Need Help from Unwilling Teachers


I visit here periodically. I would log in every day if my schedule weren't so tight. My question relates to getting help for my 13-yo 7th grade ADHD son. He is very bright, and we were told he does not qualify for an IEP, although we never formally pursued the process. The problem is not in his ability to learn, but in his ability to organize, focus, and use his time wisely. He is in his third year of advanced math at his school, and he has been getting Ds and Fs on every quiz and test so far. We would love to help him out at home, but it is next to impossible because we do not know what his assignments are (until way after the fact most of the time) and when tests or quizzes will be happening, or even the material that will be tested. My husband is a high school math teacher, and our son is exceptional in math. The problem is that he doesn't always focus well in school. When we help him at home, he performs much better.

Teachers to this point have helped us out a lot by allowing us to keep an extra textbook copy at home and communicating via e-mail, etc. His present teacher is not helping in the least. While the school implements an agenda system, our difficult child does not use it approriately. His handwriting is terrible and almost impossible to read, and he often copies things down wrong, if he even copies it at all.

We have asked his present teacher to e-mail us each Friday with his assignments due for the following week as well as test dates, material covered, and a review sheet if possible. Two days ago, we received a very abrasive e-mail in reply (which she co-copied to the principal) stating that the school uses the agenda system and that she will sign it to make sure our difficult child writes in it. The problem is that the agenda reports what was already completed, not what is coming up, so it doesn't help much until after the fact. She said if we want to know what the assignments are that we should log in to the school grade system, which will reveal when he has failed to turn in an assignment. But again, this is after the fact. Then, she said she will not e-mail us and that she does not feel "comfortable" giving us the assignments ahead of time, since she may change them. Also, she said some of the quizzes are "pop" quizzes and she doesn't inform students ahead of time. She says our difficult child should be writing in his agenda, which of course, he does not. She said she has no review sheets. She said there are no extra textbooks. I AM SO ENTIRELY FRUSTRATED. All I want is some communication here. Not one thing in her response indicated that we can get any help. Is there anything we can do or that we have a right to? difficult child is on the brink of failing, and some communication could prevent it. Any thoughts?


Who told you he doesn't qualify? What was the reason given?

Has he ever been evaluated by the sd under IDEA regs for IEP eligibility?
The school told us (informally) that he wouldn't qualify, so we never pursued an evaluation. Their primary reason that he wouldn't qualify was that he achieved a very high test score on state testing (top 1% of the state), but he is nearly failing in some classes due to his lack of organization and focus (not turning in assignments, not listening to directions, not bringing home his work to complete, etc.). It is so hard because not only does he have a ton of difficulty with keeping things organized and disciplining himself to complete tasks, and handwriting, but he also doesn't have a lot of internal motivation either. He can succeed, but he needs a lot of help, it seems, to keep track of his assignments, study for tests, and self-regulate in general. Were it not for my and my husband's constant assistance, he would be failing completely, I know. We are worn out with contacting each teacher separately all the time, trying to figure out what he is supposed to be working on. I wish so much that difficult child had some internal drive to apply himself better, to take pride in his efforts, and so forth. He just doesn't take responsibility, and to some degree, he can't because of his ADHD. While he doesn't have a traditional learning disability, ADHD is certainly interfering with his learning and performance in school. It is a disability. He deserves help. And it would be relatively simple to provide - COMMUNICATION. That one thing could make the difference between his succeeding or failing in school. I would like to learn more about the IEP process and the chances we have for getting difficult child approved. If anyone knew what we go through on a daily basis, to manage his school responsibilities, there would be no question that he needs it. It is unfortunate that kids like him fall between the cracks sometimes. What do you think?


What do you think?

I think your sd is not doing their job.

There are still some school districts out there that will tell a parent that unless the child has failing grades, the child can not qualify for an IEP. This is false.

There are still some school districts that will tell a parent that they don't worry about the failing until a child is 2 years behind. This is true.

If you want to get anything done, it sounds as if you're going to have to parent refer your son for evaluation. You can do that by sending a letter to the sd. It's very important to send it via Certified Mail. The sd has to adhere to a timeline and the CM kicks that timeline in.

Due to your son's handwriting problems, I'd specifically request that an Occupational Therapy evaluation also be performed.

To be blunt, it wouldn't suprise me that when the evaluation is completed the sd's report will say that difficult child does not qualify. Hope I'm wrong.

Keep in mind that if you do not agree with the sd's findings for any reason, you should request an IEE. (Yes, this is sometimes a long process -- actually it is more times than not.)

I've experienced the same problem your family is having. I did so much support for difficult child, that the sd didn't "see" a need for an IEP. I finally had to back off.

See info at involving OSEP and "These children are not failing because they are not being allowed to fail. Parents and teachers are giving this type of support because they understand the devastation that comes with failure. " pertains to ADHD information from the Office of Special Education. There are other threads in the Sp Ed Archives that may be of benefit for you. There's a Getting Started thread that will explain some of the parents' and students' rights regarding IDEA/IEP and info on IEEs also.
Too many school districts discourage parents from pursuing an IEP. They come up with all kinds of excuses, even if your child has significant issues.
In your case, it seems pretty clear that something is impacting his ability to perform in class. This needs to be investigated.
Wishing you the best with the school.


New Member
Your son is very much like my oldest child. He is very much ADHD and would probably fail many of his classes without help organizing and staying on top of his work. This year he is in grade 9 and is getting some help but not as much as before and he is struggling. He has had Occupational Therapist (OT) and has a special kepboard because his handwriting is very difficult to read. It has been very helpful to him.

Keep on them because atleast here he would qualify for an IEP and interventions and modifications.