Parents in denial of students behaviors!!! HELP!!!

Janine - posted on 01/18/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I teach 1st grade and have a student that is clearly ADHD- can not sit, climbs on desk, talks ALL the time about random things, taps on desk with various objects, taps on floor with feet, disrupts instruction all the time. I have tried EVERYTHING I can think of for him- behavior charts, conferences with both him and his parents and together, incentive charts, isolation, rewards, consequences etc, etc,- the sad part is that this child is very bright- I just really think he can not control his behavior. I have talked several times to his parents and they say that he has been this way his whole life. I have suggested talking to his doctor and they do not think that it is a problem. EVEN after I have written down minute by minute of his actions.
I can not effectively teach the other students because of his behavior- I have tried writting him up and sending him to the office- nothing........help!!

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Jeannine - posted on 01/18/2010

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Does your school have a child study team? I teach first grade too and it is sooo hard to get help for the wiggly wonders. I have had a student identical to yours, except his parents knew it was that bad and would change their minds from day to day if they would medicate. It was so tough on him. I allow my students to move as much as possible, and integrate it into lessons. I have found YOGA (I KNOW) to be incredibly helpful for my ADD/ADHD and even autistic students, I just take a break here and there as needed. There are some good kid dvd's for ideas. Also, what about offering a deflated beach ball to sit on, to use up some physical energy (they make actual seats like this for kids with ADHD) these seem to help them focus since their body is busy. Good luck-both of you. It's so frustrating, because you still have a job to do!

Tammy - posted on 01/18/2010

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The most important thing you can do is document, document, document all of his behaviors. Also, make sure you keep your administrator well informed of the situation and see if he/she has any advice on how you can work together to try to resolve the problem (sending him home when his behavior is too disruptive, making it more of a burden on the parents). In the meantime, I have a child in my 3rd grade classroom that is ADHD and medicated but still VERY active and antsy. What I have done is move his desk where it is behind the other students (where they can't see his constant moving). I talked to him and explained that I understood he had a hard time being still all the time and that I would allow him to move around within a defined space and stand up next to his desk, often working while standing, if he would agree to try his best to not shout out answers and talk out of turn. When I stopped trying to get him to be still, his excessive verbal outbursts began to deminish. I took time while he was out of the class and explained that "Joe" had problems that made it very hard for him to sit, be still and be quiet like the rest of us. I explained that while the behavior wasn't "okay", he couldn't help it. I further explained that I know that sometimes it makes it hard to focus and concentrate, but we should all do our part to help him. We would all ignore his behavior and never "act like him". This went a long way in helping the rest of the class understand what was happening and made them feel like they had an important role to play in helping "Joe". They have done GREAT! On occassion, "Joe" will do something to try to get everyones attention and it's amazing watching the other students carry on like they see and hear nothing. "Joe" eventually gives up and goes back to work. On occassion his behavior becomes too much and I have a chair in the hallway that he has to go to until "he's ready to come back and join us". I don't carry on one way or the other, "Joe, you're going to have to go to your chair now", "It's nice to have you join us", "It was a pleasure having you in class today." Nothing too over the top, ensuring he doesn't do it for the attention - positive or negative. He's a pretty solid B student, though minus his "issues" I have no doubt he would do nothing less than A work.



Really, you just have to find something that works for you and your class. It's hard, but a lot of it just comes down to ignoring a lot of the behavior. When it reaches a point where it cannot be ignored and instruction can't continue, I would remove him from the class, and document when that happens and why. When he has good days, make it a point to tell him how nice it was to have him in class today and leave it at that. I wouldn't carry on one way or the other. Just let him know that you notice.



As far as the parents go, you can't force them to do anything. Many are afraid of having their child "labeled", and even many that have the diagnosis choose not to medicate due to side effects. It's hard. It just comes down to patience and understanding. If it is a true case of ADHD, you can't fight the behavior because the child can't control it. Just find a way to make it as minimal a distraction as you can without making the child feel ostricized.



Don't know if this will work for you, but it has done wonders for me. Hope it helps a little anyway.

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Nicole - posted on 01/18/2010

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On top of everything that Tammy said, call a meeting with the parents, and begin with talking about the child's strengths. ADHD does NOT mean a child is not bright...it means they need more supports to reach full potential. The parents may not be interested in meds at ALL..so don't start there. Start with identification, and supports that he HAS A RIGHT TO. Is he reaching his full scholastic and social potential? If not, he qualifies for SPED services. You will need to use your documentation in these discussions...and frame it in a way that makes parents understand that you are advocating for their child.Get consents...and have the folks you work with who are qualified to conduct testing conduct it. Does your school have an RTI team?

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