View Full Version : 504 to IEP in middle school?

03-14-13, 02:50 PM
Looking for people's opinions and experiences:

I have spent hours trying to decide if an IEP will benefit my severe ADHD/mood disorder/anxiety child above and beyond what his 504 already offers him. I just had him privately tested and he is not dyslexic by definition but has pretty severe processing and attention problems. He is in 7th grade. We help with almost every homework assignment and they take hours. His classwork generally gets a B and his tests are Ds or Fs. In the end he ends up with mostly Bs. But so much time and effort go into this with me getting him to school coach classes and sending in notes to remind him to ask for missing assignments, etc. He hates school to the point that he has threatened suicide at times. I have an advocate and the psychiatrist and psychologist recommend going for an IEP. Here is my question: Do you think that going to an IEP would hurt him emotionally or make him stand out as a "dumb" kid which he already thinks he is? He likes to just blend in with the others as much as possible. And, if I go for the IEP, what modification helps these kids? Do middle schools really offer organizational help or study/homework time in schools. I think the IEP would make his teachers more aware maybe. I meet with them all at the beginning of the year 1:1 and tell them what works and what doesn't. We have all but given up on him going to college because he is so unhappy with the work and focus requirements of regular school.

Thank you.

03-14-13, 03:25 PM
In my experience with my own kids, the 504 was managed by the school guidance counselor without much communication with me. The IEP's are managed by a caseworker, with annual meetings or meetings everytime i want one. Any changes to my kids's plans have to be signed off on by me.

03-14-13, 04:11 PM
What stood out to me in your post was that your son is doing fine with
learning, but needs to have his testing set up differently so he can show
what he knows. It's not fair that failing tests but actually knowing the stuff
would drag his overall grades down.

I'd google that (school tests + ADHD) and take in a couple of ideas and
ask the staff if they have any other ideas. If they are willing to work with
you on this, then it might not be necessary to change to an IEP.

Something I read another parent did was ask the teachers how much time
they expected the kids in their class to spend on homework each night.
She explained that her child would spend that much time on homework,
but if he didn't finish it all, he should not be graded down. That sounds like
a good accomodation to me.

03-20-13, 04:23 AM
Here's the way I look at questions like this ... If the IEP helps him, he will embrace it .... But the truth is ... if it's good for him, it doesn't matter if he embraces it right now, because 20 years from now, he will think it was the best thing in the world for him.

I really would not worry about "sending a message" to a kid by getting him all the support and structure he needs. If you give him the help he needs, he will notice it ... He will notice the better structure, he will notice his increased ability to function ... and worries about "a message" will disappear.

In fact, one thing I'm sure about right now is that the "hiding" or attempt to be "normal" can be one of the worst tendencies a young person can have indulged by parents if the design to be so "normal" gets in the way of the kid getting the support, care, structure and guidance they need. In fact, acting like "normal" when you do indeed have special needs and issues, just reinforces low confidence ... because you're basically living by the code that if I "stick out" or if someone possibly thinks poorly of me, I ought not do an action that is otherwise in my best interest. ...

The people with really high confidence are those who learned to pay attention to their specific goals, dreams and desires without first checking in with how the rest of the world feels. If entrepreneurs waited to check in with the rest of the world, they would never start a new business.

You can control the message ... You can have discussions and give him your honest view that everyone has strengths and weaknesses ... that right now, he needs help in this area ... Getting help in this area will help him keep up in school and be able to do better in school ... and to over time learn how to think on his own such that he doesn't need any help ... He'll also have more friends, have more fun, make more money and live a much better life in the long run ... and with luck, it will even reduce stress and alienation in the short run.

There are some kids who absolutely insist that they don't want any special treatment at school ... and even these kids are usually wrong. These will be the same kids who grow up and if they have problems, will turn around and blame you for not having taken a stand and for not having ignored his hesitancy and insisted that he get the treatment he needed when he was young.

Bottom line: you as a parent can tell him you love him. It will actually be a wonderful gift for him to hear that his parents love him even as he's getting the help and academic and social support he needs. That will be the message that will last a lifetime ... he will learn that it's OK to be human ... and he can be loved and is worthy of love and support and care even though he has certain weaknesses ... He will learn that it's good to attend to his own needs and not worry about what other people think ...

So if you think he needs the extra support, go for it. You will be sending the right message ... and even if he complains about it in the short run, it's the long run that counts.

Good luck.

So yes, proceed forward with the additional support. And explain to him why.


03-20-13, 04:38 AM
In my opinion, middle school is a long long long way from college and a lot can change in that time. For a 7th-grader, college is almost as far in the future as kindergarten is in the past! Maybe there are enough things to worry about for today already. :)

For some reason "he has threatened suicide" seems a very odd and disturbing way to phrase it. Maybe this is just me being weird.

Does he have something that he's very good at?