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When is it appropriate to retain a student in the eighth grade? My daughter goes to a private Catholic school. She was previously diagnosed with ADHD Combined Type, Visual-Motor Processing Deficit and also appears to have difficulty with expressive writing.

Many interventions have taken place since Kindergarten. She has had years of private academic therapy, vision therapy, occupational therapy, and goes to a psychiatrist for medication management. In addition, she has accommodations as well as some modifications. She sees an Occupational therapist one day per week for two hours and an academic therapist twice a week.

I am also in the field with a (LMHC) & ESE background. In the past two years she has had many external stressors. She was taken off medication for ADHD due to “crashing” in sixth grade. She has also missed school due to a family crisis.

She is in the process of getting an IEP in public school. I know it will be a disaster if she moves on to a public high school and I am at a real loss as to what to do. If I retain her she will graduate with her class and then go to a public middle school for one year and move on to high school.

Should I retain her given the amount of previous and current interventions? I don’t want to break her heart but I also want to do what’s right for her. With the amount of school she has lost and the achievement level she is at, she might benefit with an additional year in eighth grade. (fourth grade math and beginning sixth grade reading skills according to the WJIIIR.) This is a terrible decision and she may loose what confidence she does have. Please give me your opinion if you can. I would sincerely appreciate it as a feel that I am all alone in the process.


The question is not whether you want to retain your child in her grade or not. The question is what are the many problems your daughter faces and how best to address each. First, may I urge you to clarify exactly where your daughter’s current learning disabilities are as well as her learning strengths. She may have had excellent services over the years; however, where is she now. Does she have the skills to handle her current academic needs? Is she provided the necessary services and accommodations to be successful?

Once these issues are clarified, you option would be to keep her in the private school, being sure that she receive all of the accommodations she will need. And, it will be critical that you provide all of the special education services she now needs privately. (You could try to get services from her public school. But, be sure that they are adequate and remember that she must travel to her nearest public school to receive these services.

Or, your option would be to transfer her to the public school. Even here, it will be essential that her IEP reflect all of her needs and services needed.

You also add other factors: She was taken off medication for ADHD due to crashing. No, you do not take students off medication for this side effect. You address this side effect. Second, you note serious family crises that cannot be minimized.

Maybe you need the advise of a good special education consultant regarding her school needs. And, you need to see a mental health professional who is knowledgeable about treating ADHD as well as LD as well as the emotional issues. Probably best to address each of these needs would be a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist.

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