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Parent stories: my son's strongest advocate

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By Kimberly Flyr

Advocate and advisor

It's reassuring to know that Kapp understands David. If the classroom teacher is unsure of how to help my son, Kapp steps in with a solution. When David struggled to write a story for a project, she offered to type his story as he dictated it, organizing the sentences and paragraphs as she went along. David was proud of the finished product.

Kapp also serves as an advisor to David's father and me. If we have concerns about David's progress, she offers insights and solutions. When we decided to use a behavior chart to help David complete his work in class, for example, she helped develop the chart and offered to "test it" in her own classroom.

Are we lucky to have found Kapp? Of course. But chances are, you can also find a teacher who will make a difference in your child's life. As I found out, developing partnerships with teachers can make school an easier experience for everyone.

Before befriending Kapp, David had felt anxious about school. When I would visit him during lunch or recess, his body and face seemed tense. Now he looks forward to the one-on-one time with Kapp and has relaxed a little. Are our problems solved? Not completely. But as David's favorite comic-strip characters point out, it's more fun to get through your day with a trusted friend by your side.

Reprinted with permission from ADDitude Magazine. All rights reserved. See for more articles like this one.

Comments from readers

"Thank you for sharing this story. If only all children could be so lucky to find a mentor teacher. Our 14 year old struggles with epilepsy. It feels like his 504 plan is not worth the paper it is written on. The medication he takes impacts his learning, but he is learning. Life is just a little harder. He works so hard, yet continues to get Fs for grades from a couple middle school teachers. It breaks our heart to see how hard he works and how deflated he feels each time an F is placed on his homework or test. What can be done to help teachers understand? We are very worried about how he will transition to high school. "
"thank you so much for your story"
"I am experiencing your same frustration. My son is 13 and in the 8th grade. He is failing every class but on all the standardized tests he does very well. So well that he does not qualify for their excel program. The principles says my Ben's test scores are so good he that Ben should not be failing. But he is so what do I do? He has been diagnosed with ADD. I talk to the counselor and she acts like their is nothing I can do. She suggested having the principle talk with Ben which I said would be fine. However I can't tell how many times my husband and I have talked to him. I know what I think would help him but he doesn't qualify because of his test grades. I am so angry at the school because he is failing but his test scores are good. What kind of sense does that make. Do I tell my son to purposefully do poorly on the test to qualify for this program? But that doesn't address the very real possiblity that he will fail the 8th grade. I'm sorry but I feel like th! e school and I am failing him. He does have responsbility but where does his end and the schools begin?"
"This story is very much like my son. He is six and he started school at the age of four. I have been having a very hard time with his teachers and his learning abilities. If you have information that could help us, then I would really appreciate it. I live in Milwaukee, Wi."
"I have a 10 year old daughter with Tourettes, ADD & OCD. She also has learning disabilities in Math, Reading, & Writing. She is definitely a right-brained child, her artistic ability is fabulous, but that reading, writing, and arithmetic thing is very difficult for her. She has trouble making friends and is beginning to have lowered self-esteem over not being able to have good grades. This is the first year they ahve used the A through F grading system, and she got an F in Math. She had a small meltdown. Any help you can provide would be grateful."
"I think this is a good motivational article for me to read as today is my first day i am going to start mentoring my nephew with ADHD, as I have ADHD myself. I open to sugesstions as we are meeting once a week to study and have fun together. Each session will be about a hour to an hour and a half. I am a sucessful person now, but it was a struggle for me growing up. "