My Daughter: Loves Learning, Hates School

My daughter is now 15 and a sophomore in high school. Ever since I can remember, she has absolutely hated school. When she was little, she would cry and not get out of the car when we approached the school. I tried to ask her why and all she could say was that she just didn't like it and that people were mean. I soon learned how mean they were when she came home one day and told me that her second grade teacher kept poking her in the back with her long fingernails.

After hearing over and over from every teacher how "perfectly capable" my daugther was of doing the work at her grade level, but that she just "refused to do the work," I sent a formal request to the school that she be tested for a learning disability. After the results of the tests came in, I had a long conversation with the special education department chair that sounded more like a twisted version of "Who's on first?" It went something like: "Your daughter has "specific learning disability." To which I replied "what is it specifically?" After getting the same answer over and over with no explanation, I got off the phone and looked up "Specific Learning Disability" on the internet and found out that it was basically a label the school places on kids where they know something is wrong but don't know exactly what it is.

The tests also showed that my daughter has an emotional disability. I thought I understood what that meant. My daughter has always been "sensitive," a bit of an introvert, and becomes easily frustrated and overwhelmed.

Well, here we are six years later. She is consistently given negative consequences for her behavior and the more negative consequences she receives, the worse her behavior seems to get. Her high school has a "zero tolerance policy" and assigns detention to every kid for everything... including not having their homework done and not being prepared for class. My daughter gets assigned detention every day. She has a low-self esteem and feels like everyone at school thinks she's stupid. I get calls or emails at least once a week from teachers that tell me how she is "refusing" to do her work. When my daughter comes home from school and we sit down to work on her homework, many times, she has forgotten what she needs to do. The worksheets that are sent home do not contain any instructions, so many times I cannot help her with them. When I ask the teachers for direction on her assignments, many times they tell me that "she knows what she is supposed to do, she just doesn't want to do it, so that is why she tells you that she forgot."

She has an Individual Education Plan and within that plan, she is allowed a "cooling off period" when she gets frustrated or overwhelmed. Recently, her science teacher pushed her to frustration and then did not allow her a cooling off period. When my daughter acted out, she was suspended for 5 days.

We have since requested a meeting to go over her plan and add a behavior element. I just spoke with the school psychologist who will be in attendance at the meeting today. I asked her about CPS and she was familar with the concept of lagging skills but had not necessarily heard about Dr. Greene's Plan B. She said she welcomed any materials I could bring in.

I'm about half way through the "Lost in School" book and find it fascinating. This is exactly what I have been looking for. For the first time in my daughter's school career, I have hope.