What organization plan has worked for your child at school?

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    • #39823
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      This discussion was originally started by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.

       

      My son — 14 in 8th grade — has severe executive functioning deficits. His planning and organization score was so bad on the EF rating scale the dot had to be placed at the very top of the grid on the scoring chart.

      I have been battling schools for years trying to get them to provide the level of accommodations and support he needs. Help in this are is clearly in his IEP, yet classroom teachers don’t’ follow it and aren’t consistent themselves and from class to class.

      I’m beyond frustrated. I’m beyond exhausted with it.

      Has anyone had a plan to address poor EF skills and deficits that was successful in schools and that teachers didn’t complain about?

      They won’t check his planner every class every day. They won’t check that he has the materials that he needs. They won’t remind him to turn in assignments and papers.

      Just today, a teacher complained at me that he has no self-direction. REALLY?!?! That’s because it’s a symptom of his disabilities — of ADHD and of EF disorder.

      Last IEP meeting a few weeks ago, SPED curriculum specialist for our middle and high schools says we need to get technology involved (I’ve been saying that, begging for that, for years). One classroom teacher attended that meeting. Nothing has changed since the meeting. Teachers buck technology. They buck helping him. They resist that he needs different expectations.

      Resist.
      Resist.
      Resist.

      I cannot take any more of this! This is a highly intelligent kid with ADHD, LDs, and autism. There’s no support for smart kids with learning challenges.

      Argh!

      Penny
      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #40768
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      Sometimes counselors or school psychs are willing to help with organization and/or tracking by handing out a tracking sheet at the beginning of the day and going over the sheet at the end of the day to make sure he has what he needs…or by putting him in a study skills class or group during the school day to help with organization.

      As a side note — Does the principal and/or SPED specialist know that his teachers aren’t complying with the IEP?

      Joyce Mabe
      Parent Coach, licensed school counselor, mom of adult son with ADHD

    • #40773
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      Well, I would give any teacher who isn’t helpful a packet of information on what ADHD is, how it effects the brain and the kinds of things that work with kids with ADHD. I’d be pleasant about it as I handed it over.

      I suspect the teachers are trying to get him ready for high school. Unfortunately, what normal kids need to be ready and what our kids need to be ready are different. Maybe you can address them from that point, as in, “I appreciate you trying to help him fly from the nest in prep for h.s., but at this point he’s just falling to the ground.”

      I can’t get teachers to remind my daughter either. When things are due, turning in assignments…its usually a mess. She has a calendar that she is supposed to be using — I spent $40 on getting it personalized as motivation to use it! — but she says she never has time.

      Maybe there’s a student who your child knows in different classes who can help? I’ve been thinking about that for my kid. It might be embarrassing for them to admit they need help, yet a good friend would be happy to make sure they have what they need.

      The school MUST comply with an IEP. After a few tries to get the teachers on board, I’d call an advocate for advice. And then a lawyer.

      Good luck!

    • #40777
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      I know the school has to comply with the IEP. That doesn’t mean much of anything here — they haven’t been implementing it in the classrooms for years. I don’t have the means to hire a lawyer.

      My son’s teachers think we are asking too much of them; even his SPED teacher says that. They all just want him to suddenly be able to manage it on his own like all the other 8th graders.

      We had an IEP meeting 3 weeks ago where the SPED Curriculum Specialist for our high school (who also covers our middle school) said that he will be using more technology in high school and that technology could be a great tool for him and laid out a plan for his teachers. His SPED teacher seemed exasperated. Only one classroom teacher was there, so no one implemented.

      The plan was that everything paper goes in his Google Drive. Each student has a school-issued laptop and they said he should just take pictures of the assignments to put them in the drive, then do it again when they are complete. That doesn’t happen. When we tried to do it at home, we took well over a dozen photos of worksheets with the laptop and they still weren’t entirely legible. At first, the curriculum specialist said the teachers should upload all the work and all the notes to his Google Drive, but the SPED teacher said no way, too much work for teachers who don’t have time.

      For many years up until now, all I asked was that each teacher check his agenda and binder and make sure he has what he needs for homework and studying for tests, and that he has turned in everything he has in his binder completed. That has NEVER happened, not even when he had one classroom teacher.

      He’s in inclusion classes, despite having a gifted IQ just because of his poor executive functioning. His SPED teacher is in his math class every day and the other 8th grade SPED teacher is in his English class every day. He has B’s in those classes. Then, he’s left to fend for himself in Science, Social Studies, and Electives, where he barely has C’s and only has C’s because I’ve worked like a dog to try to help him keep up and get missing work to complete.

      Penny
      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #40781
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user cmullen17 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Have you tried involving the SPED people in the school district? That’s what finally got my son the help that he needed. Did anyone from the school district attend the IEP meeting? If not, give them a call and tell them what is not happening with regard to your son’s IEP.

    • #40785
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Pump2Duncan in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      For my 13-year-old son, who is also SO unorganized and forgetful, we got those zipper binders. Each class has it’s own binder, and in that binder is everything you’d need for that class (its own paper, notebook, pens, pencils, erasers, etc). Each binder is brightly labeled on the front and sides with the name of the class it belongs too.

      During class, if he’s given any homework or class papers, he just puts it somewhere in the binder and then zips it closed (3/4 of the time the papers are just shoved and crumpled in there, but I don’t care, they’re in there). All binders come home each day so he can open each up and check. Completed homework gets put back in the zipper binder and then a big brightly colored post it gets put on the front that says “TURN IN HOMEWORK.”

      The zipper binders have helped, and so have post its — the big neon colored ones, and Sharpies. If he’s given an assignment, he immediately writes it on a post it. As assignments get completed or turned in, the post its are thrown away.

      A lot of my son’s assignments are on Google Classroom. Which he will completely forget about when he gets home. So after all other homework is completed, his final step is to double check every Google Classroom to ensure there isn’t any homework.

      Every Friday is Backpack Day. After school, I go through the backpack myself and bring to his attention anything that he might have just shoved in there and forgot about. This Friday, I found a history assignment that wasn’t started that had been due the day before. He did it over the weekend and turned it in for partial credit.

      Not bringing his backpack to class has also helped. The backpack in class meant everything was just thrown into the black hole — aka the backpack — and everything ended up getting lost.

    • #40792
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      Penny — my son is in 8th also and I have accepted that we aren’t there yet.

      As far as teachers signing the assignment notebooks — I only have that in place for 2 classes. (My son’s go-to is to skip this homework because it is such a challenge.) He gets a homework completion “grade” and teachers post regularly if homework is missed — so I routinely reconcile if anything was missed and whether the notebook was signed. If he didn’t write it and they didn’t initial it — they can’t hold it against his grade. It is a daily exercise and I do think the more I stay on top of it the more compliance we are provided. Now full disclosure — I am paying tuition so that makes a difference…but it is a fine line, because if I am too requiring they can invite us to find another school 🙁

      Regarding projects — I am just still in it! No end in sight although I am hoping 11th grade.

    • #40796
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      Everything you guys outline are great ideas and I’ve asked for most of them, but classroom implementation still doesn’t happen.

      In years past, I have consulted the board’s Director of Special Services (SPED) to try to move things along. She retired a couple years ago and the new director is much more difficult to get to. When everything fell apart last year, I tried to call her and she was on medical leave the rest of the year. Even when you get Directors for the county involved, it gets better for a week, maybe two, then back to leaving him to fend for himself.

      He could never manage the number of materials and the complexity of the system that @PumptoDuncan’s child uses. My son’s executive functioning deficits are LITERALLY off the charts.

      Right now, we have one very large zippered binder, because they aren’t allowed to carry their backpacks through the school day (wish they were, that would help substantially). His agenda is in there and all papers are supposed to go in there. No teacher checks to make sure he’s using it and reinforces that system, except Math class where his SPED teacher is in the class every day. Otherwise, the agenda is completely blank week after week.

      Our school has no online system for homework. One of my son’s teachers posts homework every afternoon. However, he doesn’t upload the document associated with the assignment. So, we will know he needs to complete a SS worksheet, but, if it didn’t make it home in his binder, wadded up in his backpack, or folder in his pocket, we don’t have the worksheet and still can’t do it.

      Last year, his English teacher refused to post assignments online because he wanted to “teach my students accountability while in the classroom.” Argh!

      And, for those teachers that do post assignments, there are three platforms (websites and logins) for them to individually choose from. Many of our teachers don’t even have their bio or email address on their staff pages.

      SO… our 8th graders all have school-issued laptops this year, which added another item to carry in the binder and deal with. I decided to try something different and ordered a laptop bag with handles and extra room. In the extra room he will have his agenda, and one color-coded and labeled file folder for each class. The idea is that he can easily grab his agenda to use it (instead of getting his giant, heavy binder out, unzipping it, turning to open to the agenda, trying to balance it on the desk with the laptop attached to one side, and write in it and then get it all packed back up). My son is excited about the idea of this new system, so we will see…

      OF COURSE, I’d love for him to be self-sufficient and be able to manage this without teacher help. Of course, that’s the goal. But, we can’t get there without all teachers on the same page and reinforcing and supporting the same system every day.

      I continue to fight…

      Penny
      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #40801
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Pump2Duncan in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Penny that just SUCKS and I’m sorry. I was in the same boat where no teacher would follow the IEP or the BIP. But then COMPLAIN that my son was disrupting class. I too involved the head director, and I know the feeling, it would get better for a week and then BAM back to normal.

      Do you have any charter schools in your district? If so, maybe check them out? Now is the time of year (at least in my area) that applications and lotteries are held for the spots. We ditched traditional public and went charter (a free school that is funded by your state, but ran separately from the district). Even though they don’t have all the same resources the public school had (like a dedicated SPED teacher and room) — their teachers are more involved and dedicated, the teacher/parent communication is so much better and my son has soared in the environment. Accommodations are implemented easily and consistently.

      If a charter school is an option in your area, I’d definitely check them out.

    • #40803
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      We have tried two different Charter schools (K and 6th) and both were the absolute worst years (along with the first 4th grade year). WORST years. Charter schools in our area have no clue about invisible special needs.

      I’ve tried 2 charters and one private school and they were all a total nightmare — so I’ve sworn off moving him from our public district schools (we are in the best district in our county). We don’t have any schools for kids with disabilities. 🙁

      I just keep plugging away…

      Penny
      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #40806
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      Penny,

      I have a similar child the same age. This is harder than it has to be because the adults don’t follow directions. Sorry you are going through this.

      Document every instance you can that whatever the IEP says is not being carried out. Ask his teachers for their documentation on how/how often they are implementing his accommodations. Even if you think you can’t financially pursue due process, administrators and superintendents do not like see documentation that proves they are not carrying out the IEP. Keep going higher. You can contact your state DOE if you can’t get help at the county level.

    • #40809
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      Penny,

      A few questions:

      What state are you in? Is the accommodation of “check daily planner” on his IEP? Have you asked for it to be put on? What is the response?

      Principal and Parent

    • #40812
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      @Stallar,

      I’m in NC (one of the worst states for education).

      Yes, the accommodation to check his planner was in his IEP. Then teachers weren’t doing it so his SPED teacher last year was spending the last 15 minutes of every school day reviewing his planner and making sure he had his homework — he was going into his last class.

      His SPED teacher this year has a class last period so she can’t do that.

      I can’t recall if the IEP still says that teachers will check his planner or if it’s been changed. This is a constant discussion at every meeting and in frequent emails from me in between meetings. Doesn’t matter what I do, it never happens.

      Case in point: I sent the email to the teacher and cc’d his SPED teacher, curriculum specialist for SPED for our district (who was at last IEP meeting) and the principal on 1/17. I said it seemed like we needed another IEP meeting already (had one on 12/12) because the plan we came up with in the meeting wasn’t being followed. I asked specific questions of the curriculum specialist. It’s now 1/23 and the email hasn’t been answered by anyone other than my son’s teachers. I get ignored in the hopes I will cool my jets or forget about it.

      The whole thing is exhausting — I think schools make it such on purpose!

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

    • #40819
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      Ok, Penny. Check the IEP and ensure that it’s in there. This is a LEGALLY BINDING DOCUMENT (not yelling) and must be followed. I’m sure you’ve used this term already, but continue to use it.

      Next, contact your local advocacy institution which is a free service (get a tiger) and call for a meeting. The school cannot deny you. Bring the advocate to the meeting. Schools hate that. They need to hear someone else’s voice. Choose your biggest issue and focus on that one.

      If the avoidance continues, contact your state education department. Do not worry about repercussions; there will be none. In 30 years, I have never seen it taken out on the child.

      Finally, check out wrightslaw.com if you haven’t already. It’s a fine resource for parents.

      It is always better to be in collegiate standing with your child’s school. However, if you have tried that approach and to no avail, you must bring in the heavy artillery. Schools hate due process, but sometimes it must be done. As I tell my parents here in NY, “We have your child for 12 years; you have them for a lifetime.”

      Keep us posted and good luck.
      Stallar

    • #40825
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

      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.

    • #40828
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      Hi Suxie!

      I have been doing everything in my power to help my son. Everything, and then some. I can only do as much as I am given — when we don’t get assignments, homework, dates for tests, etc, I can’t do a thing to help him.

      You said of teachers: “They simply do not have the capacity…” Yet, the law says that the school must create the “capacity” to help students with disabilities.

      That’s the big problem — the law is not followed because it’s never enforced.

      Yes, I’m frustrated. My son’s teachers are good teachers. All of them seem to be quite organized.

      In the two classes where there’s the addition of a SPED teacher every day, he has much more of his homework and a sense of what needs to be done, and he has A’s and B’s in those 2 classes. In the other classes, where it’s one regular ed teacher responsible for all students, it’s a hot mess and he gets zero extra help.

      Why, because there isn’t enough “manpower” to help the kids with disabilities in those classes. So, instead of doing what they need to do (the law requires that decisions for SPED students can’t weigh the financial aspects), they just let these kids fall through the cracks.

      He should have an aide for the classes without a SPED. That seems obvious to me, given the cavernous gap between what he accomplishes with SPED teachers in classes, versus no help at all.

      The bottom line is that SPED is grossly under-funded and not really enforceable.

      I like your idea of checking teachers’ online resources to get the best teachers in high school. My daughter is graduating this year and went to the same school my son will all 4 years, so I already have a small list of teachers I will refuse for him to be placed with (including my daughter’s math teacher that told the class ADHD is a crock and kids just don’t want to do the work).

      Yesterday I was informed that my request for a new IEP meeting was granted for 2/8. I asked that it be confirmed that ALL classroom teachers will attend this one — so far, no response. If all teachers aren’t there, I will tell them to reschedule and walk out. It just shouldn’t be this hard.

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

    • #40830
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      My oldest ADHDer is in 10th grade and it’s slowly coming together finally. He has horrible EF skills as well. Our district’s middle school was kind of a nightmare for him. He is doing much better in high school. He is happier and his grades are better.

      Just a little advice from someone who was so traumatized by interactions with the school I think I had PTSD. I’m not joking — I ended up taking a leave of absence from my job and going to a mental health facility near us for an intensive outpatient program to put myself back together. I prefer not to have to go through that again, or put my family through that again. So…

      I decided to no longer get too worked up about grades until high school and even then I am trying to focus more on his mental health and emotional well being than his grades. My son wants to be an astrophysicist so he def aspires to greatness. But I have decided, with the help of my therapist, to focus on him being happy, having friends, and just making it to school every day. (He used to have major school refusal issues just like your son did in the past.)

      If he has to go to community college first and then go to engineering school from there, so be it.

      Now, having said all that I had a couple of specific ideas about your situation. Our local parent advocacy center gave us the name of a mediator to take to the meeting with you. You should contact yours and see if they have one they recommend. They are amazing at putting the focus on the child at the meeting and helps keep emotions on both sides from getting in the way. I see them as therapists for school related issues.

      Another option — which I have used with all 3 of my kids — stop going overboard to help them with homework. It is their homework. My job is to make sure they know what they are supposed to do that night — and if they don’t I document what the issue is (didn’t bring all parts of assignment home, didn’t write down the instructions, etc). I never go back to school to get missing assignments or have them call 10 friends to get the assignment etc. I also never let them go beyond the typical time it should take to complete homework for that grade (as you know, 10 min/grade) — once we hit 30 min for example with my 3rd grader tonight — I made a note on the paper as to where we hit the 30 minute mark as well as any little anecdotes (5 min of crying at the start of the homework, getting up to sharpen pencil 3x, stopping to play with the cat all 3x on the way back etc.) and hand it in in like that.

      If they have to fail then let them fail — but I have learned to make sure the kids understand. Mine all have anxiety so I have to be very careful not to allow any of this to make them more anxious. Needless to say when I do this — guess what — all of a sudden the school is responsive and receptive to helping.

      You can also consider hiring, if you have the money, an ADHD coach to work with your son on his EF skills. Something that I think our school districts should be providing but hey, what do I know??

      Or whoever diagnosed his EF deficits could come to your meeting with you with specific ideas on how the school can help him — maybe some that would not place such an extra burden on the teachers or you at home?

      I sympathize with you — its all so exhausting. Good luck and keep us posted.

    • #40832
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      I have similar issues. My daughter is in 7th grade, gifted IQ, and about to turn 13. She is drowning and so am I. I have been to three meetings at school already this year. Everything we try works for maybe a few days or not at all. She is taking Ritalin and while it does seem to help with her impulsivity, it doesn’t seem to be helping her with school much anymore. She has two issues. She LOVES to read and then obsesses, daydreams, thinks constantly about the books. Secondly, they have her working on the iPad which distracts her even further from what she is supposed to be doing. They took her off the IEP in the fall and gave her a 504. But nothing is helping. I attend CHADD meetings, but I feel like it is the blind leading the blind there. They have good speakers but I can’t implement anything to help her. I am now considering either home schooling her (I can’t believe I am saying that) or putting her in a special ADHD school. I know there are a couple of them around here but I haven’t really looked into them. I feel like I am letting her down.

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