difficult child and school - my frustrations

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by butterflydreams, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Well, overall difficult child is doing wonderful in all areas except school. He has F's in all his classes, he has failed every quarter so far and is heading to failing the year. He tries (or so he says). He is smart but has trouble staying on task. I emailed all his teachers last week for an update, here is some of their responses:

    Math: [SIZE=+0]In math he is hit or miss. He is either completely on task and answering questions or the complete opposite. Unfortunately, it's the latter more often.

    y{margin-left:10px;margin-right:10px;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;} -->
    [SIZE=+0]Science: difficult child has done a great job of assimilating into the science class. He seems to be happier and more social with a lot of the students. He engages me on topics of science interest too. The drawback is for him to stay focused on getting the work done in his journal for each and every day as a first and foremost priority. He gets easily distracted and remains off- task. This leads to not being able to complete the work on time since there are no at-home texts available, nor would there be the team interaction on the answers.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+0]I can't anchor myself nearby to be a constant reminder (which has been shown to get results).

    I verbally spoke to his English and Reading teachers and they say the same thing. Verbally he engages, but when it comes to written he just doesn't do it as well as he has extreme trouble staying on task.

    When I met with the school psychiatric and the counselor they just said he needs to do the work, we know he can. He doesn't remember when he has homework.

    Lately there have been many other improvements - for instance, within the last few weeks he actually spends more time outside with friends in our apartment complex than he does inside. This is a first in a very long time. He has 3 boys that are in his grade at school that live in our complex, they seem like very nice boys. This is major because for the last 2 years he hasn't really socialized.

    I understand and I have told the school that you have to figure that for 2 years, difficult child has been in and out of the hospital and partial and has essentially not had very much school work and no homework. He has been back in regular school since Oct, with a brief hospital stay in January.

    I am working on a plan so that I can stay home and go to school full-time to get my degree, this will enable me to be home when he gets home. Right now, it is just him and his sister at home until about 6pm except 1 night when I have school and don't get home until 9ish and another night about 7:30pm.

    difficult child really needs to do his work right after school because he takes his medications at 6pm and after that his concentration is even worse - I have tried to work with him on math after that and it is useless. Sometimes he falls asleep by 7:30-8pm. If he doesn't take his medications at 6pm, he won't get up in time in the morning.

    I just don't know what to do. difficult child gets so frustrated. He said last night, whats the point in trying, I am failing anyway. He says he just wants to start over next year.

    The school psychiatric had said at one point that we would take him repeating 7th grade off the table because repeating doesn't really help kids, it can cause other problems. The counselor interrupted him and said she would have no choice but for him to repeat. Now I was told in 5th grade that he would have to repeat only to find the next year that they had passed him anyway. When they did testing to evaluation him for an IEP, he tested 12 grade plus for reading and 8th grade for math.

    I am so frustrated. I wish I could leave my job before fall, but at this point, I just don't think I can. I am looking at the end of the year - alot will depend on finances. We are still looking at possibly moving to Missouri, but that won't be until probably end of school next year.

    I just don't know. I can't get him to do it when I am not there and after I get home, it's near impossible.

    Sorry for rambling, but that is how my mind is right now.


  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Any chance of him getting a tutor or wraparound aid to be at home with him in the early afternoons?

    Seems to me that the distractability and inability to focus are classic ADD symptoms so that is kinda like...DUH! Whats in his IEP to help with that? Maybe he could have some sort of study hall at the end of each day to help with organization and get homework started. Or god forbid...homework done. My oldest cannot do homework at home...no joke! Even in college he had to stay at school to get it done. It was like there was this huge disconnect between the two places. Drove me to distraction.

    I took a quarter of classes with him and I am one of those students who bring home my books and do homework every night and study for hours to get top grades. Him? He never cracks a book. His backpack gets tossed on the floor and is never opened. It would almost make me wanna knock him upside the head. Uh...Billy...dont you have an english paper due? Yeah...I will work on it later. Ughhhhhh. Meanwhile he is playing some computer game and I am furiously working on my paper...lol.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator


    Sorry for the troubles difficult child is having at school. I have some questions for you. Once you answer, I hope to be able to give you better advice.

    Does he currently have an IEP or 504? What accommodations are provided (in general)?
    How stable do you think he is on his medications? Are any creating a great deal of sedation?

    Hang in there -- I know how frustrating this can be.
  4. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Your difficult child has a learning disability. You should ask the public school to test for one. Public schools are required to accommodate this. Private schools are not required, but sometimes do any way. I am having the same problem with my easy child. (easy child is a easy child because despite the fact that he is failing every subject, he is calm, friendly, easy to get a long with and has a very mature behavior attitude.) He received 4 F and 1 D out of 6 classes on his 3 quarter report card. Signs are bad for the 4th quarter. He can only take over 3 classes in the summer. If he fails more he will be out of his school. Thus I am looking around. This is not because he is lazy or dumb. His is extremely smart, and hard working. He struggles getting everything together, remembering his homework (or remembering to hand it in). Stuff like that. He was identified with a learning disability in elementary school. The middle school told me he grew out of it. (Believe that I've got a bride for sale).

    We are on the waiting list for a private school that has a learning center. The center works with the kids. Each one has a "class" where they meet with the learning center director or assistant. They go over their organization, study skills and such. This includes asking the question, "Do you have everything you need for your homework?" "What is your homework?" (and they work with the teachers so they can get it when they don't know!). They also address what other issues the student might have because of the learning disability and manage accommodations. Our only problem is that they are full for next year and all we get is a spot on the waiting list.

    Public schools are required by law to provide the same kind of support. Some are better then others and many school districts are better. If my easy child fails his classes this year and an opening in the school with the learning center does not open, then we will probably have him live with a friend because that county' does a better job. I will not send him to a local public school. Too much gang activity, and he is always a target. (6 foot 4, pacifist that does not fight back, geeky and weak on social skills). Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

    I would recommend:
    - If not already done - have him tested for learning disabilities.
    - Find a school that adequately addresses them. (Written like this is an easy thing to do)
    - The international dyslexic association's website is a good resource even when the learning disability is not related to reading. (http://www.interdys.org/)

    Good luck!
  5. Smallworld - thanks. Here is the answers. He has a 504 at school. It basically says that he is allowed to leave the classroom if he needs to extract himself and go to the counselors office. He is allowed to use the restroom and/or get water whenever he needs to. He is allowed to standup in class if needed or take a quick walk (this was needed for awhile because he was so sedated on Trazadone until we lowered his dose.) We tried for an IEP, but currently he doesn't have one. If we put him on one, he would end up losing his one class that he really enjoys and says starts the day for him, 1st period art. They left it open though that we can revisit it later.

    As far as being stable, he is the most stable now than he has been in the last 2 years. The only sedating medication he has is his Trazadone, which ever since we reduced the dosage it is much better because before we reduced it, he had a tough time waking up in the morning and wasn't functional really until noon.

    he does have a psychiatrist appointment on 5/7, so I will be discussing everything with his psychiatrist.

    aeroeng: I know my son has ADD, the teachers even say that is all they see in him. The doctor has said before that we can't address it with medications, we have tried before and it only made him aggressive. I have checked into other schools in our area and there isn't anything except study at home programs and that isn't an option. The school tested him and they said if we put him in the class that is for Learning Disability (LD), then the teacher would say he is too smart to be in there and they would put him in a resource class which is 1st period and he would lose his art which is his only favorite class and says it starts his day off on the right foot.

    dammit janet: They have a "homework club" available after school 2 days per week. He has the option of staying there and I have told him he should but he doesn't. Next year I am going to require it. There are no "study halls" that I know of. That is one more reason I want to move. The schools where I am looking at say that they have a mandatory "homework club" thing that kids have to stay after school if they don't turn in their homework. I have told him he needs to stay after, but he gets on the bus anyway. The school won't make him stay.

    I think difficult child is to the point that he feels why bother it won't make a difference anyway. Like I said, I am going to speak to both his therapist and his psychiatrist about it and see what they say.

    In Las Vegas, there really aren't many options for anything. Las Vegas schools are ranked one of the lowest in the country - they s*ck. Doctors are hard to come by too especially specialists.