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burnettex
burnettex asks:
Q:

Help - my teen daughter is failing tests despite hard work!

My teen daughter works really hard to get passing grades. She has a lot of trouble retaining subject matter, and fails tests with regularity. Were it not for gimme A's received for in class work, she would be failing school.

We're doing everything we can think of, including having her coached for test anxiety, daily tutorials after school with her teachers, private Spanish and Math tutors, had her read helpful books like "7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens", taken away her cell phone / TV / Internet privileges until all studying is complete... we're not sure what else we can do!

According to her teachers, she is very distracted in school by boys and her social life. Her teachers actively work to keep her focused, but she still gets distracted. We don't punish her for trying hard and failing, but she does get held accountable for "forgetting" (not paying attention) to due dates for homework and when tests are scheduled. We have a good open relationship, good communication, and we help her with her homework and studying whenever we can. We can't afford private school, and although I think homeschooling would be very helpful, it's not a realistic option.

Someone suggested we have her tested for a learning disability, but then what? If she is LD, she has to live with that stigma, and I'm not aware of any extra benefits extended to LD children.

We hate to see her fail, but maybe we should just accept it?  What else can we do?
Member Added on May 14, 2010
Followup - we requested that our daughter be tested for a Learning Disability. The school counselor referred the request to a committee to determine if she should be tested. Due to her passing grades, they declined our request to have her tested. The only reason my daughter has passing grades on her report card (lots of C's) is because of the way they weight homework assignments. Since she does all of her homework, with our help, it balances our her failing test grades enough to bump her up to passing status. Unfortunately, this means she does not qualify for LD testing. The school said I'll have to pay for the testing at an external facility if I still want her tested.

What a shame.
In Topics: Tests (preparing, taking, anxiety!), Motivation and achievement at school, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 8, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Your friend had an excellent suggestion that you should have your daughter tested for a learning disability!  There are several types of learning disabilities and other issues which could be troubling your daughter, which have nothing to do with her intelligence.  Getting your child the help she needs to succeed in school is very important before it gets too late and she decides she wants to give up.  

Please ask your child’s teacher or the guidance counselor on how to go about getting your daughter evaluated by a professional.  This can be done through the school system for free.  If your child qualifies for services they will have an IEP or an Individual Education Plan.  Teachers and possibly other professionals on her team will continue to monitor her development through the course of her school years.  Parents are encouraged to be involved with the IEP and attend all meetings.  

There does not need to be a stigma attached to having a learning disability!  There are many famous and successful people in many different careers and professions who had some type of learning disability.  Not everyone can learn the same way in a traditional classroom.  There are different learning styles just as there are different personality types.  For example, children with ADHD do not do well in a classroom with many distractions.  Therefore, obtaining an educational evaluation will take away the guessing, and will give you answers.  Then you can move forward and take positive steps in the right direction for your daughter’s future.  

You may find more online information about getting your child assessed for a learning disability at:  http://www.iser.com/assessLD.html

Take care, and best wishes to you and your daughter!

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000







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Additional Answers (6)

Cosmofairy
Cosmofairy writes:
I agree with everything the last person said about getting tested. Your situation sounds EXACTLY like ours. My oldest son ended up being diagnosed with a mild ADHD...basically boils down to organizational issues, time management, distraction and the biggest one...testing issues.  We spent our own money and got professional advice from a very qualified physchologist. I knew for years that my 'out side of the box' creative and well liked son had some problems focussing on what others thought were important. Although he could multitask his phone, computer, friends and social life like no one else, has many amazing talents (sk8 boarding, music)...and even kept a good position in school for many years with his grades. BUT...big but...it was like pulling teeth to get him to get his homework done at home, he couldn't remember things at the end of the day and we often found ourselves going back to the school for something forgotten and despite a good week of studying...he fails almost every test. He is now in grade 10 and we have made sacrifices to send him to a bigger and better school with a great LSC system.  The last 3 years was a right off in his old school as they did not have a clue what to do with him and kept telling us to medicate him and he slowly lost all self confidence as the teachers couldn't deal with accommodations and most of his teachers were not up to working with his family and even refused to communicate.  Fortunately, his new school is positive and he is now turning things around and has gained a great attitude for his education in the last 3 months he has been there. Its been a great noted change already.  Unfortunately, he is behind by 3 years due to the lack of support and understanding he had at his old school. In grade 3 he tested EXCELLENCE on all his PAT tests, grade 6 the was a noted drop and an increase in focus and testing issues and they really tried at that school. In his junior high school, his grade 9 PATs results were alarmingly low....we did try medication for 2 years...(several types and doses)...along with other natural things like vitamins and music, message, etc....the meds were a disaster and I would never reccommend it to any one thinking about going that route. My son became depressed and lost his natural self. We took a holiday and forgot the meds and never looked back....

About your question....having them diagnosed or at least tested can open up options for your daughter if there is more of a learning issue. I would never call adhd a disability.. i think of adhd as more of a character trait. My son is a cool kid that write music lyrics everyday and has so many friends. Even though he does not fit into a well constructed box at school...I feel he will develope his own tools that will benefit him.   If you can find a school that supports indiviuality...then even better. The sad part to all this, is that there are schools that don't understand or have the funding. My son still struggles with extreme testing issues and although he is working very hard and learning what tools work for him , and has a very supportive school and family....I am coming to terms with the fact that he may not get through school without failing some highschool courses. He has a reader to help him stay focussed during tests and I was going to look into getting him a scribe...even though his writing skills are not an issue.....he just can not seem to overcome test issues. I do not know where else to go with this....except to let the chips fall where they may and just continue to support him. Even though he has everything there for him now and is trying very hard...testing may not ever be something he overcomes?
~D
> 60 days ago

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LiliR
LiliR writes:
As a teacher, I can share some frustrating news with you: Spanish is not easy.  Think about it, your daughter has probably been speaking English since she was a toddler, yet she's still learning English at school.  A lot of conjugation and memorization takes place in Spanish classes and my students used to really struggle with it.  The only way I figured out how to make it applicable to them so it would "stick" was with a (cheap!) CD with the level 1 Spanish verbs and vocab on it.  I used studytunes.org which was a God send for teens, but others such as songforteaching have good "little kid" songs.  One of those options would be better and much less expensive than a tutor.  Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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BrendaWalenczyk
BrendaWalen... writes:
Not an answer but wondering if you came up with any solutions? We are going through the same thing right now. Daughter (Soph) studies for hours and still fails tests. We had eyes checked. She wears contacts but found she needs reading glasses too. Going to a learning center for testing. Not sure what's going on..
> 60 days ago

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ElaineSigal
ElaineSigal writes:
Having taught school for 30+ years, I feel comfortable saying that you describe a child who needs help.  Get her tested!  Even if you need to spend your own money, if you use a licensed LDTC (Learning Disability Teacher/Consultant) the school district will be required to accept the findings and implement the suggestions included in the final report.  Insist that the tester be and LDTC or a child psychologist who does this type of testing.

Years ago, we tested a child for similar symptoms - it ended up that he, as an 11th grader in a great district, had never learned to read!  He could not decode.  We worked with him all year and he succeeded in elevating his reading scores to normal levels.  

An advantage to having a student tested privately, is that you choose who you tell about the results.  Today, there is little stigma attached to an LD diagnosis.  I even like to refer to them as Learning Differences, not Disabilities.

Have you thought about online help?  Students with learning differences do well on line - IF - there is a teacher on the other end whom the student can see and hear.  By wearing headsets, students are able to focus on just the teacher and the material being presented because all extraneous noise is eliminated.

Good luck!  Your child is lucky to have you as a concerned parent.
> 60 days ago

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ebrydges
ebrydges writes:
Thank you for sharing your concerns. Unfortunatly I cannot offer and answer but perhaps knowing you're not alone may help. I have been struggling for YEARS to get help for my amazing son. The law in FL states that each child is entitled to a "fair and appropriate education" however I have found that to not be true. Its more of a. Politically correct term. If you child is unable to learn or flourish in a standard enviroment,  however DOES have the ability to learn; there should be resources available. ...to my knowledge and extensive research,  pleading,  meetings on end, there are NO such suitable accomidations.  
Furthermore the lack of resources available to our unique children can stiffle their strenths ie: sports. My son is extremely gifted in football; he has worked hard for years mastering his gifts. In two short years his dreams may not be able to come to fruition because of the GPA requirments. Since middle school I have watched my son's selfesteem get destroyed academically,  despite ALL of HIS efforts he fall short. He has wittnessed his siblings get superior academic award s year after year, and no matter what We say to him him to encourage him, he has comcluded to himself that he is stupid (he most certainly is NOT). The one area where he is able to shine, suceed and grow is football. He has been noticed by highly regarded coaches who have strongly urgured us to support His gift. He is now in 7th grade and we are scared for his future with the guidlines the way they are.This to be is abusive. If anyone has advice for me to help advocate for our son in FL, please let me know.

I will continue to pray for my child and yours.

Please excuse ALL the errors. I am typimg from my phone lol.
> 60 days ago

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maria1456
maria1456 writes:
My child is also a teenager and sadly has ADD which i know as a fact that it is possible to overcome ADD. it may take about 2 years before it can become to the point were it hardly exists. Yet she still has a had time taking tests, she cant seem to hold the information every long. Her teacher aren't helping ether, they take no caring to her retaining information problem. she is also bullied at her school, so she is often upset making schoolwork harder. i just don't know what to do! the only thing i can do right now to help things is maybe send her to a new school.
> 60 days ago

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