Socially & Developmentally Behind. Should We Retain?

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My 11-year-old son, grade 5, is behind a little socially. He has no real friends who seek him out or invite him over. He says he wants to be in normal classes with friends.

He is in resource now for spelling and math, and has always been an average reader, but is slipping.

Next year in middle school, he should be in either resource classes or an inclusion model.

His teacher says she sees benefits for retaining. Otherwise, she advised us to put “everything we can into the IEP for grade 6.”

Should we retain him?

I see no information that would even remotely justify retention.

You do not need to retain your son in order to get an appropriate IEP. You know that is not true.

You need to back up and look at your long-term plan.

Your son’s 6th grade IEP should contain everything he needs, regardless of what school model he is in.

An IEP is not a gift or a consolation prize. It is your son’s right.

Instruction – A Red Flag

Being “in resource for spelling and math, has always been an average reader but is slipping” is a red flag that his teacher’s instruction is currently inadequate.

The teacher should teach spelling as part of the reading program.

If a person can sound out (decode) a syllable or word, then he has learned the skills to also spell (encode) the syllable or word.

Teaching spelling in isolation does not make sense, and if his reading instruction were working, your son’s reading would not be “slipping.”

Your son’s educational program can provide specialized instruction for math and reading/spelling in pullout sessions of 1-1 instruction.

There is no need for your son to miss out on other class time with his friends.

Data and Evaluations

IEPs are based on data and evaluations.

An evaluation by a private sector evaluator will give you and the other team members:

  • information on your son’s present level of performance
  • recommendations for programming for him

To find a good evaluator in your area, contact attorneys who represent parents of children with disabilities and ask them for names of evaluators in your area that they recommend.

Rethink Your Long-Term Plan

While you are on the phone, also ask for the names of advocates in your area.

You need to rethink the playing field.

Working with an advocate for a while will help get you started along a better path.

  1. I am a retired elementary teacher with lots of years of experience and the mom of a child with dyslexia. We had her tested outside of school (TX special services were terrible at the time, early 1990s) and tutored after school for 3 years. She caught up with her reading by 4th grade. Spelling isn’t that big an issue with computers now. She was tutored in Orton Gillingham aka alphabetic phonics as well, the tutor gave her a fantastic frame work to fit in new information. She became very organized and still.
    There are things you can do as a parent. 1. Read to this child every day. Even when my daughter was in 8-9 th grade, I would read to her a new book. I’d get her hooked on the book. Then she would tell me about the next chapter. 2. Read a book where you read a page and he or she reads the next etc. Find series that the reader likes and read all of the books. Consult with the librarian. Don’t overkill on this. Do 20 minutes a day and pretty soon, the reader will not want to stop. Children who like to read, see their parents reading as well. I hope some of the suggestions work for you and your child.

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