My son has experienced poor academic progress since his diagnosis Feb. 2009....suggestions...help needed!

My son was diagnosed Feb. 2009 with Type 1.  Immediately prior to and since then; he has had a very difficult time in school academically.  Grades are very poor. In the beginning BG levels were all over the place, but more stable now.  He has missed alot of school due to migraine headaches which he developed in September.  Teachers say he is unmotivated and doesn't try.  My son says he tries and he pays attention in class but has difficulty "keeping up".  Has anyone else experienced this?  I have met with teachers and administration time and time again, we get nowhere. 

How old is your son and what grade?

Have you talked with his endo or regular doctor about this, esp. the headaches and behavior at school? How is his behavior at home? Could he be depressed?

How is his BG control, and is he on shots or pump?

Sorry  more questions than answers, but I know that they will help us all on here suggest solutions.

I'm kind of going through the same thing. i missed a lot of school and it was hard catching up. he might feel like he cant even try because its so hard to keep his grades up. it is really annoying. try to help him study a lot

Regardless of what grade he is in, there should be a problem solving team at your son's school.  It may be called a student assistance team or a teacher assistance team.  If you feel that his academic progress is affected by his diabetes (or depression), he may qualify for special education services under a diagnosis of "Other Health Impaired".  He would have to be evaluated through testing to determine this and then you would need a letter from your doctor detailing how his medical status affects his educational progress.  He would also qualify for a 504 plan without an evaluation. 

Other things to think about about are related to the grade he is in.  For example, second to third grade is typically a transition that is difficult because reading instruction typically ceases and comprehension of what is read plays a much bigger role.  Elementary to middle school, middle school to high school are also more difficult.

If you want help navigating the special education process, there should be a federally funded parent group in your state to help you.  This group should be able to help even if you don't want to consider special education.  These groups are made up of parents who have children with special needs.  The school should be able to help, some are good at this and some are not.  The size of the district usually has nothing to do with how good they are at helping.  If your son attends a private school, the public school district that you are in is still responsible for helping.  Your state parent group should be able to help you either way.

Good luck!

How is he outside of school? Have you noticed any of these concentrating problems in your home environment?

 

First, your son is being discriminated against and it sounds like the school needs a little education about what they are doing.  As of Jan. 2008, a diabetic is protected from being limited or negatively impacted by not being accommodated.

Make sure you have a 504 on file for the emergencies and the daily management necessary activities for your son to be able to function without barriers in the classroom. He cannot be penalized for not being able to do his work because of high or low BGs. If he can test BGs on his own, the school must let him w/o impacting his classroom participation. If they insist on him being taken out of the class to do his normal D activities (BGs, Shots, eating to get BGs up), the school is required by federal law to accommodate your son with tutoring, alternative academic test options, missed education participation and etc. 

Life is enough of a challenge with the T1D, the law now protects your son from the school discrimination, staff discrimination, student discrimination and any other discriminatory act at the school. 

JDRF has some great support online and resources you can contact for assistance.

Here are some links...

http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=107305

http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=103439

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/adaaa_notice.cfm

http://www.hrtutor.com/en/news_rss/articles/2008/10-15-ADA-Amendments-Act-of-2008-Another-Effort-to-Eliminate-Discrimination-Against-the-Disabled.aspx

http://www.ada.gov/pubs/ada.htm

 

If his sugars are in good control, I wouldn't guess it's the D itself. I didn't have trouble concentrating in school unless I was low or very high. Are his migraines well controlled? Do the headache meds have any side effects that could affect concentration?

Otherwise, if he was a solid student prior to his diagnosis, I would also wonder about depression, paired with the extra burden of missed school.

But, whatever is happening, it does sound like you / his school should further investigate what's going. I hope there's a kind guidance counselor, principal, teacher or someone who can take a special interest in him and help you all problem solve and figure out if he needs any specialized testing.

Hang in there!

[quote user="SusanSMS"] Has anyone else experienced this?[/quote]

Yes actually!  My son was a very good student prior to diagnosis.  Since the diagnosis he says it is much harder to concentrate and stay focused. Blood sugars have been in the target zone most of the time ( lows have been due primarily  to physical activity and not at school)  so I don't think it is this.   He has had headaches frequently ( some linked to highs and lows but not all of them).  He has had cluster migraines for years but has had only one episode since his diagnosis.  He says the headaches he is experiencing are not  exactly like the  migraines .  I see the difficulty staying on task at home as well .  Although there has been some normal  frustrations and sadness expressed about the diabetes he is not depressed and has done a great job on taking care of things. 

We have discussed it with the diabetes educators who recommended we see his regular doctor -- that appointment is coming up soon. 

Thanks for posting this - nice to know at least that we are not alone.  Please keep me posted if you figure out more...

I experienced just the opposite of your son. Along with all the other responsibilities I acquired at age 12 with my diagnosis, I buckled down on school work. I guess keeping my grades up made me feel like I had some sort of control in life. Maybe an effect of diabetes (such as depression or grief or stress) is what's bothering him.. I think school is a little boring for every kid so maybe it's not all that abnormal! Maybe you could speak to his endo if school administration isn't cooperating.

It sounds like there are a lot of changes in your sons life in the last year or so......I hope he can get on track soon.

Have you gotten to a support group.....contact your local JDRF.....sometimes it just helps to talk to folks that are going through what you're going through. I think back to when I was growing up. I think I only knew 1 other diabetic in my entire school times....K-12. It would have been nice to talk to other kids who were dealing with the same things.

Have you asked him whats going on....I'm guessing he probably has some insights or ideas why things are going differently.