My daughter started having trouble attending school in grade 7. For months, we worked as hard as we could as parents to try to get her to attend. We felt we were listening to her concerns while also pushing her to go. It wasn’t until months later that we learned not only that her IEP (for an LD that limits written output) was not being followed, but also that she was being humiliated in front of other students for limitations that were part of her diagnosis. It was really disappointing to find this rigidity at an alternative school that claimed to be attentive to individual needs. We started noticing the negative feedback on her written work (for example: I know you know more about this topic. You need to show me what you know. Try harder. Not enough. Etc.) School had become a place where she felt demoralized and we felt badly for not having realized that. We tried to work with the school to rectify the situation and implement her accommodations, but we found the school very resistant. They had just met her, and they decided she needed to be pushed harder rather than be accommodated. She switched schools but remained distrusting of teachers and felt fearful that we might continue to push her into things she could not handle. Episodes of school refusal recurred over the following 6 years. We worked with a family therapist to improve communication and work to ensure she felt our support. We paid for private assessments because we didn’t feel we could wait for the school board to do it. We connected to an agency that supports children with LDs and related mental health challenges. We paid for private school for a few years so that she could have more individualized attention in smaller classes. We searched and found an alternative school that might work. Our daughter engaged and tried everything because she actually really loves being at school and wanted to be able to be there. She continued to have a lot of difficulty with overwhelming negative thoughts in the mornings that kept her from being able to go to school. The pattern would re-emerge. She now has a transcript with numerous incomplete credits. At one point, she even chose to go into a residential mental health program that housed a section 23 class so that she might have an opportunity to attend classes without the barrier she experienced about going in. That worked for a while, but the program was more intensive than she needed. She most recently attended a Section 23 class in the community, but when the same barriers to getting to school came up, their responses alienated her and made her feel judged all over again. She turned 18 and aged out of her most vital support service. She has now dropped out of high school altogether. She is very bright and, when she was able to attend school, her grades were generally in the high 80s. I have witnessed her working extra hard to try to engage in education for years, and I have seen how it has eroded her self-concept and made her mental health worse. We advocated the best we could, and still we ended up here. It makes me very sad to think of all the lost potential out there – all the young people who feel rejected by an education system that is not set up with their needs in mind.