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New to Group & ADHD & Struggling with School


Hello. My 6 year old son was recently diagnosed with ADHD (he's been struggling with behavior this school year but at grade level or above in academics). The school system evaluated and do not recommend further assessment. He attends a great private school but it's not great for him as they have no resources or seeming awareness of how to accommodate or help him. He's in a social skills group, individual play therapy and now on medication. This is med #2. The first was great for focus but caused him to be angry/throw things (completely atypical for him as he's typically jolly). The new med seems to have him down on himself and unable to calm down for a very long period when he's agitated. I am in DESPERATE NEED of recommendations for schools (private or public) in the DC/MD area that are good at teaching and addressing the needs of children with ADHD. I think we need to change schools immediately.

5 Replies

Our daughter has always been in private schools. But we have been lucky and they always worked with me in elementary school. The key is getting the right medication. We tried 5 different medicines, over a 5 year period. It will always be a struggle and unfortunately nothing will last for a long period of time. For my daughter, I keep her away from anything with red dye, cut down on sugar, anything with caffeine. If she does have alot of it her behavior is out of control. And you have to try and keep the same routine for him. She also take medicine to be able to sleep at night. She use to scream in frustration in the middle of the night because her mind and body would never rest. She would be asleep but never in a deep sleep. I never noticed until I laid with her a couple nights, how restless she was.

I had never heard about cutting back on foods with bad guy. Thank you for posting. I will keep that in mind although I can't think of anything that we eat that has it in it I'm sure it is listed in the ingredients. My daughter is 2 and 1/2 and gets up minimum two times per night. There has been a regression since we had a new baby 8 weeks ago and so I know that I have to give this more time. In the last 5 weeks we have had seven good nights where she actually has slept the whole night. I don't let her have things with caffeine, we have only restrict sugar, and I make sure that we have calming activities throughout the day because I know that at night sometimes if we go past her bedtime she becomes very defiant.

I am a speech language pathologist working with pre-k through 5th grade. In my experience, students with ADHD benefit from structure as most children do. The difference is that the expectations of sitting are much less realistic if brakes aren't included. A 6 year old is going to have a difficult I'm sitting and following rules consistently if sleep, nutrition, and structure are not balanced. Have you and the teacher tried implementing a visual schedule to help with accomplishing tasks that may be difficult? Of course the tasks that we do at home or not the same as in school, but they consist of the same components often like following multi-step directions for example. Often visual schedules incorporate rewards and I try to stay away from that as the students get older. However, you can have rewards that are positive behavior rewards like hugs, high fives, extra time reading, an extra book, unloading the dishwasher as mommy's helper. Things that the child will find rewarding that you have noticed. Using stickers and constant verbal praise are great in the beginning of any reward system but as you see success, the goal is to decrease extrinsic material items. You want the child to feel good about his behavior and not necessarily rely on others to praise for doing things that are expected because we know that's unrealistic and that other students are not receiving that same treatment. Other than visual schedules, I have worked with students who benefit from frequent breaks or at least have the language to indicate that they need brakes. I know that teachers who are unaware of how to deal with this approach in the classroom and may be fearful that the child will take advantage of it and or that it'll be disruptive to others. However, it is up to the teacher to establish brakes will be used and instruct the child the appropriate language. Teachers I know in the past have said to me that they're worried the child will ask for a break anytime difficult academic task is before them. That might be the case in some occasions because they're human beings. However again the child will actually use the brakes when he recognizes that his body is getting uncomfortable or riled up. But this all that takes time and patience and most importantly trust in the child. I hope that these recommendations help you in some way!

Your son sounds similar to mine except mine does have anger issues. We are also in MD/DC area. My son is in 1st grade at a public school in MD, and we haven’t been impressed with how the school is handling his outbursts etc. It is my understanding that a 504 and IEP plan are legally binding, but I don’t know if they apply in private school.

I take my son to Kennedy Krieger Institute for Adhd and behavior. You may want to check their website and see if they have recommendations on schools in the area.

My daughter went to a private school. They don't have to honor IEPs Etc as far as I know. But I was constantly working with the counselors, school nurse, and vice principal on what would be best for her in school. With lots of notes from the doctors, articles that I would print off Etc, I got them to corporate pretty well and work a schedule out that she could deal with.

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