Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 dj, Community Member, asks

Q: What can I do about my son's school not wanting to help with son with ADHD and falling grades?

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Answers (16)
Kim, Community Member
11/13/08 12:34pm

My son has ADHD and we battle with school every day.  It is not easy for students with ADHD.  There are laws to protect them.  Take a look at the Special Education laws for children with ADHD.  They qualify for a 504 plan in your school system and you will have to do your homework to find what accomodations and modifications your son needs.  You can check out your state special education website or you can search special educations laws for 504 plans.  It does not mean your child is in special education but that your child has special circumstances that hinder his education.  I know that I have made several accomodations and modifications for my son and his school success has improved.  If your child has a 504 plan, then make the school stick to it.  Our children are not old enough to stand up for themselves so we have to.  It is the law and the school has to abide by it.  Also remember that the school only uses the accomodations and modifications as necessary.  If your son succeeds on his own, then he will not need them.  Simple little things like making an assignment shorter, helps them be successful.  Call your district Special Programs office for more information, but do your research first and sound educated.  If you would like further information, contact me at

Elaine, Community Member
1/21/10 7:19pm
I feel like I am in an impossible situation. My son is in a 5th grade advanced class at a brand new school. He has ADHD and Lyme disease. Shortly after he was infected, his memory and retention skills went down hill fast. He was already being treated for ADHD but we still struggled. Now his retention is poor to the extreme. He has a D/F average and has never failed a grade. I have already had an IEP meeting and have told these people repeatedly that he is in the wrong class. His Lyme specialist and ADHD doctors have written letters on his behalf. The school has given him testing and his retention is pitiful. His teacher has makes comments like : "I should not have to slow down for you because everyone else has got it!" The only one that does'nt have it is the teacher and unfortunately she needs to know how to teach him. I am at the end of my rope. Recently, I have found a therapist that says that she will go with me to the next meeting. She told me she has been to the other elementary school in my area in South Carolina and stood on her head to get some help for a kid and the school would not budge. Should I hire an attorney ??? Help !!! Reply
rejeana, Community Member
5/ 6/11 5:06pm

I understand completely my Daughter who is in the 5th grade also has ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyscalcula and a Hashimoto Disease (a thyroid condition that completely is destroying her function of her thyroid & also causes many learning problems with ability to retain information as well as cognitive abilities) and I have had to fight tooth and nail for her to get any help and she keeps falling further and further behind.  But I'll keep on trucking cause my thoughts are if you don't stand up for your child no one else is damn well going too now days, unless they have a very physical disability they just don't seem to comprehend the struggle these poor kids go through every day.

Texasmomof2, Community Member
3/20/13 7:03pm

I am a mother of two.  One child is dyslexic and the other in advanced classes.  Both are equally intellegent; they just learn differently.  Although my dyslexic child does not feel or believe to be as smart as the other.  When my child was in 1st grade the teacher tried to tell me my child was add and wanted me to agree to testing. After a long battle I declined- I told her lets assume the test comes back positive.  My husband and I will not be medicating our child.  Too few studies have been done on the long term affects of medicating children and we have the right to refuse to medicate and that is our choice, so without wasting any more are we all going to work together to ensure my child has every chance to be educated as the next child.  The teaacher was not pleased nor the administration but as long as they could not guarantee that I would not be harming my child - they had to work with me.  

The most important thing you can do for your child is to not quit.  It will be a long and emotional road ahead but in the end - it will be so worth it.  You must meet with the teacher and request tutoring (possibly hire a private tutor) meet with the principal and request a meeting with the teach, request modifications, accommadations that will help your child and when they say he doesnt need that, know your legal rights.  Let them know you will be there and you are not going away.  Show up at school un-announced to observe the classroom (public schools have an open door policy and can not deny you access to observe)  Be an active pressense in his school.  I believe it takes the child, the teacher and the parent to ensure the childs needs are met.  You have to follow thru on your end and then you can expect the teacher to do the same and when both are working your child will be successful.


regards to ADD - in the uk they have outlawed red, blue and yellow dyes additives to food as they link the affects to mimimic add/adhd behaviors  you may want to check out your childs diet and try removing foods containing those dyes.  Many DRs believe our food is making our children sick.  search the web for red/blue dyes in fod and drink............very scary  (alos cereal)

help77, Community Member
11/12/08 12:13pm

go do your homework and look and see if is your right ,to get him tested ,if nothing can be done talk to your son docter and see what he can do .also ask the school what are the reqirement to get tested and most important talk to your son ask him question and make sure what the problem on that end. he could be feeling down or it could be lot of things. i dont know more or less hoe old he is.i wish you and your son the best. i hope this help!

add mom of two, Community Member
11/13/08 5:14am

You must put it in writing that your child be tested ( atleast in my school district) and they should have so many days legally to have his tests completed. My school district never told me this because it cost money to bring in psychologist to test.


Don't let them get away with it as I did many yrs because I didn't know any better. Insist & follow through and always be an advocate for your child because I guarantee no one else will be. Good Luck!

wildrose, Community Member
11/13/08 8:53am

Request a conference with the Principal; ask that person all the questions you can!  How would you like the school to help? Maybe they don't know how you feel. I'm not sure what kind of testing the other respondants are talking about. Has your son been tested for ADHD? Is he taking medications? Try not to demand anything right away. Find out what is available then ask for the things you think will help your son succeed.

Gunilla Eriksson-lopez, Community Member
11/13/08 10:05am

Talk to the school counsler. To get help with testing etc thru the school system  is very slow so if you have any means please pay for the testing yourself and take charge. I was very fortunate with experienced teachers when my son was in 2nd grade and we had him tested right away and with the medicine he was saved from repeating a grade which would have ruined his self confidence completly. It is not easy but start asap and get help by doctors,phsycolgist etc. Find out your rights.


suzee, Community Member
11/13/08 1:13pm

Has your child had a P.E.T. test for ADHD?  This test tell is the only accurate way of diagnosing ADHD.  Health Insurance should pay for it.  Wants you have this done and the results are positive, you need to set up an IEP or 504 meeting with the school.  This will include your child's teacher, principal, special education teachers and sometimes the school psycholojist will sit-in on the meeting.  You bring yourself, your husband and I recommend an attorney or child's advocate. Take a recorder, make notes of your questions, and listen  to what they say.  When they are through ask your questions and do not be afraid to ask the same question more than once.  You are learning how the school and the teacher response to question.  If an IEP or 504 is written request that it me plain language and that is where an attornney or an advocate will help.  They can also obtain concession from the school that you might not think of asking.  An attorney is expensive but they understand how the meetings are to be run, if the school is following the standard for an approptiate education because that is all a public school has to offer your child.  If they are not doing this thaey will talk to the school adminstration, or be able to take the school to due process.  Then the school district has to provide the needed materials, understanding, or paid for a school that can meet the needs of the child.  Never lose your cool, remain calm and get educated about your state's standards.  Go on the web, go to your state's dept of Education.  You will learn a lot.  Next step is to keep copies or samples of your child's work.. It helps if you have some from early grade periods.  Go to the library and read Wright's Being an advocate for your child.  You have to become educated!  It's best to have an outside advocate.  The school listens beter when a third party is thrown in the mix. 

jazzg15, Community Member
11/ 7/11 1:23pm

How canI find a child advocate to with me to the school?

jazzg15, Community Member
11/ 7/11 1:23pm

How canI find a child advocate to with me to the school?

Chris, Community Member
11/13/08 2:05pm

If they have mentioned the word ADD or ADHD first I think they have to help you test him.  I ran into the same problems with my daughter when she was in grade school.  At first I let them intimidate me but then starting doing my homework and found that they are required by law to help not let them do this to you.    If you find the right person at the school or school district they can be alot of help. 

Christy1246, Community Member
11/13/08 3:54pm

Thats how the school will best help him. They wait til the need is there (the failing grades on his report card and/or failing school testing) and then they will probably step up to help him. I have a son that has ADHD and his teachers have always helped him so the school can't have a routine from one year to the next, it depends on each teacher and what they think will help him. We tried to get him an IEP, next year he goes onto middle school and if the teachers don't help him he will fail without a doubt.


If you are concerned about your son, you an request the school to do a PsychoEducational test, this may take a year or longer but will test for learning disabilities.

Melinda, Community Member
11/13/08 7:40pm

Write a letter to the school administration requesting evaluation for special education and/or education plan under the state Board of Education's 504 plan it may also be called and IDEA or IEP.  Contact your State Board of Education (Special Education Department) and find out what your child's rights are.  I am currently in the  process of getting my child evaluated through the school.  Remember your child has to be medically diagnosed first and the documentation forwarded to your child's school.  After you send in your request for evaluation the school HAs to do their own evaluation.  Even if they determine that your child does not need Special Education they still can qualify for an education plan.  Don't stop!! They will probably want you to but keep it up.  I called the Tennessee State Board of Education and they were very helpful.  I even got an Attorney's name that specializes in nothing but 504.  Make sure you talk to the State Board of Education's Special education Department.  They can give you all the information you need.  It may also benefit you to have a child psychologist to evaluate your child.  That extra diagnosis only gives you more ammunition.  I expect a fight with my son's school but I am in for the long haul.  Good Luck and remember your child deserves the best education possible.  Don't let anyone tell you that ADD/HD is not a disabilty.  It is a Learning disabilty and the State laws support it.

ljputt, Community Member
11/14/08 7:17pm

I think that you should get an advocate from protection and advocacy to help . If the school won't help get the docter that diagnosed to write a letter to the superintendent of your school district. If the sup.of schools hears that the school is not helping then they will make them act or ask that you child be transfered to a new school. I did this for my children and it was the best thing in the world for them. The new school has turned things around for my children and their grades are in the B's now.

Paula, Community Member
11/14/08 9:26pm

If you got to the school and request an IEP by law they should test him and do it quickly.  I did this at the end of Kindergarten after my son was diagnosed for ADHD. but i did it for behavior.  He ended up gettin the IEP even tho they recommended i wait until the beginning of next school year but because i already requested they HAD to proceed. Special Education only has a time frame in which to do these things. Request a meeting if they dont do anything go higher up I did that to!  I was emailing anybody and everybody.  Just go to the internet type in IEP and it should tell you alot of things about what you.  There is someone in your state that can help you , and will help you. That is what this person is for. My son is in 2nd grade and is doing wonderful!



Irishblueeyes, Community Member
11/21/08 8:23pm

My son is ADHD along with dyslexic and I have had to fight long and hard for his rights to an equal education.  First off, there is a federal law, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  It says "if a child has a disability that affects his or her educational performance, then the child may be eligible for special services." Your child had the right to be tested.  You want to request that he be CORE evaluated, the school has to honor your request. The school only has a few months in which to get the testing done and have a meeting with you. Ask them for a copy of these rules, they have to give them to you.  In the mean time you must be a constant presence in your son's education and school.  Let them know that you are full involved in his education and push for what he needs. There are all kinds of modification they can make to help him learn. What ever you do don't give up and don't take no for an answer.  You know your son best and you are your son's best advocate.  Never doubt that "mother's intuition".  Just keep pushing for his right to an equal education. 

Best of luck.

chevygirl, Community Member
12/16/08 11:15pm

I had the same problem and still do.  I took the school board to court in order to get any help for my son.  Now my son goes to school early every day andstays after for 1 hour every day and it does make a difference.

New England Teacher, Community Member
12/20/08 9:46am

I am a special educator in a New England state, so your state's laws may differ.  Your question is not specific enough for more than a general answer.


First of all, have you set up a meeting with your child's teacher(s)?  You have the right to speak with them to ask what they are doing to help your son.  New federal laws (IDEIA) require regular education teachers to show what they have done to help your son before any special education testing is done.  They have to try everything before your son is referred to special education.  This is called Response to Intervention, and it's an opportunity to make them attend to the child and his needs.


I don't have any idea how old your child is.  Is he 7 or 17?  This also makes a difference.   Try to maintain a cordial relationship with your child's school.  It helps everyone, especially if he is 7.  It will make your life easier, too.


Good luck!

vmd, Community Member
3/ 3/09 4:46pm

I would like to recommend the advocacy group PACER. They are loaded with information and can advocate ( go with you to the school/legal meetings ).

ADHDTees, Community Member
9/20/10 1:37pm

Lots of good information in the above replies but just wanted to add a couple of points:


1) Wrightslaw is a wonderful resource. As many others have said, *you* are your child's best advocate. ADHD/ADD is a protected disability under Federal law. Public school receiving federal funds are required to provide accomodations to a child diagnosed with ADHD in the same way that they are required to provide elevators for children in wheelchairs. However - some of these accomodations take time, extra work on the teacher's part and money from the school. While there are many wonderful teachers out there who actually want the best for the children in their class, others... welll... some of them, if you don't know, they won't tell you. So know what your child is entitled to, and ask for it.


2)Also, every state *should* have an organization out there to specifically to help you with this among other issues pertaining to kids with disabilities. In Arizona it's Raising Special Kids ( They are free to parents, funded through state, federal and private grants.  RSK does classes for parents on Section 504, IEPs, and how the process works. If you're not in AZ, there should be something similar in your state.


3)It's not going to be a viable option for everyone of course, but if you happen to be home anyway (i.e. maybe you're a SAHM or you work at home), it might be worth checking out a virtual school. We personally ended up going this route after struggling with the school system we were in for 6 yrs - I got laid off and given all the issues we were having, it made more sense for me to stay home than continue to fight with the school district over the 504 for my two ADHD kids. More info at It's still a public school, you still *have* a 504, but many of the accomodations simply aren't needed anymore since you school at home on the computer - i.e., my kids didn't need an accomodation to allow them to move around or pace anymore, since at home they're not bothering anyone else and they can move all they want.  We also didn't need the one for extended testing time, since all their tests are now untimed. Etc. etc.


Sorry about the length - hope some of this helps :)



lindaluv28, Community Member
10/ 8/10 9:09am


dillymom99, Community Member
5/11/11 1:16pm

His behavior is a result of his disability and you need to emphasis this. My son was tested and he is average to above average in a 1-1 setting, put him in a class of 30+ kids and he cant prove his intelligence. Our children dont choose to have a Neurological Disorder that causes a developmental delay in their behavior! Your son qualifies for Special Education with his diagnosis, ours did! We just had to file a complaint with the State Department of Education. Call this # explain ur situation and they will advise you what to do:1-800-926-0648 This is the Special Education Procerdural Safeguards Referral Service line, and you should also call the Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK), and they can tell you your sons rights and give you the advice you need to get him the help he needs 1-866-828-8275. Im sure this will get you the help you need for your son!

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By dj, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/20/13, First Published: 11/11/08