Too much expectations of school?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Cari Lynn, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. Cari Lynn

    Cari Lynn Guest

    All morning while cleaning I keep rolling around in my mind whether or not to go to the high school and talk to my son Drew's counselor. I got an email from his psychiatric teacher after I sent her one that was a bit curt, she explained that when a student is my son's age, 16, and a junior/senior in high school, she shouldn't be expected to police them, nor will she. She also eluded to the fact she checked on his grades in other classes and he seems to have a pattern of failing classes. She did offer that she is always in class at certain times should he wish to come talk to her or have help.

    For some reason, this really well, ****** me off. I was thinking of talking to the counselor about getting ALL his teachers together, as he is failing 5 of 7 classes, telling them that we do have an adolescent counselor working with Drew, something is going on, and is it too much to ask, if he isn't doing the in class work, police him a little more? Go by his desk a bit more often, remind him or be firm with him and tell him to DO his in class work. That if this was just pure laziness on his part then okay, I could see letting him fall flat on his face and learn, but this isn't the case, and it is probably easier to work with the kids who want to learn or who genuinely try but are struggling, but I, as his Mom, am asking for help. See what they say, am I crazy to do this?

    But then there is the voice of reason. It says that the counselor and his dad and I already tried to talk to him about his failing grades and I am not doing it attitude, that when we talked to him about getting a tutor or having the teacher help him, he said he probably wouldn't do it anyway. So why bother helping more. Or just leave him alone till after the holidays, after we, hopefully, get him in for the psychiatric evaluation and then see what they find and after seeing what we can do go from there. I don't know anymore...I want results and answers and I have nothing yet!!

    I just don't know what to do...
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would request (in writing and to the Special Education Director as well as the Principal) an IEP. If he is flunking most of his classes, and it's not because of drugs, then the school has an obligation to intervene and help him succeed if he is tested and requires special accommodations. in my opinion talking to the counselor is a waste of time in the longrun. Your son probably needs help and the counselor can't do much about it. Only the testing can. A lot of times kids don't do work because they don't understand it. This is what I'd do first as we've never had much luck with policing. Without an IEP, there are too many kids and the teachers really don't have the time nor do they tend to make the time.

    Hope you get answers and help for him soon! After you send them a letter (keep a copy) they have 30 days (I believe) to test him and call a meeting. If you get that far, I will tell you why you should bring an I"m going through this now. Now if you think he is capable and is just deliberately screwing up because he's into some bad stuff, not sure what to tell you. My kids cooperated with the help.

    You need to tell us a bit more about your son for us to be very helpful. You may want to do a signature, like I've done below. It will help us get an overview of your child....age, disability, problem, medication, etc. It also shows us the dynamics of the entire family.
  3. Cari Lynn

    Cari Lynn Guest

    MidwestMom...I am on the beginning of this very long road...His grades started to slip since he started the 9th grade and each year, his grades and his attitude has gotten progressively worse. I have no diagnoses for him yet, again, I am working on getting the hospital an hour or so away to take him, I am doing the paperwork, insurance stuff, and mailing to get him in for a psychiatric evaluation as we, at this moment, are not sure what is going on other than anger issues, ODD, and depression. We are hoping this will give us the much needed answers.

    I really have no one to talk to, my husband has thrown up his hands as no matter what we do, how much we argue, beg, or try, were met with a brick wall. It's like everyone but myself have given up on my son but me...I keep fighting to get others to see that something is wrong. I don't think he has a learning disability per say, he has a high I.Q. so who knows if it is he is too bored?

    Lots of questions but no answers.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sounds like drug abuse if his grades suddenly fell. Kids are good at doing that on the sneak.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    On the surface, there is nothing else she can do, if he has not IEP and no diagnosis. That needs to be your next step - YOU call for help and say, "He is failing. We need to assess for any possible underlying condition which could explain this, so appropriate treatment could turn this around."

    If a kid already has a diagnosis of something that explains the poor results, or if the child has a known problem approaching people to ask for help, or has other issues that mean he/she cannot perform socially to age equivalent, THEN you can go to the school counsellor and say, "I know at his age he should be able to do X. But he cannot, because of [give diagnosis]. We need to ignore his age and give him the extra support in order to help him overcome his disability."

    We had this attitude from difficult child 1's school - difficult child 1 had a diagnosis of Asperger's plus ADHD and clearly needed a lot of supports in place. At 16 he still needed a lot of reminders, a lot of teachers actually watching to make sure he put his papers and books in the right place; he needed reminders to go take his medications. He needed his hand help. And the staff resented this, said (in the meeting), "Why are we doing this for a student who by next year should be able to live independently in the community? If we coddle him now, he will never learn to look after himself! He will not be able to cope when he leaves school!"

    We had to say to the staff, "We know he shouldn't need this help at his age. But in his case, he does need this help. Withdrawing the help will not, in this case, help him learn. It will be like taking away the life jacket from a non-swimming toddler. He will get there, but is a long way from ready, despite his age. He needs your support, he needs this level of supervision, because DUE TO HIS DISABILITY he cannot YET do these things for himself. He will get there, but we do already know he will not be able to look after himself when he finishes school. No, he is not retarded, we know he is intelligent. But in some areas, he needs the same level of support, as someone with serious intellectual handicaps."

    We had to be very blunt. I also had to grit my teeth and thank the staff for their honesty in sharing their opinions. But it also gave me the freedom to be honest in return.

    Without assessment of difficult child first, however, followed by sharing the diagnosis with school staff, we would have got absolutely nowhere in requests for support. Even afterwards it was a huge struggle. But once we had a diagnosis we could point to, we had "something to hang your hat on".

  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    If this is basically new behavior since 9th grade I too wonder about drug use. I think before you do anything else you should get him drug tested to be sure it is not drug use. I would make an appointment with the doctor and tell the doctor you are concerned about his suddenly failing grades, general behavior and attitude. Ask them to do a check up including a drug test. Pot stays in your system about a month so if he is smoking at all regularly that will show up.

    I don't think a neuropsychologist evaluation, or an IEP will help whatsoever if the real problem is drug use. Drug use is rampant in the high schools....and in general the parents are the last to know or if they suspect it is usually worse than they think. This was my experience as well as the experience of many other parents I know.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Marg, hi :) For the record, to get an IEP it has to be in writing. Verbal stuff doesn't work. An IEP is a legal contract :) The IEP process is expensive for the school to do, which is why just a friendly chat often doesn't get you anywhere. On the other hand, if the child DOES need Special Education after he is tested, the school gets extra money, but the teachers have to do a lot of extra work, such as modifying the curriculum for every single student who has an IEP. They don't like to do them (I have two close family members who work in Special Education in different school districts). Everything has to be done the "right" way for an IEP. If it's casual and not an actual IEP, the schools can turn around and stop doing what they said they'd do, and the child is not protected in any way. Nor are the school districts held accountable. Unless it is an IEP, there is no way to make the school district enforce the interventions. There are 504's too, but they are not legal and the schools often don't use what interventions are put into a 504, which is why I want an IEP for Jumper and Sonic (my new name for my son...because, well, he loves Sonic the Hedgehog!) Been there/done that/getting pretty good at knowing the laws!
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. What I meant was - the first step is to identify the problem formally. I also agree - especially if the deterioration in grades and behaviour is fairly recent and dramatic, drug use has to be ruled out. But there are other possibilities, including some trauma (hidden to you, or known) or other cause for anger. Or a previously unidentified disorder. I know with Asperger's, for example, they can do brilliantly in school until the work becomes more intuitive and requires a higher level of social skill than previously; then they can appear to hit the wall.

    Think of the following as a flow chart.

    First - rule out drugs.
    Next - consider other environmental factors (ie grief for recent death in family/friends circle - this includes loss of a pet)
    If nothing is identified then you have two possible paths -
    Ask the school (formally, in writing) for help identifying a possibly underlying disorder; or my preference, if you can afford it, begin the process yourself. If you find something, then again, notify the school in writing and formally ask for whatever help is appropriate.

    The comments I wrote above, were how we handled those kinds of comments AFTER we had the IEP in place. Because the IEP didn't fix things, it just gave us the clout to ask for help and insist it be provided.