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My bio- son recently asked me why his step-brother doesn’t get in trouble for bringing home bad grades. In my bio-son’s case, the lowest expectable grade is a B; C’s are cause for concern, and anything lower will result in major punishment.
My step-son is currently failing 3rd grade. Most of the grades he brings home are F’s. He was a preemie, and we are finally in the process of having him evaluated for learning disabilities and the various forms of ADD. But how do you explain this to a 2nd grader?
I started by asking him if he knew what it meant to be mentally challenged. I was a bit shocked at what he thought it meant. He described people who were severely handicapped, such as you would find in an institution. I explained that there are many different degrees of disabilities. Some people are challenged more than others, but a lot of the time you cannot tell unless you know the person. Then I reminded him about the difficulty his step-brother has focusing on homework, his emotional delicateness and his anxiety about competitive physical activities. I told him that the doctor said those things may have to do with a disability, and until we know for sure, it would be wrong to punish his step-brother for something that may not be his fault. Then I reminded my son how lucky he should feel not to have problems like these, and to show compassion for those who do.
Our expectations are based on what we know each child is capable of. And I know some of you may feel like we are putting too much pressure on the 2nd grader, but the fact is that during the first quarter of this year he has brought home work with 2 B’s, 1 C, and the rest were A’s. We use his competitive side to our advantage. He wants to get the best grades in his class, and competes with his friend to see who does better. He does not get nervous or feel anxiety due to our expectations. He feels pride in himself because he does better than we demand.
Great advice, viviandozier. Are your son and step-son close? I'm curious if you've noticed that your bio-son has been more supportive of your step-son during reading or homework time since you had this discussion with him.36651
The boys are not close anymore. My step-son tends to be on the emotionally delicate side and cries alot. He has reported to his mother that his step-brother is mean to him, and she has suspended any visitation that is not court ordered. They only see each other on Wednesdays and every other weekend. My bio-son was very upset by this, and now he mostly tries to stay away from him so he doesn't upset him or make him cry. It is a very difficult situation. 36654
Viviandozier, thanks for taking the time to post your experience and insights to share with the rest of the community. It's a lot for a young boy to comprehend but it sounds like you did an amazing job explaining your stepson's differences. I hope that as the boys get older they'll be able to understand each other better and bridge the gap. 36655
Do you have a child study team? It does not matter if the child was a P or not - what matters is how the school administration spends their money on helping your child. If you need help please go to the special education link - for your state - and get to 1st the regional superintendent! and ask for a meeting with them and the principal and child study team of your school to find out if they are doing their job.36667
Hi - I explain it everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
Has your son with the learning difficulty had his full neruo-physcological workup? This is not just a regular school evaluation but you also go to specialists who do testing to get measurements and cognitive abilities, memory, everything so you can identify weaknesses and strengths - then the team - parents - teachers - doctors, all come up with a support plan on how best to address today, and how to get to next year.
I hope you have a great supportive team. I hope you are as lucky as I was when I went to ask for help for a therapist they had just the right person for my son - a man who is a licensed therapist who has ad'/hd and is able to help my now 13 year old and it has given him so much confidence and help! Just having someone to talk to your little one will feel special. I hope your medical will help - and I hope the school will do their great job and what top educators want to identify early the weaknesses where the most good can be done.
My son is gifted with broken executive functioning and my daughter is LD with memory issues and add. So we showed her she could in the summer with the permission of Professor "L" at Middlesex Community College in NJ attend a gifted summer program. And my daughter excelled amazingly - her self-esteem improved dramatically upon entering 10th grade, and we got her IEP updated by getting the correct testing to show her stengths and weaknesses so the school could focus on what she needs help with - she now gets Project Read 2 times a week privately - that is awesome! I wish I had known earlier. All the parents I know in your son's age group are fighting hard but winning to get their children help. SOme have had to stay back a year but at 3rd grade this can be a good thing. Some then need more services than the school can provide so this is still a good age for the school to send a child to a school specialized in addressing the educational needs of a LD child. Two frineds have done this and the school if you fight hard will pay for it. I have you have advocates to help you. Just remember you have the same rights as anyone on the IEP team and teachers in the room. The teachers have a job to do based on "x" but you need "y". Good Luck - you will get the help - keep asking, going, and don't take "No" for an answer - cry if you want. It's a big deal! And you'll make all the difference now in your childs future life by hanging in there. TONS of resources on web. But if you have not had the full comprehensive testing done - there are special people like Dr. Crum and Dr. Joseph Torgenson who will help you for free to get on the right track!36678
Jealousy is a big part of what we deal with. My step-son has accused his father of loving my bio-son more than him. I think the grades my bio-son gets hurts my step-sons self-esteem, but what can I do? We try not to talk about it in front of my step-son, but we do not give up acknowledging my bio-sons accomplishments because he deserves to be praised.
Today we got the IEP results. It said he has ADHD and recommended medication, not special education. Mt step-son is very smart, and I hope his doctor and his mother make the right decisions regarding his treatment. I would help our family out a lot!36694
My father used to say - from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs. I'm not sure what famous person he likely stole that good line from but he used it often and I used it with my own sons and with my own students. We have different levels of abilities and differing levels of needs. It takes Solomon's wisdom to know what to do when but your explanation to your 2nd grade son sounded like a good one to me.36814
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