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Dear ADDitude: How Can I Get My Child’s Teacher to Respect His IEP?

“My son’s math teacher called his IEP ‘that silly piece of paper,’ and insists he must complete the same work and tests as everyone else. He accuses my son of being difficult or not trying when he says he doesn’t understand something. How can we get him to comply?”

ADDitude Answers

It is very frustrating to do the right things — getting an IEP, advocating for your son — only to have teachers refuse to follow accommodations. An IEP is a legal document. Any time a teacher refuses to follow it, send a letter to his teacher, the principal, the special education director, and the superintendent. Everyone should be aware that the teacher is breaking the law. You should request a different teacher.

If you see no improvement, you can file a complaint and ask for mediation. I would work with an attorney or educational advocate, because these meetings can be intimidating. If you can’t afford it, you are entitled to bring someone with moral support. We are our children’s best advocates, and, as exhausting as it can be, pushing the school to do the right thing is the only way.

Posted by Eileen Bailey
Freelance writer, author specializing in ADHD, anxiety, and autism


A Reader Answers

My heart goes out to you and your son. I feel for him as I’ve undergone similar issues in ninth grade all year with my 14-year-old son.

May I ask, is your lawyer a Special Ed lawyer? I’ve engaged a Special Ed lawyer, and with her assistance called a meeting to re-do my son’s IEP plan. Given that she was present with us at the meeting, the district had to have their lawyers present — as well as the district Special Ed manager, district psychologist, etc. Whilst this seemed overwhelming, in all honesty it was good to have everyone there. Finally the district was faced with the fact that firstly my son’s IEP was written incorrectly for his ADHD (the accommodations in place were not correct), and the psychologist wanted to complete further tests. Also, given that all district representatives were present, we reviewed my son’s grades and test scores — which are all below level. There was mention that further assistance was required for him; however, because he passed the national STAAR test (Texas), we can’t get additional help! So frustrating.

Not sure if any of this helps, but I would keep fighting to get everything your son needs and deserves because teachers cannot get away with this type of behavior to kids. They have a duty of care which by all accounts they appear to be breaching! Keep smiling, you’re not alone.

Posted by Nicmigen


A Reader Answers

School has failed to help your son.

Obviously you have done your part and more besides.

I dare not write how I feel about teachers who have so miserably misunderstood what teachers are born to do, but the whole business is disgusting. Many (very many) years ago I would have had trouble believing such mistreatment could take place but in my work as a teacher, principal, and coach I have seen it quite often.

School is not for him. The idea of letting him remain at home is worth considering. I note that there are several home school associations in Florida you could connect with. He could school at home while you and he check around for yet another school.

Even with your support the destructive experience is too much for him. The courage and energy you have shown is about the only thing that has kept him from imploding.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach


A Reader Answers

I was going to homeschool our kids and did a lot of research, bought books, and found out the laws in our state; each state is different. I met with homeschooling parents, and joined internet groups. There’s a lot of information out there.

If you decide to homeschool your son, you could join groups and associations of other parents who are doing the same thing in your area. The kids socialize with each other. Also, some schools allow homeschooling kids to attend on a limited basis (like for orchestra or band, for example); it’s up to the district and/or principal to decide.

Posted by Takeoutchick


A Reader Answers

So sorry your son is going through this. My son is turning 12 this month; he has struggled for a long time.

I think I read in one of your posts that you are in Florida? We are too, in Winter Park near Orlando. Have you heard of the McKay Scholarship? If your son has an IEP he qualifies for it. We receive about $6000 per school year to put towards a private school for him. There are some really good ones around here. Here is the website. You can search your county for private schools who accept the scholarship.

Posted by WillisPartyofFive


A Reader Answers

Hire an advocate! (They are cheaper than lawyers and work more intimately with the school to come up with a plan.) What state are you in? You need to learn more about how to advocate for your son yourself, he still has a number of years left in school; however, the learning curve is too great and your son needs help now.

I have been struggling with the same thing with my kids for 16 years. Unfortunately I have never felt the 504 plans did much when we had them. Two of my kids had 504 plans before their IEPs, and they never consulted a special education teacher so the plan really never had the accommodations that my kids needed. I wish I had hired an advocate years before I did. It is a shame schools spend so much time and effort trying to deny ADHD kids the help they need to succeed in school. It is imperative that these kids get the help because the more the problems are ignored, the harder it is to correct down the line.

Posted by Crazywth4ADHers

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