Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

Repeating 7th grade?

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Joined: Nov 24, 2010
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Posted Nov 24, 2010 at 12:58:20 PM
Subject: Repeating 7th grade?

Our child has auditory processing LD and organizational challenges. We are finding middle school to be a real challenge -- homework assignments take 3-6x as long as expected, and there are recurring battles over lost books, directions not followed, assignments misunderstood -- so many things.

While the LD is a big factor, lack of maturity may be as well. Our child has a June birthday and is one of the younger kids in the class. We are now thinking that we should change schools at the end of the academic year and repeat 7th grade.

The general research seems fairly negative about doing this, but I have not found anything specific about kids with a LD. Any direct experience out there?

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Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:Nov 25, 2010 5:38:37 PM

I have no experience, and I am the furthest thing from an expert you will ever find, I am going to put my 2 cents in. I hope you don't mind.

I hear your concern. You are right to be concerned. You are right to wonder what to do. But, my thought would be, making him do an extra year of school would be a poor idea.

Please, let me explain my rational for this thought.

Kids with LD hate school. It is a torturous place for many of them. They feel often victimized and even abused by the systems because those systems are applicable to an entirely different kind of person than they are.

Education, is horrendously important. Sometimes, the worst thing you can do, is win the battle and lose the war. The systems in place and the education machine as I lovingly refer to it, frequently causes LD students to resent education. This as a parent, is the most horrible lesson you could ever teach your child. Because, if your child can read and can write, your child is able to educate theselves as they so choose. But if you teach them to resent education itself, the chances are far lower that they will utilize those basic skills to acheive more in their lives.

By winning the battle for the seventh grade, you could be losing the war for a well rounded well educated adult child who loves learning.

It is a quite frankly a really sucky society that provides only one route to status in this world. Those with LD are more cut out for getting there along an alternative path.

Have you considered, I don't know if this is affordable, but just tossing out ideas trying to be helpful. Have you considered, an alternative school for 8th grade rather than the redoing of 7th grade? A school that is more self guided where has some say over what he studies perhaps? You may find when he is interested he wants to learn more even though it hard for him. But if you penalize him now by making his suffering a year longer, in the long run you are shooting yourself and perhaps your child quite possibly in the foot to spite your faces.

Just consider and think about it and you are the parent the choice is yours. Which is part of why I urge you to make the choice that will make him happiest. Because one day, he will come asking questions. He will know you were the one who made his suffering a year longer. He will lose some trust in you as a result and possibly even more resentment will form.

Just think about this very carefully. Sometimes what appears to be in the best interests of the child is in the worst interests of the child in the long term. But, you know your child and i have never met him. Best of luck to you and to your son.

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Joined Nov 03, 2005
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Posted:Nov 29, 2010 10:27:34 AM

This article addresses your question:

[Modified by: Administrator on November 29, 2010 10:26 AM]

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Joined Jan 25, 2008
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Posted:Nov 30, 2010 5:57:05 PM

Generally speaking, retention has far more long term costs even if it results in short term benefits - even with kids that have learning challenges. That said, there may be a handful of circumstances where it would make sense.

First, I would take a hard look at his current school placement and the services that are in place to both support him and to teach him the compensatory skills that he needs for future school and life success. If he is in a public school, is he on an IEP? If so, is the specialized instruction addressing his needs in the area of organization, study skills, self advocacy and any literacy difficulties? Is he making progress? How do you know? Are the accommodations adequate? Does he have access to assistive technology? Is technology supported by his teachers and the general learning environment? Does he have the time and guidance he needs to complete academic tasks?

If these supports are in place, what would a repeat of 7th grade gain him? Could he do this in a different school environment (ie different school), so that he could avoid some of the stigma? What assurances would you get that the supports and instruction would be in place for him should he repeat? Is 7th grade a natural breaking point? Would it make more sense to wait for 8th?

If he is not getting the instruction and support he needs, maybe a better IEP or different school setting would be a better choice. Repeating the same "non working" educational experience will not do much to help him build the skills he needs to be an active learner unless his educational program changes.

Finally, are there things that can be done at home to supplement. Could you hire a tutor to help him learn to organize and prioritize his work, develop study skills and become more efficient?

Finally, what does he say about school in general and your idea of repeating in particular?

I believe that repeating a grade is generally a last resort and should be considered only if all other alternatives have been exhausted.

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Beth from FL
Joined Jun 15, 2003
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Posted:Dec 04, 2010 5:22:05 PM

I want to provide a counter viewpoint.

My now 17 year old high school junior son repeated fourth grade and it was the best thing we ever did.

He had severe learning disabilities and we took matters in our own hands after the school was ineffective. This was after first grade where he did not learn to read or write and when I asked about a different program all I was told was learning to accept my son. Basically the rhetoric we got was that we had too high of expectations.

That made me very angry and I spent the next few years working with him and doing some of the best research based programs around.

But it is hard to catch up when you have LD. Basically, he had to learn at a faster rate than other kids since he was so behind after first grade.

He also was emotionally immature. We realized that he made friends if he was placed with younger children when we put him a younger cub scout troop because we knew the leader.

We moved him to the Catholic school his siblings were already in. The school was ahead of the public school where my son was barely hanging on.

We continued to work with him and he went to two more reading intensives. IOW, we did not rely solely on maturity but used the time to continue to remediate his deficiencies.

He is now a junior in a college prep Catholic high school. He is taking three honor classes and got 5 A's and a B last semester. He runs track and cross country and has some friends through it. He certainly is not mature enough to be heading off to college next year and fits in with his grade rather than his age group. It is true that he does not like to call attention to the fact he is older--e.g., he doesn't want to have birthday parties. But he also has realized that there are other kids who are older as well. And now that he is almost 18, he seems to see turning 18 before his peers as an advantage.

My advice: talk to your son. We (my husband, myself, and my son) all made lists of pros and cons. My son was involved in the process even at 10 and certainly your son should be as he is older. Maturity certainly does help and I think for boys it does particularly. But those benefits can be eliminated if your son sees repeating a grade as a punishment. We framed repeating a grade as an opportunity and my son basically agreed.


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Joined Dec 26, 2010
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Posted:Dec 26, 2010 10:52:43 PM

My wife needed to repeat a year due to illness - she was capable of doing the work but hadn't fit the "required" number of days at school. She found that even though she was the same age as the kids in the new grade that she wasn't accepted. When our son was diagnosed with dyslexia and was falling behind she decided that she wasn't going to put him through the experience of repeating a year as it would not benefit him. Instead, she worked with him at home (and in the end decided to homeschool both our sons), she found that his organisational skills, ability to follow instructions etc could be helped through simple strategies at home.

I would urge you to look at the alternatives available to you - your son's self-esteem and self-worth is the most precious thing he has and once it is lost (eg I'm so stupid - I needed to repeat a year)it is a very long and arduous road to get it back. Talk with his school, look into strategies and technology that can help him become more organised (eg an iPad or Kindle with electronic versions of books rather than physical books, or voice to text technology) as well as visual prompts and guides at home in visible locations.

I would ask his school if he could present his homework in a different format - is he great with computers and videos? Perhaps he could present his homework as a video instead of written? Also when it comes to assignments a simple strategy my wife uses is to read the task to our son, she then gets him to repeat it back to her so that both of them know what is needed. If our son doesn't understand the concept they discuss it until he does and then he completes the task. Sometimes he needs to have further clarification and help.

Hope this helps - good luck with your decision making, we all want what is best for our kids and sometimes that path isn't always clear.


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