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ADHD, Failing, and Not Eligible for Special Ed.
Q: My eight-year-old was retained in kindergarten and is currently in the second grade. He has ADHD and is on Concerta. The teacher says that he's well below grade level and is about a year behind. My son goes to a tutor and has been tested for a learning disability. The test results said that he's below average but that he doesn't score low enough for the exceptional program -- basically that he is doing the best that he can. Right now, from the looks of it, he's going to be retained again. He's well below grade level in all areas. Are we overlooking anything? What more can we do for him so that he doesn't fall even further behind?
A: Unfortunately, many times when children are evaluated by the school system, the results are less than conclusive. It might be worthwhile to have an independent evaluation done that can really look in depth at all aspects of your son's learning.
There are many advocacy groups that may be able to steer you to an evaluator in your community. Try Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CHADD) at http://www.chadd.org or the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities at http://www.aboutld.org to find out where there might be a local professional who can help you. Make sure that you share the background of your son's difficulties in school with any prospective evaluator, including the written results of the evaluation done by the school system.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.