Don't tell me!: I'm hoping to get some... - ADHD Parents Toge...

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Don't tell me!

Bambamxyz
Bambamxyz
24 Replies

I'm hoping to get some advice as to what I can tell my (8 yo) son's teacher. I am greeted with "he's had a rough day" everytime I pick him up. It's followed by the list of everything he's done wrong. His teacher is doing a lot of things to help him be successful in the class when he's there. I'm not looking for what we can do to make him behavior better in class (we have a list of things we are trying) it's more for my sanity. I feel like telling her not to say anything to me! I just don't want to hear the bad stuff anymore!! To put it bluntly, it ruins my day and makes me feel defeated and sad the rest of the day. The good reports are so few and far between. Hoping his behavior will improve, but until then I just can't handle the "rough day" speech anymore.

24 Replies
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Onthemove1971

It appears that you are new to the Blog.. welcome, we are all here to support you in this journey.

I am a teacher, mother and an advocate for our son who has ADHD who is 13 years old.

A few thoughts... does your son have some of the tools to support ( besides the list) him in his educational journey? There are IEP's and 504 plans which are set up to support children who have educational needs.

What other things you tried for him outside of school?

I assume ( there is not a lot of info.) your son is in a general education class with a teacher ( who probably has not had a child like yours and usually has way to many kids to teach) who has not been given the tools on how to help your child. I am also sure it is frustrating for your child to " always be in trouble".

Children with ADHD do best when they are supported AND have an established relationship with the teacher.

There are many resources to support you, the teacher and your son.

Hope we can all assist you in this frustrating situation.

Take care,

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Bambamxyz

Thank you Onthe move. I'm glad to get the support here. Yes, he has an IEP and is in a SDC class about half the day.

I was just wondering what people do to help themselves when they are constantly bombarded with the "he had a bad day" at school reports. Or the phone calls. Do people have strategies that help them just let the bad news roll off their shoulders? I really don't want to hear it, but I'm sure just not knowing if he's had a bad day isn't really an option. I thought of asking the teacher to not share the specifics (unless it's serious like harming another student) because I know what a bad day looks like. I really don't want to hear again that he scribbled on his work or was whistling in class. I know he does those things, maybe just give me a thumbs down? Other ideas to ask the teacher?

As far as resources at school/class - he is seen by resource specialist a couple of times a day, has a schedule and star chart on his reg class desk, is provided with developmentally appropriate work, if an aid is available is given breaks.

He is not yet on meds. I understand that this may help, but our family is on the fence about meds. The SDC is a new transition and we wanted to see if it helps. He is doing well in that class room (and when he sees the resource teacher), the negative behaviors are mainly seen in his reg ed class. We are reevaluating medication in December. I think there are people who will probably reply, "don't wait!" but we have reasons to give us pause. Which may be another thread ;) gist being that he may not respond as well to ADHD medications because he also has specific learning disabilities and was exposed in utero to drugs. Sigh

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reg2018
reg2018
in reply to Bambamxyz

I understand your concerns with regard to medication. Let me share that one of my son's was exposed to drugs in utero and we tried him on medication to see how he would respond to it - he does much better with than without. One of my other sons has specific learning disabilities and also does better with medication than without. It's for each family to look at the pros and cons, understand how medication works and what it does and doesn't do, and decide what will be best for your child. Good luck with your decision and know that you're not alone in your journey as you continue to advocate for your child.

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Bambamxyz
Bambamxyz
in reply to reg2018

My husband and I are exiting but still kinda in the uninformed stage of medication. As we learn more about what's out there and the benefits of it we are getting closer. You can probably tell, I'm more on board with it than my husband. First time it was brought up (last year) it was a "we'll never put drugs in our kid" situation. Just last month we met with a psychologist to discuss medication and are now waiting to see how he transitions to a SDC at school. I feel lucky that everyone, from doctors to school personnel, they are supporting us and not pushing us to medicate. They are all encouraging and saying it could work for him, but say they understand our hesitation.

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Alliea79

Hi there! As a parent of “all of this” and having also been in a teacher’s role, not at all fair it gets dumped daily on you. I would guess that it is the teachers way of kind of “venting” to get it out before she goes home too. Trust me. I feel you though. It sucks to hear daily where things need to change. Daily. You said you have a lot of strategies in place, is one of them a report type sheet, usually that breaks up the day into chunks and he’d get like a smiley face or frown face or a number indicating how each part went. ughhhh. I entirely hear you. 🙇‍♀️

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Bambamxyz
Bambamxyz
in reply to Alliea79

Huh, I like that idea of a report type sheet. So, I never mentioned that the teacher is actually a friend of mine 😆 so the "venting" thing might be more true than not!

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Alliea79
Alliea79
in reply to Bambamxyz

Here are some samples of the sort of things I have used as a teacher and also been on the receiving end as parent...(living the dream lol!). google.com/search?q=daily+c...

Totally feel your pain.

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microMom

Hi there - I know EXACTLY how you feel and remember feeling completely deflated and almost ashamed every time I picked my son up from preschool and then kindergarten, first grade, second grade, etc. until we got him diagnosed and then implemented the right interventions (504 plan, medication, parenting classes, etc.)All I ever seemed to hear was the "bad" stuff - all the things he was doing wrong. I felt like I was failing as a parent. It's so emotionally exhausting and can be very isolating.

Things are much better now that he is older (12 yo) - but I often think about - if I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, what would I say to those teachers who constantly dumped all their bad news on me? I would've said "I'm completely open to hearing about things that he's doing wrong but I equally need to hear about all of the things that he's doing right". And there ARE things that your child IS doing WELL every single day - unfortunately, those things often get overshadowed by the other challenging behaviors. BUT it's the job of his teachers to reinforce the good as well as manage the bad stuff. No matter how small the deed, he is doing things right every day and it's important for you to hear about that.

I also would've been much more up front with my son's teachers and coaches about his diagnosis earlier on. Don't wait for them to discover your son's challenges - get in front of it at the get-go and discuss everything you know about what they can expect in terms of behaviors from your child and keep reinforcing that it's due to a medical condition - not your son trying to be a bad kid! I started with this approach when my son first entered 4th grade and it has changed everything for the good. I openly and proactively meet with all of his teachers and coaches at the start of the school year/athletics season and I plainly tell them what is going on. I always say "this is not an excuse for "bad" behavior but it's an explanation". That seems to resonate well. And I always make sure to let his teachers and coaches know that I respect what they do and that I know their jobs can be very difficult. However, dumping on you every day about the same-old-same-old is not helpful to anyone and certainly won't make things better for your son.

Anytime my son starts a new situation (new hockey team, new school year, etc.) I repeat this mantra to myself: "I no longer play defense - I'm now on the offense" when it comes to managing all that comes with his ADHD. Believe it or not, it has really helped me change my own outlook on this disorder.

Hope this helps.

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Pennywink
Pennywink
in reply to microMom

Wow - thank you for the insight! Those are great!

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Blessedmamaof3

*Hugs* As a parent we never want to get the long list of everything they did wrong. With our 8 year old sons teacher we are very lucky that she is very understanding but we had one teacher that was not. I was always getting emails that he did this and he did that.... every day. I emailed her back one day because I just couldn't handle it anymore and I very nicely told her that he is not a perfect child and he is going to do wrong but hearing everything that he does every day makes me feel like I am failing as a mom and I know that I am doing everything I can to help him. After that she stopped sending me an email every day and only messaged me if it was a big thing. It made me feel better because I did feel like I was doing something wrong. As parents of children with ADHD we struggle enough without having to hear everything our child does wrong, or dreading time to pick them up or checking email because we just can not handle the same thing on how our child did this and that but didn't do this. I hope that this is able to help you in someway.

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Bambamxyz

So glad I found this group!! Thank you Blessedmamaof3. I'm also a mom of three, but twins and an older brother by 8 months, so kinda like triplets 🤪

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Blessedmamaof3

You are welcome .

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Scootz49

I feel the same way. I take it personally what they say and I have had years of it. Just let it pass over you head. You know that you are doing your best, and no matter how you try to explain, sometimes the teacher can not grasp what ADHD really is. Just keep doing what you’re doing, stay strong.

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ADHD_DAD

Hi there! First, it's not his fault. It's not your fault or anything that you are doing. He has a disability. For me, it helps to think of it in terms of a less "invisible" disability (like deafness). You can manage and make him more comfortable (many of us started where you are about medications-I know I did- but I would NEVER withhold hearing aids, or anything else which made life easier to mange, from a deaf child--I suspect you will get on board with meds and never look back), but ADHD is part of his life and there is no cure. A hallmark of ADHD is inconsistent results despite consistent effort. That means that even if he does his best everyday, there will be bad days. It's a symptom of his disability. If you are like me, what you will be saying (to yourself perhaps) when you hear the "bad stuff" is "sounds like he still has ADHD." I do most of the communication with the school and when my wife asks what the teachers said, I respond, "they said he still has ADHD" and she knows what that means.

Second, what I have learned on this journey (my son was diagnosed at age 7; he's 14 now), is that you can never be cynical enough. There will be exceptional teachers along the way (these are the ones your son will mention in his acceptance speech when he gets the Nobel price-->Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, the Wright brother, and, some say, Einstein, all had ADHD!), but these teachers are the exception. What you are likely to experience is feeling like you need to reinvent the wheel with each new school year. We feel like the teachers have never dealt with ADHD before and like our child is the only one in the school with ADHD. Don't let them fool you. In July 2016, the Department of Education sent a "Dear colleague" letter to all educators in public schools describing ADHD in detail, telling them how to recognize it, their responsibilities and obligations, etc., plus, you will meet parents of children older, younger and the same grade as your child who all had the same experience. Ultimately, you must expect that the teachers will do only what they are made to do and even then, they will try to find ways not to do it including blaming your son (as they are already doing) and maybe even you. I our public school, the teachers are in the union and tenured and asking them to do things differently or to do more is really discouraged. While the school counselors may try to help privately, they are pressured internally not to do or agree to anything perceived as making more work for others. You already know how unhelpful it is to hear about what your son's done "wrong" (again, think of a deaf child--> "your son wasn't having a good day; it seemed like he wasn't hearing today"--it's absurd, but that's what we hear about our children with ADHD). What I do is try to constantly refocus the teacher's energy upon what they intend to do to help. Ultimately, I really do not care what they think. I just need them to do their part. When they can demonstrate that they are following the plan and more is still needed (they never follow the plan to the letter), then I am open to their suggestions as to what more they believe they can be doing. Like you, I am well aware of the "problem"; I could use some help on the "solution." While it is unlikely to result in the teacher suggesting that he or she (the teacher) do anything more or differently, it may result in them bringing it up less. Seems like that would be just fine with you.

Hang in there! It is long road, but you are not alone (even if it feels that way sometimes). Be cynical. Be strong. Be polite and courteous, but firm. Don't be afraid to laugh (privately). I really think it helps.

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dubst3pM4UL

Where can I get a copy of the Dept of Ed "dear colleague" letter?

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ADHD_DAD

www2.ed.gov/about/offices/l...

Ignore the first page. The remainder is in English. It's long, but good stuff! Expect the teachers to deny receiving it.

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dubst3pM4UL

Thanks

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Bambamxyz
Bambamxyz
in reply to ADHD_DAD

Thank you for your insight ADHD_DAD, so important to hear from the ones that have been there! Guiding the conversation with the teacher (or any adult telling me the "bad stuff") into a discussion of ways to help is something I'm going to try today! Yes, thinking of this as a disability or a medical problem does help, I've also heard of looking at it like how diabetics need insulin.

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ADHD_DAD

Your welcome. I intended to sound more supportive and "rant" less, but this kind of "scared straight" advice was what I found most helpful in the early years. Good luck! You'll find your way! Your son is lucky to have you advocating for him!

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Klmamma

Who cares if hes whistling or scribbling. I dont understand these teachers. They expect them to be mute perfectAngel's. It drives me nuts.

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GoCougs

I can totally relate. We had that kind of feedback for two years. Same thing every day. Our son (ADHD & ODD) was kicked out of the YMCA summer care program and from a school-based child care program at the end of the summer. Even I would start to get anxiety when approaching the school to pick him up. It was awful.

We have a unique situation where his identical twin brother loves school and does very well and is not diagnosed with ADHD. But, my son with ADHD has been blamed several times for something his neurotypical brother did, just because they couldn't tell them apart. Sad & unacceptable.

We did NOT want to do medication, but in the past year, we've had certain turning points, breaking points really, that forced us to HAVE to go to medication. He was getting out of control. Micronutrients and Strattera have helped us, but we did ease into the medication.

We essentially moved our child to a new school, this time a public charter school, where the classes are 15-22 kids compared to 31 in the regular public school setting. I know this isn't always an option, but it sure made a difference for us. Their special ed team is fully on board with helping our son now, and have even called us a few times this year to tell us our son had a GREAT day! I cried the first time they did this, because I had never had someone compliment him about his day before. Totally opposite from the other school!

The sticker chart is our daily communication with the school. It has helped us with receiving fewer calls, thus helping our hearts as the days went by. This school understands how daunting and awful the feeling is to get a call regularly about poor behavior, and they have told us up front that when they call us, it is either a very escalated behavior or they're calling because there have been multiple incidents in one day. Makes a world of difference.

Sometimes checking the options, maybe a little outside the box, can make a difference.

Keep studying and learning about ADHD. Keep on this blog - it is an amazing support network. I wish you the best. You're doing the best you can.

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ColTravGram

This happened when my son was in second grade (now he is in forth). I have to say if she is saying any of this in front of your child you need to stop it now. We are still working on his confidence she crushed two years ago with the tattling of everything he did “wrong”.

I let the teacher know for every wrong he did she wanted to tell me about, she needs to follow it up with what strategy she used to help him calm down, redirect, try again and so forth. I explained in our house we have a rule, if you are going to tell on someone else you must also tell on yourself. She stopped telling me everyday how rough it was because I would ask about all the accommodations we had in place for him. Did you do this as was suggested for these moments, did you allow brain breaks before writing, did you let him stand at the cabinet to read?

You can always help educate her on what works for your child, things you say at home to help them make good choices. If you have things in place to help him throughout his day and the teacher isn’t following it, than the rough day and poor point sheet would be for her, not your child.

Actions and reactions go both ways just like it does for you and your child.

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Bambamxyz

Thanks ColTravGram. Made me realize that we need to have more specific accomodations in her classroom (and at home!)

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Deenice

My daughters counselor came up with a check in/check out sheet. On it we listed four areas that needed immediate improvement, ie staying in your seat, keep hands to self, be respectful, be kind, etc. There were three faces, happy face, ok face, and an ugh face, NO SAD faces. ADHD'er are faced with so much negativity it's important to remove all the negative energy. Each face was worth 3 to 5 points, if she accumulated up to 80% in points for the week the counselor would reward her with something from the treasure chest, which was stocked by me. Three times a day the teacher would mark how she did between certain hours in the school day, my daughter would then take her sheet to the counselor to quickly go over how she did. She would receive praise, encouragement and/or tips on how to do better.

I would get the sheet sent home for review and signature. The amazing thing about this was the school gave me permission to not discipline her at home as disciplinary measure would be handled swiftly and immediately at school. It relieved so much added stress at home for me and her. I was able to just love on her good, bad, or ugly.

I know it seems like a lot and it was not perfect. It only went on for about three months because she responded so well to it. This was when she was in second grade, she is now in 4th and doesn't need so much intervention which I believe is due to maturity and constant coaching.

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