Educational Conundrum

Last year, Ryan had an aide who followed him around all day, and basically did his work for him.  We didn’t know it at the time, as she was supposed to be helping him when he couldn’t see the board and stuff.  But it seems as if she was helping too much.  Last year, when he’d come home to do his homework, he wouldn’t even want to write his name on the top of his homework, saying he needed help.

At the beginning of this year, when they evaluated him, he was so far behind.  He only could recognize 7 letters.  He was basically going into first grade as a child who hadn’t had any schooling.  The school helped set up a plan to get him caught up, in addition to learning braille.

This year, he’s made amazing progress, and absolutely LOVES school and his teachers.  He’s very positive and happy, and enjoys learning.  He doesn’t see needing extra help as a negative situation at all, and likes to go to his special classes.  He’s definitely thriving.

However, he’s not yet caught up to where he should be, which leads to my conundrum.  They are discussing retention, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  I’m totally on the fence right now.

Part of me says do it now, while he’s so young.  I would hate to see him struggle and fall even more behind.  I don’t have an issue with keeping a child back who needs it, but here comes my dilemma.

He’s a twin.

If he were a singleton, it’d be so much easier.  But I’m afraid if I hold him back, he’ll lose his self-confidence.  He’ll wonder why Dylan gets to go to second grade and he doesn’t.  I don’t want him to lose his love of learning, and hate me later on when Dylan graduates a year earlier.

At the meeting today, we touched on this… but it was really to renew his IEP for next year.  I did raise the concerns I have and asked a few questions.  I wanted to know if they think it’d be possible for him to catch up fully by the end of next year, if he goes on to second grade.  His teachers and the principal are going to discuss it further.

I think I’d rather give him the chance to continue to work hard and be so positive about it all, and if he’s still behind, hold him back next year.

What would you do?


Isn’t his hair amazing?


  1. 1

    What can you do during the summer to avoid regression and promote development? Using that extra time to advance instead of regress might make the difference for him. Then maybe a reevaluation before 2nd grade to see whether he’s made the level of progress that would allow him to keep up with the work?

  2. 3
    Becki McFarland says:

    Wow, that’s a hard call! I think I would handle it like you are thinking about. Give him another year to try and catch up. It sounds like He has made good progress this year. Definitely if he is less than or about 1 year behind because that can be made up with hard work (which he sounds like he is doing this year)I would let him have another year to try and catch up! Another thing to consider or ask about is summer schooling. Our school district offers a few hours a day through part of the summer to try and help those kids catch up just a bit more. It made a world of difference for my friend’s daughter! Good luck! Being a good advocate for your child is NEVER an easy thing!

  3. 4
    Jennifer says:

    My oldest son has learning disabilities due to seizures. We held him back in hopes of him catching up. It was a mistake. Honestly, I wouldn’t do it again. There was no real benefits reaped, but being older then the other kids now.

    With his IEP Ryan will get extra help. Work with him over the summer too and he will get caught up. There is also tutoring to help as the years progress.

    You have to do what works for your family. I’ve just seen very little good in holding a child back.

  4. 5

    I have no idea how your education system works there. But we kept Leon back and Christian went on to the next grade. Best decision ever! Both are thriving. Have their own set of friends. Leon has sight problems but also ADHD – we had no option. Also I think it is better when they are younger as it is not such a big issue as when they are older Young enough to make their own friends and way. Older will be more difficult. So I would say that if there is any talk of keeping him back later – rather do it now. Also it did not keep L back in development – we did some extra work on Maths (his strong point) which means he is now top of the class in that – and it makes up for a lot of things that he has issues with. I have to mention that Christian is academically very strong so in his own way he is excelling. He for instance won the spelling trophy in his grade last year. Imagine if they were in the same grade and C excels and L struggles so much that he feels he gets nowhere.

    I am totally for keeping back – but we are in South Africa and maybe our system works differently. They are also “late in the year” boys where there is in any event a possibility to keep back – young in the grade they should be in. Let me leave you with the words our headmaster used when we had to make the call: “After all they are first individuals before they are twins”. You are welcome to mail me if you want to chat.

  5. 6

    This is tough. My boy is legally blind and has a para with him all day but we make sure she doesn’t make him too dependent on her. I think with him being a twin it is especially difficult to hold him back. I would work extra hard with him this summer to get him caught up and re-evaluate before the next school year starts. If he has vision issues as my son does he might always be just a little behind because it takes a little longer to process everything. Good Luck to you. I know how hard it is. Just keep doing what you are doing by being your sons best advocate. IEP meetings are tough and as parents we need to be tough in order to get our child’s needs met.