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Parents of ADHD Children

Diagnosed with ADHD (inattentive type) at age 14

My 14 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD (inattentive type) a few months ago. He has been taking Vyvanse (30 mg) since March and the results have been pretty amazing all things considered.

He attended Catholic Elementary school and will attend Catholic High School as well. Or, at least we’re going to give it a try. . .I have some serious concerns about it. But, the benefits outweigh the negatives right now. And, the most significant benefit is that his good friend attends the same school. He is VERY introverted around kids his own age. So, the friend factor was a huge consideration.

My biggest concern is how to approach the 504 accommodation request and an IEP. Private schools are not required to even read them, let alone accommodate any special needs he may have.

(When I sent the 504 accommodation request to his principal in March, it was completely ignored. When I asked for a meeting with all of his teachers, I had to scream at them to schedule it. And, when it finally occurred, it was a complete fiasco. I failed to convince them that his behavior and inability to complete home work on time is NOT a personal affront to them.)

So, I have my reservations. I have already contacted the HS and have scheduled an appointment with his guidance counselor to discuss the various test results. We’re also going to discuss implementing an IEP.

But, I don’t know where to begin. There are practical things like—2 sets of books (one for home and one for school), 2 lockers (each located at either end of the school), seating arrangements, etc.—but, what do I say/do if they ignore the request(s)?

Lastly, Public School is an absolute last resort. The junior high (7th thru 9th grade) in our area has 2,700 students. He would be starting there as a 9th grader. He’s so challenged socially, there’s no way I can put him such a large environment. He won’t function well there at all.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

THANKS in advance.
Helen

Replies

I’m honestly not sure what you would do if they ignore your requests.  If they don’t have to do it and they’re refusing to even attempt to understand him, is that really the best place for him?

I know that some psychologists or psychiatrists will go into a school and talk to the teachers for you.  I’ve also heard people mention advocates.  But I’ve heard some nasty stories about private/religious schools in our area.  Instead of seeing ADHD as a mental issue, they make it a moral one.  And being made to feel like your a bad person because of something you can’t control is never a good thing.

I totally understand your concern with the social aspect.  If he can do ok there at that school, I’d leave him there.  But if he’s not doing well, it will affect his self esteem and harm him more than being away from these friends in the long run.  :\

Also, if you try this year and it doesn’t work (i.e. no one will listen to you), you might miss him getting to know kids before he goes off to yet another big school in grade 10, right?

Posted by Rai0414 on Jul 19, 2014 at 11:24pm

ADDitude Magazine’s legal expert explains rights for ADHD Students at private schools: http://www.additudemag.com/q&a/ask_the_learning_expert/5322.html. It may help to clear up some grey area.

The bigger question is if the school is going to accommodate his needs though. They don’t have to. When push comes to shove, you can push all you want, but they have no obligation to respond.

I would have a real heart-to-heart meeting with the school and find out if they can ensure his success.

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

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 21, 2014 at 4:52pm

My two daughters (now ages 16 and 18) attended Catholic school from kindergarten. My oldest started having problems (academic and social) and switched to a larger Christian school in 6th grade to finish through 12th grade. My younger one is in Catholic high school now.

My experience is that this type of school is good for bright kids who don’t need anything special on either end of the educational spectrum; no services for special needs, and nothing for gifted kids either.

The Catholic schools have all been more rigid and structured, and the Christian school was more “nurturing”.

My older daughter (who was not diagnosed with Inattentive ADHD until midway through 12th grade) was a straight-A student until things got more complicated in high school. She totally floundered with all the “grace” she was given for late or missing assignments, missed days of school (due to anxiety), and general lack of academic performance. They prayed for her depression to improve, offered to help with tutoring, etc. but she always felt “stupid” in the GPA-driven, college-focused environment where she couldn’t manage to succeed. It was a downward spiral and I wish I had done things differently.

I can’t tell you what to do, but I will tell you to get on top of it right away and make sure he is somewhere where he will get ALL the support he needs. If this high school is not fully on board, I would recommend you find one that is, regardless of whether he knows anyone there or not.  If he starts suffering academically, his friendship won’t mean a thing as his self-esteem plummets.

Posted by Late2TheGame on Jul 22, 2014 at 6:24am

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