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SurfMom

Help with High School

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My straight-A daughter's grades are plummeting. We are doing what we can her at home with two exacerbations in four weeks, but it is exhausting keeping her on task, let alone getting her to complete and understand her work in Honor's Geometry*, Advance Biology, Honor's English.

 

When she was back in gear, she completely broke down in tears over her grades and tried so hard to get back into gear that I think it facilitated this last episode.

 

For those of you with experience, which direction did you head? Home bound programs? An IEP? A 504 plan? We are thinking on the positive side and very concerned about how her grades and mastery will impact her ability to get into the fields and colleges she is interested in.

 

Thank you so much in advance!

 

 

*Remember when we used to ask, "Why are we having to learn this stuff?" The answer is so you can sit down 30 years later and help your struggling kiddo.

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SurfMom --

 

My DS is in his sophomore year and, like your DD, when he's healthy and good, honors and AP classes are totally manageable. But when he's flaring or overwhelmed in terms of the volume of assignments, things can spiral downward pretty quickly.

 

We've gone with an IEP, mostly because it gives him the on-site back-up (a case manager, as well as access to the school psychologist, if he needs her) that we're not there to lend, plus, by the time the kids are in high school, it seems like nobody wants an "ever-present" parent anymore. :P Mostly the support personnel helps him manage his teachers, especially the ones who "get it" less and therefore are reluctant to grant him the accommodations to which he's entitled.

 

Plus, we have accommodations in the IEP that help us help him when he needs it most. Things like "reduce assignments for quantity, not quality," which means that he can be assigned 3 math problems instead of 13, and he can have extra time for testing, homework, and even classroom assignments, as needed. Trimming out the "busy work" and lightening the load a bit, especially when he's not at his best, helps keep the anxiety at a dull roar and bring him back around to his best quicker.

 

Knock on wood, his freshman year went very well and though his sophomore year has been more challenging thus far in terms of settling in and sort of teaching the teachers about DS, OCD and PANDAS, he's hanging in there and figuring out how to handle a challenging class load and work load. It's important to us that he learn how to put his head down and push through the hard times to some extent, but we also want him to feel successful, to BE successful, and not constantly feel as though he's being smothered by work and challenges, you know?

 

Good luck!

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The high school thing is hard, particularly for a perfectionistic, motivated student. What seems to have worked for us are accommodations that reduce stress (extended time etc.) and reducing the demands without changing the rigor.

Please feel free to email me for more specifics, Surfmom. I'm all over this stuff.

Edited by mommybee

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This is really hard -- if in a public school I would recommend an IEP or 504 on the basis of "other health impaired" -- 504 will give you more "time" for tests and assignments, the IEP can get more, but it may be a pull out program in the resource room and the other kids in there may be a consideration. Can you meet with the school counselor to discuss the concerns. Maybe go in with a list of your concerns and what you believe would help. They may be able to help without the paperwork and labeling.

 

We had older high school kids to help with HW after school, and/or tutors if necessary to keep the work "OK",

I also had almost daily contact via email with the teachers and the special ed. teacher at the school collected assignments/test materials, etc. for us --

 

Bottom line though: If your child is in a bad exacerbation nothing you do will help--it is only a band-aid until they get proper treatment and get better.

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MomwOCDSon, it sounds like our children are on the same track. DD, is in honors classes now that will convert to AP in her last two years and even the diagnosis of PANDAS is not deterring us from the goal of her being university bound. We have decided to start with a 504 because we can move on it now and then start the process for an IEP. I am fortunate to be working with a school that is open to the diagnosis but they are molasses slow. Each day they wait, DD has a full day of work to complete at home without modifications and the mountain is growing It is heartening to know your son is doing well with accommodations.

 

Mommybee, thanks for the invitation to email. This is a learn as you go process and we are hoping for the accommodations that will keep her progressing without creating the anxiety triggers with too heavy an academic burden. For now, we are putting her on a homebound program as she is just too fragile and erratic to even manage getting from class to class right now without exhibiting strange behaviors.

 

T-Mom....thank you for the 504 designation. That keeps me from the time to come up with that myself. Five minutes gained. I am sitting here right now working with her on advanced geometry knowing full well that we are simply jumping through the hoops in getting the work done and that prior to testing, I will have to reteach the entire chapter.

Grief, this is slow going, every step is like dragging her through wet cement.

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MomwOCDSon, it sounds like our children are on the same track. DD, is in honors classes now that will convert to AP in her last two years and even the diagnosis of PANDAS is not deterring us from the goal of her being university bound. We have decided to start with a 504 because we can move on it now and then start the process for an IEP. I am fortunate to be working with a school that is open to the diagnosis but they are molasses slow. Each day they wait, DD has a full day of work to complete at home without modifications and the mountain is growing It is heartening to know your son is doing well with accommodations.

 

Mommybee, thanks for the invitation to email. This is a learn as you go process and we are hoping for the accommodations that will keep her progressing without creating the anxiety triggers with too heavy an academic burden. For now, we are putting her on a homebound program as she is just too fragile and erratic to even manage getting from class to class right now without exhibiting strange behaviors.

 

T-Mom....thank you for the 504 designation. That keeps me from the time to come up with that myself. Five minutes gained. I am sitting here right now working with her on advanced geometry knowing full well that we are simply jumping through the hoops in getting the work done and that prior to testing, I will have to reteach the entire chapter.

Grief, this is slow going, every step is like dragging her through wet cement.

 

I love the wet cement analogy. At times I've felt like I were pushing a piano up a mountain. The folks who say parenting doesn't come with a manual don't know the half of it. I am all too familiar with molasses school personnel and almost daily phone communication. High school is only four years(hopefully)so the slow pace sometimes feels like a stall tactic even though I know it isn't. Bottom line is that while we parents see all the suffering, our kids tend to behave and achieve at school so they often don't get the kinds of attention and supports that they so badly need and deserve. I was told by a special educator that homebound is much easier to manage at the high school level because there are fewer people involved, i.e. ensuring that accommodations are provided is nearly impossible because some classroom teachers aren't able or willing to individualize their approach. Much as they try to stay on top of every kid, the special ed staff isn't in a position to supervise what goes on in every classroom and they tend to find themselves a day late and a dime short which they don't like either.

 

All this rambling is to say you're not alone and it sounds like you are doing everything right.

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I’m a teacher and I have some experience here. I teach fulltime in a high school. There are a lot of different accommodations that you can ask for. In the past, I have had to sit students in specific seats, make different types of tests for them, give them word banks- essentially make the assessments easier. For some of my students with mental disabilities, they are allowed to go to the nurse/bathroom/get a drink without a hall pass. When the work is particularly challenging, I allow them to work with a partner. You can also request for your child to have a study guide made before tests. I also had a student who was allowed to retake quizzes and tests if he did poorly. You can also allow for a no penalty for late homework. I typically tell my students to just put all missing work in a bin when they enter the class. Like that, they don't stand out or feel different.

 

If they are too sick to attend school, I would highly recommend k12. I was briefly employed with them as well and they are wonderful with students who have disabilities. It’s completely free public school online within your state.

Edited by LaurenK

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High school was very hard for me my anxiety was terrible and I was affraid my friends wouldn't accept me. Just remind him you haven't changed you don't have a mental illness so if someone makes fun of you of trys they are incorrect is with pans where given this disorder to bring knowledge to this world and make new theories know to help others.

 

If kids aren't good to him I went to an alternative school for mental health kids that my home school paid for it was just a berter environment swers and nurses to pass meds. I got my regents and am now going to college. Keep encouraging and telling him life is so different once you get out as I'm sure you know

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Hi I have a middle achooler. He has braon fog when for about a week or so when his PANDA flares up. The teachers are unrelenting. He has an iep. However it doesn't adress flare ups. This school has known about PANDAS sence 1st grade. The middle school is makeing it into a issue of teen responseabiliy. I'm at a loss the brain fog is exhausting his is a b student until he gets a flare up. I notify tje teachers when he is being treated and one could care less I'm at a loss.

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Gelinasfive --

 

I think you need to request a formal IEP meeting and address the fact that your son's needs are not being adequately met. There are always likely to be some "old school" teachers and/or administrators who fail to recognize the impact of our children's health on their ability to focus and function, falling back on that old "responsibility and accountability" saw rather than stepping up to help a kid who genuinely needs assistance. But there will also be people who know your son, know he works hard wants to be accountable, but needs some help during the rough patches. Make sure you include some of those more tuned-in teachers/administrators in your IEP meeting invite, and if you have a therapist and/or doctor your trust, I would consider including them, as well.

 

A good IEP helps bridge those gaps, and good IEP administration empowers your son to self-advocate with his teachers when he finds himself in those tough spots.

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