Reply To: What organization plan has worked for your child at school?

Devon Frye

This reply was originally posted by user Suxie in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

Hi Penny,

I’ve been a long-time reader of your posts, and post myself on occasion. I hear the frustration in your tone and words. I too, have an ADD-Inattentive 8th grader so we go through the same age-based issues.

You have long been an advocate for involving the SPED and getting accommodations in writing and IEPs. I mean no disrespect to you, but my observation is that perhaps, you put too much of an onus onto the school and the teachers. They simply do not have the capacity — their own lack of EF and lack of the love you have for your child — to be vested enough to care and bring forth the effort needed to implement an IEP.

I cannot ask a teacher who, oftentimes, does not have particularly high Executive Functioning themselves to get THEIR class materials organized in a cohesive manner, post a planned weekly curriculum in class or on a website, upload documents and assignments, clearly articulate what an assignment is, what is expected and when it is due. When my daughter gets assigned to teachers that actually have it together, she excels. When we have disorganized, scattered, dispassionate teachers ready for retirement or just collecting a paycheck, she struggles immensely.

Daughter currently has a math teacher that writes all assignments on a posted web site one week in advance, and a very cool Spanish teacher that writes out assignments for the month both on a copied handout and on a website. For English, her teacher never follows her own planner, doesn’t know how to use Google Classroom, and for SS her teacher has a planner that is sometimes used, but writes assignments in cryptic shorthand that children need to figure out (“Well, if she is in class and paying attention she will know what the homework assignment is.”)

I have two points: 1.) Accept that there are poor/bad teachers out there, for whatever the reason. There are plenty good ones as well. Make sure to ask around, other Moms with kids in 9th grade are going to know who they are. Sit in high school classes yourself or check the school website. Which teachers seem to have updated weekly assignment pages? Request placement of your son with those teachers. There are good teachers in the public mainstream schools, privates and charters. I know of awful charter teachers and we had experience with a completely worthless private teacher.

2.) Do everything in YOUR power to aid your son. Stop looking so much to the school and school administrators to implement an IEP. Ask What Can I do? to help him improve writing his assignments down, remembering what needs to be done and when it is due. Do everything you can to control what you know and understand the issue to be; make the assumption you will get no help from the school admin and certain teachers.

Finally, let the little things go. I believe so strongly in the ability of my daughter and her character. She will rise above. I know she has the capacity to do great things. Never waiver from that belief.