My fifth grader is too embarrassed to go to the resource room his IEP recommends. What can I do?
Fifth grade can be an especially difficult time for students who need to be pulled out of the classroom for supports or services.
Depending on your child’s school, it’s either the end of grade school or the start of middle school. This is a transition period when kids are beginning to explore who they are and who they want to become. Any type of experience that could threaten their social status or make them feel “different” is tough.
As a parent, the best thing that you can do is to offer support but remain strong in saying that he needs to go. Throughout his life, your son will be facing challenges, some more difficult than others. But challenges create an opportunity to learn and build resilience.
His not wanting to go for pull-out services is a perfect chance to show him how he can handle challenges. You can use this experience to teach him about the “Four S’s of Resilience”:
Self: Talk to him about why he needs to go and how it will help him in the long run. Help him find ways to talk to his friends about why he goes and how it helps him. Give him some specific lines he can use. For example, “I need some extra help with math, and that’s just where the teacher is.”
Situation: Help him to put the challenge in perspective. Discuss what happens in resource room. He might get help with organization or time management issues, for example. Talk about the specific skills he’s working on and what his goals are. And talk about when his skills might be strong enough to not need to go to the resource room anymore.
Supports: Discuss ways he can use different support systems. Does he have a trusted friend who will support him as he tells other kids about why he needs to be in the resource room? Can he talk to the teacher about ways of transitioning in and out of the room that might be less noticeable to other kids?
Strategies: Right now, getting extra help is not negotiable. But how he handles that challenge is up to him. Does he complain about it or tune out because he’s angry? Or does he work really hard and do his best to make the most of it? Talk to him about whether his strategies are working. If they aren’t, help him think of ones that are more likely to benefit him in the long run.
It’s really difficult to watch your child go through hard times. But there’s a big benefit for him in learning to handle challenges. There are also things you can do to help him hang in there and stay motivated. Discover ways to give praise that builds self-esteem. And get tips for helping him cope with anger and frustration.
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About the author
About the author
Donna Volpitta, EdD is the founder of Pathways to Empower. Her work draws on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and education.