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ESY or Course Retake? I'm freaking out...



I need advice or help or something.

Next week, we have a meeting with the school to discuss ESY or repeating a course in 11th grade for my son. While the year isn’t over for another 10 days, it looks grim. My son will probably fail Chemistry for the year and need to either take it in summer school or retake it next year. I’m not sure which route to go and have not presented the options to my son yet. (I am waiting to have this discussion with him when he has definitely failed the course. In the past, these discussions are not motivating to him and have the effect of causing him to shut down and not do any work for the class.) I fear that this is going to be devastating for him, as it was the last time this happened (going from 8th to 9th grade). I'm also wondering what the purpose of this will be - it seems to be just to pass him through.

I am at a complete loss and honestly didn’t think this is where we would be this year.  I have been fighting with the school all year to include supports that were suggested from an IEE last school year.  While they changed his IEP category to autism immediately upon receiving the IEE, they did not include additional appropriate supports without me constantly prodding and having meetings with them.  And, it seems they are unwilling to make changes without a meeting with the entire team.  In Nov, he had a panic attack at school and I went to the superintendent and then the school board in order to get a communication system in place and speech services at school. (He is receiving speech and executive functioning therapy outside of school as well).

My son has autism with significant executive function deficits. His goals are related to initiation, sequencing, execution, and prioritization/planning. He was identified at the age of 15 in 9th grade (last spring).  He is currently finishing 10th grade and is 16 years old. He was in advanced courses through middle school, and struggled. He failed 3 courses at the end of 8th grade (Covid year with multiple modality changes through the year). He went to summer school for English in order to move up to 9th grade. He retook Algebra I in 9th grade (even though he already passed the State test). The third class was Spanish - he has taken no language in high school. He was identified as gifted in Mathematics and Reading in middle school and used to test in the 95-99th%tile for most standardized tests. He is currently in really low level inclusion courses – Geometry and English. But, these courses are not typical 10th grade courses. For example, he is passing English because 90% of his grade is spelling tests. (He was in inclusion classes last year and they weren't like these classes - these are different).

He completely shut down last year after being removed from advanced courses and being placed in inclusion classrooms. I found out in his IEP in Feb 2022, that he spent most of the school year in his English class sitting on the floor in the corner surfing the internet. In Q4, he did not do a single assignment in several classes. I am really concerned about how this current failure is going to effect him. We had him in therapy 2-3 times per week last summer and 1 x per week through the school year until his SLP went on maternity leave a few weeks ago.

Throughout this school year, his gen ed teachers keep asking me what they should be doing or how they can help him. The intervention specialists, coordinator, and director of spec ed are vague in their responses about what they are doing and what is helping. Instead of sharing what they are doing to support his executive functioning, they seem to be talking to him about unrelated things – summer job, weekend plans, learning to drive, etc. While they are now sending me an almost daily email, they are not collaborative with respect to sharing what they are doing and they are not receptive to suggestions from outside professionals.

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At age 16, he should be at his IEP meeting and the loudest voice in the room.  To me, anxiety seems to be his biggest issue.  It looks to be what's between him & success in school.  At 16, they should be looking at transition so jobs, driving, etc so this is appropriate but he's still got to pass HS & earn enough credits to graduate.

Sitting in a classroom & not being engaged in learning what the teacher is teaching is not "access to an education".  I think you need to talk to your son and see what his perspective is on what's getting in the way of school success.  From there you see if data is needed in the way of evaluations or if you can move straight to adding support and goals so your child can be successful.

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Forgot to mention ESY.  ESY is to work on IEP goals during a time when school isn't scheduled for general ed students.  Summer school for credit recovery is not the same as ESY.  If he does take a summer class, he should get the same support that is in his IEP during the reg school year.

You do need to have all required IEP team members at a meeting in order to make changes to the IEP.  Small/minor changes could be done via a no-meet revision provided everyone is OK with this change.

You need to figure out how he went from advanced 95th percentile to not participating in school.  To me, it looks like anxiety is at the root of his issues.

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What Judi said. And, you can do both ESY and credit recovery over the summer. It doesn't have to be either/or.

I think you really need to get with him, and develop a vision statement.

Your IEP is the roadmap--the vision statement is the destination. 

You need to make sure that your IEP is pointing toward where he wants to go. 

No child should fail a class, imo. But, if he can reasonably be expected to pass chemistry with the right supports, then his IEP is insufficient.



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