theschool is not helping my ADHD son

Cheria - posted on 11/30/2013 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I am so frustrated. My 11 year old son has been diagnoised with ADHD since he was 4. He has trouble in school because he has problems with concentration and staying still in class. This is the second quarter of his 5th grade classes and he is failing almost all of them. I have previously went to the school to discuss a plan to assist my son,. Most of his teachers especially one teacher is not recepitive with any additional help. They claim he is just Lazy, I asked if they could make sure his homework was written down so I could help him and make sure it is done, they have not. I send notes to the school inquiring about the work that he is missing, I get no answers. I am really trying to help my son but his school seems to just give him F's, with no communication with me and no additional help for him. I don't want my son to fail, please if you have any suggestions let me know.

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Rebekah - posted on 12/01/2013

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My son is also in a private Christian school, and I worked in a different private Christian school for 6 years, so I know where you are coming from and that obviously the private schools are not obligated to provide an IEP. In the school where I worked, we came up with our own version of an IEP, recognizing that, as with your son, kids with differences need accommodations to help them be successful. We nearly bent over backwards trying to do whatever we could to help kids with various disabilities. I would hope that other private schools would make whatever effort they could to meet this need, but, as you are experiencing, not all private schools are able/willing to do that. How unfortunate... they risk losing kids that way... not just losing them from an enrollment standpoint, but risk the kids losing their interest in learning and becoming demoralized because it is so difficult. So I hear you.

Be prepared when you go to the principal and find out what they are willing to do. Return to them again after your son has his updated assessment and see what can be worked out. If they refuse to make any accommodations, what are you willing to do? Is it worth it to you to seek out other schools and see what others provide? I'm not telling you to give them an ultimatum... you just have to decide what is best for your son. I speak as a parent who also values a Christian education... but I also want my son's Christian education to be educationally appropriate for what he needs. Good luck with that, and keep advocating for your boy!

Rebekah - posted on 11/30/2013

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Are you in the US? If he has an IEP or 504 plan, then the teachers are required to honor it. If they are not following specific interventions that are outlined in the plan, then I would go to the administrators to get some cooperation. I would also be inclined to pass along your attempts to communicate with teachers and their lack of response. That is not acceptable.

If he doesn't have an IEP, then I would look into that. He may have been diagnosed years ago, but perhaps he needs an updated evaluation by the school (they don't generally do it more frequently than 2 yrs) so that they can get a current picture of what his strengths and limitations are. If the psychologist/evaluator can help back up his behaviors as being attributed to his diagnosis, that should put the "laziness" comments to rest. The school psychologist/evaluator should also be able to give appropriate interventions as to what the teachers need to be doing, as well as what your son (and you) needs to be doing.

He is getting close to middle school age and there is typically more of a push towards independence. Although the school does need to do what they can to help him, given his difficulties, it is also important for your son to continually learn more strategies so that he can help himself as much as possible. Can he access the school assignments online? Can he call a friend from class if he misses a day of writing it down? Does he have an agenda/organizer that he can use to write in daily assignments? Can the school counselor partner with him to help with some organizational skills? Is your son willing to try some strategies, or is he quick to blame his ADHD? Sometimes there there needs to be a fine balance between acknowledging a disability while not allowing it to become an excuse for not taking responsibility. (or, "learned helplessness" is the other term I'm thinking of). I'm just saying, help to empower him to find ways to cope with what he has so that he doesn't allow his ADHD to become a reason not to take charge of his life. Good luck.

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Abigail - posted on 12/02/2013

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My son has a mild case if ADD and was diagnosed back in 1st grade. He has always been in public school and I know for a fact that in any education system teachers/principal/school psychologist have to be on the same page in order for the child to succeed. They get tested and depending on their IEP score they get placed in classes designed for them, but if they are left in the same class as the rest of the students because they don't offer special classes then their class/homework gets modified. Same goes for all Star testing, it's modified. That same plan follows them till they graduate from high school.
It's challenging enough for them as it is and if the teachers or principal are not willing to help
your son, then maybe you should go higher if there's no school district to go to. But as educators they are obligated to help and accommodate your sons needs in any way possible. If they still don't after you've tried everything, then maybe it's time to move him where he will get the help he needs.
Good luck hone :)

Elizabeth - posted on 12/02/2013

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My kids have always been in Catholic schools. I had to take my son out because they really don't understand "the system" when it comes to special needs. They did put a 504 plan in place -- but that's as far as they could go. This is coming from a Catholic School girl.... get your child enrolled in the public school asap! The process of getting help is painfully slow. Do is sooner rather than later!!

Rebekah - posted on 12/01/2013

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You are most welcome. :)

I was also wondering if your school has supplemental services from an Intermediate Unit (I don't know if that's a Pennsylvania thing, or not... it is an educational service provided by the county...typically things like extra help with speech, reading, math, counseling and psychological and educational evaluations... directed toward the private schools for eligible students). If your son is being evaluated from the IU that services your school, I wonder if they (teachers, principal) would be open to hearing suggestions from the evaluator as for what they could do for him in the classroom AND further, what emotional effect it would have on your son receiving F's if his struggles are more due to his ADHD rather than "laziness." If you can make a case that way, I don't know what teacher would, in good conscience, ignore that. I should say that should be true for any teacher, public or private, but particularly in a Catholic/Christian setting where they promote Godly principles. (even if you are having a private evaluation, I still wonder if your principal would be open to hearing a plea from the evaluator.) If they aren't, it may be time to look elsewhere. This can't be the only setting where he can get a good religious education and have a chance to have his educational needs met. Blessings to you as you go ahead.

Cheria - posted on 12/01/2013

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Thank you so much, your post are coming at a time when I feel so emotionally drained with all my sons issues. I want to thank you again because its nice to know that someone understands and can relate, somehow it gives me the strength to keep fighting. Your suggestions and comments are extremely helpful. I will continue to advocate for my son hopefully the educational system will implement a system that will benefit children with ADHD, SOON.

Cheria - posted on 11/30/2013

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Thanks for responding Rebekah, yes I am in the US. My son is in Catholic school, I do not have a 504 or a IEP started for my son . I have heard that catholic schools do not have to approve either, supposivily they operate from a different educational standards. I have a meeting this Monday with the principle so I will find out for sure then. He has an apt. for a current assessment for his ADHD next week. I work with him at home extensively with his issues, enroll him in social and managing classes that help with his ADHD. My problem is, he can not succed if the school does not provide any kind of provisions. I am doing everything on my end to help, the school is not doing anything different. They are aware of his condition but still gives him F's for taking to long on test, or missing work. His psychatrist has told me all these things are normal with kids with ADHD. I am not trying to say my son should not be responsible for his actions but what responsibility does a school have when they see that a child s diagnosis is interfering with his education?

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