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Middle School Dilema- Any Advice Please

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Joined: Nov 07, 2012
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Posted Nov 07, 2012 at 3:00:48 PM
Subject: Middle School Dilema- Any Advice Please

Since starting sixth grade my son has gone from struggling in math to failing every subject. It was always thought that he had an issue maintaining focus such as add/adhd but we had him tested twice by two different pediatricians within two years of one another. Both times the result was said to be inconclusive and labeled a behavior issue as in he just doesn't feel like following along.The result was the school had the normal in class aids at his side most of the time to help him keep up. He especially struggled in math. While he was a good reader and writer. With hours of homework help, basically reteaching what he learned in math each night he was able to maintain passing grades. Expressing concerns to his teachers resulted "in lots of kids have problems with math and he just doesn't want to do it".

Now as he enters sixth grade we ask, should we let his teachers know he has had to have an aid by his side to keep him organized and help him step by step with math. The elementary school assured us we would not. Yet four weeks later we started receiving emails from concerned teachers asking if he was in remedial math previously, and telling us he has missed dozens of assignments he was unable to finish in class. Due to lack of organizational skills he would often forget to turn things in, or fill in his student planner.

We met with them and tried to explain this is not a new issue. We informed them of the difficulties he has had. They scheduled a group meeting for three weeks later.

Now he is unable to get to his classes on time also, due to the fact he is not allowed to carry his backpack and needs time to go to his locker and think about what he needs.Being late to class gives him detentions almost everyday. We started reorganizing his planner with his help each night, and making sure through his friends that all assignments were copied by us accurately into his planner.We wrote reminders to reinforce what had to be taken to each class and turned in each day so he wouldn't fall further behind before the meeting.His math teacher started giving him his tests twice instead of once to give him a chance at a better grade.

He felt at school like he was working to slowly. He expressed to me that he felt like his teachers thought he was lazy. He stopped communicating in his classrooms. So now although his homework is getting turned in on time his grade continue to drop because forty percent of his classroom grades are participation.

At his meeting with the school staff the only thing they offered was an organizational class. When we questioned whether he should be tested for any underlying problems, they said no it seems all behavioral.

We accepted that but a week later he literately came home crying. He said its so frustrating I don't know what to do mom.
I feel that I need to explain that he is a well behaved kid. Has never had a problem getting along with anyone and would do a favor for anyone that asks.

When he tells me he doesn't understand something and I see him struggle with the concepts of his math I know he is being honest.He does not like to get called out in his classroom, in fact if anything he has an anxiety about getting called out in his classes.
He is a quit boy and when a teacher confronts him he shuts down.

I spoke with a Psychologist he will be meeting with to talk. He will administer a new evaluation for ADD. But he requested that I ask the school what other testing he can do to get him additional help with math. I sent an email and the response was "We discussed among ourselves and agree since he had passing grades last year there is no reason to test him. I tried to explain that he had passing math grades because someone helped him step by step with each problem, at the very least testing could show us what skills he does need help with so we can hire a tutor. They would not give me any more information. They are treating it as an entirely new problem not one that has followed him for years.

Now as our son becomes increasingly frustrated as we wait for his first meeting with the new psychologist I wonder if its worth pushing the issue with the school until after we have that initial meeting.

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Joined Nov 06, 2012
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Posted:Nov 08, 2012 8:22:13 PM

Your son is showing the markers of some underlying condition that is impacting his success in school, e.g. disorganized, accused of being lazy, struggles grasping math concepts. I believe you would have the right to request an evaluation. If you decide to go that route, and the school continues to say they won't evaluate because 'it seems to be behavioral,' I would ask them if all the detentions they are handing out are improving his behavior. Every school district has a director of special education, whom you can contact to request an evaluation. The next step after that would be to talk with someone in your state department of education. You will get results.

Meanwhile I encourage you to take advantage of any opportunities for your child to take classes to help him increase his organization. Also make an effort to find ways for your son to be successful outside of school. In addition to requesting an evaluation for Attention Deficit Disorder, I would want to know about your son's cognitive ability. Most comprehensive IQ tests also produce sub scores in certain areas. I would be interested in all of them, but especially executive functioning, auditory processing, and processing speed. I feel the results would help you and your son's teachers to understand more about his strengths and weaknesses and allow you to teach him more effectively.

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Joined Sep 28, 2011
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Posted:Nov 09, 2012 5:10:59 AM

Hi Vmlq7 and welcome to the forum,
I would suggest that you request an evaluation using the WISC test, which will provide an insight into his difficulties and his difficulties with math.
I run a forum for the math disorder Dyscalculia, which he possibly has?
Which is basically a result of Spatial thinking difficulties.
Where Spatial thinking is how we concieve of numbers, and what give numbers a quantity.
But Spatial thinking is also what we use to organize thoughts in our mind, and gives us a sense of time.
Where this can be confused with an Attention problem, but it is nothing to do Attention.
Though sixth grade is a turning point, where their math becomes more complex, on the path to algebra. Also organizing and planning becomes increasingly important with school work. As more planning will be involved with what he is writing.
But most schools and teachers have little understanding of math and spatial thinking disorders? So that you and your son will have to learn enough about it, to explain it to them.
Also importantly, so that your son understands his difficulties, and can hopefully avoid feelings of frustration and anxiety?
Here's a link to my forum, where you are welcome:

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Joined Nov 07, 2012
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Posted:Dec 10, 2012 3:12:43 PM

Thank you so much for the information. There is a lot to take into consideration.His testing was completed but I am awaiting verbal and written reports from his psychologist. The school feels that at this point they should continue giving him detentions for being late to his classes. They feel that he is just moving way to slowly from class to class. With a lot of help from home he has managed to bring all of his grades up except for math which he continues to struggle with even more so. The school decided that the aid in his classroom was giving him too much extra attention and there for his grade has actually decreased. Because of the decrease the teacher decided that they should stop his involvement with sports activity, even though he now has at least a b in all other classes. As parents they did not involve us in this decision, just sent us an email letting us know that the change in his plan had occurred. I spoke on the phone with the counselor about this five days ago, she stated that she was not involved in the decision either. This sent my son back into a state of frustration, he had been working so hard. He now states that he doesn't care about sports anymore. I let the school know this with hope that they will change the plan back. We had specifically asked about sports at our meeting and they had promised us they would not take them away from him. The school does not seem to take his testing seriously and we can only hope that once we have a written report from his doctor that will change.

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Joined Nov 07, 2012
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Posted:Dec 10, 2012 3:17:19 PM

Just wanted to add, We did not push for the school to do the evaluation after hearing the difficulties others have to go through to get them to comply. We are lucky in that our insurance covers the testing one hundred percent so we went ahead without the help of the school.

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Joined Feb 12, 2013
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Posted:Feb 12, 2013 10:18:08 AM

I would definitely ask, in writing, for an independent evaluation. One of the SDIs you can ask for is a personal care aide (PCA). This person would work with your son to help him navigate through his day as well as help keep him focused. I had a student who sounds a lot like your son, and the addition of a PCA helped him tremendously. Since he seems to feel isolated in school, the relationship built with the PCA may help him to feel more included in school.

Of course, each state is different, and I am only speaking from experience in Pennsylvania. I hope this idea can be of some use to you.

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