Scared of Student Support Meeting – 15 year old son newly diagnosed

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    • #75286

      My son was just diagnosed with mild ADHD and severe dyslexia & dysgraphia. He has an excellent IQ, which is how he made it to 15 in honors classes with good grades. His ADHD seems mild, and it has only been the past year where there have been any issues with teachers – these have thankfully just been mild impulse control issues and lack of focus. Overall he has it easier than most, for which we feel very lucky.
      My question is this: the psychologist who performed his test made it sound like getting the school to agree to the recommended accommodations will be a battle. She also recommended a book (Dyslexia Advocate) to help us prepare for the battle. I hate confrontation, especially on such an emotional issue as the well being of my child. I would love to hear whether others found attaining the accommodations easy or difficult and would so very much appreciate any advice you have for this meeting. I am so thankful to all of you for any thoughts or advice on this!!

    • #75348

      Hi –
      My 10 year old has ADHD and we are still working with the school to figure out what accomodations she needs. I work with IEP teams in Ohio, so that is where my recommendations are going to come from, the laws may be different in your state. Does your son currently have an IEP or 504 for the dysgraphia/dsylexia? Or is that new with the ADHD diagnosis? Was your psych eval done by the school or privately?

      Your best bet is going to be learning about how your school district handles these diagnoses. If he doesn’t have a current IEP/504 you need to request one, stating “I suspect my son has a disability that affects his ability to be successful in school”. That will trigger a timetable that the district has to follow. If you already have a team, then call a meeting and start by asking questions. View it as a team, not a battle. Assume they want to help your son, until you know otherwise. Share what info you have from the psych, and ask what the teachers are seeing in school. If you go in prepared for battle it will make you, and everyone else tense. Also, find out what your state laws are about what the district has to do if a parent suspects a disability. Familiarize yourself with what the districts are required to provide for all students, which then informs what they do for students who have different disabilities. As an example, we are required to provide services to help students access and participate in their education. If gross motor and fine motor are things that limit their participation, then the student may qualify for OT and PT. But, the results of testing may indicate that the limitations aren’t severe enough (ie. the student is independent at school, just below the typical expectation) to limit the student, services don’t have to be provided. If you run into problems check and see if your city has Student/Family Advocates who can help you know the laws and who can go to meetings and help get the services needed.

      I have had a great team working for my daughter. We are testing different accomodations in 5th grade through an RTI process, and will formalize what she needs into a 504 for middle school. Lots of the initial recommendations turned out to not be that helpful, and we have had to trial/error things to really sort out what she needs.

      Good luck. I hope you have an easy go of it and that your son gets what he needs!

      • #75437

        Thank you so much for the support and advice. Two of his teachers wrote up evaluations for the neuropsychologist who tested him, so I am hopeful their reports will convince the school he does need the accommodations. His grades have dropped this year and the planning/executive functions issues are definitely showing up. Keeping my fingers crossed that is goes easily. Time to put on my momma-bear persona! Thank you again!

    • #75406
      Penny Williams

      The psych was probably saying it would be a battle to get accommodations or services because he has been successful in school, even with honors classes. However, the law says that grades are not the only measure of academic success — behavior, emotional health, and social success are all part of the academic experience as well.

      10 Myths About School Laws for ADHD Services

      It’s astonishing that he’s been able to do so well with dyslexia and dysgraphia for so long without help in school. If he needs the accommodations though, you should absolutely fight for them. I am also very non-confrontational (social anxiety), but I learned over the years that my son having successes at school and feeling comfortable at school was what mattered most. I still go into every IEP meeting as though we’re a team and we all want the same thing — what’s best for my son. But, over the years, I have had to be confrontational. And, when it came down to it, I didn’t even hesitate, because I was fighting for my kid.

      Here’s a guide on making school meetings count:

      How to Make School Meetings Count: Your Free Guide

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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