If your child has AD/D or AD/HD, s/he may need extra help from school.
It is crucial that you and the teacher acknowledge the realities of the problems that your child has, as early as possible, and engage with your school to get the child assessed by the County and then be provided the services for which s/he qualifies. Your school Principal and probably the Assistant Principal will be involved in the process.
The student will be assigned an Individual Assessment Plan (IEP). Students who have fewer problems/require less County help get a 504 plan. The goal of the plans is to help your child make academic and social progress. It will be the method by which your school is able to provide extra resources to your child on a daily basis and also during testing. If s/he will need extra time, a computer or a teacher to work with him/her on the tests, such help will documented in these plans. Make sure that your assessment of what your child needs is included in the plan.
The IEP is a written plan that can comprise counseling, reading, math, small/gross motor skills, speech/language skills. There will be at least one meeting per year, possibly as many as one per month.
At an assessment meeting, likely the Principal, a Special Education Coordinator, the school Counselor and probably other staff members, including your child’s teacher, will discuss the problems your child is having. Be honest and straight-forward, open to working with them and positive, friendly and optimistic. Request the same from them, if they are not already. When the administration and staff is being helpful, thank them.
Give them verbal and/or written statements about the history of the problems, what you notice at home or outside activities. LIttle tidbits, such as the birth or death of a family member and other notes can be crucial in the overall treatment of your child. If you encounter problems with any of the staff, unwillingness to provide services you believe are important, it may be worthwhile to work with an expert and ask for personal or written information for the team meeting. However, that information may not have any effect on the outcome of the meeting.
At first, your child’s teacher may ask special educators to take him/her out of the classroom to work individually or in small groups in order to give the students more one-on-one time and attention. As your child makes progress, you and your teacher might decide that time should decrease or be eliminated altogether. As long as the teacher and you are in agreement with the steps being taken and that progress is being made, make sure that the team makes the changes in the IEP/504.
As you child progresses, s/he may move to a 504 Plan which will provide similar services but probably less frequently.
Talk with your child’s teacher about volunteering in the classroom or helping out in other ways. It can be a double-edged sword: sometimes the child will be more difficult in your presence. On the other hand, s/he will learn that you believe in devoting your valuable time to the school, to his/her teacher and to helping him/her do better in school. You will see first hand where his/her strengths and weaknesses are and can make time in the evenings and weekends to address them.
Following are some resources for you to get started:
http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/boe/ is the Board of Education web site for Montgomery County, Maryland. You should contact your specific local Board Member with any concerns you have.
Shirley Brandman is the Chair, Laura Berthiaume and Phil Kauffman make up the Committee on Special Populations including according to the County’s site: “special education services, gifted and talented instruction, alternative programs, ESOL services, and multilingual supports.”
http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/boe/meetings/calendar0910.aspx Lists the Committee’s upcoming hearings/events.
http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/community/forums/ Lists the Committee’s upcoming Community Forums.
http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/about/strategicplan/parentguide/Parent Guide to the County’s Strategic Plan for Students.
http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/ Click here for County information about your school.