Asked to find another school - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Asked to find another school

Koala912 profile image

My 9yo son has severe ADHD with occasional impulse control Issues. We are switching schools because his previous school said they did not have the capabilities to help him. He is devastated not to be with his friends. What do we need to look for and ask of prospective schools & administration?

7 Replies

Thanks for sharing what you are going through. Just curious, who said this to you? I know this is a long journey, but have you have a chance to set up supports to help your son? Things like an educational plan, thearpy and medication? These all help with the symptoms of ADHD.

If you are working with the school psychologist and or special education professionals they should help to guide you to other school placements.

If you are dealing with the school principal and on site general education. Staff. Please contact the school psychologist and or the appropriate people to help you. Sometimes, these specialist do not work at one school site, but they travel around.

Before saying this to you, they should have a behavior plan or interventions in place to help your son.

All children by law deserve a Free and Appropriate Purposeful Education.

Hope this helps.

It’s hard to answer this question without knowing what type of school that told you this or that you are considering. Public or private? Do you have a 504 or IEP in place? Could the new school honor that? Would they be required to honor that? That’s where the public vs. private piece comes into play. Have you already identified what works for your son? Smaller class size? Inclusion classes? A list of accommodations? Something else? Those would be the things you would want in your new school. Maybe looking at it with this framework might help you. I hope you find the right fit.


The primary items to focus in on:

1. What is the school’s experience with students with ADHD and other diagnoses?

2. Perhaps give them an example of a previous incident, without saying my child did this. Ask them what their response would be to a child in that situation.

3. Ask what the teacher/teacher’s aide to student ratio is.

4. Ask specifically how they help students in this position.

5. Ask about the suspension and expulsion policies.

6. Ask about the possibility of parent conferences to discuss behaviors and possible strategies to implement at home.

7. Ask how communication between teacher and parent/school and parent are handled. There has to be regular, even if written, communication that you are receiving. This will give you the chance to know from a reliable source what they are seeing at school. Reliable is relative, until you build a trusting relationship with the teacher and school officials.

These are only the ones that pop into my mind at the moment. Many blessings to you and your family. Searching for a new school, while comforting your child is tough.

I suspect that the person who told you this said it off the record. The sad truth is that the public schools really do not have the resources to give children with ADHD the support they need. If you choose to stay with the public school, I will help you navigate what will be an ongoing battle to force the school to allocate its insufficient resources toward your child (which they will do and the law is on your side) but it is exhausting. If you have the resources, I think you will find what you are looking for, like we did, at a small, independent (not affiliated with a religion) private school. Since my son switched, he has gone from feeling like a special needs child taking more than his share of time from from an overworked teacher to feeling like one of the smart kids whose presence is wanted and appreciated. He has learned to ask for help when he needs it and has once consistently earned high honors. This is the same kid who we were told by the public school (in response to our requests for the support he needed) that he just doesn't understand " the concepts." To select this new school, we identified parents of current students and set up meetings, some by phone, some in person, to ask their experience with the school. I also talked with some of the professionals we consulted to assist with our ongoing battle with the public school and all endorsed the new school whole heartedly. I asked some why they had not recommended it previously and the response was that it is expensive and without knowing someone's ability to pay, the last thing they want is to add guilt to the parents of an ADHD child who, as we all know, find enough ways to feel guilty. I wish we would have been told early on, like you have, that the public school is not the right place. Part of me still feels guilty for giving up the fight and no longer doing my part to force the public school to provide the support these kids need, but it was never really about me and my son is thriving! He feels confident, smart, and empowered to seek the help he needs (which will serve him well in college). The private school is worth everything we pay for it. Good luck to you.

ADHD_DAD profile image
ADHD_DAD in reply to ADHD_DAD

I mean now consistently earns high honors, not once consistently. New report card Friday. All A's. Love the new school!!

Way to go.. great grades. Thanks for sharing

Thank you. As you know from my prior responses, it is not all the change in school. I advocate for a three legged stool approach to the management of ADHD: medications, lifestyle modification at home and reasonable accommodations at school. We were doing our part (particularly my son), but the public school was continuously coming up short on accommodations despite our very proactive advocacy. Changing to a school where he gets the support he needs (together with the other two stool legs) is what it took to provide him the opportunity to function at his best, which, in his case, is pretty good. In our case, no one "leg" is more important than the others.

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