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Teacher meeting tomorrow - specific asks for friendships

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My 6 year old son is miserable in unstructured time in school because he has no friends. I'm meeting with his teacher tomorrow. Based on input from the forum (you guys are amazing), I'm going to... 1) tell her what my son is reporting and his fears; 2) ask her what she has observed, both in his off-putting behavior and the other kids behavior toward him; and 3) make specific asks and be open to her suggestions. Some specific asks that have been suggested to me are: 1) teaching empathy and inclusion, social skills, and friendships; 2) encouraging clique busting during unstructured time; 3) what else? The more specific I get, the more likely I am to get follow through. I'm happy to engage the school counselor and administration if something more systematic would help.

I struggle to keep the emotions out of this and deal with it in a make-a-plan way. Too often, I've left these meetings feeling better but without a plan with measurable deliverables. I owe my son more.

10 Replies

Hello, I have a 7 year old who experiences feelings of feeling alone at recess too. He claims every day he has no friends. The teacher doesn't see signs of this but I can see it. I think alot of times kids with ADHD get overwhelmed and overstimulated by large groups of other kids and can only handle so much at a time. I don't know if this is the case for your son as well. I think you're doing a good thing by meeting with the teacher, as communication is really key here. I am right there with you though. Maybe the teacher can help with inclusion a little if possible.

Wow! You have really planned this out. What do you think about emailing this info. before the meeting? Just like us parents, it is very hard to think when we are put on the spot ( nothing negative). Giving her time to think and observe might be nice before you arrive.

One idea that "might" work is can your son build friendships by bringing something ( small card game, origami, pokemon cards, puzzles, etc) to share with another kid at recess to bridge that friendships. Sometimes it is intimidating to not have anything to do when there is free time. Or can she help him build ships during this time ( this is hard becuase teachers are on break or prep or lunch.

As far as teaching empathy, many elementary schools are using curriculum for everyone in the entire school, so you could ask what the school is doing as a whole ( In my day job I go into classrooms and teach kids empathy, in a way).

One last idea is once you are finished ask if you can e-mail her in a week to get an update, so you don't have to have a formal meeting again.

You got this! Can't wait to hear how it goes. Also please realize that it is not just your child that needs this, it's the whole school ( these are life long skills for all kids).

Big hugs and know we are with you before during and after.

On your suggestion, I did send the information ahead-of-time and it helped!

Yeah!!

How was the meeting?

You might mention that you have heard of something called the Pax Good Behavior Game for elementary school teachers. Pax addresses all your issues without making them the focus. We continue to think that education about character, social skills, self-control, etc etc etc is what is needed but talking about issues to children does very little. PRACTICING those things while doing the normal classroom activities so there is no time taken from academics on lectures about character isso much more effective. How is that done? Well Pax GBG has the answers from 40 years of scientific research. Just ask the teacher to google Pax GBG and Dr. Dennis Embry of Paxis Institute. Do so yourself.

Teachers can now go online and learn Pax from Paxis Institute. Beware of imitations.

For a video on Pax : bit.ly/What-Is-PAX-Video-Intro

It takes a while to download, but after watching it, ask yourself if that's the classroom you want your child in.

(From Paxis) -With the PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX for short), Children and adults who care about them in school, at home, and in the community are the heroes of making the world better, and bettering themselves.

The PAX Good Behavior Game is based on multiple “gold standard” studies of classrooms and teachers in the US, Canada, and Europe. PAX GBG may be the most effective strategy a teacher can currently use in his or her classroom to protect children from lifetime mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders while also increasing lifetime academic success.

Everything in PAX was invented by teachers at one time or another, and then tested by fire by some of the world’s best prevention or behavioral scientists. You will find references for replicated scientific studies—most of which can be found at pubmed.gov (the National Library of Medicine). Only one of the hundreds of studies related to the tools in PAX GBG is by the developers of PAX GBG. The science is truly worldwide, spanning the United States, Canada, several European Countries, Africa, and findings from First Nations or Tribes. There are more scientific studies about the components of PAX GBG than virtually any other universal prevention strategy for classrooms.

As PAX has evolved, an emphasis on parent/family support has emerged. PAX tools are now being developed that families need to reinforce the strategies children are learning through the Good Behavior Game. By utilizing parent/family peer specialists who are PAX trained, we predict enhanced outcomes for children and their families.

NIDA Notes. “Good Behavior Game Wins 2012 Mentor International Best Practice Award.” November 2012. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

drugabuse.gov/news-events/n...

Bates, Mary. “Calm Down Boys, Adolescent Girls have ADHD, too.” Psychology Today, June 2012.

psychologytoday.com/article...

SAMHSA National Registry of Evidence-based programs and Practices (NREPP) Good Behavior Game.

nrepp.samhsa.gov/ViewInterv...

SAMHSA National Registry of Evidence-based programs and Practices (NREPP) Pax Good Behavior Game.

nrepp.samhsa.gov/ViewInterv...

David-Ferdon C, Simon TR. Preventing Youth Violence: Opportunities for Action. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014. p. 27

cdc.gov/violenceprevention/...

Washington State Institute for Public Policy

wsipp.wa.gov/BenefitCost

On a personal note, my wife and daughter both used Pax GBG and love it. It makes class fun for both the teacher and the students while training the brain in self-control through practicing self-control, not through lectures about being good.

Is your son seeing a psychologist? I would consider that. It is so hard to watch your child hurting. I continue to go thru the same. Now in 8th grade. Private school. Still gets ignored. I'm looking into social skills class. Perhaps martial arts, a swim class? Best of luck

Yes, and counseling. They've been great.

I agree with OntheMove that emailing the teacher may be a good option. You may also need to hear what she has to say to decide what steps to put in place.

Wen my son was 6, he frequently told me he didn't play with anyone at recess & felt rejected a lot. Talking to the teacher, I realize my son - though being truthful - was not entirely correct. He had a best friend he played with all the time. If the friend decided he wanted to do something different the last 5 mins of recess, and my son didn't want to do it with him, then my so would just remember & tell me that his friend wouldn't play with him (not remembering the majority of the time that he did.)

Point being, that definitely changed my thoughts & what I felt should be done. And it's OK if after talking to her you think of other things - this won't be your only chance to ever talk with her. :)

Teacher meeting went well! I emailed the teacher to set up the meeting and told her what I wanted to talk about. She started, that day, asking kids to include him and they did willingly. He came home talking about all the fun he had and the kids included him spontaneously the next day.

The teacher told us that our son never told her that he was lonely or wanted someone to play with. Other students did tell her when they felt that way. The teacher assumed that our son preferred to play alone. We are going to continue to encourage him to let people know when he needs something and ask for help. We're thrilled by how forgiving the little people have been of his past scary behavior. I'm taking every opportunity to point out to him when other students say, "Good morning," and include him. I think he misses it.

I'm optimistic!

We are so happy things went this way. Giving a heads up ( not with many details) can always make for a great way to make it successful.

Keep up the great work! Treat yourself for all your hard work..

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