Begining school with mood disorder, adhd and more... HELP

Jennifer - posted on 07/23/2009 ( 42 moms have responded )

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My son is five and due to be starting kindergaten soon. Unfortunately his "wonderful" dad has just now realized what I have known for sometime... Nathan is just not ready for public school. I don't know what to do. He has violent outburst and is very strong. He can knock me down and I am a big woman. I am afraid that he will hurt the other children or even the teacher. His Psychiatrist has said that I should enroll him anyway and let the natural process of consequenses take effect but I am fearfull for not only Nathan's saftey but the other childrens saftey as well. I have considered home schooling but I fear that Nathan will fall behind and not get the education he needs. Any suggestions on what I can do?

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User - posted on 08/22/2009

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Hi Jennifer. I have 4 children who are have had special needs in education. I was a public school teacher for many years, but didn't want to put my children in that situation. I have found homeschooling to be a wonderful life choice for us. My oldest two children are 20 and 18. Both attend college. When my oldest was diagnosed with dyslexia I was told he'd never read. When he entered college he tested into Alg. 2 and English 1A. My third child is very delayed educationally and had many, many behavior issues when we adopted her at 7. She is doing so well! If you are interested in my phylosophy of education - you are welcome to check out my website at HeterHaven.com. Just another point of view. :)

Tasha - posted on 08/14/2009

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Have you had him tested for ADHD? My son has adhd, and the outbursts and throwing things and getting suspended woke me up. He's been on meds and he has done a 360. I don't like it that he takes it but it gives him self control. Check into having him tested

[deleted account]

I would recommend having a meeting with the school psychologist and requesting a CORE evaluation. This wil help them to better understand what is happening with your child. You may also be able to work with the psychologist to develop a "Behavioral Intervention Plan", which will help guide the teachers on what methods work best (or do not work at all) for your child, in terms of their handling of your child's specific behaviors.

Fern - posted on 08/10/2009

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If you are in the states, you can request that the school test him prior to enrollment in school. That way they can decide if it safe for him and the other students for him to be in a regular classroom or if he qualifies for something else. Is he seeing an OT or PT or SLP? If so have them write a recommendation about what they think is best for your son. Plus the law in most states says that if the school doesn't do the eval or it doesn't turn out well, that you are entitled to a private eval at their expense. But you do have to get very familiar with the laws in your own state. There are all sorts of programs out there for special needs kids, but you have to work to find them. I have two boys with learning problems/delays with speech apraxia and sensory issues. I can tell you that it doesn't sound like your son should be in a regular classroom. Have you talked to the school yet to see what they can offer. I would *not* wait until after school starts. Early intervention is so important. The more failures the child has, the more issues he will have later with self esteem. In other words, its not a good idea to set him up for failure in the classroom.

Nanci - posted on 08/09/2009

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Does this sound like anything your child does? Do you supplement him with fish oil?,ionic magnesium, ect. Have him tested for food allergies. Take him off milk and juice. Change his diet. Watch what he eats. My son did the same thing, they are strong kiddo's. Make a change, you can do it.

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Constance - posted on 05/03/2011

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I had my daughter in self-contained. 9 students to 2 teachers. I loved my daughters teaches exspecially her 1st grade teachers. She would have these major issues in the morning that I couldn't get her do do anything except her losing control. I would get so stressed out but I would pack her an extra bag with her clothes, shoes, socks, hairbrush, toothbrush, food for breakfast, and anything else that she needed. I would drag her intoo school take he to her classroom and one teacher would take her inside the classroom and the other would come out and talk to me. I was the same pep talk you go home and relax. I have her and when you get her back she will be daughter you adore. She was always right. Now my daughter is 15 and is main stream in all AP classes on dean's list. Sometimes she has to remove herself because she is getting frustrated. She knows the signs when she is going to explode. But in general she is doing an awesome job. I also have to keep her surrounded by her beloved animals. She has aservice dog that goes everywhere with her because when she is getting to the point of no return. She can sit on the floor with her and cuddle and love on her.

Altara - posted on 05/02/2011

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Oh yeah!!! Its also free, they send you everything you need and they could even (in most states) supply a computer for him and also an internet stipend to help pay the cost of the internet (i think you have to qualify for it but its not to hard to do that) Those are just a couple options.

Altara - posted on 05/02/2011

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I understand your worries, my son has ADHD and I am homeschooling him for the rest of this school year and then next year he will go to a virtual (online/textbook) public school. So he will still get the same (or better in our situation) education as he would going to a school building but it will just be at home. There are a couple different choices, connections academy (connectionsacademy.com) and K12 (k12.com) are just a couple, and they have a very good curriculum and in the lower grades it is more hands on with work books and stuff and a little bit on the computer and as they get older it slowly progresses to more online and less text book (not really until high school) and they have field trips and opportunities for socializing along with whatever you want them to be involved in. It also gives a little more flexibility for appointments and other things like that.

Anita - posted on 08/18/2009

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I had the same problem with my guy. He had sever ADHD and that resulted in signs of OD via violent outbursts. I had to enroll him the ED program and start and IEP just for his learning needs. He has a para and I have come to accept that my son wont have the same kind of education as other children in his class but after a year of lots of work, one on one, behavioral therapy and change in dieting as well as how I deal with him now. He no longer has OD. He will always be ADHD but now he knows how to react in a situation where he once escalated. He had a lot of restraining and it was super difficult for everyone involved. But remember, you are his advocate and only you can help him and you are in charge of his education. Time and patience will help immensely. But definately enroll him and let him try it for a bit. Child interaction is also a huge impact on how they learn to deal with their peers.

Elizabeth - posted on 08/17/2009

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Quoting Alesa:



Quoting Elizabeth:

I fully understand how you feel. My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 4. He's now 8. It is a really difficult discission to make about public school or private or even home schooling. My suggestion would be to go and talk to his home school (the school he would be attending) and have them start the process of getting ready for him to attend there.

You do want to request a complete evaluation in all 8 domains. I can't remember them all right off the top of my head. Basically it's to evaluate your child to see if he has needs that they (the school) need to make accomodations for. Since he has a mood disorder he should be able to have an IEP for at least emotional support. The evaluations will also determine if he has any learning disabilities or sensory problems that could affect his learning/functioning in a classroom environment. Also, if your son does have any sensory issues like clothes not feeling comfortable, loud noises bother him, things like that when you write the letter for evaluation please add in there that you are also requesting an OT evaluation for sensory issues.

If you do decide to have the school do an evaluation on your son please make sure to do it in writing since this does start a legal timeline. Make sure to have a copy for yourself and have someone from the school sign and date your copy so that there isn't any question as to when you turned it in to them. I cannot express how important it is to document, document, document any and all communication with the school. I had one teacher tell me when my son started school to make sure that I get a three-ring binder and put all the documentation in it so that I have it if/when needed.





Question regarding the assesment for the IEP.  Now you said to make the request in writing. My son had an open house for the new school your and his psychatrist told me to ask them for the papers that I need to fill out to get the evaluation started.  Well the lady that I asked said that the school system couldn't do that. That we needed to see how the first 2 weeks of school went and then go from there.  She was not very nice about it either.  I have been informed by many people of how the process works and that it does take a while.  I just don't think that the school is going to be of any help for my son.  There is no record from his 1st grade teacher of how poorly he did last year, so not sure what to do.  Any advice where I should go from here.



 



 





The request for evaluation is a letter from you requesting a complete evaluation in all 8 domains.  The school does not have any forms or paperwork for you or the doctor to fill out.  The doctor can write a letter if he/she chooses to to inform the school of the disability.  That would be up to you and the doctor.  As for the letter, if you want feel free to email me at www.starfishadvocacy.org   Please email me so that I can help you.



Yes, the process of evaluation is long but there is a timeline that the school has to adhere by.  The timeline can only start once they recieve the request for evaluation.  The sooner you get the request in the better.   Also please check out Wrightslaw online.  This website is full of information about IDEA and is a good website to check out so that you will be informed of all your childs rights under the law. 

Elizabeth - posted on 08/17/2009

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Quoting Alesa:



Quoting Elizabeth:

I fully understand how you feel. My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 4. He's now 8. It is a really difficult discission to make about public school or private or even home schooling. My suggestion would be to go and talk to his home school (the school he would be attending) and have them start the process of getting ready for him to attend there.

You do want to request a complete evaluation in all 8 domains. I can't remember them all right off the top of my head. Basically it's to evaluate your child to see if he has needs that they (the school) need to make accomodations for. Since he has a mood disorder he should be able to have an IEP for at least emotional support. The evaluations will also determine if he has any learning disabilities or sensory problems that could affect his learning/functioning in a classroom environment. Also, if your son does have any sensory issues like clothes not feeling comfortable, loud noises bother him, things like that when you write the letter for evaluation please add in there that you are also requesting an OT evaluation for sensory issues.

If you do decide to have the school do an evaluation on your son please make sure to do it in writing since this does start a legal timeline. Make sure to have a copy for yourself and have someone from the school sign and date your copy so that there isn't any question as to when you turned it in to them. I cannot express how important it is to document, document, document any and all communication with the school. I had one teacher tell me when my son started school to make sure that I get a three-ring binder and put all the documentation in it so that I have it if/when needed.





Question regarding the assesment for the IEP.  Now you said to make the request in writing. My son had an open house for the new school your and his psychatrist told me to ask them for the papers that I need to fill out to get the evaluation started.  Well the lady that I asked said that the school system couldn't do that. That we needed to see how the first 2 weeks of school went and then go from there.  She was not very nice about it either.  I have been informed by many people of how the process works and that it does take a while.  I just don't think that the school is going to be of any help for my son.  There is no record from his 1st grade teacher of how poorly he did last year, so not sure what to do.  Any advice where I should go from here.



 



 





The request for evaluation is a letter from you requesting a complete evaluation in all 8 domains.  The school does not have any forms or paperwork for you or the doctor to fill out.  The doctor can write a letter if he/she chooses to to inform the school of the disability.  That would be up to you and the doctor.  As for the letter, if you want feel free to email me at www.starfishadvocacy.org   Please email me so that I can help you.



Yes, the process of evaluation is long but there is a timeline that the school has to adhere by.  The timeline can only start once they recieve the request for evaluation.  The sooner you get the request in the better.   Also please check out Wrightslaw online.  This website is full of information about IDEA and is a good website to check out so that you will be informed of all your childs rights under the law. 

Karen - posted on 08/16/2009

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I understand what you are going through. You never mentioned if he is on any meds. I know, I don't like medication either. But, he may need a little help along the way. I don't know where you live, but you may look into organizations in your area that work with children who have special needs. We live in Maryland and we have access to a wonderful organization called "New Transitions". They work with you, your child and the schools. Please call your school and ask them. Tell them your concerns. Public schools are really better. We had our son in a Private School the first two years. They did not have the resources to help him. I was getting calls just about every day to come get him. In Public School they have resources to help you. I hope I have been some help. Good luck.

Alesa - posted on 08/15/2009

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Quoting Elizabeth:

I fully understand how you feel. My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 4. He's now 8. It is a really difficult discission to make about public school or private or even home schooling. My suggestion would be to go and talk to his home school (the school he would be attending) and have them start the process of getting ready for him to attend there.

You do want to request a complete evaluation in all 8 domains. I can't remember them all right off the top of my head. Basically it's to evaluate your child to see if he has needs that they (the school) need to make accomodations for. Since he has a mood disorder he should be able to have an IEP for at least emotional support. The evaluations will also determine if he has any learning disabilities or sensory problems that could affect his learning/functioning in a classroom environment. Also, if your son does have any sensory issues like clothes not feeling comfortable, loud noises bother him, things like that when you write the letter for evaluation please add in there that you are also requesting an OT evaluation for sensory issues.

If you do decide to have the school do an evaluation on your son please make sure to do it in writing since this does start a legal timeline. Make sure to have a copy for yourself and have someone from the school sign and date your copy so that there isn't any question as to when you turned it in to them. I cannot express how important it is to document, document, document any and all communication with the school. I had one teacher tell me when my son started school to make sure that I get a three-ring binder and put all the documentation in it so that I have it if/when needed.


Question regarding the assesment for the IEP.  Now you said to make the request in writing. My son had an open house for the new school your and his psychatrist told me to ask them for the papers that I need to fill out to get the evaluation started.  Well the lady that I asked said that the school system couldn't do that. That we needed to see how the first 2 weeks of school went and then go from there.  She was not very nice about it either.  I have been informed by many people of how the process works and that it does take a while.  I just don't think that the school is going to be of any help for my son.  There is no record from his 1st grade teacher of how poorly he did last year, so not sure what to do.  Any advice where I should go from here.

Sarah - posted on 08/14/2009

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I know what you mean...The best thing you can do is request an MFE ( multi-factored evaluation) under IDEA ( individuals with disabilities education act). As part of that they will request records and proof of dx from his doctors. I just recently found a website called www.bipolarchild.com They have a sample IEP for you to look at, and there are books and tapes you can order that help you write an IEP for your child.



My oldest son ( 13, will be 14 in January) has been on an IEP since spring of his 5th grade year. He has violent rages periodically at school. I am pretty sure after doing some research that he is bi-polar and his ADHD meds ( 30 mg vyvanse and 2mg of tenes)) are making him worse. He goes back to the psychiatrist at the autism center next week. I am going to ask her if we can do a trial of treating him as if he has a BP dx to see if it makes his rages less violent and less often.

Melinda - posted on 08/13/2009

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I think boys learn at a slower rate then girls do. i have two boys with adhd/bp disorder, and the youngest with a learning disorder. i very much wish i would have kept in an extra year of headstart and held him back from starting kindergarten

Melissa - posted on 08/11/2009

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My daughter is 10 now and was diagnosed 2 years ago with anger issues, bi-polor, anxiety, paronia issues. I know what you are going thru. Know this there is help out there and meds that will help some of the issues. Not sure where you are located but I know that my school was wonderful in helping place my daughter in a special school for kids like her.

Teri - posted on 08/11/2009

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It will work itself out in time. My daughter is now entering the 3rd grade... should be in the 4th but we held her back in 1st because she wasnt ready. She has slapped her teacher in the face, took her shoe off and thrown it at the teachers head, bullied other children. She is now calmed down a little bit. When she slapped the teacher in the face me and my husband and teacher all sat down and talked and decided she needed to be punished. She got a paddling at school. Thats the only emergency meeting we have had after everything and the only paddling she has recieved. But she still remembers it and she says she wont act like that again. She has been diagnosed with Bi-polar and has a learning disability to boot, which makes the aggresion that much worse because she gets frustrated when she dont understand. One of her many doctors but her on abilify and without it she is Freddy literally. Her pcp recommended we try to wean her off of it after 2 years. After being off of it for 2 days my husband said either put her back on the meds or I will. He has never been stern with me like that but she was a nightmare. She has a IEP at school and is a 504. Be sure to have a sit down meeting with the admin at the school and let them know whats going on so they can make him a behavior plan, if they know ahead of time that theres issues they can work with you instead of against you. Good Luck!

Nikki - posted on 08/06/2009

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I can definitely relate Jennifer...I had a great school system that evaluated my son in head start and had all of the services he needed before he began kindergarten. They were great...Unfortunately we have moved from the state and the new school is not as accomodating...but he is making it through...My suggestion??? Neurofeedback!!! It was a godsend for my son...No it did not cure his disorder (bipolar , adhd, and ptsd) but it made it more manageable for him and everyone around him. Also get an IEP started as soon as possible.that way he is eligible for so many more services he may need. My son, like Nathan, was very aggressive (actually had to be hospitalized for trying to electrocute his brother when he was 6). He has come such a long way and I have faith your son will too...Check on the Neurofeedback!!

Wendy - posted on 08/05/2009

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By the way, Home-school kids are better socialized than most public school kids are. We have groups that get together and they have a range ages so that the kids can relate to everyone, not just those of the same age.

Wendy - posted on 08/05/2009

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I home-school my adhd 11 year old son. We've been doing this for 2 years now. I took him out of the public school system because he was being bullied and felt that the teacher was instigating it. Home schooling is great, We set our own schedule and try to stick to it. THe only way that you can fall behind is if you don't do any schooling!
If you do go that public school route I would insist on getting an Individual Educational Program (IEP) set up even before school started. It's a blessing because it will spell out everything that is set up to help your son in school. It is a bit intimidating at first but you must ADVOCATE for your son because no one else will if you don't.

Lisa - posted on 08/05/2009

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do u have special education classes where u live? My son has bi-polar, odd, ocd, and auditory processing problems along with educational delays. He has been in special ed is whole life. He is on a cocktail of meds and goes to counseling 1x week and the pschyiatrist 1 x month. Whatever u do, don't home school. He needs the socialization. What r his exact diagnosis? Does ur school district have IEP's?

Julie - posted on 08/05/2009

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Listen to your gut! I say this as the mother of a 15 year old, who was diagnosed with BP at age 7. Ask your school for an eligibility assessment. Make the request in writing. The sad truth is that many kids with mental health needs do not get the education they need, even in public schools with strong IEP plans. Pennsylvania schools do pretty well (at least in the Philadelphia area), but you will still need to be your child's strongest advocate. There are groups out there who can help, for example Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation, www.bpkids.org; Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, www.ffcmh.org; National Alliance for Mental Illness, www.NAMI.org; CHADD (for adhd, I'm not sure of the website). All are excellent organizations, and the latter three have local chapters in most states. Hook up with other parents in your community whose kids are older so you can learn from their experiences, too.

Christine - posted on 08/04/2009

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Put him in School ! It will be the best thing for him and I bet he will totally suprise you with a change in his behavior ! Kids are allways better for others.. they are worst for their parents ! You have to meet with the school ASAP, I would call the Board of Education and ask for the head of the special needs staff, school psychologist.. find out who is avalible to help with your needs, then make sure you set up a mtg at least a week or so BEFORE school starts, bring in all your suporting documentation from Dr's, evals, meds ect... My son is 9 going into the 4th grade, he has severe ADHD withsomething underlying.. we are working on a 2nd opionion eval right now... its never ending with the Dr's, theraists, school, family friends ect.. but you have to be strong, educate yourself and be your childs best Advocate ! Good Luck ! Give us an update !

Elley - posted on 08/03/2009

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my son daniel started main stream school last sept hes 5 he has adhd behaviour probs and has outbursts of aggressive nature i felt like you but he receives 1 on 1 teachin some days he does an hour some he can manage the whole day he also has epilepsy and part ov a brain tumour which couldnt be fully removed so that affacts his behaviour too but let your son try school let him be like other kids but ask the school for special needs teachin for him hope u get all u want out ov ur sons schooling .... but let him at least try it

Sharon - posted on 08/01/2009

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Go into your school armed with information. Confer with the teacher and school staff right away. I bring in books and strategies that work for my child. Most of the time if you let them know you are going to work with them every step of the way the school will work with you. Let them know all that you are doing to help your child. I'm a teacher in a public school and a mother of a child with ODD. I am impressed with parents who will work with me. Your knowledge and openness will let the school know that they have you as a partner. I found that when it came to my child the public schools were more willing to work with me than the smaller private ones. I first placed my daughter in a small school thinking it would be better but they just kicked her out when things got to be to much for them to handle.

Melissa - posted on 07/30/2009

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Talk to the school and get an IEP (individual education plan) in writing. This says what will happen if nathan does this or that. Plus the school can send a teacher to your home as if he is home bound. done often with sick or injurd kids. this will free you from homeschooling. just keep trying.

Astridia - posted on 07/29/2009

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yes i agree i would not keep him out of public school u need to see how he will react & adjust his behavior or meds accordingly..he will need to be & behave in society so u need to get a grip on his outburst & behavior early on.. I had to do it as well i know my son is diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, IED & LEARNING DISSABILITIES. if u get a chance check out james dobson books on adhd, Bringing Up Boys is the title for a good book: there is a handbook for parenting ADHD children that is helpful: i have read 5 books & they have been oh so helpful! GOD bless!

Geralyn - posted on 07/28/2009

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Kat, I totally agree with you that it is even harder on military families. Some school districts who have military families within their boundaries (for example, there is a base located there) treat the military families' special needs children differently. They know that the families will only be there for several years max before the families move again. Your son's story is a success story. You have done a great job as a mom, and now as a grandmom.

Kat - posted on 07/28/2009

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Jennifer,

My oldest Son is now diagnosed as schitzo-affective disorder with bi-polar tendancies and also attention deficit disorder. He is now 26 but needless to say school was always a constant battle. We moved alot since my husband was in the military so each school district was different. The most important thing to do is to always fight for your sons rights. And always have regular meetings with the teachers and counselors that will be involved with your son. And let your son feel comfortable to tell you any and all problems he is having with his teachers and always believe him because his perceptions may not be the same as the teachers and for these kids that makes a big difference. My son is just now at 26 going to college to get his Bachelors Degree. It has been a very long road for us and it still is But he is on the Deans list. But his problems are only emotional, and he is paying for some mistakes that are typical of these kids once they get older. It takes them a long time to grow up. He is married with a baby and we were really afraid it would be to much stress but so far it has been good for him. So don't give up. The future is not written in stone.

Sandra - posted on 07/28/2009

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Jennifer
I've looked at the replies you've received and it looks like you are getting some good advice. Really talk to the school or the district office if you have to. It is also really important to put things in writing and keep copies for yourself. I've learned documentation is really important. It will help keep your son's school accountable.
You have to know your rights so you can best advocate for your son. My son had a developmental delay when he went to kindergarden and now he is 14 and bipolar. I am glad someone introduced me to this group.

Jody - posted on 07/27/2009

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Hello Jennifer....If I were U, I would deffinitly not start him out as home schooling. I have a son, a Daughter and a grandson that are special and the best thing I did is put them in school...Not saying it will be all great, but it will sometimes change the way children react to things and make them feel better about them self! Children always are worst with the ones they love, and believe me I know as a mom, we tend to let our special children get over on us, and they learn that! So over the years it will get worst! Believe me the school will help you and him deal with and understand him more!! It will be great for the both of you! Let the school know ur issues about ur child and they can do an IEP test...I think that's the name...sorry my children are in there 20's now! Anyway the school should offer alot of suggestions on how things can get better for u both!! Good Luck! I wish the best for u and ur son! Jody

Geralyn - posted on 07/27/2009

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504 refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A 504 plan has categories of disabilities (not just medical) and provides for some services, accommodations and modifications. It is for children who do not qualify for special education. Special education has many more protections for both you as the parent and your son. I would only recommend a 504 plan while your son is being assessed for special education.


I know that Jayne means well, but you should not avoid special education because your son may be given a label of ED. While ED is an awful term, it is typically needed to obtain the necessary services.


While the Psychiatrist can diagnose him, the Psychiatrist may not be able to assist you on supports that can be put into place. I think it would be extremely beneficial for you to have a thorough psychoeducational assessment by assessors who are knowledgeable about academic supports and behavioral supports in a school setting. I know the school district will test, but sometimes they are not the most thorough assessments - depends really on the school district. You could wait and see what happens with the school district assessment and then if that helps identify his issues and needs, you may not need the other assessment.


When you request the assessment, definitely ask that the District behaviorist be part of the assessment. There are several levels of assessment for behavior, but if there are aggressive behaviors at school, you want to make sure that the school district conducts a "functional analysis assessment." That assessment is used to develop a behavior intervention plan that the teacher (and depending on the child's needs a 1:1 aide) would implement based upon positive behavior management techniques. Other supports could possibly be consultation hours by the District behavior consultant to the staff working with him and parent training.


Please see www.wrightslaw.com for information on special education. If you become knowledgeable about special education, you will be Nathan's best advocate!

Nancy - posted on 07/26/2009

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hi jennifer, i know what you are going thru. talk to the school let them know what going on, talk to them about an iep, he could go to special classes nothing wrong with them i have a 13yr old who is bipolar and autism plus just loss his dad, had a hard time in school, now i have him right meds. maybe your psychiatrist, have your child on med could do a blood work up to see if meds need to be adjusted?? could can be amazed on the schools too they will work with you too. please if he take a bus let the bus driver know too, ( this helps out to i drive a bus). don't give up hope on him please try public school. keep us posted . check in on you. don't give up i've been there and still doing!!!!

Nikki - posted on 07/25/2009

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Will he be in a special ed class? Or you can have him start and once he lets out an outburst, then you can take him out of school and homeschool him. Can you talk to him and have him understand whats going on? Does the school know about his behaviors? Hope he can get the education he needs. Good luck!

CATHY - posted on 07/25/2009

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Go ahead and enroll him. Maybe the school will have some resources to be able to help him.

I had the same problem with my son. We know he has a mood disorder..have known for a long time but have had trouble getting the last doctor he was seeing to want to test farther.

The last couple of years in school were a struggle but it does help because the school helps with the testing.

Jayne - posted on 07/25/2009

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A 504 plan is a plan for accomodation of a medical disorder to ensure success in the classroom. I teach kindergarten and can tell you that the special ed process is difficult to navigate. My son does not qualify for any accomodations because he does well in school and has not had major behavioral problems. Each child is different so your son might qualify. Be careful though...he may qualify as "emotionally disturbed" which is a label that is very difficult to get rid of. In my county emotionally disturbed students are not in a regular classroom but a small, self-contained environment. I did not think that this would help Ryan so we have been careful not to get this label.

Jayne - posted on 07/25/2009

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I have 2 boys. My oldest had the same difficulty with behavior. We enrolled him but I conferenced with both the principal and his teacher before school. I gave them information from his therapist, suggestions for how to cope with meltdowns and what set him off etc. Every year my husband and I sit down with the principal and do what we call the annual "who will Ryan have this year" talk. She picks the teacher she thinks will best be able to help him and keep him calm. Also, we recently started Occupational Therapy which has helped us to identify some triggers for him (he has difficulty with textures, loud noises, tastes, physical contact etc.)

Melany - posted on 07/25/2009

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I know here in RI, we have collaborative class room. Let the school know right up front with what is going on with your son. Keep me posted, I have been through a lot wtih the school dept.

Jennifer - posted on 07/25/2009

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Thank you for all the suggestions. I am writing them all down as we speak.

Geralyn: Nathan's birthday is in march. I have thought about holding him back a year cause I am just not sure that he is ready this year.

What is a 504 plan?

Geralyn - posted on 07/25/2009

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I totally agree with Elizabeth. I would request the assessment in writing just before school starts. She is absolutely right about documenting. Meeting with the principal first and then meeting with the kindergarten teacher right away is a good idea, and letting them know about your son's difficulties. Good communication with the teacher and the prinicpal is an excellent thing. Also, I would make sure that the school nurse is aware of any medication.





There are lots of things the school district can provide to assist him with his behaviors through a 504 plan or an IEP. It can take 60 days for a special education assessment to be completed, so you may want to ask about a 504 plan in the meantime.





One thing you may want to consider is holding him back for a year depending on his needs and when his birthday is....





I hope that Nathan has a successful transition into school.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/24/2009

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I fully understand how you feel. My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 4. He's now 8. It is a really difficult discission to make about public school or private or even home schooling. My suggestion would be to go and talk to his home school (the school he would be attending) and have them start the process of getting ready for him to attend there.



You do want to request a complete evaluation in all 8 domains. I can't remember them all right off the top of my head. Basically it's to evaluate your child to see if he has needs that they (the school) need to make accomodations for. Since he has a mood disorder he should be able to have an IEP for at least emotional support. The evaluations will also determine if he has any learning disabilities or sensory problems that could affect his learning/functioning in a classroom environment. Also, if your son does have any sensory issues like clothes not feeling comfortable, loud noises bother him, things like that when you write the letter for evaluation please add in there that you are also requesting an OT evaluation for sensory issues.



If you do decide to have the school do an evaluation on your son please make sure to do it in writing since this does start a legal timeline. Make sure to have a copy for yourself and have someone from the school sign and date your copy so that there isn't any question as to when you turned it in to them. I cannot express how important it is to document, document, document any and all communication with the school. I had one teacher tell me when my son started school to make sure that I get a three-ring binder and put all the documentation in it so that I have it if/when needed.

Beverley - posted on 07/24/2009

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Wow so sorry to hear about your frustrations.



What options do you have if you do not have him start school this year? Can the Pdoc adjust his meds so that are more beneficial to your son?. Can the school give him a 540 for behavioural issues?...are the school folks aware of your concerns?



Hoping you can get your son the education and supports he needs

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