Discouraged.

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Rannveig, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. Rannveig

    Rannveig Member

    When difficult child got the 504 plan I'd requested I gave in to the temptation to sit back and relax. Okay, maybe I didn't exactly relax, but I returned my attention to other challenges in the life of my family that had taken a back seat while I'd been working to get difficult child a neuropsychological exam and working to get his school to put accommodations in place based on his diagnosis (basically that he's highly intelligent but has disabling deficits in the area of processing/executive function).

    Things seem to be going okay in most of difficult child's classes, but in history he had a big research paper due about a week ago, and he didn't turn it in. This won't make him fail the course but will garner him a low grade. I haven't been following his daily progress, in part because he lives with X most of the time while school is in session and in part because, well, my own executive functioning isn't so hot (or maybe I'm just lazy, just as difficult child may simply be lazy to some extent). So I only found out last night that this paper hadn't been turned in.

    But note that difficult child's teacher hadn't contacted me or X to say the paper was missing. And note that in the past month, a school guidance counselor has only met with difficult child once to discuss how he's doing, even though the guidance counselors had said they would regularly coach him on executive skills.

    I know what I have to do next is ask for a meeting with the 504 coordinator and the history teacher and demand better communication and try to figure out a workaround for difficult child. I'm discouraged because I feel the onus is on me to figure out what the accommodation should be in a situation like this, where difficult child doesn't do a major assignment because he procrastinates and then, at the 11th hour, realizes he's chosen a topic that won't work and that he doesn't really understand how to write a research paper. And I'm not a teacher or psychologist and really don't know what to ask for, and I feel like the school is going to take advantage of that to stonewall me.

    My husband thinks I should insist now on an IEP, since the 504 plan obviously wasn't adequate, but I don't even know what I'd ask to put in the IEP. And I can't afford a private consultant and was never able to identify help from the city, county or state.

    Thanks for listening; now that I've vented I guess I can get down to business. Best wishes to everyone here.
     
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I think most of us have been down that road. Sometimes, even with more formal plans like an IEP, you have to keep fighting. The system usually loves to pay lip service to accommodations rather than action. (when you get a school system that loves action and works with you... you are extremely fortunate)
     
  3. Tired and Hopeful

    Tired and Hopeful New Member

    Been there, done that, and if I had to do it over again, I would fight for the IEP and a specialized plan, and then hold their feet to the fire. High school placed my grandson on a 504 Plan and I found that nobody monitored it or paid the slightest bit of attention . If I had not monitored it, grandson would not have graduated because of lack of credit. Nobody caught that...nobody but me. When I called the school counselor, all I got was ...Oh My!!! I had better check on that. In my opinion (and it is only my opinion) 504 plans are not monitored and nobody much understands them. Not so with the IEP.
     
  4. Tired and Hopeful

    Tired and Hopeful New Member

    And I would also say that all sorts of modifications can be put in an IEP plan...monitoring of dates things are due, modified writing papers, and on and on.
     
  5. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Rannveig,

    I know this is off topic a bit, but I was wondering why he doesn't know how to do an assignment--specifically the research paper. Has he been taught the step-by-step approach to doing it from start to finish?

    I would want to know how the school goes about teaching this very important skill.

    If it has not been taught to him (and the class) in a very clear and specific way, I would be unhappy. At the school or the teacher, not at the child.

    Now, I may be way off base here, because I don't know your situation other than what has been written on this thread, but I thought I would throw that out there.
     
  6. Rannveig

    Rannveig Member

    AppleCori, I honestly don't know why he doesn't know how to do a research paper. Apparently the teacher gave the kids an assignment packet that included samples, and that was enough for the other students, but it wasn't enough for my son. (I didn't see the packet, as Odin conveniently leaves such things at his father's house, where he lives during the week.) This may be a feature of his disability -- that he makes things more complex than they need to be, over-thinking them and tying himself into knots. Or it may just be an excuse. I'll find out more tomorrow in a meeting with the school -- thanks for the idea to ask "how the school goes about teaching this very important skill." I'm pleased that the 504 coordinator was at least cooperative in arranging a meeting to occur within 36 hours of my writing to her. I somehow doubt, though, that the history teacher is going to offer any ideas at the meeting. Seems like I'm behind with my own homework!
     
  7. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I don't know the depth or breadth of the assignment (or even what grade your son is in). I also don't know how much experience the students have had with research papers, so I may be totally off, but...

    If it is a paper that needs sources cited, 1st and 2nd drafts, etc. and the students have had minimal exposure to this type of writing assignment, I would expect that they should have had progress checked, drafts looked over, meetings with the teacher to go over what they have written, etc.

    Maybe some kids can do the assignment with just the help of a 'packet' but many can't. And that includes many students without IEPs.

    My adult kids had both a six-week class on writing research papers the summer before high school and a semester-long class in 11th in which they produced a 20 or 30-page paper. It was a tremendous help when they went to college. Many of their peers struggled in college because they never had really learned how to do it. And my girls were undaunted by having to write a Master's Thesis.
    '
     
  8. Rannveig

    Rannveig Member

    Thank you, AppleCori; it's true, I can't remember Odin's having had an assignment like this before (he's in 10th grade in a not-very-demanding-or-competitive district). Your comments have given me an idea for an approach for tomorrow -- I really appreciate it!
     
  9. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Let us know how it goes!
     
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Some teachers believe kids learn best by figuring it out for themselves. But whether that is true for most kids or not, it definitely isn't true for quite a number of kids with various challenges - including out-of-the-box thinkers. Some kids simply have to be taught, directly.
     
  11. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    The discovery method has it's place in the teacher's toolbox.

    But the student needs a firm foundation to work from before he can branch out. If the student is not familiar with research papers, the only thing he may discover is that he is in over his head.

    MLA formatting isn't a 'discovery' type of thing.
     
  12. Rannveig

    Rannveig Member

    In retrospect, it seems that he knew all the mechanics of doing a research paper. But he was utterly flummoxed when he found that all the sources, including those recommended by the teacher, were either "fluff" or already said what he'd wanted to say, meaning he didn't feel he could add anything new to the debate. And it was too late to modify his topic because of course he only read the sources and planned to write the paper on the night before it was due. So when he said he didn't know how to write the paper, it was true, but not clear. He is, I think, the poster child for smart-but-ADHD. I am thinking he probably needs stimulant medications, but it'll probably be impossible to get his dad to agree to that.

    Anyhow, I've really enjoyed the comments here. I so wish I could know you all in real life!
     
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    A bit tongue-in-cheek here (but only a bit)... maybe he needs to learn how to wing it when all there is out there is "fluff". It's a really useful tool in university. Rarely taught at high school.

    Not doing the research early enough to know that he needed a different topic, was supposed to be addressed by the 504. So, the lack of oversight that the 504 promised would be there, should remove the stringent late-assignment marking... as in, maybe a 20% penalty, but... not "max 50%". Just my opinion, of course.
     
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    p.s. medications are a mixed bag. Lots of kids don't want them once they hit high school - for a variety of reasons. By that age, many of them begin learning to manage themselves, without medications. However, the coaching and oversight is even more critical if he isn't on medications... as he will need to learn other management techniques well.
     
  15. Rannveig

    Rannveig Member

    OMG, Insane, I love you! My husband and I told Odin exactly the same thing: dealing with fluff is exactly what you need to do! This is a high school research paper, not your Ph.D. bloody dissertation! But Odin has this "little professor" side of him -- it's hard for him to accept that anything is just an exercise and not something that must reflect his immortal soul.

    Rereading the 504, I see that it is, conveniently for the school, rather vague on matters of oversight and on the circumstances in which Odin will receive extensions. But I'm of a mind to use a variation on your very good argument in a note to the 504 counselor, guidance counselor, and teacher. It's worth a shot.

    There was someone on the boards here who used to (still does?) quote Maya Angelou -- something to the effect of, "We did the best we could with what we knew, and when we knew more we did better." It's good advice.
     
  16. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Rannveig,

    How are things going?
     
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