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My 14-year-old son has been diagnosed with Asperger’s, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. He has math and science teachers that have no special education training. And he struggles in both these classes — the teaching methods do not engage him. This is our second year trying to suggest new methods to the teachers, and they do not seem to be successful. Last year I paid for a tutor and was able to demonstrate to the school that my son could be successful if taught correctly.

Any advice on how to handle this teacher skill barrier with the school? I hate to lose another year of math and science due to inadequate special ed. skills.

The schools are required to use peer-reviewed, scientifically-based educational programs to the extent possible. If the math and science programs your son is being provided do not seem to be working, the first thing to ask the school is whether the program is a research-based, systematic instructional program designed to address his specific disability. If they cannot provide research to support its effectiveness and it doesn’t seem to be working, they should be investigating and implementing other programs that are research-based and appropriate. You may benefit from an outside clinical evaluation by a psychologist knowledgeable about research-based math programs in order to learn what methods should be used with your son. For information on peer-reviewed, scientifically-based instructional programs, check the What Works Clearinghouse(opens in a new window).

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