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ADHD at School

Grade based on Remembering??

My 15-yr-old son is failing freshman English because he can not remember to turn things in…  It’s not the big stuff that’s giving him problems.  He is FAILING because of zeros on forgetting to turn in a signed progress report AND forgetting to keep up with 5 warm-ups for the week and turning them in on Friday.  Really???  It’s all Literature based so lots of reading and comprehension, which is not easy for my ADHD/dyslexic.  But he enjoys reading and stories and did GREAT Romeo & Juliet—Shakespeare, for goodness sake!!  But he’s failing because the teacher refuses to figure out a system that works for him…  How is this FAIR???


It is not fair. The school must accommodate children with disabilities to level the playing field so the have the same access to academic success. I would ask for a meeting to create a 504 plan for your son right away. Address the request to the principal and cc the guidance counselor and your son’s teachers. With a few prompts to turn in homework, your son can actually achieve the grades he deserves.

Download a list of possible classroom accommodations from here: You may find more there that will help your son as well.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 31, 2014 at 9:15pm

He does have a 504 plan and we have had a meeting earlier in the school year.  This teacher was present and participated.  It’s like she’s forgotten it all!  There’s also this prevailing attitude of “sink or swim” over the whole district.  I realize its High School, I realize he’s a teenager…he only has the organizing and remembering skills of someone a few years younger BECAUSE of his ADHD and dyslexia.  He struggles to vocalize his ideas so he rarely speaks up, much less go to a teacher and advocate for himself…  I often feel like it’s a no-win situation.

Posted by mamabear on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:14pm

My heart goes out to you. Mine is only five but what you are experiencing with your 15 yr. old would devastate us. This site has great information so go through it and let it help you not only with information but also support. We have learned so so much about out tike and about us as parents and we obtained the information from this site. My mind was tinkering with the idea that maybe he should write a poem or excerpt to his teacher to try to make her/him understand and form a bond. The situation seems callous and uncalled for. We, as parents, always reached out (although at times it felt painful when the jury came in - friends, family and teachers) and tried to form a bond and understanding. We had almost decided to homeschool until we found something that worked for us. Our motto: WE CAN CHANGE OUR MINDS, and perhaps others as well, if the understanding is foremost in their minds. CHEERS!

Posted by Elly on Feb 01, 2014 at 2:44am

Hello Mamabear,
This is absolutely NOT fair and NOT right!  Actually…. It might even be illegal depending on the accommodations listed in your son’s 504 plan.  It seems that this teacher is setting your son up to fail.  Regardless of the 504, this is unacceptable!
While I understand that the teacher might think she is teaching him to be more organized, however, what she is actually doing is punishing him for not being organized.  There is a big difference!!  He must first learn the skills before he can be expected to use them.
Perhaps you can work out a system to help your son remember…. I have many clients who have similar struggles.  We have developed some creative systems depending on each individual’s situation, strengths and weaknesses.  Does he use a cell phone, computer, PDA or other paper calendar system?  If so, maybe you can help him to schedule in reminders to hand in the completed work.  Sometimes even Post it notes strategically placed can help.
If this teacher refuses to work with you and your son to help develop a system to help him learn to be more independent I think you must go above her, to the special education department, guidance department and principal.
There are many professionals who can help you, your son and even the teacher to help turn these struggles into opportunities to learn new skills.
I wish you and your son the best of luck trying to educate this teacher! 
Carrie Silverberg BA (Psyc), RECE
ADHD Consultant and Coach
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by on Feb 02, 2014 at 3:58am

It is not fair.

My son’s school has a one-size-fits-nobody classroom where they teach “study skills.” The one positive I can say about it is that they’ve shown they are willing to put a goal into his IEP that would be to improve his ability to use a planner/calendar to keep track of his assignments.

Although I’m not sure planners and calendars work well for people with ADHD if they are in book format - (and probably not well at all for someone with dyslexia) - the school at least shows it understands there is a need for students to be able to track information.

I am struggling my way through the whole IEP nightmare myself, but so far, I would recommend the Wrightslaw book on how to write a meaningful IEP.

It shows the typically vague and bogus commitments that tend to end up in IEPs, and how to analyze the statements to see if they actually mean anything, and how to rewrite them so they do.

My understanding is that Federal law requires the schools to provide an “individualized” program - that’s the “I” in IEP - which means identifying your son’s actual needs (not the needs that are convenient for the school to provide, but what HE needs)...and then create (and implement) a plan with clearly defined goals and benchmarks that explain how they will meet the goals, with what methods, and who will provide the services, and for how long.

Parents and guardians must be proactive on behalf of our children and learn to systematically create paper trails that document our efforts to get our kids’ needs met. I find this is a very challenging task - so just know you are not alone.

Posted by sdsea on Feb 09, 2014 at 12:19am

OK - sorry - I didn’t get that you have a 504 - I don’t know much about that, although I would be curious as to why your son doesn’t qualify for an IEP.

Not that it would necessarily make much difference, because getting a meaningful plan written - and then actually implemented - is not that easy. But in theory, an IEP is more comprehensive.

Posted by sdsea on Feb 09, 2014 at 12:24am

To me this could be an easy fix if the teachers would
allow him to email the homework and everything else
directly to the teacher. I am assuming everyone has access to a computer, not that they have their own but one they could check once a day. I know this isn’t a long term solution and doesn’t teach your son the skills
needed to remember to turn things in but it would help him become more successful and confident which would benefit everyone.

Posted by teddy123 on Feb 11, 2014 at 11:50pm

Great idea, teddy123.  Some of his teachers are doing exactly that and it is working!!  For the first time, kids this year all received a Chromebook and are allowed to work on it and take it home.  It’s one particular teacher (English) who seems to be STUCK in only one way of doing things…TONS of paperwork, writing and keeping up with all these papers in an organized notebook that makes up a fair size of the grade every six weeks.  Why can’t we all see that not every kid is going to be able to do things “the old fashioned way” and join the rest of the world with online assignments, emailing, and files on the desktop instead of in the backpack…

Posted by mamabear on Feb 12, 2014 at 10:39pm

Mamabear my son had the exact same problem as your son, he would do the work but never hand it in, so he would get a 0 and the teachers didn’t want to hear any excuses.  I have to agree with Teddy, e-mailing the homework to the teachers has been the best thing I could of added to my son’s 504 plan.  We started with this last year when he was in 7th grade and we can really see the change.  There are some teachers that don’t like e-mail so my son e-mails the homework anyway and prints out a copy.  He has a clear folder in front of his binder where he puts the homework or notes to teachers that have to be handed in the next day.  When school is over he makes sure that folder is empty.  Since he started school he had ADHD but my husband and I didn’t want to accept it (specially my husband) he would always say “boys will be boys” so we really struggled all the way through 4th grade.  When he was going to start 5th grade I met a great fried that really help me understand ADHD, I had my son tested, he started taking Vyvanse at first but had to change him because he started being too aggressive.  My son has never been a bad kid, his issue was that he couldn’t stay still; (in Kinder his teacher had Velcro on his chair so he wouldn’t get up) he was very hyper.  Now like I said before he is 13 yrs. old, in 8th grade, isn’t hyper at all anymore,  is taking Concerta once a day before he goes to school and he is doing wonderful.  Last semester he made honor roll and realized all of his hard work paid off.  There were a couple of teachers that made his self esteem go down the drain, but I’ve always told my son the best way to show them that they are wrong is to do/complete what they said you couldn’t.  All I’m going to say is that it’s not easy, I’ve been through it all with my son, and some teachers call them trouble kids knowing that they are not.  The real reason is that there are teachers that are just lazy, and they don’t want to work, they want the kids in their classroom to be like robots.

Posted by Wgendy on Feb 13, 2014 at 2:46am

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