ADHD Parents Together

Mom of ADHD Son

Hi. I'm new. My 7-year-old son has mild ADHD, so mild that his doctors are reluctant to label it, but not mild enough that it isn't an issue. He was recently suspended for being impulsive. He was using his creative mind to draw a story about plotting to poison someone, truly not thinking there was anything wrong with it because he just enjoys fiction writing. But, his school has treated him horribly since kindergarten due to his implusivity issues and decided this was him making an honest threat against other students, so he got suspension anyway. I respect where they are coming from even though I disagree.

Though the odds have been stacked against him, my son has been doing great for about 2 years without any major behavioral treatment or medication. But, now that he's been suspended, his confidence is shot and he hates himself. As a result, he's acting up more and more at home. I'm scared to send him back to school because I am afraid he's going to start acting up again like he did in kindergarten when he was getting in trouble all the time. How do I help him learn to cope and build back his confidence after this setback? It's killing me to watch him struggle through life.

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My son has severe ADHD medication has helped but not at first. We had to put him on two ADHD medications as well as , anxiety and Tourettes medications. It has been 5 years and I can see a remarkable change in his personality when he wakes up in the morning after his Meds have worn off.

We have him in behavior therapy and in social skills groups.

School has never been easy for him or for us watched by him.

We spend a lot of time emailing teachers! It is definitely an education process.

He is on an IEP but a 504 would help your son. It sounds like his add may be mild. Keep fighting the fight! My son is now 13 and is slowly maturing! All these factors help.

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I can't even count how many times my son has been suspended. Mostly because the teachers just don't want to deal with him. He has gotten suspended several times simply for walking out of the classroom. Keep encouraging his writing and just explain that he should stay away from writing stories about hurting someone at school. Also inquire with the school if they will allow him to have fidgets in his classroom to keep him a little more occupied. If he is suspended again and you do not agree-many school systems have an appeal process. Assure him that the suspension is no reflection of how smart and creative he is and that he is in no way "bad" as someone may try to label him.

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That is so sad for your son! My 7 year old ADHD son also loves writing fiction stories and he would have a problem seeing why he was in trouble with the school for writing such a story as in his mind it would be clearly fiction and an adventure. To me, it sounds like the school is not handling this with common sense. They were hard on a 5 year old with impulse control issues? What child in Kindergarten doesn't have some impulse control issues? Also, most 7 -9 year olds have imagination and fiction that can seem violent to an adult, because they have no real basis for true violence and fiction is often how they express their anger or fear. My son writes about adventures with sharks and sometimes the characters get eaten, it's not because he wants someone to get truly eaten by a shark but probably because it's a fear that gives him a thrill to write about in an adventure story.

You know your child best and if you aren't concerned with the story then I feel like the school is the real problem and they will probably never be able to give your son a good learning environment. Any other schools nearby you can send him too with more tolerant administration?

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Thank you for the responses. My son returned to school today. He did okay, but he told me he was pulled from math class to talk to someone about his academic performance, if he's good on the playground, and why threatening when someone is bullying you is wrong. That seemed a little weird to me since academically, he's about a grade level ahead in everything except math fluency, but I've never dealt with a suspension, so maybe I am wrong. Anyway, I could tell it was rough for him to be back because he was engaging in a lot of negative attention seeking behavior when he got home, but at least he survived the day.

I would love to go to a different school that has more experience with this population. But, my husband makes a point that it's no guarantee and he doesn't want to put him through switching schools. The current school he's at has a big population of students with more severe disabilities and it apparently doesn't have any effect on the general ed side of things. My husband wrote them an email about his concerns with their suspension system when our son had no clue what he did wrong, but all he got was a phone call from the principal saying, "too bad." We haven't pursued a 504 plan because he had been doing so well. I think we'll give it a month or two and if things don't improve, we'll pursue one so that we can protect his rights.

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The problem is all schools are zero tolerance these days, there is no leeway. My grandson has gotten written up for saying damn under his breath. Because of things I have seen in the news I have warned the boys not to talk about killing, not to pretend to make your hand a gun, not to ever touch or kiss a girl even on the cheek.

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I'm a teacher at another school, so unfortunately I understand the zero tolerance thing all too well. We've tried to explain the rules very simply that there are just a list of things you cannot do. But, it's those impulsivity issues. Sometimes he just doesn't think.

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Are his academics going well then? Are his issues behavioral only? It sounds like he is misunderstood and isn’t at all malicious. Could he benefit from some type of accommodation from the school district that can protect him from further suspensions. Is there a guidance counselor you could contact and ask her for suggestions? I had to learn to ask everyone; teacher, principal, counselor, pediatrician, and tutor for their opinions. I don’t know if it’s a liability issue or what, but I had to seek the help my son. I wish there were a better protocol in schools for kids with ADHD.

Look into an accommodation and talk to that counselor!

Best wishes from the same boat

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Thank you. Yes, he's doing quite well at school. He gets our school's equivalent of A's and B's in all subject areas and is a grade level above in some areas of performance. I will definitely look into accommodations to prevent suspensions. I've already asked if they have any positive lunch social groups or any other proactive approaches. It's a bit disquieting that they haven't responded to that when asked almost an entire week ago. We haven't implemented a 504 plan since he's been doing okay (his issues are more on the social side than the academic side), but with these issues, his confidence is totally shot and he's really hating himself for not being able to stop and think all the time, so we are trying to pursue it. We got a diagnosis from the doctor a couple of years ago, but he's making us do the evaluation again since it's been so long. So, hopefully we can take care of this quickly.

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