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ADHD at School

New to the group...overwhelmed

Our journey began the 7th day of First Grade, my son’s teacher asked for a conference to discuss N’s pace in the classroom.  I was able to meet later in the week with the teacher, and a second teacher who is discovered is the resource teacher.  They recommended me placing N in resource room 30 minutes a day to help him in reading.  I reluctantly agreed and quickly realized that he was struggling in reading.  I researched tutors and had my some evaluated at Huntington Learning Center, where we were told he ‘missed’ a great deal in Kinder and so we began tutoring 2hrs/day 2 or 3 times each week. That was October.  At Christmas break, he had mastered K and moved on to 1st grade level.  We have since completed the original course of tutoring and rather than sign up for more (super expensive) tutoring there, we have found a teacher who is willing to help him with reading. About 2 weeks ago we went to the Dr.to be evaluated for ADD, I have had a few friends who asked if I had ever considered testing, and had asked the school repeatedly if I needed to have him tested.  Never were we advised to have the test by the school, the instead told me to retain him this year in 1st grade. I discussed with my husband and we decided to have him tested and we did last week.  The results…he tested in the 94th percentile for ADHD Inattentive Type (ADD).  We began Metidate CD 20mg, on Friday.  After almost a week on the initail dose, the Dr recommeded adding a mid-day dose.  Rather than redose during the day, I chose to try Concerta.  Today is day 2 on the 18mg dose.  N is still a struggling reader, after hours of tutoring this year.  I am relieved to know the beast we are dealing with now, and I feel that we can begin to help him better.  Yesterday I emailed the teacher as well as the resource teacher to get their observations of N over last week on medication.  Both replied that they didn’t notice any difference, other than he is no longer standing up at his desk in resource, and no longer kicking with the rug under his desk in class.  Both admit he is trying hard to focus, he is just so far behind and so lost—- While I am glad for their opinions I want the facts.  Where were these facts when I was asking if he was inattentive in class? Standing up fidgeting with a rug???  I am trying so hard to stay positive although I feel like I have no idea what the heck I am doing.  N is not a straight A student he has all Bs, one C in Writing and a D in Reading.  I guess I am looking for advice or encouragement from parents who have been through this with their babies.

Replies

Hang in there. My son was diagnosed ADD inattentive in kinder but we didn’t want to medicate. By mid 1st grade it was clear we had to try. He’s in 2nd grade now - we tried several meds before finding one that worked but we knew right away when we had found it - his school performance is night and day from where it was at the start of the year. He’s still a little behind on some things but ahead of grade level on others. The school resource teacher recommended a full evaluation for learning disabilities of all kinds and none were found but having him evaluated brought out some details about him that have helped his teacher better meet his learning needs. On a side note - concerta did not work for us and had lots if negative side effects. Different meds affect each kid differently so finding what works in his case may take time.

Posted by brlk13 on Feb 26, 2014 at 10:07pm

Your story is very familiar.  Most parents feel frustrated and start trying everything to “fix” their child.  What you should know is that this journey is a marathon not a sprint.  In my opinion you were right to go to a professional to get a diagnosis, start medication, and tutoring.  Those 3 things take a lot of time, money, and energy.  Be proud that you are on top of this while your child is young.  He will improve in reading with time, maturity, and the right reading intervention.  Sometimes reading disabilities don’t emerge until 1-3 grade so it’s hard to know what to do.  You may consider additional educational testing if the reading struggles continue.  It’s best to know exactly where the problem is and then which intervention is best.
My ADHD and mildly dyslexic 4th grader struggled with fluency and decoding all through 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade.  We tried tutoring (1-2 hours per week) and reading programs at school.  We also started medication for his ADHD. He has made gradual progress and is on grade level now.  He doesn’t like to read and when he does he chooses audio books mostly.  Regardless, he is reading and learning.  If your son isn’t a strong reader I think that is ok.  Surely he has other strengths!  Don’t just focus on the one weakness, but instead highlight his strengths! 
-Katherine Price
ADHDC
Coaching Parents of Kids
with Special Needs.

http://www.adhdc.com
http://www.facebook.com/AdhdcParentCoaching

Posted by KatherineADHDC on Feb 26, 2014 at 10:16pm

Thanks for your responses.  I flip flop between feeling like we are doing enough or too little for him.  We are currently in a private catholic school, and have thought about going to public next year to allow for some of the resources he needs or may need to be available.  Private school so far has disappointed me in their ability to teach my son.  He had a very lax Kindergarten teacher, and has a really strong energetic 1st grade teacher.  The resource teacher told me that they just don’t have that many kids reading below level. (Which upset me since my kid is reading below level.)  The school doesn’t have an intervention plan/kit to go along with the reading series for this reason.  The resource teacher just pre-teaches, re-teaches, and reviews the weekly skill. So after he has reading class instead of doing small group work in the class room my son leaves and works in small group in resource room. 
I am now having his tutor focus on the weekly skill and spelling words rather than reteach skills that he didn’t master in the first part of first grade.  Atleast maybe he can pass his weekly tests and move out of first grade.  Second grade from what I understand, has very few new skills introduced, I hope that is the case anyway, so maybe he will have a second chance on mastering these skills. I am not totally against retention, but I feel like since we have a clue now with the ADD, we start the medication and with the level of tutoring he has WITH focus we should really see a difference…Right?

Posted by Playinhouse on Feb 27, 2014 at 3:07am

Katherine hit on a very important idea when she used the word “Fix.” ADHD cannot be “fixed;” there is no cure. Yet, our innate response as parents is to “fix” things that are troublesome for our kids.

I spent more than two years after my son was diagnosed trying to find interventions that could “fix” things for him. But, despite how much time, money, and energy I threw at it, nothing turned out to “fix” it. Things turned around only when I realized that and shifted my expectations from the pace of his neurotypical peers to crafting my son’s own tailored picture of success.

Words can’t describe how hard that was. There was a reason it took so long, because accepting that your child will always have a disadvantage is hard. It’s not in a parent’s nature. But getting to this point in your journey is when you will start to realize some success in managing ADHD.

Now, I’m NOT saying that nothing offers improvement. A good fit with medication can be very helpful. Behavioral therapy can also be helpful, teaching strategies to manage and overcome weaknesses.

My inclination is also that you should have a full learning evaluation done. It’s quite possible that your child has other learning disabilities as well. In fact, it’s very common to have comorbid conditions with ADHD.  My son has Dysgraphia and Written Expression Disorder in addition to ADHD. I had the school evaluate him in 1st grade, but special ed said the gap between his performance and grade level wasn’t wide enough to provide services, despite his teacher and I both knowing he had more learning disabilities. He was diagnosed with these LDs in 3rd grade, because his writing hadn’t improved but his peers’ writing had improved tremendously.

You are doing everything to help your child, and that is to be commended. You are most definitely on the right track. Keep working on medication and discovering other potential LDs. And consider retention. I asked my son’s teachers every single year if he should be retained and they always said, “No, he’ll catch up.” By the end of 4th grade, I knew he wasn’t going to catch up and I knew I had to hold him back then or it was going to be too late. So my son repeated 4th grade—and he was thrilled about it. He knew he was struggling and that didn’t feel good.

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

Posted by adhdmomma on Feb 27, 2014 at 6:45pm

Hi there,
I am also new to the group and my son who is 6 struggles with ADHD. I am just exhausted with this whole entire disorder. I feel like this whole thing had aged me by 10 years. lol. really not a laughing matter but I’ m tired. I have to remind myself to stay positive and to do my homework and I know one day we will get this under control. The main reason for responding however is to let you know that my son was really struggling in school. I ended up putting him in Montessori school for 2 years and he thrived. It ended up costing me a little over $500 bucks a month but every penny was worth it. The smaller class size and more 1 on 1 attention. He was able to learn at his own speed. I put him back into public school for this school year only because I can’t continue to pay the extra money out monthly at this time and I can see a difference with his attitude and class work it has declined. I just wanted to let you know my experience with the more private school and maybe it can be something you can look into. I sure hope things get better with your situation. Good luck to you and your family.

Posted by Jasinskr on Mar 02, 2014 at 7:29am

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