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ADHD in Boys

At wits end...

I’m new here and I need to vent.  I have a 10 yr old son who was diagnosed with ADHD at 6 years old.  He was always difficult as a baby, toddler, preschooler, you name it, it was trying. The public school near our home didn’t seem to accommodating to students who, let’s say, didn’t fit the mold.  We had him tested in January of 1st grade, wrote a 504 for him and we thought we were good to go.  Second grade was more of a challenge.  His teacher was out a lot, the sub was a brand new teacher, not equipped to deal with behaviors, and when the teacher came back from medical leave actually put into writing that she can’t do anything for my son.  At that point I requested an IEP be written for written expression.  He is now entering 5th grade and it has been a struggle ever since.  Today I received a phone call from the head of Religious Education at our church.  Apparently, during Vacation Bible Camp (which took place once school ended for the summer), my son was bothering another child, who happened to be in his class.  The parents told the Religious Educator that this has been ongoing and they are tired of my son.  Other parents working at the camp made mention to the Religious Educator that my son is a known trouble maker in school.  The parents of this particular child had her write a letter to us to tell us how my son is a “pain” to her.  This is the first I’m hearing of my son having major issues with other children in the classroom to the point where he is “a pain”.  I have met with the school numerous times and pleaded for social groups to be put into place so he doesn’t get a stigma.  I have been begging since he was in first grade for this to happen to avoid this exact situation.  I am a teacher who deals with students with ADHD, Behavior problems, you name it I have it in my classroom.  I would come to meetings at my son’s school with resources for them to use, how to teach expected and unexpected behaviors, how to implement a check in check out system etc.  They have done nothing.  Now I am not the parent to say it’s not my child or “he’s doing that because of his ADHD”.  I had my son write an apology letter to the other student and he will mail it tonight.  However, the more I think about this, the more upset I get that another parent would allow their child to call another child “a pain”.  I know ADHD isn’t a disability that is right there in your face, you don’t know something is “wrong” with the child.  I think I"m overly sensitive but I would never allow my child to write another child’s parents a letter basically telling them all the reasons why they don’t like my child.  I did show the letter to my son to let him know how his actions effect others but I want to educate the other parents on how difficult it is to be a parent with a child with ADHD.  How difficult it is to entrust your child in the care of others, hoping they have the skills and strategies to make your child successful.  I basically want them to walk a mile in my shoes, knowing your child doesn’t get invited to birthday parties, cringing every time an email from school comes through, following him at ever social event we attend to make sure he is making the right choices, watching him cry when no one wants to play with him, fighting to get school work done at home.  I’m frustrated and needed to vent.  We do see a psychologist, he is on meds, and we are seriously thinking about finding another placement for him for school but we don’t know where to turn. Thank you for listening.

Replies

I too have been where you are now. My son is now 12 and its not all peachy but it has gotten a lot better. He has found his way and has gotten in less trouble. Still have those parents and others who look at me and feel sorry for me b/c he is very vocal and talks back. I too feel sorry for myself and ask why am I being punished…lol. Im here to let you know it gets a lot better. I think you said something that is very true and its that your sensitive. It’s something I had to work on b/c I care a lot what people think and I focus and ponder on things instead of letting go. If you could have a sit down with the other childs parent and child together with your son that may be better than writing a letter… its just a suggestion.  It can be very overwhelming dealing with a child that has ADHD believe me I know. Just know that you are doing your best and some parents who don’t have a child like this do not understand. They just see the child as bad, rude, disrespectul all the things I hear about my son and I agry sometimes and wish he was didffrent but I know I’m doing my best and he has come a long way. I don’t cry every night like I use to or ask God what I was being punished for. We actually have good days and even weeks sometime grin You will learn to brush some of the crititicism off and continue with your day… sorry for being so long winded

Posted by stressedmom on Jul 15, 2014 at 8:29pm

I feel your pain and am sorry that you have to go through this. We have not been able to get any assistance either. But you have come to the right place…there are so many wonderful people with great ideas and info on this site. Don’t apologize for anything…this is a safe place to do it. Good luck!

Posted by marbri0520 on Jul 15, 2014 at 8:35pm

Okay, first let me tell you it does get better. My son is a sophmore in high school and we’ve been at this since preschool when he used to bite the other kids. He still does not like school and has one friend but he manages and does not get in anymore trouble (except for using his cell phone when he isn’t supposed to). But here was the key, my son had me and his dad advocating for him all the time but he also had his schools working for him. So if you don’t feel your school is working to help your child you can do a couple things - find a different school that will help or take your matter to a higher level. Contact your state board of education, find out what your state should be offering in services for your child, write letters to the superintendent or special education director in your school district. No one knows your child better than you and you know what he needs. I have stood up to several educators and told them their plan was not right for my child. So if they’re not listening to you, you need to take different measures. There are people out there who will care about your son and want to help him. Best to you.

Posted by mom2ablt on Jul 16, 2014 at 1:16pm

Hi there, I can totally sympathize.  My son is 8 and was diagnosed at 5 1/2.  I have to say that once my son was put on Rx medicine (at that time it was Vyvanse.  Now he takes Adderall and low dose Strattera).........it was like “Night and day” to quote the teacher in his behaviour in both school and summer camps (and sports too).  Not only was his social behaviours improved dramatically, he started doing great in school and doesnt get into trouble as much anymore.  Mind you….......I work with his teachers so they are educated about ADHD, he always sits in front of class and we communicate weekly.  He has great days, good days and not so good days but overall the stimulant medicine has been a lifesaver in our home.  Mornings can still be challenging before he takes his medicine, but we have our routines down and set expectations…and we try to stay patient, loving with praise when things are done well.
I am very knowledgeable about all of the drugs on the market, and continue to research all information as well as the clinical studies , so I have a high comfort level in treating my son with the medications he takes.  We watch like a hawk to make sure dose is optimal and side effects are kept minimal…and we love our pediatrician who specializes in Neuro disorders.

Posted by curlygirl on Jul 16, 2014 at 2:12pm

I just noticed that you did say your child is on meds….perhaps they are not the optimal ones for him or the optimal dose.  It is so worth looking at alternatives if you are not seeing improvements in your son.  Its amazing how these medications work so differently in different children. Each child is so unique what works for you (or doesnt work) can be totally different than anothers experience.

Posted by curlygirl on Jul 16, 2014 at 2:16pm

Hi LisaMK!

I’m sorry you are struggling with your son. I know the school battles all too well. Fighting the school to do what is right for your child is maddening. In an ideal world, the school assess what your child needs, and they offer it. Most of the time we have to fight for it though (http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-ld-school-accommodations.html).

Education Attorney, Rob Tudisco, answered what you should do from a legal standpoint when the school isn’t cooperating: http://www.additudemag.com/q&a/ask_the_learning_expert/6961.html.

I would also ask for a medication adjustment or change (http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/741.html). Obviously, what he’s taking now and at the current dose isn’t ideal. There are so many ADHD medications to choose from, there may be a different one that helps more behavior symptoms.

Behavior therapy would help immensely with social issues and other behaviors that are troublesome. You can implement some at home too, by working on 1-2 goals at a time and setting rewards (http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/3577.html). You need to find out specifically what his peers and the church are finding troublesome in order to affect change though.

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 16, 2014 at 2:45pm

For what it’s worth, I think you’re right. Them having their kid write a letter to your sharing how much he annoys them is wrong. If it’s constructive, that’s one thing. If it’s just to say “you’re a pain” that’s a form of name calling, or bullying.

The problem is that probably these parents have no idea what ADHD is and they probably already have their minds made up about why your son is doing what he’s doing: he’s a pain. You could write a letter back explaining why your son does what he does, and maybe it’d have an effect. Or maybe they’d just think you’re making excuses for him, and gosh, no wonder he’s the way he is! (I’ve seen both reactions myself personally.)

If you think there’s a chance for a friendship there, try writing the letter. If not, don’t bother. Who cares what they think anyway?  I’d probably ignore those parents and focus on the school and the head of Religious Education instead (they’re not one and the same, are they? I’m a Christian myself, but I’ve heard some horror stories with many of the religious schools here locally… instead of seeing ADHD as a medical condition, they see it as a moral one, which only makes the child struggling with it feel like a failure and a bad person).

Go talk to the people you need to at your church and help them see what ADHD is so they can support you and your son instead of vilifying you. Then work on the school. They should be your partner, defending your son to these complaints, not letting him down like this. You’re just starting the tough years… middle school (in my experience and from what I’ve heard) is the worst for all this.

Posted by Rai0414 on Jul 17, 2014 at 7:32pm

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