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View Full Version : Okay Fort Friends... Need Help w/Teenager!


HappyCamper87
09-11-2008, 06:11 PM
What do you do with 15 y/o who is too pretty and too smart but refuses to do any work in school? I mean she litterally failed all three years of middle school. I convinced them to hold her back in 7th but now she will be 16 in a month and she is freshman and shows no sign of even attempting to do any work in school.

I think I'm a good parent I have told all my kids how important an education is and that if they want to go to college they will have to earn scholarship because I am a paycheck to paycheck person and I will not be able to help them. My son is 19 and has been on his own without any help from me since he was 18. This one is a girl and I am really scared to death for her. She just doesn't do any of the assignments so she fails. It's not because she tries and doesn't get it. She simply does not do anything, last year not even the in-class assignments.

I'm really upset because she was supposed to go to cheerleading practice (pop warner - she didn't make the High School team) tonight and called me at work to see if she could go to a local HS sporting event tonight. I told her if she called her coach and she said it was okay, she could go.

I just got a call from the team mom who said that they were specifically told not to go to this event, that they were needed in practice for competition. DH is on his way to pick her up and keep her home, but I am really at my wits end.

What do you do with your teenagers that just refuse to take any responsibility for themselves? I have tried the grounding route but it hasn't worked so well.

Any advice, even critisisim, is welcome because I do not know what to do!

chief19spixi
09-11-2008, 07:29 PM
I do not have a teenager but I would take away that cheerleading, and let her maintain a hermit status until she got her act togeather.. just my opinion.

I know it must be hard and I wish you the best of luck with this issue!

lisa8200
09-11-2008, 07:48 PM
How is her overall attitude. Does she do as you ask, when you ask. does she back talk. Kids have to be taught to take responsibility for thier actions... If you don't do what your supposed to do, you can't do what you want to do. No TV,Phone,Computer,Games,CHEERLEADING, boys,anything...and you do it for as long as it takes. They wil try I don't care, I hate you, and anything else to get to you. Even if its one at a time but don't just do it for a week and then wait to see what happens.Grounding is supposed to be punishment and punishment is supposed to make you not want to get punished, not make you do what your told.If you d.on't want to be punished you will do what your told to avoid it.I can't see a 15 yr old sitting in thier room for weeks with nothing to do but stare at the walls wanting to keep things that way. If you make it bearable, they will ride it out until you give up.Landon (step)DD treats her Dad BBBAAAAADDDD. and yet he refuses to stand up to her. He buys her stuf and she yells and screams at him and treats him like dirt...She doesn't even think about that here.Most of the time I don't think you can reason with a child that wants to act that way. You have to stand up and demand they act right. It won't be easy and it will takt alot of time..
Or I don't know what I'm talking about and you can ignore what I've said...Who knows

DisneyBishops
09-11-2008, 07:49 PM
good luck i am on my last of three teenagers. i have been pretty lucky. my first one was a girl also. She never failed but never tried very hard either. She barely graduated. Her problem was the crowd she hung out with and DRUGS. My next one was a great student and athlete. She fininshed community college in one year and earned a full ride athletic scholarship and is Junior in college. My last one is a Boy and is a junior in HS. He also is enrolled in community college and should graduate with both hs and AA degrees. He plays baseball and golf at shool and does well at both. So the moral to this story is sports do help so If you could get her into cheerleading it might help. If she could make the school team that might motivate her to work harder as you have to make decent grades to participate. Maybe take away something she really likes to do until she starts trying. Anyway I would watch her closely for drugs. They can take away all motivation. Also keep track of the company she keeps. Peer pressure is strong.

Good Luck and no matter what you do sometimes it doesn't matter. I know you want the best for her but you can't make her do anything she doesn't want to. I feel bad for you and her because as we all know education is the way to a better life.


Take care and hope this helps a little.

terri01p
09-11-2008, 08:02 PM
Oh geez...I went thru almost a simular thing with my dd, she alway hated school and school work and nothing I could do would change her. We even told her we were putting back college money for her so in order to take advantage she would have to step up her school work...she could have cared less, she graduated by the skin of her teeth and we spent the college money on our house. :rolleyes:

She never straighten up untill she got out on her own and HAD to work, she got a job at a bank and finally settled down, she hung out with the worse kind of people in school and I beleive that was her problem, looking back I wish I would have made her stay away from that crowd.

Now fast forward to today, she's married and works for 911 emergency services, who put her back thru school..:rolleyes1 and she will be the first to tell you that she wishes a thousand times over she would have studied in school and went on to college, you can never redo that part of your life. And all these friends have long been gone.

All I can say is good luck and don't give up and hopefully one day she will grow up!

HappyCamper87
09-11-2008, 08:15 PM
Thank you for sharing your experiences everyone. I needed the support tonight.

She is pretty good at cheerleading and I have hoped that might motivate her to do well because she would have to keep her grades up, but she flat out ignored her coach so I can't think that is going to help at this point.

I must say, my DH is a stay at home dad and we keep a pretty tight reign on her. I do not think drugs are involved and she is a pretty good kid just doesn't want to take responsibility for anything.

I am probably going to take her out of cheerleading because it is costing me a lot of money that I don't really have and if she is not going to make any effort why should I? When I asked her if she wanted to be off the team she said she didn't care.

I really think she thinks she can just smile and cute her way through anything in life and I certainly have not teached her that. Also got a failing grade notice already and we're only two weeks into the school year.

She is full-on grounded, no phone, no computer, no going anywhere until she starts to show some form of responsibility. Honestly, if she doesn't start making any effort in school I think she should get her GED and go to work and get a taste of real life. Why spend four more years doing nothing, passing the required state test and being promoted on?

Anyway, thanks for your input. And your warm thoughts are much appreciated.

AuburnJen92
09-11-2008, 08:35 PM
You know, you might be on to something there. If she is intelligent enough to get her GED now and she is 16, you might want to go ahead and consider it. Getting a taste of what it is like in the real world having to work every day for your meal money and having to pay you some rent and such might just jerk a knot in her tail. Technically, she is your responsibility until 18, but that doesn't mean she can't contribute to the household. If she doesn't want to go to school, then she needs to be a contributing member of society. I am sure minimum wage will not be suiting to her tastes and wants and needs in this point of her life, but maybe that is what she needs?

Maybe a taste of the real world will help her realize that now is the time to get the education she needs. Later in life is the hardest time to finish your degree. There are people on the boards (including my husband) that have had to do this. It is no small feat.

Married2Mickey
09-11-2008, 08:54 PM
First of all, let me say :hug:

As someone WAY smarter than me once said...What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I don't have teenagers myself, but I've worked with several over the years with similar issues, and I completely sympathize and wish you the best. :hug:

As I read the first post, I couldn't help but wonder what initially turned her off to school. Was it a sudden change? Did she lose interest in everything at once? Did something happen in her life around that time that may have been too big for her to cope with?

I'm coming at this from the perspective of a child therapist, so please feel free to ignore me at your leisure. :hippie: It just sounds like something has taken a shot at her self-esteem and I wonder if what you're seeing is her way of dealing with it.

I hope everything works out for you. Best of luck to your whole family. :goodvibes

g8trmom1
09-11-2008, 09:52 PM
I'm hardly an expert, since my DD is only 10. BUT, so far I'd like to think we're doing a great job with our kids....that said:

I would not have kept her in Cheerleading if she was doing that horrible in school. Sorry. My children have been taught that there are certain rights and privileges. Things like extra curricular activities are EARNED for doing a good job in school and are taken away if they screw up. PERIOD. I would also be weary of DRUGS. My half brother dropped out of school in the 9th grade...it was the friends he was hanging out with and the drugs. Fast forward alot of tears and years later, he died because of drugs at 32. My kids know all about what drugs will do to you and they will kill you. They also know, even at this young age, that they ARE going to college, and they want to go. Just my 2 cents.

auntie
09-11-2008, 11:07 PM
Middle school is the worst. It sounds as if at some point during those years something happened where she figured it didn't matter whether she tried or not..she wasn't going to do well. So why bother. Of course that's just carried over to high school..even bigger changes. How to turn that around? I'm not sure taking away an activity that keeps her busy and involved in a productive way is a good idea. She wanted to do something else, so she lied to the coach. But..she wasn't out drinking, she went to another school function. The GED doesn't sound like a bad option. How does she feel about it?..I would also seriously consider talking with a therapist or professional of some sort before making that decision. There might be more going on here than even you are aware of.

chief19spixi
09-12-2008, 06:43 AM
Thank you for sharing your experiences everyone. I needed the support tonight.

She is pretty good at cheerleading and I have hoped that might motivate her to do well because she would have to keep her grades up, but she flat out ignored her coach so I can't think that is going to help at this point.

I must say, my DH is a stay at home dad and we keep a pretty tight reign on her. I do not think drugs are involved and she is a pretty good kid just doesn't want to take responsibility for anything.

I am probably going to take her out of cheerleading because it is costing me a lot of money that I don't really have and if she is not going to make any effort why should I? When I asked her if she wanted to be off the team she said she didn't care.

I really think she thinks she can just smile and cute her way through anything in life and I certainly have not teached her that. Also got a failing grade notice already and we're only two weeks into the school year.

She is full-on grounded, no phone, no computer, no going anywhere until she starts to show some form of responsibility. Honestly, if she doesn't start making any effort in school I think she should get her GED and go to work and get a taste of real life. Why spend four more years doing nothing, passing the required state test and being promoted on?

Anyway, thanks for your input. And your warm thoughts are much appreciated.


You never know school might be boring for her cause she already knows what they are teaching.. maybe getting a ged is best for her.

Good luck dear!!

DisneyBishops
09-12-2008, 06:58 AM
I have to agree with the GED thing. My oldest had 2 kids before she was 20, now she works full time and is a single mom. many times she has told me she wishes she would have listened to me and gone to college. All of those so called friends are all in jail or on drugs. Please do not rule out drugs. Even the best of kids get involed sometimes. I have seen first hand what they can do. If she doesn't want to go to school let her get GED and go to work at McDonalds. She will find out quick what it is like to work in the real world. IT might just motivate her to go to college and get a good education.

If all that doesn't work then please get some professional help for her. Whatever you do please don't give up on her.

HappyCamper87
09-12-2008, 08:15 AM
I can't quote each of you who have given advice, because I don't want to make this a huge post but... Thank you.

She has been seen by a therapist who said she is a normal teenager. She is a very confident person with a lot of friends. Some I like more than others but most of them are good students and active in cheerleading or some sort of sport.

She probably does have some "daddy" issues because I divorced her father when she was 2 and she thinks the sun rises and sets in him. Although he never makes time for her or would even consider letting her live with him because her step-mom would not have it, they have two young children of their own. And I'm sure this does effect her to some degree but I never make excuses for her dad or talk badly of him because I feel like she deserves to make her own opinion.

She is smart, I had her tested for learning disabilities and she has an above-average IQ and no ADD or HDD or any other D that they could find.

Finally, I would NEVER give up on one of my kids I love her to death I'm just very concerned that she thinks she can get by with good looks and a great personality.

There were no school problems until middle school and I think friends and popularity became her job. I know I have not handled everything perfectly and I should have said no to cheerleading, but as others have said, I thought it might motivate her to doing better in school because you have to have passing grades. And I wanted her to be interested in something other than fashion, make-up and friends.

I'm talking with her guidance counselor today to see what we can do to try to get her on the right track. Last night was just the hair on the camel's back and I probably over-reacted.

Thanks again everyone. I too am a work in progress. :hippie:

auntie
09-12-2008, 08:33 AM
I mean it sounds like you have it covered. She's been tested, and you don't think there are any reasons that she's acting this way. If it really is that she's pretty and thinks she can get by on that...well if she's failing..how's that workin' for her?...She's gonna get herself kicked out. I mean you have to have a certain amount of credits each year to be promoted to the following. At least that's how it is here. They don't promote without producing anymore. Does she want to be with younger kids and not her friends?
I do remember one year with my older son. In our school district you get sent a progress report every 5 weeks. Only problem is..by the time you got it..more like 8 weeks had passed. With the quarter ending at 10 weeks, it didn't help you out much. So I printed out a form that he had to have signed by each of his teachers every Friday. They had to indicate if he was up to date on his assignments and classwork. it held him accountable..but it also kept his teachers accountable to. I didn't want to know there was a problem, only when it was too late to do something about it. If I tell you I only had to do it once..for one 5 week period. He knew, if he goofed off again..he'd have to bring in his embarassing weekly progress reports.
My youngest is in high school now. he is very involved in sports..where if he doesn't have passing grades, he isn't able to participate. So that is incentive to keep up with his school work.
As others have suggested...maybe a GED is the way to go. If she wants no part of school..a dose of the real world maybe the only thing that works for her. Does your school district have any "alternative school" programs. We did at one time, but their isn't any room in the budget for it any longer. Shame, because it was a good idea.

PolynesianPixie
09-12-2008, 08:38 AM
I've taken my time responding to this thread because...1, my oldest is 12 and I'm not sure I have the expertise to give advice here...and 2...I wanted to read some responses because I have a feeling that my youngest DD may give me some of the same things to deal with once she hits high school! :lmao:

Although, growing up as a somewhat unmotivated teenage girl myself, I may have a little insight. I can tell you, that middle school is pivotal in a girl's life. Emotions, hormones, peer pressure, tougher classes...all make for a very successful start to high school or a very difficult one. What I would try to do at this point, is find something she is good at. She needs her confidence more than anything right now. She sounds like she is a good kid. Maybe right now she knows she is nice and pretty but when it comes to school and other things she probably isn't all that sure of herself. I think what I would do, is get her a tutor. At least once a week, preferably more. That way she will have to devote time to her studies. Maybe even get some of her friends and parents to rally together and have a study night once a week. Make it fun, by taking turns at each other's homes, have snacks and sodas and allow some time for chit chat, too. Sometimes a little extra help is all one needs to gain that confidence and know that school work isn't as daunting as it appears. She probably has a fear of trying. Failure when you don't try doesn't really feel like failing. Failing when you put forth effort is downright painful.

Good luck. You're doing a good job. Motivating somebody else is one of the hardest things to do, because they have to let you.

AuburnJen92
09-12-2008, 08:44 AM
I am so glad you are taking the time to not give up on her and stick it through. I see too many times with the kids in HS where they don't. It is sad to watch what goes on here sometimes. I hope that she can understand that you want the best for her. It is so hard to watch them self destruct. You definitely don't want them to struggle their whole lives.

HappyCamper87
09-12-2008, 08:53 AM
You know, I tried the same thing with getting the signatures from the teachers last year and it never worked. We had meetings at least 3 times with her whole "team" where all of said she's capable but she just isn't doing the work. All of us, her teachers and me wanted to support and help and gave suggestions on how to be more organized etc... She just never tried. And I have been lax about punishing because she is such a good kid in other areas but now it's in my face wrong and I realize I should have been tougher earlier.

In our county if they pass the FCAT they move on it does not matter what grade they have in class. I don't get it, I don't agree with it but as she was 15 and if I held her back in 8th should would be 17 as a freshman in high school it did not make sense for me to fight the system to try to get her held back.

I have had some tutoring done but again, it's a money thing... Actually the intern who has worked with me for the past two years is a great student and her sister who did not do so great in school as a freshman and now regrets it is my daughters mentor at the school and we think she may be able to "tutor" my daughter some and we hope that may help.

I don't want to go on and on about this but it sure does help to have input from you all even though we have not met and I do not get to spend as much time on the boards as I'd like (shouldn't be on now) I have come to appreciate you all and value your insights, humor and honesty.

I'll give an update when I talk w/guidance counselor today.

vick
09-12-2008, 09:12 AM
Happy camper, your dd sounds a lot like my neice. They found out when she was in 11th grade that she had a form of dyslexia. It wasn't so much the written words that gave her problems, it was the way she "heard" things. It had an effect on the way she would comprehend the things she would hear.

I also know of a girl that got a softball scholarship to the University of FL. She struggled and didn't make it through the 1st semester there. After testing, they found out she had dyslexia. She had struggled al her life and they only found her dyslexia when she was 19. I know you mention testing her for ADD and several things, but have they tested her for dyslexia?

Us3
09-12-2008, 09:15 AM
Good luck with everything Liz. I didn't offer any advise because I don't have teens yet. I hope you're able to find something that works! :hug: Hopefully you can find something very precious to her that will allow the action/consequence punishment to work!

Married2Mickey
09-12-2008, 09:28 AM
I too am a work in progress. :hippie:

Your DD is very very lucky to have a caring parent like you! :goodvibes Raising a teenager is tough, and there is no such thing as a perfect parent (though I do wish that my DS had come with an instruction manual sometimes :teacher: :lmao: ). Perfection doesn't do anyone any good, and your DD is going to benefit more from your love ('tough love' and otherwise) than anything else you can do for her. I'm certainly no expert, but if I could impart any advice at all it would be to stick to your guns, do what you think is right, trust your instincts, and most of all be consistent. In the end, there is nothing we can do to actually change someone's behaviors. We can urge them, teach them, and show them the consequences of their actions, but ultimately they will have to decide that they want to make the changes themselves.

You're doing a great job! Best of luck to you all. :hug:

HappyCamper87
09-12-2008, 01:33 PM
Okay, I talked w/her guidance counsoler and two of her teachers so far. They were very helpful and gave me some good ideas on how I might be able to help her do better.

There are teachers websites this year that the two teachers I talked with update daily. So, at 6:00 every night JJ and I will have a meeting and go over the days assignements and homework. If she says she did it already, which is the standard answer, I can e-mail the teacher and tell them - she told me it was done.

So, even though I sort of think it is ridiculous that she cannot follow assignments on her own, it may help if I'm more involved in the whole process. Through middle school I had to depend on Her writing down the assignments and then I would check. Of course most of the time the assignments were never written down.

Anyway, I'm feel much more positive about the situation now and I think we may be on the right track.

Thanks again for all the support.

Best Wishes.

allisophie
09-12-2008, 06:41 PM
:hug: my 17 was like this her freshman year... It was tough.. therapists,grounding etc.. Her therapist wanted her to take meds and DD chose not to.We were all at our wits end...
That summer she had the chance of a lifetime to go to Italy w my mom and her best friends family... so even tho DH and I totally disagreed on it, we sent her.. strange.. she was gone for 18 days.. wow was she changed when she came home ..she was like a whole new person..She :hug: us and aplogized for being a brat etc.. we were like :lovestruc

Now I know most people can't afford to send their child away.. but I think what helped us was she was away from her "clique" she had experienced a new culture and for once she didn't take everything for granted..

She has a new group of friends and is involed in art and drama a bunch of clubs at school and now even volunteers at Church on the nights we have PSR.

we try to live by the one day at a time rule in this house.. so far it's working

AuburnJen92
09-12-2008, 08:28 PM
I also know of a girl that got a softball scholarship to the University of FL. She struggled and didn't make it through the 1st semester there. After testing, they found out she had dyslexia. She had struggled al her life and they only found her dyslexia when she was 19. I know you mention testing her for ADD and several things, but have they tested her for dyslexia?

This actually happens often. My sister found out she was dyslexic at Auburn when she was a freshman in prearchitecture. Go figure, the drafting department figures it out for her...

juligrl
09-12-2008, 10:34 PM
Thank you for sharing your experiences everyone. I needed the support tonight.

She is pretty good at cheerleading and I have hoped that might motivate her to do well because she would have to keep her grades up, but she flat out ignored her coach so I can't think that is going to help at this point.

I must say, my DH is a stay at home dad and we keep a pretty tight reign on her. I do not think drugs are involved and she is a pretty good kid just doesn't want to take responsibility for anything.

I am probably going to take her out of cheerleading because it is costing me a lot of money that I don't really have and if she is not going to make any effort why should I? When I asked her if she wanted to be off the team she said she didn't care.

I really think she thinks she can just smile and cute her way through anything in life and I certainly have not teached her that. Also got a failing grade notice already and we're only two weeks into the school year.

She is full-on grounded, no phone, no computer, no going anywhere until she starts to show some form of responsibility. Honestly, if she doesn't start making any effort in school I think she should get her GED and go to work and get a taste of real life. Why spend four more years doing nothing, passing the required state test and being promoted on?

Anyway, thanks for your input. And your warm thoughts are much appreciated.

I had a friend back in high school you could have just been describing. Academia simply wasn't for her. Fortunately our school also partnered with a very good vo-tech school which she opted to go to for cosmetology. She now has her own salon and is doing quite well for herself. The school thing just wasn't for her, but the cosmetology thing was a perfect fit. If your school offers any vo-tech programs that might be worth looking into.

lisa8200
09-13-2008, 06:29 AM
Just wanted to post again and say first off, I re-read my earlier post and thought I may have come off wrong. The overall premis of what I said may have been what I was thinking but, I think I could have worded it different. It sounds like you are taking a lot of steps in the right directon and it sounds like if something can be done, that you will find the way. Really wanting to help is always a key element I would think.

Shan-man
09-13-2008, 08:41 AM
I just wanted to commiserate and to share a little hope. We went through the same thing with my stepson. He was never a stellar student (though certainly capable), but middle- and high-school got progressively worse as his interest waned. He eventually dropped out of high-school. His rebellion at home got so bad we had to kick him out. So at 18 he was on his own, with no real education, working in a steakhouse. He decided to make some changes for himself and got his GED. After that he talked his way into a junior college, entering on a probationary status. After doing well there, he transferred to a local university. This last June, at age 27, he earned his bachelor's.

http://i523.photobucket.com/albums/w359/SLSettles/20080729_192637.jpg

He is still working at the steakhouse, but now has a reasonable hope for more, and has learned the value of a good education and the personal responsibility for acquiring one. In that 9 years he got married, had a daughter, divorced, bought a house... that's a lot of life intervening into what should have been 4 years dedicated to his education. But there are all types of education. I guess the point I want to share is, that until you can find some way for her to motivate herself the results will be mixed at best... doing well for mom and dad only goes so far. Maybe sharing this story with her will make her want to avoid my SS's trail of tears. I pray it helps.

HappyCamper87
09-19-2008, 02:57 PM
Just wanted to post again and say first off, I re-read my earlier post and thought I may have come off wrong. The overall premis of what I said may have been what I was thinking but, I think I could have worded it different. It sounds like you are taking a lot of steps in the right directon and it sounds like if something can be done, that you will find the way. Really wanting to help is always a key element I would think.

Lisa/Mike - No offense was taken. I took as you were trying to help by giving your thoughts. I hope you're right that wanting to help means something, it's got to be better than doing nothing, right? Anyway thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.


Shan-man, I know I should know your name but I'm just bad at remembering names. Just wanted to thank you for sharing your story of hope. And all prayers are welcome.

She came home with a bad progress report so she is grounded and she was out of cheerleading the day I wrote the first post.

We have an appointment every night to review homework assignments togther on most of her teacher's websites and I get grade warnings through another program through the county.

We have a long way to go but I'm going to give it my best effort. I think the light is coming on. It's dim, but I think she found the switch.

Have a great night.

auntie
09-19-2008, 03:44 PM
Liz....I'm glad to hear your seeing a little bit of light. Kids..they sure don't make it easy do they. She may turn it around being that it's high school now, and there are more severe consequences to her not doing what she needs to do. Hang in there..you're doing a great job! She's lucky to have a mom like you. :hug:

tinah159
09-20-2008, 04:07 PM
When my daughter was 15.5, the same thing happened. After grounding, taking things away from her and counseling we finally found a solution. We took her out of public school and enrolled her in a high school diploma corespondence school. I have to say that was the best thing we could have done. She has switched to honors classes and is flying thru. If you are interested I could give you more information. www.citizenshighschool.com

cyberdeb
09-24-2008, 10:29 AM
Well I hate to say i have been there and done that twice now. Even if you have had her tested for learning disabilities and/or ADD, Depressions, etc., have her tested again. A second and third opinion never hurts. I had one son who is now 22 who could ace a test with 100% on any subject but would not do any homework whatsoever. He had severe ADHD and an IEP and we did everything humanley possible to help him, but he was not interested and never did graduate. He is now 22 and unemployed and haveing a very difficult time finding a job. He is living independently (who knows for how long) and had been working full time and has a "genius" level IQ, but couldnt be bothered to do any school work. Grounding, taking things away did not work. It only made him angrier and more defient. When you take any hope away, it makes things worse. His younger sister is now 16 and failed 4 classes in her freshman year. She has some mild reading disabilities and no matter how hard I keep track of everything, she still lies to me and tells me her work is done. I email the teachers weekly to be sure and sure enough, my first email of the year showed that she is still not doing her homework. I think at this point she will be told to quit her job and dance classes and we will then take away the phone. The internet is already gone. Otherwise she is a very good kid. She is not defient, she is polite, well behaved and otherwise a joy to be with. You may want to look into an alternative or private school. She may be very bored with things that are not challenging to her. A gifted child is also eligible for special education services. It sometimes just means being creative and thinking outside the box.