"Please, Sir, May I Have Some More Food"

May 09, 2019

Parents will tell me of their ongoing efforts to get the school to do what they feel their child needs.

There are usually three or so common outcomes.

One outcome is the school will show data that the child is “meeting benchmarks” or meeting standards in spite of  the child’s struggling.

Another possible outcome is the child will get a “504” Plan, meaning that the child will be given  some accommodations such as extended time or repetition of directions, presuming he/she has received some type of “diagnosis” (almost always the “diagnosis” is ADHD generated from a 15 minute or so review of some rating scales like the Connors or the Vanderbilt).

Classifying the child in special education is a third possible outcome with the child theoretically receiving some type of service or “in-class support” as specified in an IEP  (Individual Education Plan).

When parents describe the process they go through to me it sounds like Oliver Twist asking in that plaintive voice, “Please sir, may I have some more,” as he begs for more food.

Like Oliver Twist, the parents are in a lower hierarchical position.  Even if you get “more food,” if your child is struggling you want to try and overcome the pervasive sense of one-down passivity.

I believe the only way to do that is to to not wait around for the few crumbs coming your way.  You need to take the proverbial “bull by the horns” and find the right type of person who can work with your child and do what needs to be done, typically in an individual format targeting the child’s areas of deficiency. Usually this is in the form of tutoring or some other type of therapy.

There are pros and cons to this recommendation.

The pros are you will be taking an action and not waiting for the crumbs to be thrown your way.

The cons are that it (the remediation) is likely to be an out of pocket expense and will  typically be after school, in the afternoon, evening or on the weekend for a couple of sessions a week.  So, it will be time and money.

Takeaway Point

Keep pressure on the school, but understand that that the three outcomes are the ones largely at work and often you will not feel satisfied with any of them.  If you can, take action on your own and step out from the hands-out,Oliver-like posture.

You will sleep better at night.


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More on “Executive Functioning”Firming Up the Rudder
All comments (2)
  • Lorna Wooldridge
    May 11, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    I couldn't not agree with you more Richard. I have had a few parents that have managed to get the school to pay for quite […] Read MoreI couldn't not agree with you more Richard. I have had a few parents that have managed to get the school to pay for quite a number of the tutoring sessions with me. In one of these cases it was done without an advocate! I now encourage parents to try and get private tutoring and speech and language sessions paid for by the school, especially when their child continues to fail, despite having an IEP and the services necessary for remediation. Read Less


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