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ADHD at School

Never Receiving Student of the Month- Discrimination?

Hi all.  My daughter has ADHD, auditory processing disorder, and anxiety along with a coordination disorder.  She most likely has a LD in math as well but we have not yet been evaluated- on a long waiting list.

Anyway, I know sometimes she is impulsive.  Last year, her teacher told me she had a short period of time where she would call out instead of raising her hand but she did fix this within a month.  Other than that her chart shows circles of green every day meaning she had no issues.  She works hard and it is not easy for her to get by the way she does with decent grades and no behavior issues.  I know the teacher thinks she is lazy or unorganized due to handwriting and forgetting books but I have explained a lot about executive function to her.  She also has gotten upset when my child has cried in class.  This has happened twice because of other kids all at once correcting her something and yelling out.  I think it is too much noise or maybe she cannot take the criticism and it triggers her anxiety.

Anyway, they have a student of the month honor called Terrific Kid in the school.  My daughter is in 3rd grade so it has been 4 years and she has never gotten it. For the past two years when the teachers have them set goals for the year she has chosen this as her goal.  She writes papers about it constantly.  She asks what she can do to receive it (and never gets any feedback). I recently spoke with the teacher again (not about terrific kid just in general) and told her that I am really proud of my DD because she has improved a lot of her grades, has been working on her anxiety and working memory in therapy, and has not forgotten a homework assignment in months. So even if she missed the improvements, I pointed them out!

So, today was the last Terrific Kid of the year and of course my daughter did not receive it.  Now she is locked in her room crying and refusing to come out.  She has not had a meltdown about this all year but I guess because this is the last one she must have really been hoping for it.

I know I sound biased and ridiculous but honestly I have never made a big deal about this before.  I always said, “Hey we have to learn to lose, too.”  “Can’t win ‘em all.” But my daughter is ALWAYS losing.  She was always last in races on swim team, never gets “the best,” at anything she does, never gets a “4” (equivalent to an A on our new report card system), and it would be nice for her to feel some success.  I have spoken to the principal about this as well,not just in regards to terrific kid, but trying to find some way to help her self esteem and to help her feel like she is good at something.

I really do wonder if maybe because of her impulsiveness and perceived carelessness due to her disabilities if she annoys her teachers and this is why she never gets this award.  I think almost everyone else in her grade has gotten this at least once except for the few kids that have major behavior issues (and again is that even fair to them?).  She has had such a hard year and worked so hard I am just furious that she is hurting.

Any suggestions for making her feel better?  Telling her she is my Terrific Kid is not cutting it.  Do you think this is in fact discrimination and have you ever experienced the same? 

Thanks in advance!


I’m so sorry your daughter is going through this!  I know from our experiences with our son, now 12 and on the spectrum, that it’s hard for them to meet the same milestones that all the other kids do. 
Our elementary school has a “Bucket Fillers” program that is terrific.  Take a look at their website: 
Kids get rewarded for positive behavior (of any kind that is appropriate for them).  It has seemed to help all of our kiddos stop and think about being nicer to each other!
Every week there is a “bucket filler” winner from each classroom and they get to have lunch with the principal in the lunchroom. 
Maybe suggest this type of program to your principal.  By the way, what was the principal’s response to your talk?  Did the counselor have any answers?  One of them should be keeping track of making sure every kid is recognized for their own special gift!  If nothing else, you could incorporate some of the bucket filler ideas in your home.
Good luck!  Take care. It sounds like you have a sweet daughter and you’re a thoughtful and caring mom!

Posted by mick5719 on May 17, 2013 at 12:09am

I have experienced the same thing with my son, who is now 10. A couple years ago he would get really upset about never receiving awards. So I went to the office supply store and bought a package of award certificates and I started giving him awards for doing well on behaviors we were working on. I know it’s not the same but it did help. He felt good every time he got an award at home.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on May 17, 2013 at 4:41pm

If less than half of the kids get it in a school year, then I would not call it discrimination.
If the majority of kids do, then it merits some discussion with staff and admin.

Of course, letting the new teacher know about the goal and asking what she can do to earn it despite her challenges is a conversation worth having every year.

Posted by Dr. Eric on May 21, 2013 at 1:23am

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