Questions about schools: Hello, I am... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Questions about schools

tvia1218 profile image
14 Replies

Hello, I am new to this community. I apologize in advance for the long rant. I found this group in desperation. I have a 12 year old, 7th grade son with ADHD. Schooling has been a stressful topic since the 1st grade. We have been through the public school system, charter school, homeschool and now his first year of private school. This has been the toughest year academically for him. He generally did well in his classes before now, he was just very behind in reading which made it difficult to keep up in all of his classes in a normal classroom setting. We are now beginning to think about high school and may possibly have to move him next school year based on the current schools displeasure with his first year grades.

I strongly believe that he would thrive in a non-traditional school that focuses on children with executive functioning challenges. He retains information extremely well and has almost a photogenic memory. He is very intelligent (per his teachers) the struggle is his performance in class. We cannot afford the very high tuition for the alternative schools in our area (DC Metro), but we make too much to qualify for assistance. Are there any options for us at this point? I am so tired of fighting and searching (and crying). I just want my son to be somewhere that he feels confident about himself and comfortable without always feeling like he's screwing up. I would like to be able to spend more time helping my other children instead of having all of my focus on his homework in the evenings until it's time for bed. I am desperate.

14 Replies
Onthemove1971 profile image

Welcome to the group! We are excited that you have joined us. I am sorry that you guys have not found what you are looking for in a school.

Just curious what tools your son has to help him cope with having ADHD?

Many kids find tools like therapy, educational plan and medications help a lot.

The many strengths you describe are exactly like our son. I also wonder if you found a reading specialist that really connected with him if that could really help him. Just curious if you have tried him listening to books while reading would make a difference for him. He may not love reading, but it may help a lot.

We are always here to support you when you need us.

Thanks again for joining us on this journey.

tvia1218 profile image
tvia1218 in reply to Onthemove1971

Thank you so much for your comment. He has an education plan at school that includes things like audio reading on some assignments, extended time, pull out services for reading (that is typically spent on catching up classwork/retaking tests instead of reading). We have tried a few different reading programs, but the challenge is finding something for his level that isn't "baby-ish". Of course everything for his age is way above his reading level. I will definitely trying having an audible version for him to listen too. I tried it once, years ago and dropped the ball because he didn't seem to like it. It's worth a shot. We are somewhat holistic parents and have avoided medication because of the effects that we have seen on children around us.

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971 in reply to tvia1218

Sounds like you have a full plate. It sounds like he has had a reading assessment before? Since you know his level.

Not sure if you have heard this or if you are aware, but there is a connect between reading and attention space. A number of parents in this group have discussed reading and ADHD. When you can, maybe look at old posts to learn about this connection.

Your son working with a reading specialist who can help teach him the fundamentals of reading might made a huge difference in his life.

Also might be a good idea to have an assessment to see if he has any other reading/language disabilities. While I do not find the labels helpful, if he does they can give you strategies which could really be helpful.

Best of luck while you find what works best for your child.

Big hug for all your struggles.

tvia1218 profile image
tvia1218 in reply to Onthemove1971

THANK YOU! He had a reading assessment in public school, but he admitted that he just picked answers and didn't really take the test. It is definitely worth assessing him again. I have been moving strictly based off of my evaluation of him. Thank you so much for all of this info.

BLC89 profile image

Hello tvia1218

I feel your pain, schools are not designed for differently wired kids. I am sorry you are going through that. Kudos to you for looking ahead and thinking about high school in advance.

We did online learning with my daughter and it was the best fit for her. She could hyper focus and get a week's worth of work done in one afternoon. We missed many deadlines which was not ideal but she was able to graduate from high school with her class. She took some classes at the actual high school in our neighborhood to stay connected with her friends (yoga, photography, band)

Then we did running start beginning junior year. You get college credit and high school credit at the same time. 1 quarter college class = 1 year high school (it's nuts!) This was another good fit because the topic moved swiftly, the quarters are only 13 weeks, and they can be more flexible with things like homework (get a good grade on the test and homework doesn't need to be turned in, or do a video project instead of writing a paper) obviously depends on the teacher but it felt like the college had more flexibility than the high school by far.

Running start was also nice because you could make up ground so quickly 2 quarters of a language = 2 years of language at the high school. So our daughter took a lighter load freshman and sophomore year and we could catch up jr and sr year. It was also nice because we could plan her school day to start later because of her lighter load. She could start at 9 or 10 instead of 8:00 a.m. and this was a blessing given teenagers need SO much sleep.

My daughter attended Laurel Springs school online. We took their curriculum to our school district to get the OK that something like Laurel Springs algebra would count the same as our high school's algebra (I hope that makes sense) It takes some effort as the parent to advocate for your kid but it paid off in more sleep for her and much less stress.

Hang in there, you are doing the right thing. It may feel like you keep trying and it's not a good fit but each try is that much more information. And remember grades don't really count until 9th grade and that really only matters if you are going the traditional college route. No need to stress about 7th and 8th grade grades (even though the school seems concerned) now is the time to give your kid tools for high school - time management, etc.

And if your kid will here you remind them that grades do not reflect their intrinsic value as a person or how smart they are. Remind them school was designed by and meant for neurotypicals, it won't be a great given how their brain was designed.

Another option I only know a bit about is Clonlara and they are hugely flexible. My daughter is now at a horse training college (her passion) and one of the interns is going to Clonlara and they can get science credit for vet visits, and English credit for writing about A day in the life of an Intern, that type of stuff. My daughter is mad at me that I didn't find it before she graduated - getting credit to hang out with horses and do the thing she loves what a gift.

I hope that helps, keep up the research, stay curious, and if you are feeling discouraged come here and ask for a boost or just rant. Good luck.

tvia1218 profile image
tvia1218 in reply to BLC89

THANK YOU! I will look into these programs. This is great information.

Pmommyof5 profile image


I struggled with my daughter same issue. We requested an IEP through our school district and requested a Non public school that focuses on her areas of need. We found an all girls school where she has thrived for the first time and it’s all paid for by the district. There are also all boy schools and other co ed school offering same types of programs. Hope this helps

tvia1218 profile image
tvia1218 in reply to Pmommyof5

I would love to talk to you more. We had an IEP in public and were working towards requesting that the district pay for private school when the pandemic happened. I let people talk me out of it because they said its very rare and difficult to achieve. We ended up in a hearing against his first school just to get an IEP. That was one of the most difficult experiences that I have ever had and it made me not want to fight anymore. That's how we ended up homeschooling and then private school.

Blueeyeview profile image

Hi tvia1218,

We are also in the DC Metro area. Our daughter has ADHD and anxiety and is in first grade. She takes Prozac for her anxiety and just started Abilify for emotional regulation. She also goes to therapy. She has had some really tough days at school, so we also think about private schools but they are also out of our price range. I’ve heard that Montessori schools are worth looking into because of the small classroom size. I am not sure if they go through 12th grade or not.

Your son is so lucky to have you! Keep up the good work!

tvia1218 profile image
tvia1218 in reply to Blueeyeview

Thank you so much for your kind words. Your daughter is definitely blessed to have you as well. In my district, you have to be in montessori starting in pre-k to qualify. When my son started school, pre-k was income based so we didn't qualify (nor did we foresee any of these challenges). He started off VERY advanced, even in reading. Things took a turn in 1st grade with a teacher that was extremely dismissive of him. I hope you find a solution too. Keep trying.

Blueskyfly profile image

You might want to look into Gonzaga High School. I heard of someone who found it to work very well for them.

tvia1218 profile image
tvia1218 in reply to Blueskyfly

Thanks, I will look into Gonzaga.

NYCmom2 profile image

Google 2e Twice Exceptional Schools and DC Metro Area.

Fusion Academy and Greenacres were among the results that came up - call or meet with the admissions department

Google Education Lawyer and DC Metro Area.

There are public schools in the DC Metro Area that say they can accommodate 2e learners. That’s a cutting edge claim; something to explore:

tvia1218 profile image
tvia1218 in reply to NYCmom2

Thank you so much!!!

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