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Mom Battling with Son's Middle School
Q: My sixth-grade son has a 117 IQ and reading and language disabilities. He scored in the 99th percentile in math and the 97th percentile in science on a national standardized test. He's an excellent problem-solver with a magnificent spirit! However, every one of his grades was lowered last term because he didn't get assignments in on time. He did them, but couldn't find them in his locker. This is his first time with lockers and changing classrooms.
I expressed that he has an IEP and needs help with organization. Most of the teachers have helped him and he's doing better, but the math teacher just sent a progress report and my son is getting a C. He has A's on his tests, but his grade is dropped because of weekly timed quizzes and late assignments. Do I go to bat yet again for my son, or is this fair?
A: It sounds like it's time to step up to the plate again for your son. If he has an IEP, it's very likely that he has an accommodation listed for testing that states that he should get double time or at least time-and-a-half for ALL tests (classroom tests as well as standardized tests). If that modification is not listed, go back to the team that did his evaluation and explain the difficulties that he's having. They should make that adjustment for you.
When you have the IEP in black and white, show it to his math teacher. Once an accommodation is on the IEP, it must be enforced. If you still have trouble, see if there is a parent advocate employed on the district level who can help you. If that doesn't work, contact the Learning Disabilities Association of America (1-888-300-6710) or International Dyslexia Association (1-800-ABCD123) to see if they have a branch near you that can assist you at the local level. Good luck!
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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.