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My 8 year-old ADHD kid kicked out of school

mrl12 profile image
10 Replies

My ADHD kid started the year well last year (2nd grade) with a fresh and thorough IEP and two very compassionate and understanding teachers ready to welcome her into her classroom knowing the awful year she had in 1st grade.

This year, 3rd grade, has been a different story. We're seeing patterns of behavior we saw years ago and after weeks of being called to pick her up early, the school has told her she can't go back. I don't understand what's happening. Are they honoring her IEP and accommodations? Are they recognizing and/or preventing triggers? Is it just her (they seem to think so.) I'm not even sure what steps to take right now.

Her triggers are: perceived injustices (for instance, someone took her turn, possibly even accidentally), boredom, something is too hard, anxiety (like if she has a test)

Her behaviors: explosive, destruction of room, climbing on/knocking over furniture, pushing and grabbing at teachers, throwing things, kicking classroom windows, eloping and hiding.

10 Replies
Aspen797 profile image

I’m so sorry to hear about the difficulty your family is having. If you have not already, do look up your state’s disability rights office here: They can give you advice about your child’s legal rights under IDEA and the ADA. They can also advocate for you or legally represent you in some cases. If your child’s behavior is a manifestation of their disability and that behavior is why they were expelled, they have further obligations to support your child. See this document for more info:

Has your daughter been evaluated for autism? Girls on the spectrum present much differently than boys. Some of the behaviors you mentioned—eloping, hiding, difficulty understanding social situations like accident vs. intentional behavior, attention to too many details/perfectionism etc.—-may also be exhibited by high functioning kids on the spectrum. Behavior strategies that’s work best for kids on the spectrum can be very different from kids with vanilla adhd. Just a thought.

Another resource that you might want to check with is your local parent resource center. They also should be able to guide you. Find your state’s center here:

Onthemove1971 profile image

Sorry you are dealing with this. It sounds like she is in a regular general education class?

Since she has an IEP, there should be a special education teacher that is her "case manager", that person is usually the person who runs the IEP. Can that person help you?. There should be certain notes about her behavior in the IEP that help support her. It really is the case managers job to support you as a parent.

Do you think they are saying she can't go back to that classroom? I would hope that you can get support from someone outside the school from the special education department. Maybe a smaller classroom with a more specialized teacher would help.

in addition, what kinda of tools ( therapy, medication, etc) does she use to help her deal with the symptoms of ADHD. We know we needed support outside the school to support our son.

Again, sorry things are so challanging with the school. Big hug!

Please let us know how it goes.

mrl12 profile image
mrl12 in reply to Onthemove1971

She's in an inclusive classroom. She has an IEP and with that is supposed to be a 1:1 aide. Recent news is that she is not permanently kicked out, but pending a psychiatric evaluation from the school psychiatrist. In the meantime they are sending a certified teacher to our home for two hours of instruction per day. I'm in the process of trying to obtain a special education advocate--her case manager seems more on the side of the teachers and school.... the very fact that there seem to be sides drawn up is a sad issue. :( Again, they seem to want to label her as "bad" rather than differently abled, and I think this perception contributes to her meltdowns. She is not being "seen" or understood during her most triggering and sensitive moments.

She takes Methylphenidate (10mg in the form of a patch because she has trouble swallowing pills--oral aversions.) We have an appointment today to do a medicine check and see if the amount and type are still effective or if we need to discuss anything additional. It worked for her last year, but also she had a teacher who had a child with ADHD of her own--so she was very understanding and compassionate. Last year was a 180 from this year and the year before it. I had no calls to pick her up early last year, no major emotional dysregulation events. This year we've had it since the beginning of the year, and despite the fact that she has an IEP, I know some parts of it have not been implemented due to staffing, and others I can't be sure of.

SurvivorFan profile image

Sorry you are going through this, I know it's rough getting those phone calls and meeting about behavior.

Our son had similar issues this year starting 1st grade (7y.o) He also has an excellent and caring IEP team thankfully. My son has adhd and anxiety. He started climbing the windows, "swimming around the room", acting like godzilla, and then started throwing pencils. He actually ended up getting a half day suspension due to the pencil issue. Lunch and recess were really hard times as well. He started hiding in the bathroom or classroom and staff could not find him. Busy, loud, and unstructured. It feels so awful when you can't figure out what changed. I would pick him up after school and he would say he had a great day and be fine at home.

Thankfully, his team lead spent one entire day with him and wrote me out a very detailed email of his behavior down to the half hour. I sent this off to his psychiatrist and we agreed it was possible he needed a bump up in his stimulant dose as well as adding on hydroxyzine in case it was anxiety related. Since we did made the changes not one phone call and really positive remarks from his teacher. He can stay in the classroom most of the day now. He has 2 scheduled movement breaks but now also if he needs to take a quick lap around the school and rejoin the class that is in place. Another motivation for him is he gets a special job at the end of the day of putting out the big cones for parent pick up:)

I think the demands of 1st grade/requiring more of him was just really hard on him plus the anxiety of a busy classroom. He also is very smart so I think got bored easily since he "already knew how to do that."

I hope you can figure it out soon so you both can feel back to normal.

Home1818 profile image

I’m sorry you are going through this and I’m sorry your daughter is having such a difficult time. My son had a very similar experience in 1st grade. He is diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. He was also in an ICT classroom with a 1:1 aide. In late October of last year the school removed him from the classroom and only wanted to provide 2 hours a day of instruction either in our home or at a library or somewhere offsite.

We fought it. I’m not sure what state you are in, but in NY the 2 hours a day of instruction is the floor not the ceiling of what they are required to provide, meaning they were offering the bare minimum and it is unfair to the parents and the child.

My best advice would be to get an attorney if it is financially possible. My son ended up in an out of district therapeutic placement. I strongly feel if we had retained an attorney sooner things may have turned out differently. We found different levels of understanding and compassion for neurodiversity depending on the individual teacher and/or administrator. The entire process changed once the attorney was involved, in a good way.

For us we’re also still in the process of figuring out if there are any learning difficulties going on that may be triggering escape and avoidance behavior in the classroom. We’re also still trying to find the right meds. We’re doing all we can in terms of therapy, meds, evaluations, etc., but we’re trying to figure out the behaviors.

I think you are spot on with the perception of being “bad” contributing to the behaviors. My son is also very aware of when he doesn’t feel accepted or “liked” by an adult and it can exacerbate the behaviors. It’s also re-enforcing the behaviors to remove her from the classroom.

Has the district done a functional behavior analysis (FBA)? It’s the first step in implementing a formal behavior intervention plan(BIP). This would give everyone who interacts with your daughter a formalized plan of how to deal with behaviors. The FBA should also uncover more information, triggers, etc.

But I think in the immediate to be sure your child’s rights are not be infringed upon I would retain either an attorney or advocate. I’m sorry you are going through this and I wish you and your daughter an outcome that makes you both happy.

NYCmom2 profile image

I agree with @Home1818 to seek out an Education Lawyer to help you advocate for your child. Whether you stay in district and need more supports, a 12-month school year to catch up on lost learning, or want to pursue other school options the state is known to support.

An education lawyer can also be a good resource for explaining all of the school and support options they’ve successfully pursued for other families. They may recommend getting a private neuropsychological exam to illuminate the diagnosis and therefore supports and responsibilities the district or state has for these learning, executive functioning, and/or social emotional needs.

You got this!

HoldingonLou profile image

Hugs and prayers

Imakecutebabies profile image

If she has an IEP, she cannot be expelled from the school if it is determined that her behavior is a function of her disability.

She should also get a Functional Behavior Assessment and have it used to create a Behavior Intervention Plan. This should assess the triggers of her behavior and the changes that need to be made in the environment and in the responses to her to help guide her toward a replacement behavior.

She also cannot be expelled from the school if the Behavior Plan is not being followed.

I understand about the night and day with different teachers. Last year in Kindergarten, my son was sent home early almost daily and was suspended at one point. I couldn't believe they would actually suspend a 5 year old. This year in first grade, with an experienced teacher and newly on medication, he has been sent home early exactly once (and that was when the principal was in charge, not his teacher). The behaviors that she reports are often very similar to the ones that got him sent home early last year (e.g. pushing another student while in line), but she is able to deal with the behaviors rather than just sending him away.

I really hope that when he moves to 2nd grade, it does not revert back to our Kindergarten experience.

Good luck to you and your daughter.

mrl12 profile image
mrl12 in reply to Imakecutebabies

She had an FBA a couple years ago and has a BIP in place. One problem with the BIP is that it's based on the believe that my daughter is exhibiting attention-seeking behavior. A behavior analyst did an FBA and wrote the BIP, so it's hard to argue with. Instead, I think my daughter's behaviors are due to symptoms of her ADHD--impulsivity and emotional dysregulation.

Good luck to you and your son, as well. Hope next year goes as well as this year.

Pattimum profile image

Have you considered chatting with her paediatric psychiatrist about changing her ADHD medication to something that tackles more symptoms such as impulse control, anxiety. Even something mildly sedating - I know some non stimulant ADHD medications can have a side effect of mild sedation. Once the meds are adjusted to tackle this, the school might be more likely to give her another chance. Maybe you could ask for temporary 1:1 teaching assistant for her so someone would be able to watch more for the first signs that she is losing control and be able to ask her to remove herself from the room before she is in the agitation state when she isn’t anymore able to make any sensible decisions.

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