So dismayed and frustrated! - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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So dismayed and frustrated!

ChristinaR1967 profile image

Hello, my son is 14, was diagnosed with the inattentive form of ADHD a year ago. I home schooled him in 7th grade and put him in a charter school for 8th grade and this is the first year has been an academic disaster!!! His school is rigorous with project-based learning and I am finding that this is the worst for students who struggle with ADHD. We try methylphenidate and Vyvanse and both did not work, they only made him sick with side effects. He is failing all his core classes and I've done so much to try to turn it around and we still haven't. The projects they give them have a multi-layered approach and he uses a Chromebook. He has so many missing assignments and he is mostly clueless about the big projects what he's supposed to do. I'm devastated that he will finish the 8th grade year with F's! I tried to get a 504 plan and that didn't work out. Should I just count this year as a loss and put a 504 in place for high school? Or should I do a summer school program? Before this year my son was in A-B student. Now this year he's failing and overwhelmed and frustrated. I just don't know what to do.

21 Replies

You must get your son on medication. He will not be able to function in high school without ADHD meds. Because you home-schooled him, he probably doesn't have a good grasp of what actually happens in a regular school. While I'm sure you followed your state's guidelines for academics, there are a lot more details, etc in public school. Find a physician to work with both of you over the summer so you can find the best medication and correct dosage. ADHD is a neurological disorder and is not usually manageable without medication. Your son will probably need at least a 504 Plan, and possibly an IEP. I would make sure his freshman courses are not too difficult for his first semester in high school.

We are going to look at other medicines this summer. I really hate how they affected him. I'm hoping we find something better. I homeschooled him through the states accredited online public school. The thing is, you had the whole semester to complete your work so you could go at your own pace. That was so much better for him and I as his "teacher" had a better handle on things. This school is not for ADHD kids. It goes from 8-4:55, way too long. I'm glad it's almost over. My biggest regret is not pulling him out months ago.

My son is now 23, so I have the benefit of hindsight. High school was pretty awful for us but would have been even worse with no meds. The other thing I want to point out is how much more dependent our boys are on us if they're not on anything to help regulate their behavior, which translates to their schoolwork. You home-schooled him and this means that you basically "managed" him for years. At some point, our boys often get tired of their mothers managing them and they may rebel. At least, my son did. He didn't want me interfering in school, sports, etc. ADHD medication allowed him to not lean on me with school, etc. because his focus and concentration was so much better. There will be side effects from all the meds, but they are definitely worth it and most of them either go away or your son will just get used to them.

Unfortunately, some kids just do not respond well to medication. Our son tried 7 different meds for ADHD/non-attentive. He is on a low dose Concerta, but still has side effects of tics, anger, OCD behaviors. We had a genecyte test and he is supposedly able to tolerate any of the stimulant/non-stimulant meds prescribed for ADHD.


I would talk to the teachers. Explain that he struggles and ask for help. My son has A and B , but he has F from science. Yes, those projects, data analyzing are overwhelming for him , plus he avoids class work. I talk to the teachers, and they are helping him to makeup work and get out from the hole. Good luck

I talked to the teachers all the time. When I was transparent about ADHD, they bent a little, some more than others, but there isn't anything on paper to make accommodations official. I contacted an online school and I set him up for summer school. He can take those grades he gets in summer school and transfer them to replace these awful grades. You are very lucky your child is doing so well. I'm not hoping for As, I just want him to be passing! Seeing all the Fs is heartbreaking.

I am not lucky at all. I am exhausted and I feel like I am in school again. Everyday I check if there is homework, assignment to finish, book to read. If not mine work, he would be all F too. The saddest part of it is , that those boys are smart and of they decide to learn they do it quick. They just lack this internal motivation unfortunately.

Exactly, every teacher and math tutor hes had say the same thing--"he lacks motivation". If I had a dollar for the times I've heard that one! Yes, my son is very bright as well. It's quite frustrating to say the least.

Yes - we've heard "he's lazy" and "he doesn't care". I hate that teachers do not seem to think ADHD is a disorder. Push hard for a 504. The school is required by law to provide if your son has a diagnosis (or to pay for him to be diagnosed). Use arbitration if the school won't budge

My son avoids work too or doesn't ask for help. He doesn't like to communicate with his teachers either.

Everyone replies sounds exactly what I have been going through with my 14 y/o , his distraction, is at the all time high. I purchased him a minder watch, he doesn't pay it any attention, I purchased a agenda to write down his homework assignment and that doesn't get done on a daily basics. I even have him at the end of each class to confirm with his teachers what his assignments are for the next day, including project, test; homework ,etc. Silly me thinking that was a fools proof plan and he's still struggles with schoolwork. I'm also searching for ways for him to be pro-active about his responsibility at school. Each year, I have to take the lead, follow up with teachers, reminders, it's like being in school all over again. It's exhausting, !!!.

ChristinaR1967 profile image
ChristinaR1967 in reply to

Wow. Reading your reply was like reading my daily life! It feels comforting to know I'm not alone! I honestly feel like in school too! I know this isn't the norm at all. When I tell people that Im helping my 8th grade son with homework every night, I say his school is rigorous. I get a funny look from people. When I say I can't attend an event, etc during the week because I have to help my son with homework, I get that look as well. I can't just "let go" like most parents. It's even harder, because his school is so rigorous! I'm exhausted too! I dread Mondays, because it starts all over again. His teachers always have these projects in addition to the schoolwork and tests! It's too much for any child, buy waaay too much for a child with ADHD. Until we find the right balance of meds and start therapy, I have to be hands on. My husband is old school and clueless about ADHD. He thinks all we need to do is get rid of his PS4 and let him get a handle on his own. Oh, if it were only that easy! You add ADHD and being a teenager with the hormones and puberty and it's been a challenge. I pray to God daily for guidance and pray we will find the right stategies to help him live his best potential. It's so hard! Thank you for sharing and letting me know I'm not alone!

ChristinaR1967 profile image
ChristinaR1967 in reply to

Also, I was going to purchase one of those watches, but was not sure which is the most effective. Ive also brainstormed with the same techniques you've mentioned and it hasn't been a big change. It's tough.

My son is also 14 and has ADHD and an impulsive disorder. I know the frustration you are feeling! I feel like there is a huge lack of motivation for my son, he’s a very smart kid but is completely fine not turning in assignments and is happy with a D because it’s “passing!” He wasn’t diagnosed until last year, around puberty. He always made good grades in elementary but for 7th and 8th grade he was pretty much failing all core classes. He’s on concerta now which really seems to help. He also sees a therapist outside of school to help with decision making skills and she also helps him set homework goals and that has helped a lot. He likes video games (of course) and the therapist told him to look at his homework as a video game, you want to win and you need to score all of the points you can! I definitely think the meds and seeing a therapist combined has helped. I wouldn’t do one without the other. Keeping him active in extra curricular activities is a must too. I would consider summer school for your son and set up a 504 plan for the high school. Remind him school is almost over and try to end it on a positive note. Good luck!

My son is 14 and failing all core classes too! We are shopping for a new LEA. We are being completely honest with his struggles at the last school

We do have an IEP but my son has a diagnosis of Tourettes/ADHD/ODD/Anxiety disorder/Fetal alcohol syndrome/and CNSD(Cebteral Nervous system disorder)

He has no friends and has been suspended for 65 says this year. The school is hostile towards him and does not care if he fails. We have an attorney who is free from the Disability law center who has failed us. We are searching for another one even as I speak. I have met with new school principals but they are terrified of my sons school record. They don’t want him in their school and know legally they cannot refuse him. I am not smart enough to home school him through high school. Besides he would not have any contact with peers at all if I took him out of school. Poor kid has nobody who is safe but his parents. He argues non stop with the principal and his teachers. He has birth parents who did not graduate from high school. We were doing everything we can to prevent this from happening to him. I am afraid summer school and tutoring are our only hope.

I have no advice for you because I have no advice for myself. I am sorry I feel your pain. The only thing I Zan think that may help is if you live close to south jordan Utah we could work together and our boys could work together on school work. Let me know if that would work for you. And we can exchange Facebook messenger information so we can stay in contact and possibly help our boys. Regards Mary

Hi ChristinaR1967, I’m 63 years old with ADD. I’ve had it all my life. When I was a child I was labeled as the kid that always got in trouble. My son also as ADHD, he’s 38 and copping. Thank God he graduated HS only because we homeschooled both him and his brother. I don’t know your life situation but if there is anyway you can continue Homeschooling, I encourage you make the sacrifice and Homeschool. Your sons self esteem will be attack daily in an environment that doesn’t understand him. My son now has a son, he too has ADHD. With our years of experience, we’re still not sure. Prayer & our faith it God is what sustains us from day to day. God bless you and help you make the right choice.

The teen years are really tough. Even on medication my grandson's struggles. He actually does better at tutorials after school when the teachers are working with small groups. So we make sure he attends those weekly.

He is in an honors program and had to take Chinese which he is flunking. At least it doesn't affect his honors program if it's just that one class. I wish I had known it was not mandatory for him to take that I would have never put him in it.

I spent years supervising his mother's home work and she is a successful businesswoman now. Just have to hang in there

I was in tears reading these posts because I could have written these myself with my daughter. Please try to find a compassionate and experienced psychiatrist. Listen to your "mommy gut", and don't be afraid to move onto another dr if your current one is not working. We thought that the methylphenidate was not working so started trying some other medications. Anxiety was an issue, therefore we were afraid to go up on the stimulant. We tried some other non-stimulant medications, however this did not work for us. For us, the anxiety and poor behavior was a direct result of inadequately treated ADHD. We went up on the stimulant, which actually calmed my child down and decreased her anxiety level. Find a dr that will work with you. ADHD needs such an individualized approach. Yes, I still feel like I am back in school every day. It is a tremendous drain of energy to not only have to stay on top of your child's school work, but often deal with it in an uncooperative and oppositional setting. I stopped listening to and taking friendly "advice" from non-ADHD parents, spouses, and inexperienced teachers. I trusted my "mommy-gut". Allowing my child to "fail" to "teach him/her responsibility", etc. is not an option. This will only negatively affect their future self-esteem. I pray for resilience and strength. I continually remind my self that often, ADHD's children's maturity levels are delayed, and it is my job to recognize this, and work within their maturity/readiness levels until they catch up. Good luck!

If you can homeschool again I would. I have tried public regular and full time gifted and homeschooling. He sounds motivated and so do you. Maybe summer school to make sure he is really for high school classes. Dealing with new meds and puberty, along with a new school is hard. I wish you both all the best. I find with my son he didnt understand the social middle scene and just did have ability to not act out bc of frustration, homeschooling is hard but it works out better for our family. It takes the pressure off.

I'm right there with you; our son is in 7th grade and had been an A and A/B student through elementary (was in the gifted/talented class). This year, all assignments are on the Chromebook and he is getting Cs, Ds and Fs. He (and my husband and I) find it extremely difficult to find assignments: some teachers put it under "announcements", some under "assignments" and some in other random places. When I complained, the principal said all teachers should list assignments in the same place, but this does not happen. Some teachers put assignments on the board which my son forgets to write down. He struggles with severe executive dysfunction and ADHD/non-attentive and doesn't always "hear" oral assignments. We have a 504 in place but it is extremely watered down (on suggestion from the principal). We plan to push for a more comprehensive 504: written assignments in an assignment notebook, rubrics that parents can access (because my son often loses his), and a second attempt if he forgets to turn a page over and complete problems on the back (or only answers the first part of a multi-part question). Let me know if you find a solution that works because we are in the same boat!

I would definitely push for a 504. If you have made the district aware of his disability, they have to evaluate him for one or tell you why they aren't. If they won't give you one, hire a lawyer (if possible) and request an impartial hearing. If he is getting Fs, you could also ask for an evaluation for an IEP - he might get a diagnosis of OHI (other health impairment) and may qualify for services, not just accommodations. It's been my experience that schools know what to do with IEPs more than 504s. Document all of your correspondences with the school and follow up any meeting with emails summarizing what you talked about with the school. Document everything and try to do a lot of your communication via email.

If school is not requiring summer school, I would like around your community for a study skills class or some kind of program that helps with organization/executive functioning. The schools should be breaking down his projects until smaller assignments for him and "chunking" assignments for him. He may need extra time as well.

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