Gut Check: When an Intelligent, Creative, Dyslexic Student Researches High School Drop-Out Policies

Just reading  the title for this post, maybe you can understand the confusion and heartbreak in our home.  Our 17 year old son has been researching what our state/county policies are on dropping out of high school.  Why?  It’s because some days he gets extremely frustrated being in a school system that doesn’t understand him.  Many nights he spends from the time he gets home from school until the time he goes to bed doing homework or working on homework until it’s time to leave to work with his tutor.

Fortunately, a lot of the time he is surrounded by school staff that are understanding and willing to work with him. Unfortunately, since there is little or no training for school staff on dyslexia, he sometimes runs into people that affect him negatively and they send his confidence spiraling to the floor.  Having to deal with a teacher laughing at you in front of the whole class because you’re trying to advocate for yourself and explain one of your  accommodations to them, is most certainly going to affect him negatively. While this particular teacher was later educated by the school on the accommodation written into his IEP because it wasn’t a “typical” accommodation, the damage is already done.  If you know anything about IEPs then you see the issue with schools that don’t understand dyslexia let alone IEPs since there shouldn’t be any “typical” accommodations in an IEP, it’s supposed to fit the individual.  Perhaps there are accommodations that schools are used to writing into IEPs, but that doesn’t make them more acceptable or “typical.”

Will he make it to graduation day? Will the stress of being misunderstood make him throw up his hands one day in frustration and walk out the school doors never to return?  Will he drop-out?  Those are the questions circling our house and family right now and we can only keep supporting and encouraging him to grab that diploma in 2017.  He has to do the work. He has to endure the frustrations. He’s been strong for a long time.  He has to want it and make it happen.

He’s taking  photography this year in school because it’s a passion of his.  Here is his first photography project, a photogram project, that he was surprised and thrilled to find hanging in the career center hallway.  We see his potential, will he?