Today’s question comes to us from California:
My son (14) has an iep this week and I’m not sure what to ask for for help He has a primary diag of ED and secondary ADHD also ODD. He barely scraped by his freshman year with d’s only failing English. His worst subject too much writing for him. He does not have a learning disability. His grades have already dropped the first month of sophomore year. I’d like to ask for help with notes and an outline of lessons along with instructions. Extra time for big assignments home work & class work. Designated area for test. His behavior has gotten a lot better as he matures but he is still some what defiant at times. Any feedback would help.
First, thanks for contacting me. Second, I think you answered your own question! You have listed several strategies or accommodations that you would like for him. Ask for them! If you haven’t already done so, put them in your letter of parent concerns. You’re not asking for anything particularly expensive or unreasonable, so I really don’t see why it should be a problem.
But your email brought another thought to mind….your son and self-advocacy.
I’m glad that you sought assistance online and found my blog. But have you tried asking your son? Now, I realize that his ODD diagnosis can be very challenging and a real struggle when it comes to participation and self-advocacy. But have you tried using him and his input as a partner in the process? Has he said what is the hardest part for him?
It’s never too early for a child to be a part of the process. My own child has been attending his meetings since he was a toddler and I started bringing him regularly last year. Even though he doesn’t actively participate in the meetings, his presence alone is participation. Sometimes we have an LEA who has never even met my son in person, so it’s important for them to see him. Some states have different guidelines than IDEA, but most call for the child to be invited to all IEP meetings somewhere around age 14-16.
I’m not shocked, but disappointed that your district would let a kid with an IEP just “scrape by” without addressing his performance. Clearly he needs more assistance. So why not go to the source and ask him what he needs to be successful?
For your situation, maybe you want to start with the Vision Statement process. Surely he knows that adulthood and independence is just around the corner, and that he should begin thinking about what that is going to look like for him. He is almost at the age of transition (16) and some states do it at 14. But a Vision Statement and plan will have you both focused on what his adulthood will look like. Then, use the IEP process to get him there.
Lastly, keep in mind that all I have to go on is what you wrote. You wrote “He does not have a learning disability.” Well, ADHD is considered a learning disability. But I am assuming that you meant something like dyslexia. Are you sure? Has he been tested in all areas of suspected disability? What has been done to address his writing struggles? He may need fine motor/OT work, he may have dysgraphia, he may have a vision problem…have all of these been considered? If you believe his writing ability is maxed out and this is the best he can be, has he been evaluated for some type of Assistive Technology to assist him? Writing is hard for some kids, but it doesn’t have to be.
You may also want to check out the very popular 500 SDIs post for more ideas. Read over it with your son, get his input.
You said he is getting better as he matures, so time to raise the bar. You might be pleasantly surprised.