concernedmo... asks:

My 14 yr old son has ADHD and has been kept back for the 3rd time! Is there anything I can do about getting him in the right grade? He's in the 6th!

My 14 year old has ADHD and has been having behavior issues since Kindergarden. I've been bringing him to a psychiatrist and he has been taking medications daily. He have been held back in the 1st grade in New Orleans, then the 5th grade in St. John parish (twice but they pushed him up because it's not legal to make a child repeat the same grade) and now the 6th grade. I had paid $550 for a summer school and he made a D in English and the principal saidit wasn't high enough for a promotion. It's upsetting that the schools out here don't try to help my child. I called several places and learned that I can request a board level committee meeting to get him into a Section 504 program, but he still will remain in the 6th grade. It isn't fair! The schools should have told me about these programs early on and I'm just learning about them! Now that he's 14, he feels like a failure and doesn't want to go to school. They are hurting the children when this happens! I am stressed out and hurt! Any suggestions will be appreciated.
In Topics: School and Academics, Learning disabilities
> 60 days ago



Aug 20, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Dear ConcernedMotherof3,

I'm so sorry to hear that your son has not been able to get the services he needs, even though he has already demonstrated that he is struggling and unable to meet the demands of the clasroom. It sounds like you are working very hard to help your son get support at home (e.g., working with a psychiatrist), but it certainly sounds like your son's school needs to do more on their end.

I completely agree with the plan to request a meeting for your son. It is imperative that he is evaluated for special education services (he may have a learning disaibility!). With his current diagnosis of ADHD, he should quality for a 504 plan, but he may also be eligible for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) if he has a diagnosable learning disability.

Follow whatever instructions you received about calling the meeting. Typically, parents must submit a request for a meeting or an evaluation in writing. I have included a link to a sample letter below. The school must respond with a specified period of time with a plan. It is imperative that you advocate strongly for your son during this process. It sounds like you live in Louisiana. I have also included a link to the Louisiana Department of Education parent advocacy resources page. Look through the links and arm yourself with information. The Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center should be able to provide additional advice for navigating this process with the school.

As for grade retention, the research seems to show that grade retention is not beneficial. Rather, interventions and services are better for children who are struggling academically. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has published a position statement (which means that prominent members of the NASP got together, reviewed the evidence, and determined their official "position" on the issue) on grade retention. Dr. Jimerson at UCSB has also conducted a great deal of research in this area, and he has suggested that more comprehensive interventions should be considered rather than simply retaining a child. Overall, the research indicates that students who are held back/retained have worse outcomes academically and emotionally than their peers who were also candidates for retention, but who were promoted. I have also included links to these resources below.

Good luck and keep fighting the good fight!

Warm regards,

Laura Kauffman, Ph.D.
Licensed Child Psychologist JustAsk Expert
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