Reply To: Repeat third grade for social issues?

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I would not recommend repeating the grade.


At the end of the school year for second grade, we were counseled that since our son was having difficulty reading and had problems with “maturity” he might not be “ready” for the demands of third grade. We trusted the teacher and reluctantly agreed to have him repeat the second grade.

The best advice we received was from our friends/neighbors who were educators and then administrators in the NYC school system and had know our son since he was born. Their response was an immediate concern:
-‘If your son is going to REPEAT the grade, what is the school going to do DIFFERENTLY than they did last year?” and
-“Immaturity is not a reason to repeat a grade. We have seen seniors that can act like kindergartners and vice-versa. One year may not make a difference at all.”

Although we had a diagnosis of non-hyperactive ADHD and a 504 plan in place, this was a wakeup call. After scrambling over the summer, we secured testing (at our cost b/c we didn’t trust the school nor did we think they could complete the testing in time to be effective for the coming year) which confirmed an encoding-decoding problem as well as dysgraphia. It also confirmed that with an above average/gifted IQ, this was a learning disability that the school needed to address. This led to an IEP and additional intervention.

Our son (now 15) still regrets the “lost year”. Thanks to other options for socialization (Boy Scouts, Ski Team, Soccer) he was able to keep up some of the friendships and weather the criticism of his lunchroom peers who said he was “held back” (i.e. too stupid for third grade).