Repeating a grade???

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101 Archives' started by timer lady, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    My 9 y/o twins were adopted out of foster care and each have an IEP. My son is in level 5 EBD and my daughter is in mainstream with an aide.

    Neither one has tested at 3rd grade level, and yet have been promoted to 4th grade. difficult child daughter is at late first grade for math and almost grade level for reading, but cannot print legibly. difficult child son is no where near grade level for reading or printing, but is almost grade level for math.

    MY husband and I believe they should not be promoted to 4th grade at this time because of their emotional immaturity as well as their academic records. Our SD is telling husband and I because they have an IEP they cannot be held back.

    Has anyone have any experience with this. I would appreciate any help on this matter.

  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Hi Linda

    Couple of things.

    There are pros and cons to retention. I'm not sure grade retention would be a good idea for your kids just on an emotional level, but every case is different. Because of their background, you might want to discuss this with-their p-doctor and get his/her thoughts on it also.

    Our kids recognize that they are "different" and it often causes self-esteem problems. Additional problems like being retained can cause additional problems in this area. You might want to do some reading on this -- there are some urls that might help you sort through it at .

    Children with-ADHD typically are immature. The general rule of thumb is that an ADHDer is about 2/3's their chronologal age. So, if you've got a 9 yr old child with-ADHD acting like a 5 - 7 year old in areas, it's the norm rather than the exception.

    The most important question in my opinion is that your kids have an IEP, but are the children reaching the IEP goals? It's the IEP that should be driving placement and services for the children. You might want to take a look at to see how goals should be written.

    Other questions that came to my mind while reading your post is whether there's been proper identification of the problems and whether the IEP goals are appropriate (specifically designed for the individual child's needs). Have all the recommendations in the sd's evaluation report beein included in the IEPs?

    For instance, illegible handwriting. Why? Dysgraphia, fine motor skill delay, or dyslexia, etc? Has dyslexia been ruled out in that there are reading and handwriting problems? If appropriate, are the children receiving occupational therapy services for fine motor skill delays? If the kids aren't up to grade level, did the IEP include summer school or extended-school-year services? If not, why not?

    Sometimes children designated with-emotional problems are warehoused in an alternative/behavioral setting with-little or no emphasis on academics. Is that potentially part of the problem? (It must be recognized however that it's near impossible to teach children when behavior is out of control.)

    Sorry, more questions than answers.

    by the way, I posted a thread for you in PZ. Wanted to welcome you to the site. /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
  3. LAURA

    LAURA New Member

    I found all of this very interesting. I want to know more about how to get my son tested for that disorder related to the handwriting ? Also what are the symptoms for dyslexia ? My difficult child writes horribly. Reads at a 2-3 grade level, yet they keep passing him into the higher grade levels. He has spent the last 6 months in a different school where there is a contained classroom for children who have learning disorders.Most of them have ADD, ODD and more. I have seen some improvement but not much. I feel aprehensive asking these questions at the school, it seems that they are always in a hurry to get your question answered. And they are also trying to get out of a lot of things I have asked for. Where does one go when they feel that the school is failing their child ? I feel pushed to the side and ignored. Possibly because I am intimidated. Also my parents who are my only support do not believe about difficult children behavior issues. He is PERFECT in thier eyes. Sorry I just had to let loose. Anyone out there today that feels like adding to the post with comments would be very appreciated.

    Much thanks /importthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

  5. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Hi Alisha,

    Sorry about the quotes I just posted. Am very brain dead this a.m.

    My daughter's IEP is due for review in October. She has not met any of her goals. I have been trying to have her tested at the sd level for dslyexia and other fine motor problems since last spring. Her initial evaluation was 2 years ago and she was in a much better frame of mind at that time, so husband and I are struggling to have things changed. Her IEP states other health impaired. We visited with daughter's and DS's P-DR yesterday who was not supportive of retention. His comment was that by state law if the children are performing 2 years behind grade level the state and sd must pay for private tutoring. Both of my difficult children were in for a physcial 2 weeks ago and their pediatrician noted a delay in both fine and gross motor skills.

    DS is in level 5 EBD where the emphasis is on behaviors not academics. My son never wants to leave that setting because he gets to go to school store to spend his points on toys. Last year, he began 2 hours daily in mainstream.

    daughter is in mainstream with an aide to help her keep on track and from leaving the school setting.

    I noted your post on PZ this a.m. If you want to know more I posted under general last night under New and need an outlet.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Some things that would be pertinent to both of you.

    First, you need to educate yourselves on Federal IDEA law. You must also know your own educational State regs. There are some areas of the Federal law that gives latitude to the States -- so it's important to be familiar with-both.

    Just a suggestion, but when I first got started, I found all this overwhelming. I ended up buying a realm of paper and printing out the entire Federal and State regs -- then put them in a binder for easy reference use. It was a very well spent $7.00. These regs are in pretty straightforward language, but you won't catch it all in the first read. Ask more questions, do more research, then read them again.

    It's important to know that there are timelines attached to a lot of IEP responsibilities. If you make a request for a re-evaluation in person or via telephone, it's important to follow-up with a letter of understanding sent via Certified Mail. The CM causes the timelines to kick in. If the conversation is between the principal and me, I address the letter to the principal and send a cc to the Sp Ed Director and the Superintendent -- you want to make sure and get it to the party that is ultimately responsible. That's typically the Superintendent.

    There are parent and child advocacy organizations in every state that can assist parents getting through the school district maze.

    A parent can call an IEP meeting at any time -- it's not necessary to wait until October. Again, send a letter requesting it be scheduled.

    Kandwsmom: Check your state regs re: tutor requirement. Also, if the pediatrician noted fine and gross motor skill delays, in my opinion he should have referred the kids to a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. I'd recommend you consider scheduling a private evaluation and if your children show signs of Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), to also have the Occupational Therapist (OT) perform an SIPT. The pediatricians opinion would be helpful if the sd is stalling performing their own Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation. If you've already requested this evaluation in writing and the sd failed to follow through within the alotted time, there are other steps you can take. You could file a complaint with-the sd and/or the state education and/or request mediation. Check your state regs for procedures.

    I'd recommend that you forward a written request for an Occupational Therapy evaluation by the school district.

    I'd also recommend that you both get complete copies of the school district's evaluation report(s) together with all subtest scores and review them thoroughly. Without that type info, it's difficult for parents to have input about what their children need in the line of services.

    I'd also strongly recommend that you not rely 100% on school district evaluations. In theory, the evaluations are suppose to be so comprehensive as to discover disabilities, even if they weren't "suspect" at the onset. In reality however it doesn't usually work that way. Be aware that some school districts do an excellent job following IEP mandates, but some do not.
  7. Lizz

    Lizz New Member


    Alisha has given some great infor to follow up on, I hope that you find it helpful + useful!

    by the way, your children have IEPs. The services they are receiving should be appriopriate and developed according to their specific learning issues.

    In some ways the diagnosis is not important. The important considereation is that your son is below grade level in reading.. Why---doesn't matter too much. Essentially, a further diagnosis of dyslexia won't help much. Dyslexic simply means and "inability to read" .

    The interventions are devised according to the objectives and goals on the IEP. So, you children should have an IEP that addresses their specific needs based on testing info, classroom observation, the teacher's input and your input.

    If you child is not hitting his or her goals, you need to address that at his or her annual review. Are the goals inappropriate? Are they specific and measureable? Can the staff at school keep adequte progress notes based on how the goals are written? Are your children receiving enough instructional time with a sped teacher who can help by implementing specific learning strategies?

    I think your time and energy is best spent trying to get them the appropriate level of services, since they have existing IEPs.

    You can request an IEP meeting any time!

  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Thank you all for your input.

    My husband and I have decided after the info I received here and speaking with the MN Assoc. for Children's Mental Health, as well as the school not to retain daughter and DS. We are requesting IEP meetings for the first week of school which begins the day after Labor Day.

    I feel that too much emphasis has been placed on behaviors (as they should be in most cases) and not on academics. I believe I have an advocate lined up to attend with us.

    Again thanksl
  9. alphamember/theresa

    alphamember/theresa New Member

    Please forgive me for repeating what already may have been said.
    My son is adopted also & has almost the exact alphabet soup diagnosis as yours.
    I was told by a wise woman ( Therapist) " don't be too worried if the teachers pass him & he really appears like he can't do the work? Chances are- the child can, he just won't. When he is healing & working on his life- you will amazed at what he can actually do. He will sprout like crazy & gain weight." ( was an issue)

    My child is getting better & he tested "low" but NOT currently! ( but we did get an IEP & have an advocate)
  10. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Sorry to get into this so late.

    What a wealth of good information and the decision has been made but let me add one thing:

    Retention (beyond KDG) rarely helps and almost always hurts self-esteem. Some of the sadest kids around are doubly retained (yes they still do this) kids who are 16 by 8th grade. They drop out--why not? Who wants to be a 20 y.o. h.s. senior, severely m.r. student excepted?

    Immaturity can be improved and so can motivation but the retention that seemed like a good idea at ages 7, 8, or 9 rarely looks that way 5 years later.
  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    This has been such a tough decision. Do these guys ever catch up academically? I know that their self esteem is at risk, but won't their self esteem continue to decline because they are struggling to keep up with their peers? My biggest fear is that by the time they reach 9th grade they will be so far behind and so frustrated they WILL drop out.

    And there are days that I believe that I cannot damage them anymore that they were in their birth home and they will be therapy the rest of their lives anyway.

    Double edged sword so to speak.

  12. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Whether or not they catch up depends on whether the problems are emotional/behavioral or there are also "true" learning disabilities in my opinion.

    I0 agree that labels do not dictate services BUT correct diagnosis does matter. It is not that Learning Disability (LD) kids can't learn but the idea of "catching up" i.e., having school work be the favorite (or easiest) thing to do is unlikely. With such trauma in their backgrounds, continued therapy is a given for your kids to me which also helps the school situation through the motivation route. School is HARD for some kids and it pains me when kids are blamed, told they are lazy, bad etc. when it really is harder for them than for others. A very smart dyslexic girl once told me she "has to work twice as hard for half as much success as her peers" and then be told she isn't trying or she would be doing better because she is smart.

    So I understand the difficulty of your decision. However, to the extent your kids' problems are either neurologically (ADHD) or biochemically (BiPolar (BP)) driven, rention won't change this. All retention does is give the children younger classmates (and perhaps ridicule of former same age classmates.) Research has shown that without intervention, retention doesn't work.

    The route to intervention is through the IEP. No child should have to fail and the work should be adjusted so that your children can do it successfully. I know that this is easier said than done in regularly classrooms.

    In another context I have fought this fight: my difficult child is not Learning Disability (LD) but he has always performed as if he were in Language Arts/English (despite an acknowldged high ability to pick up foreign languages easily--which just about eliminates any possibility of a language-based Learning Disability (LD).) All through grade school, teacher whispered about his mother's denial of his Learning Disability (LD) and how sad it was. I knew he wasn't Learning Disability (LD), the school psychologist knew it, and I had him independently evaluated twice to "prove" it. Didn't disuade the school. What it did is damage his self-esteem and it took very intensive therapeutic effort to get him back on track emotionally so he could do anything effectively. That said, he got a D in English last term (10th grade, regular ed, no support) but the preceding term he had gotten a B. He didn't like the second term teacher (and she didn't like him, I might add.)

    I talked to him about the D and he said--"I should have studied smarter for the final, I should have had a better attitude in class." I asked him if he understood why when he was younger, teachers thought he was Learning Disability (LD)? He said, "that is so stupid---I know lots of Learning Disability (LD) kids--they try really hard and just can't do it like other kids. I hate English and get what I deserve but there is a big difference: if I DECIDE to do better in English I could but Learning Disability (LD) kids can't just decide to." by the way, testing supports that my dear difficult child is at or above grade level in all language areas--so he could do it if he wanted to--he is not just boasting defensively.

    The point here is that if a diagnosis of Learning Disability (LD) is valid, there will always be problems with achievement but how the child views that lag is crucial. It is very hard to support a child's continued effort when the reward (grades and pace of learning) will be less. However, Learning Disability (LD) people can learn many things that enable them to do whatever they are motivated to work hard at. Learning Disability (LD) is not "fixed" it is compensated for in one of several ways: find another way to do it--illegible handwriting???use an Alphasmart--can't remember directions???write them down----hate to read for long periods???? concentrate on areas that do not depend on sustained reading---can't read at all??? get a very good therapist and start looking for major accommodations. You get the drift....Learning Disability (LD) adults can't do everything as well as others or they wouldn't be Learning Disability (LD) but most can have fine lives if they haven't been crippled emotionally while in school.

    I have problems with people who say that Learning Disability (LD) is "overcome" in ways that put unrealistic pressure on children. Is it sensible to tell a blind child that if they try harder they will see better? or that they can do "anything they want to" as an adult if they just "apply themselves?" No, of course not--blind children cannot will themsleves to see better and they don't have futures as pilots. It strikes me in much the same way to say that Learning Disability (LD) children can "do anything" and that they just "learn differently." No doubt they do learn differently but as the wise young dyslexic girl said to me "to work twice as hard for half as much" is hardly a difference any of us would choose for ourselves or our children.

    So what is the answer? I think the remediation plan for each child must be highly individualized but the big goal is rather uniform: self-esteem and the motivation that flows from it must come FIRST or nothing else will work. by the way self-esteem only comes from genuine progress not false praise so that is why all the above advice is suggesting more careful IEP construction and monitoring.

    Sorry to go on and on but as you can probably tell, I have strong feelings about the "Learning Disability (LD) establishment" and the way diagnosis and Tx have been handled since the increased emphasis on inclusion made the head to head comparison with classmates that your kids are experiencing inevitable.

    Take care,
  13. TxCzyLady

    TxCzyLady New Member

    I held back my son this year and he is repeating the 2nd grade even though he passed the classes. He has the same problem with writing and he is dyslexic even though the school says he doesn;t met the criteria.

    You have the right to hold your child back if you don;t think that he/she can handle the next grade.
  14. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Hi CzyLady,

    I thought so too. But the powers that be are making it extremely difficult. My good neighbor told me not to spin my wheels on this issue (her 21 y/o daughter had an IEP from grade 3 and graduated with a 5th grade reading level), but to concentrate on the accomodations that will bring them to grade level. So my first question at our IEP mtgs (I have requested one ASAP) is what do we need to do to get my difficult children caught up. Also, what guarantees will you give me that by 9th grade my difficult children will not be so frustrated because they cannot keep up with their peers that they will not drop out. I think these are valid questions given that our sd does not retain children with IEP's.

    Given that, husband and I are showing up to our mtgs with 2 advocates plus our therapist. There will be academic as well as behavorial goals (the last 2 years they concentrated wholly on behavorial goals). I will demand a tutor (based on the law here that states if children our 2 years behind grade level the school must pay for a tutor), and I will have communication (not complaints or whining about my difficult children) on a regular basis updating me on the progress they are making. I will not be taking phone calls from teachers whining about behaviors (last year I received at least 2 if not 3 calls daily). They are the pros, let them work it out (and they get them before medication rebound).

    I hope I can go into this with-o a chip on my shoulder but with an open mind. The last thing I need to do is make enemies when I need allies.

    Thanks for your input.