this school”. Maybe it will help me feel less angry at the school psychologist who told me, “We can consider the private psychologist’s report, but we don’t have to accept it”, and “We don’t believe you and we’re not going to do the assessment testing”. Maybe it will help me feel less angry at the teachers who I saw literally turn their backs on the kids who were struggling because they didn’t want to get fired from their jobs. Maybe it will help me feel less angry at the principal who told me, “the wheelchair is a liability issue” and “we can’t allow the wheelchair on the playground, or in the cafeteria, so your son will have to sit in the front office during recess and lunch”. Or the VP who told me “Yes, you can volunteer at the book fair, but you can’t bring your son on campus because of the wheelchair”. Or the admin who turned her back on my son during his graduation ceremony and refused to shake his hand because I had argued with her about the wheelchair. Or the teachers who told my son, “There’s not enough room for your wheelchair in the library so you’ll have to leave…and if you don’t stay out you won’t be able to go on the field trip”. Or the district program coordinator who told me “We’ll agree to your request for eligibility if you’ll agree to non-public school placement”. It was a package deal.

Hey, you know what? I AM feeling better.

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