Home > School and Learning > Learning Differences > Diagnosing Lds > School Problems and Unresponsive Teacher
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

School Problems and Unresponsive Teacher

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D.

Q: My third-grade son has been having a tough time with math throughout school. He also seems to have difficulty with concepts in language and following directions. I will have him tested for ADHD, as he does seem to drift off often. I have been to his teacher several times, requesting he be moved to the front row (he's been in the back all year). She hasn't yet done so. I have also requested he receive testing for learning disabilities. She keeps putting me off. What can I do?

A: Checking out the ADHD sounds like a good idea, but one reason (besides ADHD) that children "drift off" is that they have underlying undiagnosed learning disabilities. The material is just too hard for them to handle, and they turn off. Troubles with math, difficulty with language (understanding concepts and following directions) are telltale signs of a learning disability. Make sure that your son gets a thorough assessment. It's hard to believe the teacher has not responded to your request to move your son to the front row, but before you take this any further, consider that the front row might not be the very best place for him. If the teacher spends most of her time in the front of the room (oh, how I hope the answer isn't yes!), then your son might do better in the second or third row. Why? If a teacher (even a short one) stands in the front of the first row, she doesn't actually make eye contact very often with the little ones in those front seats. She's more likely to actually see the kids in the second row and farther back. So you might ask her to think about that.

More important is the fact that the teacher has not responded to your request for an evaluation. According to special education law, a school MUST respond to your request for an evaluation within a reasonable amount of time. Make the request in writing, and this time send it to the administrator of special education with copies to the principal and the teacher. You might want to tell the teacher you're doing this, so she won't be surprised. This is your right under law. If they don't respond within a week to ten days by setting up a date for the evaluation, then contact the special education office at your state's department of education and tell them about it. Or call the Office for Civil Rights in your state (since your child's civil rights as a person with a disability are probably being violated). The school might offer to hold a meeting of the child-study team, if one exists in your school, but you still have the right to request a formal evaluation. Ask the school for a copy of your rights as a parent of a child suspected of having special needs. Remember: It is against the law for them to do nothing! Warm up that word processor and roll up your sleeves. (And let us know what happens!)

More on: Expert Advice

Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is the founding clinical director of the Learning Lab @ Lesley University, a program that provides assessment, tutoring, and case management services for children with learning challenges. Schultz holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, and has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Fun Driveway and Sidewalk Games for Kids
Looking for classic outdoor games kids can play in the driveway or on the sidewalk, just like the good ol' days? From hopscotch to bubble-blowing contests, there's something for all ages!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Best Sun Safety Practices for Babies
Follow these sun safety practices for babies to ensure your little one stays safe on the beach and on sunny days all year long.