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LD and ADHD and Homeschooling
Q: My 15 year-old son has learning disabilities and is ADHD. I took him out of school three years ago to homeschool him. The first year went fairly well, but the year after that went rapidly downhill. Because of this we decided to enroll him in a school designed for kids with LD and ADHD. He hated it, mostly because of the social difficulties he experienced. At this point he will be 16 in October and pretty much refuses to go back to school. We are considering other alternatives, such as GED preparation classes or anything at all to keep him working on his education. He is frustrated and lacks self-motivation. I would like to do whatever it takes to help him. Do you have any suggestions?
A: There is no pat answer. Your first step should be to go back to the special education office in your local school district. By law, schools are mandated to provide a free appropriate education for all children with disabilities from ages 6 through 21.
At the special education office, ask to have an evaluation meeting to discuss ways your son can continue his education. Be sure to take all of his records, including test scores, to the meeting. The district may have a special program or alternative school that can help your child.
If you are not happy with the recommendations that the school district makes or have not worked well with the special education department previously, you should seek help from a family counselor or psychologist. Besides making specific suggestions about schooling, this individual could also provide the counseling that your son may require in order to re-enter school. You should choose an individual who has previous experience working with children with LD (learning disabilities)and ADHD (attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity).
The GED test may not be a good alternative for your son as many states have 18 as the minimum age requirement. You might want to investigate if your state has a proficiency test that is the equivalent of a high school diploma. Both of these tests are difficult.
Unfortunately, there are many others who have experienced a similar set of problems. You can find solid information on ways to help your child by visiting these websites: National Center for Learning Disabilities, Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities, Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and National Attention Deficit Disorder Association.
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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.