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You get it, and like Penny said, that is important for a kid. I heard my husband say a beautiful thing recently – he told our son that he wished his mom helped him like I am helping our son. My mother-in-law loved her kids, but didn’t get what they are going through. My husband was diagnosed with dyslexia, but probably is ADHD, too. I am tentatively diagnosed with ADHD, and our son has been diagnosed for 4 years now. He originally was involved in SPED for early childhood delays, but when he was discharged from his IEP because he was supposedly doing well enough in kindergarten, he started failing miserably without the 504 support they promised him. So eventually back into an IEP (partly due to the ADHD diagnosis) and in 5th grade now. We are heading into middle school next year and are worried about the workload and how he will cope.

I second what Penny said about communication with the school. If you let things go on autopilot, the school will do what they are used to doing, which (human nature) is the minimum standard they are held to. If the Common Core people are the most vocal, that is who will get the most attention (curriculum review, etc.). But if there is a vocal parent staying in contact, making sure they are updated, making sure their kid is supported, that parent/child will get a little more attention and cooperation than you would have otherwise. It sucks, but it has been our experience. Last year we had a good teacher, but she allowed all sorts of things to slide and then gave bad grades. Never asked us or SPED teacher for more help/support or to change anything. From her point of view, she probably thought we were happy with how things were set up, and who was she to rock the boat? Many parents could have been upset with her for suggesting changes or saying things didn’t seem to be working. My mother-in-law (bless her heart) wasn’t looking for the teachers to suggest things, just wanted the kid to get through school one way or another. So you can see why the teachers might not try to do more. They have undoubtedly been burned in the past and have to choose their battles, what to spend their time on. They do what they can to help a kid within their own classroom, but without a sign that someone is interested in working together, that is all they do.

The grades didn’t really matter so much to us, but was our son learning? Not really – she was letting him slide. It felt like social promotion. Move the kid along, give “accommodations” of shortening assignments, but don’t tell anyone until the IEP meeting because you don’t know that they have the time / inclination to spend any time on it. So we raised heck and got some more meaningful goals in the IEP, got accommodations documented, etc. for this year. We are still struggling this year, but it is different. It is more purposeful. Sometimes I wonder why we are doing it, but it is because we see progress. We gave the teacher permission to send home work that was not finished. She did so after the due date, which added a lot of pressure. We asked her to please send it home before it was already late; she said then he might not have anything to do in class. We said, “look at him – he won’t get ahead of the class for now, and if he does, you can stop sending the work home.” So now she sends it home even though the other kids don’t have homework. It’s the only way for our son with slow processing speed to get enough time to learn to break down the problem (executive function), tackle it, and see that he can have success. He gets to learn and practice the skills he will need to be successful. It’s not fun or even always pleasant, but as reflected in my husband’s comment that he wished his mom had helped him, it is better for the student. It shows him someone believes in him, shows him he can be successful, teaches him how to do it, and should prevent some of what you later figured out on your own as an adult.

So don’t lose heart, and I know that each kid is different. But dialogue with any teacher that will talk to you, make yourself seen and heard (in a nice way if possible – more flies with honey than with vinegar), and keep loving your daughter. The grades won’t matter in the long run, but the sense of love and confidence of knowing her parents have her back, WILL.