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ADHD at School

Frustration with school...

My 12 year old son was diagnosed with ADD and problems with executive functioning etc per private neuro-psych eval this summer after the school blew me off in response to a written request for testing. It took until Halloween to get the first meeting with the team. The Psychologist recommended a 504- and I brought our school advocate for all the meetings. I had the principal put into the 504 that my son would not be excluded from any school activities because that has been a problem.
Repeatedly over the years he has been worried about being excluded from the end of year pizza-party. As of today he is again not allowed to go out to recess after lunch because he has not reached 50% of his reading goal. I suppose he will never go to recess again…
I am so frustrated. This morning I visited with the principle- who does not have a backbone-. He told me that he would talk to the teacher reg.this issue .I also visited with her and told her that we do not want my son restricted from recess.  I explicitly told the team that my son needed recess to balance himself and unstress so that he can focus again. These methods are archaic and counter productive. I am thinking about filing a complaint with the school district. I had called my advocate who had told me to talk to the principle because the school is going back on what we agreed on in the 504. Otherwise, he said, I should request another meeting. Would I be better off to insist on an IEP? Will I get anywhere with the meeting? The teacher is stubborn and inappropriate at times.There are only 2 other 6 grade teachers who don’t seem to be better alternatives either. Help!


I wish I had an answer for you. I am having same problem with the school my daughter attends. She’s 5 and was just diagnosed with ADHD in late October early early November. Her behavior early in the year was not productive and she was acting out virtually every day. Her school principal has made the decision that because of her PAST actions, she is not allowed to attend the school trip to to Carnegie Hall (my daughter is a music lover).  None of her teachers can convince him to change his mind. I also fought to have her not be excluded from recess.  I gave her teacher literature that explained why it was wrong to do that. If I find the website I will come back and post it for you

Posted by MarleysMom on Dec 10, 2013 at 8:22am

It sounds like your son would be better off with an IEP so he can have more classroom supports and accommodations.  The idea they take awway recess is so upsetting.  My son gets frequent motor breaks to get water, take a walk or just in general, get up and move if he needs to (and he’s 5).  His teacher also recognizes when he’s getting overstimulated and will aks him to run an errand just to get him up and moving (often is a pretend note to give to the secretary just to get him out of his seat).  The motor breaks are in his IEP.

Posted by Sporty on Dec 10, 2013 at 9:19am

Your son needs recess !  Our son was kept in to complete his class work and it always backfired.  He had no source of stress release and keeping him in at recess made it worse.  After repeated requests - his teacher finally “got it”.

Don’t give up and keep on it. Our kids need recess.

Posted by staypositive on Dec 10, 2013 at 9:44am

Thank you for the feedback and the support - so encouraging!!!

Posted by sunny13 on Dec 10, 2013 at 10:04am

Hi sunny13!

There is a staff person in every school district responsible for compliance to 504 and IDEA laws. Seek out that individual (in my area it’s the Director of Special Ed) and talk to them about the situation. If the principle can’t handle it, they will need to talk with the teacher and let them know there’s no choice but to comply with your child’s 504 Plan.

He can only get an IEP if he qualifies under IDEA. That usually takes more than an ADHD diagnosis.

My son’s 4th grade teacher refused to follow his IEP. She refused to the principal, she refused to Special Ed teachers, and she even refused so many times in IEP and FBA meetings that the county Behavioral Specialist stood up in a meeting, banged her fist on the table, and said sternly, “I don’t care if you don’t agree with this. I don’t care if you don’t feel like you have the time. None of your excuses or contrary beliefs matter here. The IEP is a legal document and you are required to follow it.” My son was moved to a different classroom the last nine weeks of the school year because the teacher still wouldn’t implement his IEP in the classroom. And, sadly, she is still teaching 2 years later, despite the principal and the Special Ed Director knowing about the issues. Tenure protects teaches in circumstances it shouldn’t.

At that point, when a teacher won’t comply, your child needs to be removed from their class. If that doesn’t happen, you can file a discrimination complaint with the Office of Civil Rights based on disability. That is what I threatened to do and that’s when the teacher moved him. I would have filed the complaint if the issue wasn’t resolved.

I share our story hoping others will learn from this terrible experience. My son was so scarred by that teacher that he repeated 4th grade, despite being above grade level academically. Keep pushing until they comply. Move him sooner rather than later if there’s no compliance.

Here are some articles on not using recess as punishment and why kids with ADHD need recess as well:

Keep fighting!
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Dec 10, 2013 at 7:34pm

I’m so sorry that the teacher is being so difficult.  There are some uninformed educators out there who really don’t understand ADD/ADHD and have very old fashioned ideas.  I would continue to share with the teacher and principal that they need to meet the criteria of the 504 plan, which is a LEGAL document.  I would try to work through the appropriate channels and be as nice as you can, however, if they don’t comply, I would hire a lawyer. Sometimes things don’t change until someone takes a stand and makes everyone stop and take notice. These laws are in place for a reason.  They are to protect children in situations like yours.

Posted by teachermommy3x on Dec 11, 2013 at 8:05am

I know this may not be something you are able to do but we ended up homeschooling our kids this year.  My son is 12 as well and in all his school years he has only had 1 teacher that could handle him appropriately and get his best work out of him.  It really is all about having the right teacher.  I know it gets much harder once they are in the upper grades and you have multiple teachers to deal with.  If you can’t get the school to do what they are suppose to, is there a charter school that you could transfer him to?

Posted by Mamanag on Dec 11, 2013 at 6:16pm

This happened to my son starting in first grade. I would not stand for it, put it in his 504 all that (same thing about the principal: limp noodle). So when one teacher started doing this, I went in, wrote letters calling her out, and just generally constantly complained and said it was not acceptable and the 504 said not to do it and that I would take it further legally etc. etc. The best thing I did was to empower my son and tell him the teacher had no right to tell him to do that and he didn’t have to stay in. The next time she tried to keep him in he said: My mom said I don’t have to. And out he went.

All that being said. I wish I had found a different school. There were no schools around us but I wish I had moved to find one. I don’t know if I could have. Or maybe find a homeschool group. Public school is not worth the anguish. If you watch Waiting For Superman you can get the idea why. The movie relieved me of the guilt I had because I could never get the schools to do the right thing. But I still feel bad, I wish I had realized how strung along I was by them. The emotional and educational damage to my son may never heal for him. I don’t think having *1* right teacher is worth it either. The child needs a system that supports him.

But while you think about it, go in there, write letters mentioning the teacher’s name (cc her, the school shrink, the special ed person, the superintendent etc.) Empower your son. And look for alternatives. Our educational system sucks.

Posted by PDuffy on Dec 11, 2013 at 11:17pm

I have been having almost the same problem with my son’s school. My son was diagnosed with ADD, anxiety, and depression in June of 2012; He is 11 years old and in the 6th grade. He is “VERY” intelligent…even the teachers and principle agree. He was put on a 504 and working with his 5th grade teacher things when really well. It was when he started into 6th grade this year that issues “really” became a problem.
About 2 weeks into the school year I noticed that he wasn’t bringing home any homework and I asked him why…he responded “I’m getting it done at school” ; I had no reason not to believe him…well that wasn’t the case. He started getting sent to TIP and ALC over the next several weeks. I called a meeting with all 4 of his teachers, the principle, and the guidence counsler; I told them that their lack of communication with me has made my son get so far behind and that it wouldn’t have taken them a few minutes to bring this to my attention…another 504 was implemented, but the same forms of punishment was still being implemented…even after all of this had been discussed.
After going rounds with the the principle and teachers; I was completely fed up with his school.
I called the school phyciatrist and explained to her what was going on…which was quite a bit more than I have posted here; she was very concerned and referee me to her boss…which was the Child Advocate for our county. He was also very concerned and recommended that my child be put on an IEP. Thus far, all is going pretty good now that the special educations teacher has been involved.
I would recommend that you do the same and get your son on an IEP, because by law, the “HAVE” to implement “every thing” that has been incorporated into it. Go to the meetings educated about IEP’s and don’t let them tell you what may be best for your child, you tell them what you want and go from there…I know that I have rambled on here and could keep going, but won’t. I feel your frustration and will pray that you get things worked out for your child. Good luck!!!!

Posted by mrichardson0069 on Dec 13, 2013 at 7:35am

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