My son just failed his 9th grade year. He has ADHD and Aspergers. He only needed one more credit to pass 9th grade. We have not had really any IEP meetings throughout the year and he says the teachers did not tell him he was going to fail the year. We knew he was in danger of failing, but figured the teachers would try to prevent that from happening and also communicate that he needed to make up work, etc. They want him to go to summer school to retake biology. I am just upset that his IEP really has not helped him at all this year.
First, I am so sorry that a breakdown of communication or the program resulted with your son meeting with a frustrating situation- failing ninth grade. However, know that having an IEP does not guarantee that a child will pass a school year. The IEP is a document that has many people involved. First it establishes what the teachers will provide given the information they have from testing and observations. Also, a child can participate in the development of his or her IEP which sometimes gives them a sense of "control".
However, an IEP is a document that outlines a program and is reviewed annually unless there is a breakdown. Note that there are many reasons for "breakdowns" including a student's behavior changing through the course of the year which greatly impacts a child's success with his/her IEP. For example, if a child has been provided a program that meets his academic needs, however has chosen not to complete homework that was well within his ability level, then he has not met "his end of the bargain". This can then result with failing a semester or the academic year. To avoid academic failure due to student behavior you may want to have a weekly communication document sent home or a phone call from a teacher to update you. Therefore, you can set up home goals, too.
It would appear that you may want to request an IEP meeting this summer to go over all the goals and ability levels of your son. Make this request in writing. Go with another person to the meeting. You can take any changes to the IEP home to read and mull over without signing immediately at the meeting. (Unless you agree without hesitation). Your son may want to attend as well. Therefore, you are not the "messenger" to him and he is an active part of the process.
As for summer school, keep in mind that many students find transitions to high school rough and fall behind. Having ADHD and Aspergers Syndrome is an additional challenge, yet some of his behaviors could be attributed to "normal" teenage behavior.
Thank you for writing and we hope that this situation will get better soon for all involved.
Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families (www.SigningFamilies.com)