Friday, September 14, 2012

Q&A: “How Can I Get A Tutor For My FosterKids?”

by John and Diane.

The following is a question posed to John from our foster parent blog. 

Question:  "One of my foster kids has ADD and is a slow learner due to fetal alcohol syndrome. He needs help after school with his schoolwork and I just don't have the time to go over his lessons. How can I get a tutor or school help for him?"

Answer:   Now this is a problem that I had a number of times. 

If you’re a foster parent, call your caseworker.   They are supposed to be helping you get services. See what they can do. Some times there is money in their department that they can use, but it is hard to get them to give it up.

The next step would be talking to the Special Ed teacher at your child’s school.  She may be able to help, or point you to a great resource.

Next, try to get it added to the IEP.  This may take some time because you may have already had one, so they have to reschedule a new meeting.  Always be nice when asking and show that you are just trying to get the best for your foster child. 

Teen Tutors

Still striking out?  See if any one you know has an older child who is looking to make some money. 

  Find someone that your kids can look up to and is a good role model, and then it is money spent well.  

I have found that my kids listen better to the teen tutor than they do to the teachers because the tutor goes to their school and they think it’s cool that they know an older kid in their school. In my case, the Teen tutor has even started “looking out for” my kids at school, which is an added bonus!

I even had the tutor bring my child home from school. This works well for me and the tutor because I started paying them as soon as they walk over to my child’s locker and the teen tutor made sure my forgetful ADD child brought home all his school work and sometimes even talked to their teachers for me.  

Now if you can’t find someone in the school where your child goes, then ask your friends if they know of any older children that would make a good tutor. 

Some schools may even help you find a child who they may think would be helpful to you as a tutor and I am sure they would like to know how it works out for you, so always keep them informed.  Besides, they may make a great baby sitter for you later. 

Additionally, once the schoolwork is done, a teen tutor can do some recreational activities with the kids that can work on issues that you may see your occupational or recreational therapist working on. Playing games like basketball or riding the scooters in a supervised manner with the teen tutor can help the kids learn how to play well with the other kids in the house or their nearby friends, as well as work on their coordination and gross motor skills; some things traditional tutors would not work on.

The key to making a teen tutor work is being organized. I made a list of things to do for my teen tutor.  See below for a sample. 

So, I hope this gives you some ideas on how to give your child some extra attention with his schoolwork within your means and busy lifestyle and schedule.  It can be done, and I have seen the benefits of using both schoolteachers and teen tutors with my ADD foster kids.

 Sample List for Teen Tutor  
(Note: this list mentions stealing as well, this was specific to my child as he also had a stealing issue and should not be seen as a "blanket" suggestion for all foster kids tutoring check off lists.
Billy’s Check off list for Tutoring Helper:

(place check mark next to each area once done)

·      Pick up Billy at Locker  at school and get Homework
·      Check the school website to see what assignments Billy needs to get done and see what assignments were not turned in.    

·      Write or print out the assignments or missing assignment information.

·      Email teacher if necessary: forward any emails to John for his records. 

·      Prepare area for doing homework.

Billy comes home:
·      Make sure Billy’s shoes are placed in locker and coat gets hung up

·      Look through pockets in coat for stolen property or forgotten items.

·      Ask Billy to bring back pack upstairs to do homework

·      GO through Billy’s back pack to check for homework and look for Agenda book (for John to sign) and school books. Give Agenda book to John to sign

·      Check backpack for any stolen property

·      Make sure homework done previous day has been turned in

·      Do homework with Billy

·      Make sure homework to be turned in the next day in folded neatly and placed in the schoolbook for that class so that Billy remembers to turn it in. 

·      Put away all school supplies

·      Place all items back in backpack

·      Supervise Billy placing backpack back with his coat and shoes.

Once schoolwork is done: 
·      Play a math related game with Billy. 
·      Go outside for playtime

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  1. Why are you presuming all foster kids steal?? This is some terrible advice. You could at least include something like, "If your child has had issues with stealing, have the tutor check the child for stolen items."

  2. To continue from my comment above:

    I understand that this is just a sample list, but it sounds like you are presuming all foster kids steal. I find this very troubling (and inaccurate).

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      Sorry you find that so offensive. That wasnt the intention at all. Indeed, it was a sample of the list I used with my foster child, who had an issue with stealing. You are right, I probably should have clarified that issue, so thank you for calling that to my attention and giving me the opportunity to correct it. All foster children do not steal, however, I did mention my child was ADD, and he had issues with impulsivity,(which I did not mention) which is where the stealing issues were coming from. A lot of foster parents deal with the same problems, so I thought other foster parents would understand that, since it was a sample, I may have been dealing with additional issues. In any case, Is that your only objection to the advice or was there something else as well?
      Thank you for commenting again, and I will be sure to clarify my post.
      Diane and John