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My son is being singled out by a coach

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What is the name of your state? Illinois

My problem actually started about eight years ago when my son was in grade school. He had a teacher at that time that insisted he was ADD. I was told the school couldn't test him for it and I would have to take him somewhere to be tested. (If I only knew then, what I know now). I ended up taking him to United Cerebral Palsy and he was diagnosed with a short term memory disability (simply meaning he can't remember). Everything seemed to go alright the rest of the year. The following year my son was punished for "failing to attend a teacher conference" (meaning he forgot to got back to his classroom after lunch instead of recess). I let the school know that I disagreed with the punishment, but would let it stand, but under the understanding that the next time something like this came up, they were to contact me so I could remind him of his "conference after lunch" or the teacher could remind him. The teacher insisted he did this on purpose. So once again, I had to show them the report from United Cerebral Palsy.

This has gone on and on for years now. Each time I have tried to handle it to the best of my ability, but now am at my wits ends as to what I should do about this football coach.

The high school has been told of my sons diagnosis (apparently they aren't listening though).

Sorry, I'm trying to make this as short as I can, but still get the facts in.

On Sept. 6th I drove a hour and a half away to see my sons football game. It was a little strange when I got there, cause my son wasn't getting to play and parents I usually talk to were ignoring me. I finally asked the Principal what was going on and was informed that my son wasn't being allowed to play because he badmouthed his team. Apparently the rumors had been all around and everyone was talking about it behind my back, but no one had let me know. Later I also learned a school board member was badmouthing my son to other parents (but I guess that's another complaint).

After the game I spoke with the coach about what had happened and was told that my son said he was the best one on the team (which I don't doubt he said) and that the rest of the team sucked (which I do doubt). The coach said unless he apologized and admitted to badmouthing his team, he was off the team.

I didn't want my son to ruin his football scholarship chances, so I got him to apologize even though he never would admit to saying anything about his team. He did say he said he was the best one on the team (which he shouldn't have, but teenagers are teenagers, and whats done is done).

The following game he was allowed to play and did an excellent job.

On Friday there was no school because of parent/teacher conferences. That afternoon when I came home I asked my son if he was planning on attending the faculty flag football game and bonfire for Homecoming. He told me it wasn't until the following day (he was confused on his days). After talking with another parent he found out it was Friday evening.

The following morning the parents were supplying a breakfast for the football team before the Homecoming parade and game. I took my dish up and was helping to get things cleaned up, when all of a sudden it struck me that the coaches were staying away from me and that I was being ignored.

I asked my son what was going on and he said the coach had asked him why he wasn't at practice on Friday. He told him he didn't know there was practice and if he had been told he must of forgotten (this is the only practice he has missed). The coach tells him he is a junior and there is no excuses. He's too old to be "forgetting". So we figure he's going to have to sit out the first quarter even though another kid on the team who missed numerous practices that week was allowed to play. Needless to say, he was never allowed to play. My son was humiliated and very upset.

The first thing he said to me when he got home is that all he has ever wanted to do is play football. He burst into tears and wanted to know why he is so stupid and can never remember anything. This has totally gotten out of hand.

I can't allow this to go on. My sons self esteem is being destroyed. The coach just keeps picking on him and is trying to make an example of him. It has gotten so bad my son doesn't want to go back to school (he says he's embarrassed and being made fun of by fellow players).

I'm thinking about getting Special Ed involved, because the high school refuses to acknowledge his problem and work with him. I guess they think that if they keep punishing him, he'll eventually "snap" out of it. It's not going to happen!! He's been in Special Ed since first grade and this isn't something you just grow out of.

Any suggestions?
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If he is classified as a special education student, then his IEP should reflect the memory issue and the accommodations that are to be made to take that disability into account.

If his IEP does NOT address that issue, convene a case conference committee meeting immediately and make sure it does.

If they refuse to convene or they refuse to write items in the IEP to address the disability, then you have a due process case on your hands.

Once those items are IN the IEP, then the coach and all his teachers will have to follow those things in the IEP.

Hope this helps!


Senior Member
I have to jump in here....
It sounds like you have documented your sons problems, yet you seem to be blaming everyone else for his current 'memory' problems.

You say nothing about any efforts that YOU have done to try to help him remember. Have you made a printed schedule of his activities so that he can refer to it?? Have you considered getting him an inexpensive PDA that you can program with alarms and reminders? Instead, you seem to expect everyone else to adjust to his needs... that is NOT helping him. Try to determine what tools are available that he can use... and he can use them all the time, not just when you are involved.

Something like:


Son being singled out

I don't know where you think you can twist this around and blame me. I've tried to do plenty to help him. I've made schedules, he loses them. We've tried a palm pilot, someone stole it. I've called the school and asked them to remind him of things after class - they don't . I think the point you're missing is.... he has a DISABILITY!!!! I'm not and never have asked anyone to give him special consideration. The only thing I have asked is that they give him a little help when needed. He wouldn't be in special ed classes if he didn't need help!



Thanks for your help! I'm going to get his last couple of IEP's out and see exactly what they say.

Thanks so much!


I was glad to see you say your son had an IEP - but either they are not following the IEP or the IEP is not specific enough. Many times, the IEP's become "canned" and don't truly reflect the needs of the child.
Call for an ARD meeting (or whatever your school system calls them) and address each problem individually - when was the last time he was tested ?- and by the way, are you having to pay for this outside testing? It is my understanding that the schools receive lots of money from Federal sources for this type of thing. My son is tested every 3 years by the school at no charge.


Senior Member
Re: Son being singled out

CHart said:
I've made schedules, he loses them. We've tried a palm pilot, someone stole it. I've called the school and asked them to remind him of things after class - they don't .

1) "I've made schedules, he loses them."
Then make more. Make multiple copies.

2) "We've tried a palm pilot, someone stole it."
Then get him another. And another. Take a look at the link I offered, it is a mini-PDA that fits around his neck.

3) "I've called the school and asked them to remind him of things after class - they don't."
The school has far more important responsibilities than to 'hold the hand' of a student who continually loses printed schedules and or PDA's. You must realize that the FIRST responsibility lies with his family.... and if the 'disability' is such that it warrants special attention, then the school is obligated to try to help.


No kidding!!!! I thought this forum was to help. I don't need you telling me what I should and shouldn't be doing. I've been dealing with this for 17 years. If it weren't a disability, he wouldn't be in special ed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Senior Member
Au Contraire, my wife is in the 'education field' and she has seen many, many 'special ed' kids that really didn't need the 'special' part of education. Only that liberals had decided to label them.... sometimes in error.

And since your first post said this started in grade school... and you now say it has been going on for 17 years, are we to assume that your child is about 25 or so???

In any case, best of luck.... and continue to help your child learn to cope with the challenges of life in the real world.
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Ohio1977's advise is right on target.

Best of luck to you, Mom.


dorenephilpot & Ohio1977,

Thank you so much for your advice and help! I've talked with the school, and we've looked at his IEP's. We've also gone over his diagnosis from United Cerebral Palsy. It's not all peaches & cream, but I think we're going to be able to work something out.

Thanks again for being so helpful!

As for the question by Mr. Criticism..... This has been going on for 17 years, because he's 17 years old!!! Just because I've been experiencing problems with the school since he's been in grade school, doesn't mean he hasn't had the problem all along. So thanks, but no thanks for your advice.


No legal advice, but I can empathize with what you are going through. My brother was diagnosed with mild ADD and was forever losing and forgetting things. It took him until he was in his 20s to finally develop coping skills to help with his memory -- namely writing everything down. Consider school practice for life and make your son accountable for the things he forgets and loses. Not in a harsh, critical way but as a learning experience.

My only real questions is what has been done since your son was diagnosed to help him compensate for his disability? It doesn't sound as if he is any further along now than he was then.

It only gets harder and there are no IEPs for life. Most importantly, don't let him hide behind his disability. This truly is not meant as criticism of you or him -- but having a disability means that he has to figure out how to compensate and still be a productive, responsible member of society. It doesn't mean that he gets an easy out when things go wrong.

I assume that he will either be gainfully employed or going to college after he graduates from high school. Then what?




I do sympathize with you Mom, my son has participated in competitive sports since the age of 4, he is now 16 and the road between there and here has been long. And although my son has no disabilities (except for his "I'm the greatest athlete in the world" syndrome) he is challenged everyday to learn and become a better person. There have been many rewards, and just as many disapointments, tears, anger, and frustrations for us.

It is very difficult for a parent to sit and watch thier child, who is soooo passionate about what they do, be critisized, slighted, yelled at, imbarrased, and benched. However, it is not just the way competitive sports are, it's the way "LIFE" is. And disability or not, we are all faced with challenges in life.

I consider all the disapointments, tears, anger, and frustrations that my son has been subjected to by coaches to be invaluable life lessons. He has learned how to handle adversity with a positive attitude. I am truly grateful for the challenges that have been bestowed upon my son, he is a much better person for them.

Good luck to you, and your son!

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