ADHD Parents Together
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1st grade retention?

Anyone have experience with deciding to retain their first grader with adhd? Our son has made a lot of gains this year and is JUST under grade level academically. Socially he is improving (thanks to medication as well) but still have some issues with peers. To add to this, he is also the youngest in his class which is causing me to lean toward retention as well...

He is on an IEP which will help but we don’t want him to keep struggling so much especially as school gets harder! Psychologist recommends retention but the school absolutely does not. Ultimately our decision....so confused!

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I would hold him back, especially if his birthday is in the second half of the year. Our ADHD boys are 2-3 years behind their peers and it's better to hold him back now than in a higher grade. Insist that the school holds him back - this will also prepare you for all the battles with school that will come in the future!

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Thanks. Yes, he is a July birthday (just barely made the cut to enter kindergarten 2 years ago.). If we hold him back he will be in line with kids more his age. I guess I’m more worried he will be bored doing the same projects again in 1st grade and have low self esteem because the friends he did have are going up a grade.

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Try not to worry about this - he's so young, he really won't realize that some of his friends are moving up. Better to do this now than later, when it might make a bigger impact. And don't worry about him being bored. I would ask that he have a different teacher so it all seems different to him. You might also talk with the teacher and explain the situation (if she doesn't already know) and see what can be worked out. I wish we had held our son back in kindergarten or first grade - he has a late June birthday.

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Good point! His IEP instructor (special ed teacher) said that holding back now will place him in a group of students who are more likely to drop out of high school 🙄 and into depression...scare tactics I’m sure as they don’t want students retained for their ratings

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His IEP teacher needs to be fired. I would definitely remember this conversation! Unless you live in a very small town, with only one small school, your son will just be placed in another classroom with different kids, some of whom will be a little younger. (Some won't because many parents hold their boys back before starting kindergarten - I have several friends who did this, with good results.) Do not take any of this seriously. You know your son better than anyone. The kids who drop out of high school are the ones who are never had any type of ADHD interventions, like meds or IEP's.

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Hi, we held back our ADHD son also in first grade and it is the best decision we ever made. He is finishing 4th grade now and I can't even imagine if it was 5th grade and he had to go to middle school next year where things are MUCH different. Even though he is 10 and mentally he has all the age-appropriate knowledge, emotionally he is 7. Not to mention that ADHD is an "executive function disorder" and just because they have knowledge doesn't mean they can use it correctly. I am absolutely an advocate for giving a child an extra year to grow and adjust. I do not think you will regret it.

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Thank you! It sounds like your experience has been really positive holding him back. Did he have any resentment when he was initially held back in first grade? How did you overcome this, if so?

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He didn't have any resentment... at the time we moved so he was actually going to a new school anyway. Hence no one at the new school knew that he was held back except his teacher. At first the teacher didn't understand why we chose to hold him back but in a few months she was like "Ooooh, now I get it"... it was obvious he needed it. I would like to think that kids in first grade wouldn't be as mean about it as let's say 4th grade. So if you are contemplating this, then it's better to do it while he is so young rather than later on.

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