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The math curriculum doesn't work for my son



My son qualifies for an IEP based on executive functioning deficits due to Developmental Coordination Disorder. He has difficulty organizing his thoughts and sequencing multistep problems. He also has a very low visual-spatial index (6th or 7th percentile).

His fluid reasoning and math computation skills are solidly in the average range and he did fine in math until his school switched curricula. The old curriculum was more traditional, direct instruction of one skill at a time, with lots of practice before moving onto the next. The new curriculum - Illustrative Mathematics - seems to be more conceptual, it guides kids to figuring it out on their own, and there is a lot less skill practice. They started this curriculum last year and my son went from getting Bs in math to failing. When it became clear my son wasn't going to pass and would need to repeat it the following year, I pulled him and enrolled him in an online class. With the more traditional approach and the help of a tutor, he excelled.

Now his school is requiring him to take their math class and once again, he is struggling to pass. He is not learning the material, there isn't enough direct instruction or practice problems. I just found out that they will have time limits on their unit tests. I have watched my son do homework and take tests and I know he cannot do the tests with this curriculum within the time limit (in addition to his EF and visual-spatial deficits, his processing speed is just on the line, 16% and he writes very slowly because of difficulties with fine motor skills). I have tried communicating with the teacher and she will only answer generally about the group of students and what she is doing to help all of them with test taking skills, and not my son specifically. His case manager hasn't engaged in any of these conversations.

My son needs this class to graduate. I'd also like him to learn math! I was told if he fails that he would make it up by doing Edmentum during summer school. He does all his classwork and homework and sees a math tutor 3 times a week, at my expense. It seems absurdly unfair to make him take summer school because he is a poor fit for their curriculum. Don't even get me started on Edmentum.

Is anyone familiar with enough with Illustrative Mathematics to know what supports are in place for kids with visual-spatial processing and EF deficits? Are the testing time limits required by the curriculum? My kid's school will fight me on everything, we could easily end up in due process trying to get him exempted from time limits, so I need to be strategic in how I approach this. He is in 9th grade Algebra.



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First, you want to make sure of what your state requires for graduation--and stay on that path if that is your/his goal.

Next, look at the curriculum websites and see what the publisher says about them.

Compare that to your child's skill sets and skill deficits.

From there, I would ask for a meeting, pointing out your child's identified skill deficits and what he needs to be successful in this course. Ask for whatever SDI or accommodations he needs, in writing.

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