difficult child's regularly scheduled downward spiral


Active Member
It seems springtime is the worst time of year for difficult child so I decided to post after a long hiatus from the board. We don't have Internet at home so I have been sneaking on the board again at work during lunch and breaks.

difficult child was doing relatively well considering we moved to a new state last summer. The school we chose was highly recommended by everyone and I have been happy with the way things were going there. He had a one-on-one resource teacher with him throughout most of the day and he was getting through and even enjoying school. With only a week's warning, the district pulled this resource teacher and moved her to the high school because there were a lot more students in need there. They replaced her with a resource room teacher who had a full classroom. So instead of someone with him throughout the day, he had a resource teacher he checked in with at the end of the day.

It was only in his IEP that he have a resource teacher to check in with, the one-on-one was supposed to be temporary until he got used to the new school (which, in addition to being a new district in a new state, was his first year in middle school). So I can't fight it legally with the IEP.

It seems things have gone downhill since. And spring is his worst time, so it's all the more downhill now. He's been suspended three times since January. I think his teacher has decided he is choosing to be this way. I got an email a couple weeks ago about his bad day. I emailed back saying I was in no way making excuses, but we have to consider the fact that it was the Friday of testing week, he had a sub that morning, his great-grandmother was in ICU and we thought she wasn't going to make it (she's back to normal now), and one of his friends on his soccer team was taken away by ambulance after he collapsed while holding his head. Everyone thought it was an aneurism or worse. She emailed me back saying that she doesn't think those are reasons why he chose to argue with a classmate and insult the child's mother.

Last night I got a note in his agenda from this teacher saying he didn't turn in a big report that was due that day (the monday after spring break). He gets detention until it is complete, and he will get 0 out of the 300 points. I looked back in the agenda and there was never a mention of this report - I had no idea it was due or that he was even working on it. (Of course he should have told me but he never tells me anything about school and what work he should be doing). The last big report that was due they didn't let me know until the night before that it was due. We had to work all night on it, including shopping for the supplies.

Of course I'm second-guessing myself and wondering if I'm overreacting but I'm really aggravated. I think she's convinced herself he is just choosing to not do anything. I know he's making the choices not to tell me and not to do the work, but he is academically very capable of doing it, just not emotionally. They all know he is academically capable, so I don't see how giving him 0 points because he didn't do it is going to help. difficult child doesn't learn from this. He has a reading log due every month, worth 100 points. He refuses to fill it out. If we force him to fill it out, he doesn't turn it in. We've tried everything. He loves reading, and he reads for at least an hour every night - the reading log requires 30 minutes. He reads in his spare time at school. They all comment on it. But every month, he gets 0 points because he doesn't turn in the log. This bothered me, but I didn't really fight it because I didn't want to make waves when they seemed to be trying on every other level with him. But him getting 0 out of 300 for a project I know he can do, it just makes me mad. The teachers are worried about his behavior getting worse and worse, and I think doing this will just worsen his attitude and his behavior will keep going downhill. And it won't teach him to do the big project on time the next time, he doesn't function like that.

I don't know, maybe I am overreacting. Should we hold him to the same expectations as the others in the class?



I have the same question. Same circumstances, however didn't move. Is he defiant on purpose? Is he angry on purpose? That seems to be what the school is telling me. They threaten to call the police for disorderly conduct atleast once a week if he is defiant or angry. Same with school work. Should he be held to the same academic and behavior expectations as all others?

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I guess I would look into the possibility of an IEP for ED or maybe a 504 plan. They should be making sure things are written down in his assignment notebook so you are aware. With any of my students that struggle-IEP or not-I set up a program with their parents so they are aware of daily and long term assignments.


Well-Known Member
Why does a teacher expect a child to be motivated to do a report that is worth 0 points? I can see losing 5 points a day or soemthing like that - but come on. Who in their right mind would complete an assignment that makes no impact on their grade?

Can you imagine your boss making you do a report that nobody was ever going to look at? Would you do it? Heck no!

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Linda - how very frustrating. I'm impressed that you have difficult children downward spirals pretty targeted. That has got to help somewhat.

It sounds like teacher expects a great deal of "control" out of a 10 year old boy. That's a lot of stress for a easy child to deal with, let alone a difficult child with significant issues.

Banging my head on the wall with you.


New Member
It sounds like you may need to revise the IEP. As a parent, you are entitled to request an IEP meeting. And particularly, since there have been suspensions involved, I would guess that the school would not want to try to argue if you took the position taht his IEP needs to be updated. If you can document that the problems increased when they decreased the support, then you should be able to get more supports written into the IEP, I would think. Best of luck!


Active Member
We just had difficult child's parent/teacher conference yesterday and they finally admitted that difficult child is getting his best grade during social studies, the only period he has a one-on-one aide. He gets his work done at school and never has homework. I think they are all seeing that he needs more individualized attention than they can give him.

I have documented at both IEP meetings we've had since his one-on-one was moved, his schoolwork and behavior has gotten worse. I think they're finally coming around to admitting it.

His teacher has promised now that she will email me with specifics on his homework and any big projects that are due, in addition to putting it in his agenda. I think she realized that she dropped the ball by not mentioning it in his agenda - she sent a handout home with him and assumed it would get to me. She had to turn grades in for 9 weeks, but is seeing if it's possible to change his grade after he turns in the assignment. I think (after a couple of emails back and forth to her and his resource room teacher) that she's coming around again to realizing he can't maintain control at this point and we can't expect him to always make the best choices.

We also decided, and as much as I hate it I suggested it, that difficult child doesn't get to go out after lunch for free time or during physical activity time (otherwise known as recess!). He just gets into too much trouble there and then brings it back to class. It doesn't matter to difficult child, because he'd rather stay in class and read or go to the library, so it won't be viewed as a punishment.

We are scheduling an IEP meeting in May - earlier if things don't improve with the renewed push to help him themselves. They haven't given in to the idea of a one-on-one aide for him all day (probably because they don't have anyone available), but I'm pretty sure they'll agree to settomg up many more supports next year when it goes to full-fledged middle school.