Help for 15 yr old son with ADHD - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

CHADD's ADHD Parents Together

12,847 members4,158 posts

Help for 15 yr old son with ADHD


I have a 15 year old son with ADHD. He has a 504 plan but it really doesn't mean much. We also just had him evaluated by a pediatric neurologist who did a virtual meeting with us and all my sons teachers, principal, guidance counselor, school psychology specialist, and the school intervention teacher. He laid out all that needs done to help him and they aren't doing any of it. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get him help? He is failing 3 classes and is very depressed because of this. The neurologist even explained to the teachers it isn't a matter of him trying harder. Any suggestions would be very appreciated.

14 Replies

Welcome to the group.. we are here with warm open arms to help you. Just curious what supports ( thearpy, medication, parenting classes, assistance with sleep) you have set up to help him.

Has he always struggled with school or is it just since distance learning?

I wonder if you ask him why he ( our kids are very honest) is struggling what he would say. Is it organization, learning platform, work is to hard..)

One last thought, did you have written in his 504 plan that he needs school staff work with him? Are there other supports in place she he feels like he can reach out for help?

The good news is it can get much better.

Kaiann in reply to Onthemove1971

He went back to school full time the beginning of the school year. He has always struggled and just had been labeled the school problem child. We had to figure out he had ADHD ourselves. Not one teacher through out all his years at school ever mentioned he could have a problem other than not trying. He is a VERY private child. He doesn't want to admit anything is wrong even though he knows he is somehow different than other kids. He has tons of friends, so no problem there. We have a 504 plan which doesn't cover much. All it actually does it gives him extra time to turn homework. If we want to get him help they put him in the class with the mentally handicapped children. Which definitely does not help. His school is very small but I believe the biggest problem is they cater to the highly intelligent at his school. A 94 is an A- and if you aren't a straight a student you aren't a good student. We considered an IEP but I don't think they would follow that either. I can't even get them to help him get organized in any way. They just don't seem to care at all.

Kimberly65 in reply to Kaiann

Wow! I am also newer to this group and have never posted, but your post is so similar to what we're experiencing with our 12yo, I just had to let you know you aren't alone! In our son's academic career, his first grade teacher mentioned "You might want to make an appointment with your physician." Um, okay? I was a little "offended" as I did not at all see him as hyperactive, etc., he's well-behaved, just hates school. In 3rd grade his teacher suggested an evaluation....which we were told he did not meet the criteria for hyperactivity. Ready by now to pull our hair out, I asked for a referral to a counselor as there is some reason my child struggles so much in school! The school counselor knew of NO ONE. Finally, I mentioned it to his pediatrician who referred us to a counselor. Shared the results of that evaluation from 3rd grade and he immediately saw that our son very likely did meet the criteria for ADHD...but INATTENTIVE only. I had NO IDEA that was even a thing! I thought ADHD was the equivalent of hyperactivity. Now we're in the middle of Covid and virtual, and trying to get him tested. Last fall, his test results came back "inconclusive" because she couldn't gather enough academic information. WHAT??!! We went for a second opinion with another group who now wants to retest him because after reviewing the test results from the first place, it turns out she conducted the testing incorrectly (i.e. I was in the room the whole time, etc.) and they feel he clearly meets criteria for ADHD. The soonest we can get him in is April 14th. ANOTHER school year lost. His first year in middle school and so many new things. We battle every night with homework. He has adapted such a failure mentality, that he no longer even wants to try. He is passing because we sit with him and make him do homework every. single. night. It is exhausting mentally and emotionally. We don't know how to help him other than continue with therapy, wait for the new test results and support him the best we can. Like you, the school itself has not at all been supportive. A few teachers are communicative and understanding but the administration (504/IEP Coordinator, school counselor) have been absent. I've quickly learned that our school system is great...for thriving students, but for those who struggle, they fail miserably. Apologies for the long story, but your story resonated with me and I thank you so much for sharing. You reached out for help and helped me instead. 😉

Kaiann in reply to Kimberly65

Sound way too familiar! We finally go help with a Pediatric Neurological Psychologist. He did all the testing a school does but he is actually trained to do the evaluation. I was VERY anti medicine for ADHD but finally had my son try it and he now says he can't do even one math problem without it. It has helped enough that he isn't failing every class but you still need a school that will actually do what the doctor suggests for a 504 plan or an IEP. If you already see the school doesn't really care I would suggest if you can get him in another school. As we have found out, some schools just don't care enough to make an effort for one child. It is really sad! The doctor told us it isn't a matter of trying harder or he doesn't care. It is a neurological problem. You could ask your family doctor if he would let your son try something like Vyvance. The right medicine will greatly help with concentration but unfortunately it doesn't last all day and night. That's why homework doesn't work even if you are on medication because it will have worn off by the time he gets home from school. Hope this will help some. I know how hard this is on all of you. So sorry you are going through this!

Onthemove1971 in reply to Kaiann

So glad you tried medication.. many parents give an afternoon "booster" dose of the same medication to get through the afternoon and evening. I second the opinion, our son could not do any school work without medication. That's for sharing your experience.

I am sad to hear the school has not done anything to help yet. What accommodations did the pediatrict neurologist recommend for him?

Kaiann in reply to Goofy1

He recommended one on one help daily. Help getting organized and with memory training. Be able to use his laptop all day and have some teaching done through videos. These are the main things he suggested but all the school did was put him in two study halls with the mentally handicapped students. He was so embarrassed because he was teased all day because he is not mentally handicapped. So we actually have gotten no help at all. Is there anything you can do when the school doesn't care enough to make an effort? Thanks!

Onthemove1971 in reply to Kaiann

Yes go to he head of the special education dept. Or the head of who is responsible for the 504 plans. Is this a private school?People who do know know or understand children with ADHD are not going to help him. They are not skilled at that.

Still curious what supports are in place at home? I understand it is all new, bit did the doctor who gave him the diagnosis make suggestions?

Goofy1 in reply to Kaiann

Every school is doing things differently so it is hard to know all the details. I would definatly contact the head of special education or the education specialist to sort things out. He should at least get extra time on assignments. You could also find out if teachers are offering office hours. This is for all students. Are you home to help him with, organization, etc? Did the teachers say why he is failing the 3 classes?

If he’s failing, he needs probably needs more than a 504. Is he failing specific subjects or is he not turning in assignments? Ask for an iep with specific goals in those subject areas or with goals of teaching organization and time management.

Kaiann in reply to Maryca1974

Yes he is turning in assignments. He get good grades on homework but fails tests. It was just one class he was failing now its three. He really tries but just can't keep up the very fast pace his school has. They are known to be a very high standard school. They cater to the straight A students. We talked about an IEP but said it would take a few months and we could put all the same things into practice with a 504. All they did was put him in two study halls with the mentally challenged students. That definitely was not the answer. I guess I am wondering what there is possible to do if the school just doesn't care enough to help. Is there any way to make them help?

Onthemove1971 in reply to Kaiann

The failing tests is very common for children with ADHD. We have written in alternative assignments if needed and I discuss this with the teacher. It should be about showing his knowledge that he has learned and not about how he shows it.

I’m very sorry your son is struggling so much. The school is required to follow the 504 plan by law. As with an IEP, they are legally required to provide all accommodations specified in the document. If they are not, you might consider looking for an educational advocate to help you here. Another option, of course, is to look for another school that will be more willing to work with you. Good luck, sounds like you’re a good advocate for him!

Hi Kaiann! I hear your frustrations. With an IEP, the school team is “more likely” to adhere to the document. Even though both 504 & IEP are legal that that have to follow. My son had a 504 at age 15 for ADHD, then continued to do poorly in school, so we moved to the IEP process. He then changed public HS’s 2 more times. He still isn’t on track, and has been failing almost 1 year now. And since he turned 18, he’s currently refusing to do his coursework to graduate as a senior; with his IEP, state is liable to assist him to graduate (legally ) until age 22. Now we have other issues here (substance use which is out of control contributes to school failure). But again, state will help him w/accommodations, schedule, more time on assignments...currently in his last IEP team meeting last week, they literally adjusted his “attend class requirement” to literally around 35-40% attendance rate, in order for him to graduate. It’s literally so EASY for him to do this, but he lacks the will. It’s so common for our ADHD’rs to turn to substances, I don’t mean to scare you, but to make you aware, and I sure HOPE this isn’t the case for you. Our son started smoking weed in 8th grade, was DX’d in 9th grade. Great job on having the Pediatric Neurologist attend the school meeting BRILLIANT!!!! May I ask what state you are in? Also, we found that being the squeaky wheel is key w/school. Keep calling, emailing, communicating w/teachers, albeit exhausting. Keep up good work!!!!!

You may also like...