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Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

Would you recommend having an LD child repeat a grade?


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Feb 25, 2002 at 1:40:32 PM
Subject: Would you recommend having an LD child repeat a grade?

I've been agonizing over this decision for a few months now. My son who is in 2nd grade will be starting at a new school next year. He is having great difficulty learning to read and both his teacher and I strongly believe he has a learning disability (although we're not quite sure what's going on. I am trying to set up an appointment today for a neuropsychological evaulation). Besides reading there are some other "differences." Much of it subtle, but definitely something (at this point I almost think he has a little of everything! dyslexia, aspergers, ADD, processing delays, immaturity, even some possible "giftedness" in a particular area. There just seems to be a little of everything in him. He's always been quite a mystery).

I am soooo worried about him starting at a new school. I've heard it is an even more demanding school than he's currently at. In some ways I think holding him back would be helpful. It may allow him more time to "catch up" and it may allow him to fit in better socially. However, he's quite tall and he's a May child (not Nov/Dec/Jan -- which is usually the age when children are held back in California). Also, at some point I'd really like to get him qualified for more help and am worried that holding him back wouldn't get us there....and yet, how can I just let him fail? How can I not do my best to try and help him become "at least average"? This is such a difficult decision.

Please share any experiences or ideas you may have about.
Thank you!!!! :-)

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Posted:Feb 25, 2002 2:36:11 PM
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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 25, 2002 2:59:38 PM

And here are a few more:

http://www.familyeducation.com/experts/advice/0,1183,3-1196,00.html

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/Promote_or_Retain.htm

http://www.childd.org/docs/parents/childd%20-retention%20parent%20awareness.pdf

We agonized over this decision ourselves, but eventually kept our son where he was. If your child has a learning disability, retention will not make it go away. It will still be there three or four years later, even if you do hold your child back a year. And then you may have added self-esteem issues on top of LD issues.

Grade retention sometimes looks like an instant solution. If we invest this year doing grade X again, things will be so much better for him/her in the grades going forward. In reality, there is no short-term solution to addressing issues with learning disabilities. It is ongoing struggle from year to year.

What an LD child needs is specific remediation of the areas where she/he has weaknesses, not repetition of everything. And getting the appropriate remediation from the school system can be downright difficult. I am a big advocate of getting private tutoring by someone trained to work your child's specific disabilities.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 25, 2002 3:34:01 PM

We have a 8 yr. son in 2nd grade. He started K as 4 yr old turning 5 in Oct. He is in the process of being diagnosed now. We are finding visual processing difficulties and dysgraphia/dyslexia and yet he has been placed in the equivelant of 'gifted' class.

Anyway. He struggled terribly with the writing that first yr of K and was having self-esteem issues. We knew he would be going into a new school the next Fall and decided to repeat K. Now, that doesn't mean simply just did the same thing over. We made the new teacher/principal very aware of the situation. When possible he was given some extras to keep him engaged and he got more time to develop motor skills for writing (although those will always be WEAK) You need to get the evaluation done and find out if he qualifies for SP ED. and as I am learning not so much for the schools special ed classes, but to find out exactly where his weaknesses and STRENGTHS are.

Age and size probably aren't as much of a factor for him as for you. My son who was held back, is in the middle of the pack age wise and is one of the tallest. We have not put being held back as something bad, but explained and worked with our son about what was happening. None of the other kids know about his repeat and he could care less. Maybe I'm wrong and I'm in a minority, but for some the repeat is not an evil.

If the new school is 'more demanding' it's possible that by holding him back it will not be a repeat yr. As one who was in several school districts I can attest to the fact that a class title or yr does not mean it's progressing at the same rates as another district's!!

I wish you well. It never is an easy decision. Just thought you should hear from a parent who has had a positive experience with retention.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 25, 2002 7:08:18 PM

In my opinion the best reason to repeat a primary grade is due to overall immaturity. If the child has an LD, this will not cure the problem. If the child is immature relative to peers, has few friends, etc. then retention may help. I know with a teacher who brought her Asperger's son to the school where she teaches AND held him back in the grade level. It has been a positive move and the child is doing better than in the past. However, the difficulties the child has due to the A.S. won't disappear and there will still be many challenges down the line.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 25, 2002 8:54:12 PM

I don't agree with retention, unless it's like Anitay said because of inmaturity, which is what the K thing would be. But even though Dana thinks it was a good thing, it must have not have been fully effective,or she wouldn't be at the point she's at with her son now. So I guess as AJ said, the problem is still going to be there 4 years from now. It sounds like Dana's son was really young to start school, so the extra year probably did help him in that way. As a mother of a LD child, 13 years old, I can see retention would have never helped, and I did consider it at one point

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 25, 2002 11:41:48 PM

My godchild was held back in fifth grade... and it was the best thing that could have happened to her. It was a complicated situation -- things are never simple! -- and you have to brainstorm out all the possibilities you can think of for positives and negatives, look 'em over, listen to your gut -- and then don't look back because you will never know what *would* have happened. But act not with fear, but with love.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 25, 2002 11:53:56 PM


Okay here is my story. I have two boys,I know I start with this statement everytime:-)
BUt it is true,I have two boys,both are ADHD/Dysgraphic/Gifted.

My oldest finnished first grade and what a nightmare it was! The teacher was at a total loss for what to do and suggested holding him back.His Bday was in April,and he went through enough BS during this school year for a million 1st grade years.I was trying to get him evaluated and said,NO! NO! No! why would we repeat the nightmare? was my subborn stance.Until they could figure out how to teach him,I wasn't going to do it.

My youngest,which is only 15 months younger then his older brother,was in kindergarten,seemed more immature ,and had no a clue what all these letters were suppose to do for a person. Literally. Now his Bday is in July,so he also just turned five. He spent a week in first grade when the teacher called me in and discussed placing him back with his kindergarten teacher from the previous year. Now he had an awsome teacher in kindergarten,she also tutored him after school,and he knew her well. I said yes.

Here it the kicker ladies and gentlemen, once retained they were both finally evaluated. My oldest struggling,near drowning 2nd grader was not eligible for special ed. My 2nd year kindergardener,qualified. Why? Because according to those alien criteria for eligibility,his chronological age now did not meet his developmental age,which meant because I held him back was the only reason he qualified for help! Go figure.

The point,both needed help,both for very similar reasons,but they were still individuals with individual situations,and in need of individual consideration. My youngest,didn't concern himself with others around him,where as my oldest was very aware and concerned about it. Being LD doesn't necessarily mean you will recieve the help you need, when you need it.The best decision is the decision itself. If one worries too much about whether or not they have made the best decision,then you miss the issue of just doing the best you can with what you got to work with. Know what I am saying?

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 26, 2002 9:31:07 AM

Laura,

I think this is a very difficult decision. In the past, as a teacher, I was in favor of repeating K and 1st if the child had not mastered the skills needed. I think I am still somewhat in favor of repeating K for immaturity. My own child is in first now and has a very late birthday (October). I'd really like her to repeat first so that we could give her lots of remediation next year and she wouldn't miss anything in the regular class because she already had it this year. (NOT because I think repeating first would be all that beneficial). But she is already very socially connected to the children in this class. She has friends. I have asked her if she would like to have her current teacher again next year and she could be one of the oldest in the class instead of the youngest (thinking of the positives!), and she said no, she wants to go to second grade with her friends. Of course, we make the decisions, not the child. But in this case, I can see that it would have negative social inplications and possibly hurt self-esteem to hold her back.

On the other hand, I had considered starting our son (now in college) a year late to school but did not. When he was a teenager, I was SO thankful I did not hold him back becuase he was sick of school and could not wait to get out! And we were ready, too!

You do have an advantage because of the school change. He does have to adapt to a new environment and friends anyway. But I'm going to agree with aj above. Consider moving him up, but get private tutoring by someone who knows what they are doing (or get the training yourself). Don't count on remediation from the school. Do as much remediation as you can in the summers especially.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 26, 2002 10:06:28 AM

I would agree with the posters that it is easier in early grades and mainly works if immaturity is an issue. Retention will not address remediation issues. We had our youngest son do an extra year of pre-school not becuase we expected a miracle cure, he has autism, but to give him an extra year to mature. This worked great for us because he seemed to make great strides that year in social and language skills. He is still behind his peers in academics but I would not hold him back again (3rd grade now) because he is use to this group of kids and they are use to him. His peers have stepped forward and help him at every turn, this is helping him socially and academically and would be lost if we retained him. I considered retaining my oldest son when we moved to this new district because he was immature and very behind but opted not to because he was turning 13 and I felt the blow to his ego would be too much even if other kids didnt know he would. The district was great though and provided him a LD reading, writing, and math class. He is in his second year of remediation and has made great progress and is very happy. He is looking forward to regular classes as he enters high school next year. I dont think I would of got the same results had I just retained him a year and not got services.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 26, 2002 1:22:29 PM

Laura,
Insist that your current school evaluate him now. If a parent WRITES a letter asking for the evaluation, the school must do it.
Don't hold him back. It's one thing to retain in kindergarten, but not in second grade. I can tell you that being held back was the most humiliating incident of my life, and that was 35 years ago. Retention doesn't cure the problem, it hides it for a time. The research I've read says that when you retain a child, within three years, the child is just as far behind again. Why postpone getting him help. Insist that the school evaluate him now!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 26, 2002 7:42:12 PM

Lisa, you can retain a year and still get services. Let me see, I have several children on my caseload who have been retained, usually in first grade. They still qualify for special ed. because we look for a discrepancy between their chronological age and ability, now grade level and ability.

If the emotional piece fits, there is never, ever again going to be a time in the general ed. classroom the children will be taught reading from the start. So, if the child goes to resource, he can receive appropriate level instruction in his classroom AND the resource room.

If the child is socially mature, connected to friends, etc. I would not retain.

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Posted:Feb 27, 2002 1:48:27 AM

Thanks to all of you for responding to my message! Fortunately I have a little time to think about it and one thing that may help me with this decision will be the neuropsychological evaluation. I have a "phone consultation" on Friday and from there I imagine we'll be setting up an appointment and then maybe I can get some answers finally! I sure hope so. It's very frustrating not knowing what's "wrong" and why my child is struggling. Currently I'm working with him 2-4 hours after school. I started having him tutored earlier this month (he's being tutored at a school that specializes in speech and reading differences. They told me they're starting him on Lindamood-Bell's Seeing Stars, but I'm wondering if LiPs might be better?) and my husband signed him up for Score (which I think is probably a waste, but my husband wants to try it). So my son is getting "saturated" with help. My only hope is that it's the right kind. Unfortunately, progress is slow, but I keep telling myself, it IS progress and that's a good thing.

With regard to holding him back, my main reason would be maturity (he is extremely immature). Also, I thought it might be socially easier for him to make friends in second grade as so many friendships are established by third. Perhaps I'm wrong here. Our current school is multi-track so friendships tend to cement early because the same group of children are in the same classes year after year. At the new school we will be in a traditional school so perhaps it would not be so difficult.

With regard to self-esteem, I'm afraid that either choise may be a losing situation. When he goes to the more demanding school, he will be even more behind, and yet, if I hold him back it will be obvious.

On a positive note, I do have a little time. And hopefully, we can get testing done soon and that may give me a better idea of what may be the best choise.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 27, 2002 9:49:15 AM

If he is immature, don't hesitate. However, get the testing done before you spend too many $$$ and hours in private remediation or he will not qualify and you will be even more frustrated. If he is not functioning well socially and you cannot attribute this to ADHD behaviors (he badgers everyone else, so they stay away from him.....which won't go away unless you medicate), then he may be happier with a slightly younger group. Going through school being the lowest, the most immature, is a double whammy.


The school has to test if you put a request for a full psychoeducational assessment in writing, now and keep a file copy. Deliver it to the building principal, a copy to the classroom teacher.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 27, 2002 1:04:45 PM

That's good advice. I think testing is the single most important thing at this point. I've been told that our insurance should cover neuropsychological testing. I haven't gotten a confirmation on this, but I think the testing is necessary.

My son has not shown the ADHD symptoms you mentioned, although his teacher has mentioned she thinks it may be ADD (that his mind is running "too fast"). He's very quiet, sometimes has difficulty expressing his thoughts or something that has happened...forgets the words he needs). Oral reports are extremely difficult.

I just learned from another mom (she heard about this from her son), that a boy at school had been teasing him during lunch. He decided to tell the "yard duty" about it. When the yard duty asked the other boy about it he lied and said he hadn't said anything. The yard duty then asked my son to tell her exactly what the boy had said, but he couldn't remember.

My son has been tested by the school district (in both 1st and 2nd grade) and his test results all fell within the "average" to "above average" range. His Sat-9 scores were in the 60% so he does not qualify. Although we were able to get him into reading intervention. At first they had told me he probably wouldn't be accepted for the program (because his test scores were the highest of any of the kids recommended to it), but then when the reading intervention team tested him they were quite shocked and concerned.

One area my son seems to be very good in is chess. (For some reason he really enjoys and is good at games of strategy). Also, when he was in kindergarten, I had him taking piano and his teacher was very excited about how quickly he learned to read music. We eventually stopped the music because he didn't want to play (and became quite involved with chess).

It's funny, just writing this information down is making me see more perspectives to this. We have been focusing so intently on reading, that I'm now wondering how much of this is related to speech. There's probably a few things going on with my son.

I am really looking forward to having this testing done and hopefully getting some answers. I really hate feeling like my son's drowning and there's nothing I can do to stop it.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 27, 2002 1:08:54 PM

I know because of my son that there is a high correlation between language delays/problems and reading disabilities. I would make sure you have a speech and language evaluation done as well. Your son may be compenstating but have some core deficits that are causing problems.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 28, 2002 1:02:00 AM

Beth, you have a very good point there.
I'm beginning to conclude that my son may have an undetected language problem. One thing that had thrown me off with regard to this is that he was an extremely early talker (5 months) and had a 100+ vocabulary at a year.

But although he spoke early, his speech didn't progress smoothly. It took him a long time to become adept at sentences. And he did an awful lot of "echo" speaking. I remember a teacher in a "mommy and me" class being quite concerned with him echoing her questions following summer break. He was about three at the time and she convinced me to have him tested.

So far, throughout my son's life, I've gone though periods of feeling that something is not quite "right," being told by a teacher that my son should be tested, having him tested and then being told there is nothing wrong (like I'm crazy!).

Perhaps the thing that's throwing everything off is my son is compensating -- like you've said. I just hope and pray that a more thourough testing will come up with some answers.

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