Grades? Middle and high school - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Grades? Middle and high school


Hope everyone is surving this crazy school year.

Our son is a freshman in high school, his first year with distance learning. It has really been a struggle. His grades are all over the place. When he doesn't turn in an assignment he gets an F ( instead of missing).

Are there other parents experiencing the same thing? He is also taking Spanish, which he is doing well in but still very hard ( 3-4 tests a week).

He is turning all of his stuff in but there is so many assignment in 1 week.

Yes, he has a 504 plan.. but he really has not needed it becuase the teachers are good about letting him turn things in later when needed.

Just curious?

19 Replies

A friend had a similar situation with his ADHD daughter. She had trouble with the technology and had completed 2 homework assignments (he saw them) but they did not upload properly so the teacher presumably never received them. As you note, his daughter got 2 zeros (not incomplete) and there was no call or email from the teacher asking about the assignments. When we were distance learning in the spring, the 504 plan became unnecessary because distance removed the ability of the teachers to create disability related barriers to learning and we were able to provide the support that they often would not. However, I think that a new 504 (albeit temporary) specific to the challenges your son is facing while distance learning is in order. You seem experienced with the procrss, but if your son's school makes a parent a member of the 504 "team " you know that you have the ability to demand a meeting to update the 504 (even if it needs to be changed back when live instruction resumes). In my son's case, I would always identify and write the accommodations myself with the assistance of non school based consultants (psych, pediatric neurology and, sometimes legal) and then submit the new accommodations to the school. It seems like you've seen enough to know some of what he needs. Reduced homework, a check-in for seemingly unfinished work (and extended time if needed) perhaps? If he has these already, maybe it's time to ramp up teacher compliance with the 504. Just some thoughts. Good luck to you.

Thanks, YES I sit in over 30 IEP's a year so I am very clear on all this I just feel like I am the only one... I am sure that is not the case. But it is always great to hear from you amazing parents and guardians.

I know ALL teachers are overwhelmed by having to learn different platforms and then making the technology work and it is really impacting learning.

Hi. I hear you, but it would take a lot to convince me that any teacher is too "overwhelmed" to send an e-mail or pick up the phone- to do ANYTHING- before giving a child with ADHD a 0 or F for unfinished work. If any teacher working as hard as your son is working received a 0 on paycheck (much less 2), you can bet a call or e-mail would be sent out immediately. At the last 504 meeting I attended, I counted 14 "Union" stickers on faculty cars between where I parked and the entrance; the teachers do not need my advocacy. There is no union for children with ADHD; they have only us (and the laws designed to help level the playing field). I say all this because I conclude from your post (and a prior similar one) that your son is giving all that he has to give and so are you! It is my opinion that the school/ teachers need to do more since he is struggling, despite his efforts and yours, with distance learning. If it takes a temporary modification of his 504 plan (or more teacher compliance with his current one), so be it. These are tough times for all of us, but, in my opinion, it is the adults (in this case, the teachers) who need to be more supportive and to give more, not the children (with or without ADHD). Your son and you are giving everything you have. Isn't this the advice (after confirming med use, counseling and that a 504 is in place) you'd give others? I wish your son and you very well. He is lucky to have you! Thanks for being a part of this group and for all of the advice you provide.

I feel like the teachers, for the most part are trying, but I have had a teacher who just wouldn’t return an email! I tried via an app, via email 3 times and more to ensure that my daughter had no missing assignments and NOTHING. Both of my 2E kids are back in school now bc we just couldn’t get services. She still did not communicate with me. Then she complained to the six students that we’re doing in person learning that (the teachers are responsible for BOTH in person and distance learning students, which HAS to be overwhelming for them) she was getting emails from parents asking for grades to be updated, right in front of my kid. Lol.

The same teacher sent my daughter home with a test to correct (she rushes through things) and my daughter brought it back and put it on her desk. The teacher then emailed me saying she never brought the test back. My daughter has inattentive type and dyslexia but she’s good at organizing things and keeping track of things so I believed she did, put the corrected test on her desk. She kept telling my L that she wasn’t going to get credit for it. So my daughter went and found it on her desk! She’s in 4th grade.

I’m frustrated with this teacher but I am just trying to walk the line between firm and appreciative.

Glad it worked out for your daughter in the end. The best advice I ever received about dealing with the school, teachers, 504 committee, etc. is "always be the adult in the room." Plenty of frustration to go around these days, so this advice may be particularly sound now. Be well.

My son is also a Freshman in High School this year. We are in school 2 days and remote work assigned the other 3. He is also REALLY struggling. He is always late turning in assignments and is having a hard time keeping up with with everything. We are also getting zeros and his grades are up and down. We have not met all the teachers like a normal school year and one teacher in particular is not working with him very well. I am not sure she understands ADD students, especially executive function issues. I am very frustrated. We do have a 504 with extended time, but I am not sure it is working the way it should during this crazy time. So we are too, just trying to survive =(

Best wishes to you!!

Hi Onthemove, I'm sure you are already aware of the differences between a 504 plan and an IEP. An IEP is under Disability law and therefore is more powerful and it must be followed and complied with. It was always explained to me that a 504 plan is more of a recommendation and teachers are not compelled to comply.

Now might be a good time to switch to an IEP.

God bless.

Onthemove1971 I feel ya. My daughter is only 10 and in the 4th grade. She didn't do any work with the end of 3rd grade distant learning; which didn't effect the grade. Now this year it is a different, I think better distant learning but my daughter still isn't doing much of the work. The teacher tried to cut the amou t of work but she still doesn't want to do it. This week they were supposed to do 2 benchmark pretests to see what they know now. She guessed on the first 6 problems in math; then anxiety set in. She hasn't even started the language arts (ELA is what it is called) one yet. She is on a 504 plan but they don't do much for her. They say she doesn't qualify for IEP since she graduated from speech at the end of 2nd grade.

Her school started back 2 days a week and after October break next week they are planning on going back 5 days a week. We are staying remote for now, tho the teach had said she would benefit going back in person. When she is in school normally she tries to please everyone and not be noticed and hides all her quarks very well. Mentally I think going back would not be good for her. She doesn't like to wear masks, doesn't want to eat in class room, wants to be able to play with other kid that are not in her class, she doesn't like the social distanding either. She also don't want to meet with teacher on camera. I am at a loss of what to do.


Question when you ask for an IEP meeting I know the school has like 30 days or some kind of limit by law to get things done. I have dealt with IEP'S before. Now with 504 plan it is like no time limit. I tried asking at her school and calling in to district noone seems to know. I also tried looking online to no avail. Do you know or anyone else on here know?

My daughter is diagnosed with ADHD Combined, OCD, ODD, Anxiety, Sensory Issues and I believe she is high functioning Autism.

Hi 5Flyingeagle. I read your question as suggesting that you already have a 504 but cannot get a meeting scheduled. Here's the "hack." There is no limit on when or how often you may request a full IEP evaluation and the written request must be addressed in a predetermined timeline. The request can always be withdrawn by you, but cannot be ignored by the district. Simply responding to your request to set up a 504 meeting (if that's what you are seeking) is less costly and time consuming to the district than repeating the full evaluation. In short, a written request for a full IEP evaluation will receive a response. They will welcome you withdrawing the request (and doing so is the right thing to do) if all you are seeking is a timely 504 meeting.

If you do not have a 504 already (which is not how I interpreted your question), you make a written request for the IEP evaluation which begins the process. Children with diagnosed ADHD who do not qualify for an IEP will qualify for a 504 plan. Hope this helps.


I was asking because at the end of 2nd grade the school closed her IEP (I did not want to) because she was done with Speech. The school said she would be one of the first meetings when school started. I knew that was a joke because we have alot of IEP's & 504 plans at our school. School 3rd grade stared like August 3 (very begining of August) I called the office and went in to the office and asked several times about when the meeting was going to be. No answers. Finally had the meeting end of September or begining October; just before October break. I wasn't happy I wanted to look over it before signing. After break tried to get in touch with principle to set a meeting to discuss; both calling and dropping in the office , she was never available. She knew I was trying to get in touch with her. Finally I said have her call me when it is convenient for her. A week or so passed before she called. We talked she didn't have answers, said she would find out and call back, shortly. That was just before winter break at the end of December. Came back after new year and nothing. I asked in the office if the principle was available to discuss what she found out. She was always out of the school, in meetings or busy else were in the school. (Like my daughter wasn't important at all.) Then Spring Break and before they went back Pandemic and no in person. Luckily the OT understands my daughter needs. OT gave my daughter her wiggle seat and chewy pencil topper even tho she had no IEP anymore or a 504 plan yet. This was back about a month or so after school started. OT said they knew my daughter needed them and wasn't going to let my child suffer while someone drags their feet. We finally got them this year to use at home also. Still no answers from principle. I have not called her because she make me feel stupid and makes me feel like a bad mom. She takes all of what I say and turn them into totally different things. She also said if 504 plan doesn't work it is easy to go back to IEP. (then why take her off and say she doesn't qualify for IEP?) Weird.

You certainly don't sound stupid or like a bad mom to me. Sounds like you are doing your best (which is all any of us can do) to advocate for your daughter. I gave you an option in my last response. Happy to help any way I can if there are more questions. Be well.

Thank you

As we have a great discussion about this... it really makes me upset because I could have never imagined our kids would need so many more skills than what is taught in middle school. Many many kids struggle in middle school and then high school gets even harder. If you have a kid on the University track the courses are much more challenging. Since I have been providing so much support ( he is way better now than he was) how will he be able to do all of this in the next 4 years. Unless the school has someone who really cares, not a counselor he will just be another fish in the big pond. I can really see why families leave big public schools.

Advice for middle school families, work on getting your child to be more independent with school in whatever way you can. So they are more prepared for high school ( distance learning or not).

As always, I am thankful for everyone's input.

Having left the big public school this year has, indeed, made a world of difference for my son. However, after reading posts like this string (which upsets me as well), I can't help feeling like I have abandoned the cause. I feel like without my advocacy, the school has gone back to discriminating against the children and bullying parents (like 5Flyingeagle) or suggesting that they or their child are the problem. Crazy, I know, but I can't be rational all the time. Everything in moderation!

Hang in there everybody! These kids need heroes.

When I had trouble setting up an IEP meeting I read to send a request by certified mail. They cannot say they did not receive the request since they have to sign for it.

Freshman year is tough. My now sophomore grandson probably would not have passed if Covid had not interrupted school. That gave him plenty of time for make up work. This year he is like a different kid, doing well.

Now his younger brother is a freshman and struggling although his special ed counselor is keeping an eye on him.

Our son had trouble with his grades freshman year as well. I have two recommendations for you:

1. Go on college tours as soon as you can. This year if the schools aren't open, you can do virtual tours which will save you a lot of travel money but might not be as stimulating. For my ADHD son, getting his brain to focus on the future by having him see for himself the possibilities made the difference in turning his grades around.

2. The best advice I've heard in years was from a mom of a girl with significant executive function issues. She said she asked the school to focus only on one thing: get every assignment turned in. As long as her daughter did that, she would do pretty well, but the missed assignments are a killer.

Best of luck to you!

I'm wondering if your son participate in the online school program call Pearson Connexus?, because it sounds like the program my son does. From reading the orientation, my son should spend an average of 5hrs a day... many of nights we went way passed that, even had him complete work on the weekends to maintain the workload. In the beginning, my son started off great, logged in at 8am was finished by 3:30 pm, four classes doing good, then all of sudden, I guess he got bored, something /then he started to look for other things to do on the computer and spent more time doing that and then he fell behind which is why the weekend comes in play. He has made some F's and thankfully the teachers can be contacted to resubmit his work to improve his grade. I don't necessarily remember him getting an F for not turning his assignments on time because from what I was told by the teachers as long as he gets it done by the end of the semester. Amazingly, one of his teacher email me and asked about his 504 accommodations and if there was anything she can assist with. Since this will be my son new educational plan, (online school) it may need some modification. My issue with my son unless I'm in the room with him, the work could take a very long time because of him going to other sights. As I type this, it's 7:47 pm and he is sitting at the computer under my watchful eyes. My son is 17 y/o and is in the 10th grade. .. such a long way to go.

Onthemove1971 in reply to Alex_7

Thanks for sharing your experience.. there is software you can add to the computer to not allow access to certain sites. You could also look at GoGuardian which allows you to see what he is doing by monitoring his sites.

Our son is required to use the schools computer, which we can't even pair to a printer.

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