Transitioning into High School - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Transitioning into High School

tattooed_mom profile image
14 Replies

Hello everyone, I have a 14 year old son who has ADHD, ODD and anxiety. He was diagnosed at 8 with it all and has been through many years of behavioral therapy and medication. He's very small for his age (just started on growth hormone therapy) and is currently taking the smallest dose of Vyvance for his ADHD. Next year he will be entering High School. I was wondering how the transition was for your children's transition into high school from middle school. I remember when I was in high school over 20 years ago and the bullying was horrible. He is a very shy and quiet kid until you make him mad, then he's like a raging bull. Any advise on the transition from middle school into high school would be greatly appreciated.

14 Replies
Momofmischief profile image

Hi there. My son is 9 so I can't give advice about staring high school but I want to just say, I see you and how hard you are working to advocate for your kiddo. Sending love.

Onthemove1971 profile image

Thanks for your post. Yes, this will be a stressful time, but before you know it he will be finishing high school.

A few suggestions:

1. Have a 504 plan ( like a road map for everyone) so the teachers understand his needs

2. Have a meeting at the beginning ( not the first week) with the teachers to make sure they understand his needs and explain his strengths and weaknesses.

3. Go before school starts (and you have his class schedule) and walk the school so he knows where each class in and their order daily.

4. Find out if he has any friends headed to the same school and try to connect them, they will be as nervous as your son.

5. Find out who the professional is that will be managing his 504 plan and have a meeting with them.

6. Between now and then help to get them to be as independent as possible with handing in assignments and doing the work.

Hope these suggestions help. I you do not have a 504 plan try to get that set up before high school begins, so he can have all the tools he needs to be successful.

Good luck!

tattooed_mom profile image
tattooed_mom in reply to Onthemove1971

Thank you so much for your advise. He had a 504 plan when he was at his specialty school (school for ADHD and autism) but they didn't have a middle school close to us for busing so he is now in public school. They phased him out of a 504 plan because he was no longer needing any interventions and was self regulating his difficulties. He is pretty much a shy kiddo who likes to keep to himself and doesn't have many friends in school. He has one best friend, but he is in another school district.

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971 in reply to tattooed_mom

The academic demands at high school are really different. So if he is not able to keep up, I strongly encourage speaking to his counselor about having one. They would also assist if he plans to go to college. Hope he can make friends in class so he has a place to eat and hang out.

Good luck.

Pattimum profile image

I don’t know if you have access to any stuff like that but I took my son to special ‘Anti bullying workshops’ - it was run by a charity called Kidscape and at the same time as my son was having workshops with other kids in the same boat, I had training for parents.

I’d say if your son hasn’t been bullied yet at school there is a good chance that he won’t be bullied at all.

Does your son know when to walk away? My son doesn’t. Also bullies get him in situations when he can’t ‘walk away’ so let’s say as they are lining up to go into the classroom and bullies stand right behind him talking offensive stuff about him until he snaps and let’s say punches that boy who is by the way twice his size😄 So then he is in the wrong and he is the one apologising and not the boys who target him.

I’d say if your son knows when to walk away he will always be on top of things. Plus does he tell you stuff? For my son things got out of hand because he wasn’t telling us his parents.

My son has been bullied from when he was very young but that’s because he always wanted to be part of the group and unfortunately it was always a group with an alpha male and other underdogs trying to impress the alpha male by ‘bullying’. I am now in the process of moving my son to a different school (he’s 10) and I hope I will get him to a private school where class size is smaller and the teacher to pupil ratio is better so hopefully things don’t get out of control in the playground.

You mentioned that your son is quite small for his age. Have you considered giving him Cyproheptadine? It is an antihistamine which is often given along the stimulants to counteract appetite suppression. However do ask your doctor because if your son is on few other medications then stuff can interact etc.

tattooed_mom profile image
tattooed_mom in reply to Pattimum

My son is the same way about letting thigs get to him until he snaps. I don't think he's ever been bullied, so I'll have to ask. He is on a growth hormone treatment and it seams to be working pretty well. He's grown an inch since he's been on it for 2 months, so hopefully by the time he start high school he won't be as short (he's currently the shortest in his class by a whole head). I really like your mention about anti bullying workshops. I am going to have to look to see if they are offered in my area. Thank you for your advice.

Pattimum profile image
Pattimum in reply to tattooed_mom

Basically during those workshops the charity workers were practicing situations with the kids. So for example my son faced that very typical bullying situation where he sits in the dining hall and unpacks his lunch box and then a peer form his class comes over and says ‘Move , I am sitting here’. All they were practicing was being assertive and calmly and firmly saying ‘I am not moving’. Also they explained that you don’t have to vary your replies. They told kids that saying the same thing over and over again works. So all he needs to keep saying is ‘I am not moving’. He didn’t know that it is easy as that in some situations- just repeating ‘I am not moving, I sat here first’… Some other situations when kids frame him for stuff he hasn’t done etc are much more complex. I think he was packing and moving because he was so shocked as these were kids who he considered mates, part of the group that he always was aspiring to play with…I mean, it’s just character as well. I am a bit like that, when people are extremely rude or push in line etc so normally don’t stand my grounds because I am so shocked that this even happened 😂So I think it’s that ‘weakness’ and not being the one of those who would be ‘first’ in survival of the fittest.

But I think once I manage to move him to a private school he will be fine because I don’t think kids will even have time to be so spiteful. It’s fewer kids and lot of staff supervising and kids are hopefully generally overall happier there etc so maybe they won’t be nasty to others? Plus he will know what to say! I hope so!

Pattimum profile image
Pattimum in reply to tattooed_mom

I understated how you feel about him being short. I am short myself (less than 5’2 and 7 stone😄) and my husband is also short so it has always been playing on my mind as I have 2 boys! It’s kind of easier for a girl to be short… Luckily in the UK people aren’t as tall as in the US 😄so it doesn’t stand out so much…

I can see that in between the lines you say that being different (in this case ‘short’) makes the child more prone to being ‘picked on’, bullied etc. I can see your point let’s say with certain sports…And we all know that kids who made it to the football team etc are ‘more popular’. And unfortunately all the sports favour tall… How unlucky!

In the UK no one, not even a private doctor would give kids hormones to help with growth unless it’s like really a medical condition. It’s something that we anecdotally know that doctors in the US do- helping kids to grow taller. I just think overall US is much more modern and advanced with medicine… It’s great that already within 2 months you see such a great improvement and catch up growth for your son!

Do you think it’s your son’s ADHD medication that stunted his growth?

Or is it indirect causal relation where he had appetite suppression due to ADHD medication hence he wasn’t eating enough and it slowed growth? Or is your whole family ‘short people’?

I mean of course there is enough evidence that stimulants stunt growth in kids.

Atomoxetine also has this effect of slowing kids growth but lesser than stimulants and supposedly only at the beginning when body adjusts. Believe me, I did my research 😄- the research shows that those kids on Atomoxetine then catch up. I even read research in medical journals where levels of growth hormones were being checked before treatment and whilst on Atomoxetine and the results shown that there were no changes in thyroid function nor the growth hormones etc whilst on Atomoxetine. So it must be that the ‘decreased weight’ was directly caused by appetite suppression and low calories intake whilst on this medication and not due to medication causing lower secretion of hormone growth? I hope! Does it make sense?

Have you considered swapping your son to Guanfacine? Guanfacine doesn’t have any negative effect on kids growth as far as I read. In fact many parents on this forum say that kids have increased appetite whilst on Guanfacine…

tattooed_mom profile image
tattooed_mom in reply to Pattimum

His short stature is believed to be caused from the ADHD medication as for I am 5'8" and my husband is 5'9". No one in our family is under 5'5". As soon as he started the medication for his ADHD when he was 7 he started to fall off of the charts being to short and to light for his age. This is just a last ditch effort to get him to 5 foot before his growth plates fuse which the doctors are predicting will be soon (about 6 months to a year). He is also on guanfacine in a lower dose but that it to help with the side effect of the vyvance (he gets vocal, arm and head movement ticks). We are hoping to soon. The doctors and I have been weening him down for the past 2 years and to hope to take him off of the medication as for right now he is on the lowest dose of both of them. Thank you for your advice.

Pattimum profile image
Pattimum in reply to tattooed_mom

Totally understand your concern about his short statue (I am saying it as a very short person 5’2 and always feeling terrible😉 around high people as I have to lift my head up pretty much to everyone 😄And as a woman it’s not as impacting as for a man and his potential self esteem and confidence etc).

In fact I have always been worried that my 2 boys would be short (as myself and as my hubby) and when my older son as a toddler was prescribed long term nasal steroids to clear his recurrent nasal discharge, I refused to give it to him, putting him through another few years of those infections and eventually at age 6, when yet another ENT consultant said that this was the only way to stop the recurrent nasal (often bacterial) discharge, I did agree to a 6 months course of nasal steroids for him and then repeating it yearly for a few months when needed.

So I totally understand how it feels knowing that the child had to be on a medication that is evidence based stunting growth…

I hope the hormone therapy gets your son to an average where you want him before it’s too late. Otherwise you will need to send him to south of Europe or Asia in the future 😉where people aren’t as tall as in the US or Scandinavia. Let him study in Europe🙂

Nanchli profile image

hi I can speak from my experience, our high school experience was not the greatest one !!!!!!!!!! Our story was bit different though, My son started high school in 2020 during pandemic so that made things worse. Its good that your son is smart my son is very weak in studies and his social skills are not strong either! he is Not on any medication yet! I am sure medication will help but he is not certain abt trying it!!!!! anyways I think if your son has good friends even ONe good friend that will make things so much easier for him. My son didnt have any good friend and got on wrong side on friend group which made it even bad experience for us! Good luck, I am having a feeling your son is gonna do good in high school :)

Redpanda5 profile image

Hello, I have to say that high school hasn’t been great for my daughter (adhd / anxiety) — even with medication. The anxiety piece is huge. She has social anxiety, adhd and also developed anorexia.

I was just getting her to attend school for shorter periods of time in 9th grade when Covid hit. She never went back. I suspect there is some high functioning autism going on too (high sensitivity to noise and sees no need for friends - seems beyond the scope of adhd sensitivity). Anyway, before everything hit the fan she had an IEP but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough. The school did everything they could but it still wasn’t enough. I had to pull her and she is now finishing her senior year through an online accredited school. I am pushing her to finish.

They key to success is for you as the parent to continually search for solutions - be willing to think outside the box. In my experience I never have “arrived” at the perfect scenario. It’s constant monitoring. I have adjusted my expectations along the way so I can better meet her where she is. I hope the anxiety piece is smaller for you! You’re smart to look ahead.

emers623 profile image

Hey there, I had the same worries last year when my son entered high school and even when he entered middle school as well. But honestly I think the one thing that truly helped him was finding him a sport/ hobby that he liked. The main thing that it helped was boosting his confidence because he was able to find something that he was good at and while doing so he made some friends as well. He was always the really shy quiet kid that got picked on and would cry because he was overly emotional. But when he was in 5th grade he decided to try wrestling for the first time and had a lot of fun because he made some friends while doing it. He then went on to try basket ball and football as well, plus going to little groups in town to pay card games and there is even one that gets together weekly to watch anime. But yeah most of the sports he has tried out didn't really work for him but he made some awesome friendships because they were all on the same team together and they all supported each other and helped each other out even when they are just walking in the halls or are in class. And it may take him a few tries to figure out what he loves, but having a hobby that he can relate to others with will truly help so much. Plus it'll give him more drive because he'll have something that he wants to work on to better himself and it'll just make him all around happy! But anyways I hope this helps you guys, best of luck!! 😁

tattooed_mom profile image
tattooed_mom in reply to emers623

Thank you for your advise. I think I will try and find him something do be a part of in high school. We've tried in the past with sports and such and has not interest and in our middle school they don't offer much. I'm hoping that in high school there might be more clubs and such to get him interested in since our city has one high school for the entire city and many smaller middle and elementary schools sprinkled with in the city.

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