Us against the school, again - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Us against the school, again

FrankenMummy profile image
32 Replies

I thought I was done with all these meetings about how my son is a hassle, so much that we put him in a day program in the summer to help with coping skills and he transitioned to a year long program out of district to continue to work on his behavior to hopefully transition back to the district next year. I thought I was done with the calls home, the behavior charts filled with all the terrible things that he does throughout the day. He is in a special program to target these behaviors and learn positive coping skills, but it feels like we are back to square one. He fights going to school, every day. He fights with his returned clothing sensitivity, every day, and now, it seems his new coping skill learned is swearing. He's also hitting himself in the head when frustrated, which he never did before. So, yet again, a meeting with the teacher and principal and counselor to hopefully get some answers to how they are helping him. He's not doing well, which in turn makes the family dynamic really hard. He has an IEP, and I don't think they are following it. I don't want to change programs yet again, but if I don't get answers today and see a change, that's the next step. I'm nervous and worried and just needed to put that out into the world, specifically this community which has a lot of people who go through the same things. Thanks for reading, thanks for being there.

32 Replies
Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971

Sorry your son is struggling in school. One thing I have learned is their behavior ( often unwanted) is their way of communicating. Our children often do not have the language and/or skill to let us know what they are going through. It sounds like your son has seen a child psycharitist? Were you able to find medication ( sometimes more than one is needed) that helps him? Have you considered or is he getting any benefit from therapy? I found this is where our son started to discuss ( only in the session) issues that he was struggling with.

Once they get the right tools life can be bearable at times. I found it like a roller coaster, ups and downs.

Just know we are here to support you and listen to what you are going through.

I hope things get better for your son and your family.

Take care,

Goofy1 profile image
Goofy1

I am so sorry. You are doing your best. Take a deep breath and keep marching forward.

Imakecutebabies profile image
Imakecutebabies

Ugh. So sorry the stress has returned for you. Best luck in getting the answers you need.

Gemstone1316 profile image
Gemstone1316

I feel you. My son is 9, and has shown ADHD symptoms since 3. He has been on medicine since he was 5, and he has just started seeing a phsychologist/therapist. His behavior started out in preschool with hitting, spitting, not listening, running away from teachers, being defiant. Around 6 years old, when he got frustrated he would say that he wants to kill himself. Even though his behavior has improved some, I think more from maturity than medicine, it's still a struggle. I have gotten those calls from the school asking me to come pick him up. I've felt the looks from the teachers, as if they were judging me, thinking I'm a bad parent. I've cried in front of teacher and his principal. I know, and you know, our kids are not bad kids. They are misunderstood and have to adapt to environments and situations that aren't prepared to help them. And I think as parents, and I know this has been my struggle recently, I see my child suffering and I feel helpless for him. There is nothing more painful as a parent than to see your child suffer and feel like you can't do anything about it. My son has a huge heart, loves to goof around, is so so smart. Those good atributes are what I want others to see in him, no matter.how big his ADHD is. You're not alone in your struggle. You are doing everything you can for him. Keep going.

Kkoelle profile image
Kkoelle in reply to Gemstone1316

you are literally describing my son to a T. It is nice not to feel alone in this

lll435 profile image
lll435 in reply to Kkoelle

Mine too. And so weird, he is 6 and the phrase 'i want to kill myself' has popped up - but he always says it's a joke.

Kkoelle profile image
Kkoelle in reply to lll435

last year when he would say I want to kill myself we had to take him to crisis intervention, but we have since learned that is his phase he says at the height of his escalation before he blows his top and goes buckwild in the classroom (he is big into picking up chairs and throwing them in the classroom). When he calms back down he always says he doesn’t mean it, he just says it when he gets angry. It’s like hey back off… but he just doesn’t say that…always I want to kill myself. It is less scary now when he says it and his therapist/executive function coach is working on this with him. So grateful for this group. It is something I can’t talk about with friends or family much as they don’t understand or I am afraid they will judge me as a bad parent

joshnyc profile image
joshnyc in reply to Gemstone1316

I'm right there with you.. there are so frustrations related to " is there anyone out there who can actually help our family?"

Any success we've had has started first with medications. I think this is important to say, because just about everyone told us to seek therapy, and just about no one was brave enough to say go deeper in to the medication search. For us, a focused and open-minded nurse practitioner was the key to everything.

Only when our son is calm enough, can teachers, therapist, and everyone else be comfortable enough to try to help him.

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971 in reply to joshnyc

Thanks for these words.. we also experienced this. It would not have mattered what the school did, with out medication there would have been no success. This also doesn't happen over night.

Booksmart profile image
Booksmart

I feel your frustration and have the same worries about the school not assisting my child with his behaviors and refusal to do any school work. He’s in 8th grade and failing a couple of classes that have NO help in the class (para, ISP). He also doesn’t care and is overwhelmed with all the work and the school keeps blaming him for not wanting to do work , etc,…

Have you gotten an advocate? Perhaps your child needs a therapeutic school setting- to be placed in a school that can help him with his behaviors so he can access the curriculum

FrankenMummy profile image
FrankenMummy in reply to Booksmart

That's the biggest issue, we have an advocate, and he has a 1.5 hr bus ride one way to the special school to work on his behavior, but he just seems to be declining. That's the worst part about it all. They're supposed to be helping, but for some reason it's not. Hopefully our meeting yesterday will put through some changes to make it a more therapeutic environment. The kid is too smart for his own good and his logic gets in the way of his learning and behavior at times. He's a bright boy with a fragile ego and right now he feels like his teacher hates him and I can't convince him otherwise at the moment. Hopefully the meeting yesterday will help them see him for who he is.

Mamabear97 profile image
Mamabear97

I am so sorry you are going through this! I have no answers, just full support! Our 10yo AS is having a rough 4th grade year at his private school. He’s been in therapy since he was 4, on meds since he was 5.

This is our 5th year there, and only now do we get teachers who aren’t patient, aren’t positive, who send home lists of his behavior for us to sign every week.

He has a 504, which by law they aren’t required to follow since they don’t get federal funding. All the other years, I just worked with the teachers, kept lines of communication open, and it worked well. Not this year :(

Solidarity, momma!!

MaudQ profile image
MaudQ

I have a goal to not do the same thing again. Our kid had a big crisis with school attendance and homework this fall - same as two years ago - and we knew we had to level it up. I don’t have much to add to the above suggestions: psychiatrist, advocate, more supportive setting - except I do wonder if your child has a co-morbid condition? Did the school do the testing for the IEP or did you get a neuropsych on your own? Was he ever tested for autism? If there’s another condition at play you might be able to increase therapy/support in that area. Maybe the IEP could be adjusted to add more supports?

FrankenMummy profile image
FrankenMummy in reply to MaudQ

We are supposed to go through testing for autism, but haven't heard anything regarding this since the beginning of the fall and I just keep asking about it. We are going to have a CSE meeting in December to hopefully modify his IEP. I'm just annoyed that this is supposed to be a special school that manages behaviors and he's still having trouble and they are supposed to have the resources to manage him. Hopefully our meeting yesterday will help everyone to get on the same page.

MaudQ profile image
MaudQ

If you don’t get the results you’re hoping for from this upcoming meeting, it might be worth reaching out to an advocate or consultant. I would think there has to be some kind of time limit on how long they can put you off for the autism testing.

FrankenMummy profile image
FrankenMummy in reply to MaudQ

I wrote our advocate an email this morning! I need to figure this out because the kid is now fighting us to not go to school, and getting dressed, and is generally in a bad mood most of the time when he's typically mister sunshine. Something is wrong at the school and no one is telling us what it is. Hopefully we can get some good actions going with the upcoming CSE meeting.

MeadowLane5 profile image
MeadowLane5

been there .. my heart feels your pain.

If you need to change his environments and if that what’s best for him do it. Don’t be scared of the change as it might be a blessing. We changed several schools. Each time we got to the point where it was her last day ( middle of the week / middle of the year .. ). At one school my daughter refused to leave the bathroom .. she was so overwhelmed and I knew she can’t handle the environment anymore. From the outside the school seems friendly and a nice neighborhood school. But to her it was wasn’t and thats ok! That day I had to come and pick her up and told the principal today is her last day at that school. The principal thought I was crazy and said “ where will she go ?” And I said I will figure that out and left. I had my daughter rest a couple of days at home while I contacted the dept of education and asked for a transfer to a school that I hoped would be better suited. It had a larger spec Ed population. She transferred and it was a good fit for a while and then it wasn’t as well… and so it goes

Today she is in a place where I think works for her. There have been many changes but it was the only way to manage our situation. Moving around has only helped our case that public school wasn’t the right fit for her and the doe accepted our request for deferral.

You got this!!! If a school isn’t the right fit then you can’t force it.

Sending you a big hug

FrankenMummy profile image
FrankenMummy in reply to MeadowLane5

Thank you so much for your reply! You truly made me feel like we're not the only family experiencing this! We were so lucky with his preschool but now it seems like 4 schools in a year is so tedious and not great for my rigid little guy who has a tough time with transition. I'm hoping we don't have to change him again, but if we have to, we will. I'm never going to stop until he's got what he needs. I just wish that I could find an outside school near me that could help him feel accepted as well as challenge him mentally. All this negative emotional stuff seems to clog up his academics. We were told he's twice exceptional, but with the behavioral issues at school, his emotions reign supreme, leaving him unchallenged and bored and into a viscious cycle of behavioral challenges, over and over again.

MeadowLane5 profile image
MeadowLane5 in reply to FrankenMummy

you are definitely not alone. He’s acting out because he’s not comfortable and when he’s is in a place that he does feel comfortable some behaviors might subside. That is our case this year. Being in a school with teachers that are trained and understand our daughter has helped her and she is less defiant. I also found the change of school to be more difficult for me than my daughter. Hope that helps

AlltheLegos profile image
AlltheLegos

Ugh, this is so hard. It's sounds like you're working really hard to support your kiddo.

I get that this isn't a solution for everyone, but I thought I'd toss it out just in case it never crossed your mind. Have you ever considered homeschooling him? I was in the camp of "no way, I could never do that" and never gave it any serious thought, until the pandemic forced our hands. Now, we're in our 3rd year and I'm so grateful. He went from a kid that hated school, cried every morning, visited the principal on a regular basis, etc....to now he's a kid that loves to learn and is thriving. All those things in IEP's that teachers have a hard time actually make happen, become very easy at home. Also, let me assure you, that homeschooling is NOTHING like distance learning, so don't let that experience make your decision.

Anyway, maybe it's not a good fit, but at the very least it could be worth looking into. Nobody will love your kid the way you do, and every parent is capable of homeschooling.

FrankenMummy profile image
FrankenMummy in reply to AlltheLegos

Right now I'm the sole family provider while my husband starts a business. I've told him a few times that as long as the business does well in a few years that I would love to home school him due to the issues with schools and teachers. Right now unfortunately it's not an option but knowing who he is and how he can thrive, it truly might be something we have to do once we can afford to do so. I wish it could happen now, that I could just pull him and start today, but unfortunately I've got to have patience on this one.

AlltheLegos profile image
AlltheLegos in reply to FrankenMummy

I totally get that. It's nice that this is at least on your radar. Is your husband's business taking up a big chunk of time? Does he work from home? There's a dad in our homeschool group that does the bulk of the teaching for their 3 kids, while doing a part time job. Then, his wife does a single subject with the kids before she heads to her full time job. I don't see how old your son is. If he's in elementary, you might be surprised to learn, it only takes about 2 hours a day to get through all the necessary material. (Having 1 kid instead of 30 makes a big difference!). It might be good to look for a homeschool facebook group for your state; those groups can be awesome for learning more and getting all your questions answered (even if you're not doing it yet...or ever). Just more food for thought! Good luck with whatever route you decide is best for your family.

FrankenMummy profile image
FrankenMummy in reply to AlltheLegos

My husband is actually starting a brewery, so he's out of the house most of the time, and I'm a nurse who works 7-7, so unfortunately our days aren't much that either of us can stay at home. When they kicked him out of kindergarten last year and forced him to do online tutoring with a few teachers, that was great, he did very well, but that was at a time when my husband was mainly home in the planning stages. Now he's barely home while the kids are out of the house. If my schedule could be the same days every week, we'd look into part time school somehow, but my schedule changes weekly so it's not feasible just now.....we just hopefully can push through and figure it all out until this thing is up and running so I can go part time or even per diem at work.

AlltheLegos profile image
AlltheLegos in reply to FrankenMummy

That makes sense. Hang in there in the meantime!

Too_many_Legos profile image
Too_many_Legos

Our son has a lot of similarities to yours. Bright, big heart, but the behavior issues get in the way, so every year is a fresh struggle to develop a relationship with the teacher and help them see beyond the negative behavior to understand what he needs. It's so exhausting to start over every year and so frustrating when you think you've got it figured out, just to see your kid frustrated and miserable. This is probably a long shot, (and sounds like you've figured out where the current problems are), but could bullying be in play here? Our son has a really smart bully (gets his kicks by teasing my son until he gets overwhelmed, acts out, and then gets in trouble) and we would have never known without our therapist who encouraged him to tell us what was going on. (teachers oblivious because this kid is charming and well-liked by adults). It's definitely been contributing to some of the behavior issues and the reluctance to go to school. There are many other factors for us of course, but don't rule out something social going on as well.

FrankenMummy profile image
FrankenMummy in reply to Too_many_Legos

I don't think it's bullying in a traditional sense, he's in a class of 3 children. From what he's told me I think the teacher doesn't like him or is fed up with him, because it sounds like shes doing and saying things that aren't very appropriate for a special education teacher, like coloring on his toy because he colored on the desk, or telling him that his parents are going to pick him up when we obviously aren't doing that. It's a weird journey at the moment!

SurvivorFan profile image
SurvivorFan

Yes, sorry you are all struggling with this. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends Medication management, and IEP or 504 plan, and parent training for treating ADHD.

If our son was not taking medication he would 100% not be able to function in the classroom. Before medication he had poor self esteem, could not sit to write his name, and was always in "trouble" at school. His pre-k teacher put it to me this way..if he had asthma would I keep away his inhaler? Or diabetes, not give him insulin? That put things in perspective real quick for me. I am so glad I was able to hear her and start helping my son. Have you checked out Additudemag.com? They have some really great articles all about the different medications that may help ease some of your fears.

I hope you guys can find some answers so your kiddo and entire family can feel better.

FrankenMummy profile image
FrankenMummy in reply to SurvivorFan

He's on intuniv and works with a psychiatrist for med management. He's trialed 2 stimulants that weren't for him, they increase aggression and he became highly emotionally disregulated. I'm currently reading "the explosive child" by Dr Ross Greene and have perused additude from time to time. I think he might need a slight med adjustment and have an appt with the psychiatrist on the 29th of this month.

SurvivorFan profile image
SurvivorFan in reply to FrankenMummy

I know how frustrating it can be trying to find the right med or combo. It took us quite a while thats for sure. Are you able to contact his psychiatrist or their nurse through a mychart type of communication? If things are going that rough for him at school it might help to reach out sooner than wait. I only say this because we recently went through a rough patch going into first grade. Lots of phone calls from school, in person meetings, and a half day suspension. I sent over all notes from school and home to my sons doctor and she did adjustments immediately for him which ended up thankfully doing the trick. I was worried all the "hard days" back to back like that would make a bigger impact in the long run so wanted to jump on it asap. No judgments here btw just words of encouragement and been there so understand.

Hazzauna profile image
Hazzauna

Im sorry you are going through this. My school year started out like this. My son has been at the school for 4yrs now. I even asked for a proactive meeting prior to school started and no response. I got called into the office after responding to an email from the computer teacher stating if we can get his behavior issues under control, he can succeed. I responded with literature and recommended readings lol. The didn't like that. I even told the principal at the meeting I did not think it was a good fit. She disagreed, he escalated in her class and was being sent to the office atleast 3x a week. They finally moved him out of her class to a teacher that is more accommodating. I really think it is about the fit, finding a teacher that cares and really listens and is willing to adjust accordingly. This has been a struggle, often wanting to throw in the towel.

Are they being specific with what is happening and their response? I think this is how you can tell if they are responding appropriately to his needs. Just checking boxes or circling a smiley face isn't good enough for me. I have been having the teacher write an email explaining the situation and then I have a convo with my son to understand his perspective and based on the two I create possible rationales and alternatives for the teacher to implement.

The hardest thing for me through the years is keeping up with the back and forth communication, im ADHD too sooooo this is cumbersome for me. I usually look at the email, roll my eyes, talk to my son (giving suggestions on improvement strategies) and then move one. The key piece we miss is holding the teachers accountable, it is not always the student and most times it is how they are interacted with that is the problem.

Hope this helps. Wish you all the best in your journey!! And don't forget self care, im at the beauty college getting my hair done for $25 right now 😀

FrankenMummy profile image
FrankenMummy in reply to Hazzauna

All we're getting is a "behavior chart" with the smileys and all the things he has done wrong. The teacher's communication is atrocious and she doesn't seem to be open to changing. Hopefully the school counselor and the assistant principal seemed open to our suggestions so hopefully they will help implement all of the interventions that they were supposed to be doing in the first place. I can't wait for a cse meeting to discuss this all and see how things do or do not change in the next couple weeks. You sound like an awesome parent, lucky little boy you have there!🙂

Hazzauna profile image
Hazzauna in reply to FrankenMummy

Thank you! It’s been a very long road and I would initially blame my kid (feel so bad now) but then I realized the school staff weren’t being accountable and implementing accommodations already discussed. It’s still sooooo hard. He’s failing 2 classes because of missed assignments 🤦🏽‍♀️. Think they told me they were missing. Nope. Almost like we should just start our own school that specializes in kids that are neurodivergent, we would probably do a better job just from learning as we advocate! I hope things get better for you!!

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