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Parents of ADHD Children

Schooling options

My son is really struggling in school this year.  Between his anxiety and ADHD, he cannot cope in a traditional classroom.  There are plenty of things that factor into this and we are terrified the behavior won’t stop.  We are terrified he will end up expelled because his behaviors have been very aggressive (kicking children, throwing chairs/books/whatever he can get his hands on).  Right now he spends most of his days in the principals office where it is quieter.  We do not have an IEP or 504 but are going to start the process; however, I am wondering if anyone has experience with a Montessori school and if that should be something we check into?  I am not sure he would do well in that environment but I also know he’s not succeeding in a traditional classroom either.


You should absolutely work on getting an IEP.  With one in place, and the accomodations that your son needs, a school cannot expel your child for anything related to the IEP. 

Some of the best advice I was given, was to keep my son in the public school system.  They have to educate your child and they have to find the appropriate class room setting to do so.

My son was placed into a program for children with emotional disabilities.  I still cringe when I say that, but it was the perfect setting for him.  He was put into a classroom with no more than 10-12 children and 3-4 adults in the room at all times.  Academically, the curriculum was the same.  He was in the smaller classroom for 3 and 4th grades.  He was mainstreamed in 5th, with the support of the smaller class room when he needed it.  He is now in 6th grade, which has been a struggle.  There are days when I think he will be back in the smaller class room.  But he doesn’t want that, which has served as motivation for his behavior.

I cannot say that a private school won’t work for your son, but if you have the same issues, they can expel him. 

You might want to talk to someone in the Special Ed department at the school district, not the school itself.  See what programs are available, should you need them.

I can tell you this, without this program, I honestly don’t know how my son would have gotten through elementary school.

Posted by cmullen17 on Apr 02, 2017 at 2:55pm

I really agree with cmullen - there is suitable education out there, but you may need something other than ‘bog standard’ (do they use this expression in the US?). My daughters survived the regular school system - just - until aged 11. One has a learning disability, one ADHD. For the former I found an outstanding special school with a focus on creative arts. She made friends there for the first time. My other daughter eventually won a scholarship to a music school. The class size there was minute - less than 10 - and the kids atypical in all sorts of ways. Surprisingly - to me - they have provided outstanding 1:1 support for her all the way through. And she’s never felt ostracised as she did before.
I’d suggest trying to think what kind of activities might suit your son - sports? outdoors and adventurous? creative? If you can think of what might suit him - as opposed to stress him - you might find a way. But I do appreciate that it’s not easy!

Posted by Notwaving on Apr 02, 2017 at 4:18pm

You are right to request an evaluation for accommodations and services (sample letter to make the official request:

I would also ask for a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and resulting Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).

You have to get to the root cause of his aggression. Is it sensory overload? Anxiety? Avoiding tasks that are too difficult or too uncomfortable? Is it concrete thinking and inflexibility? Read “Lost at School” and/or “The Explosive Child” by Ross Greene.

Montessori is usually structured on self-guided education, which is often a huge problem for students with ADHD.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

Posted by adhdmomma on Apr 03, 2017 at 2:33pm

I am in the same boat. We have an IEP but it doesn’t seem to be working, he does not do well in a traditional setting, we’ve even tried a behavioral modification school which was only a 9 week course but he did great in there. The classroom was only 5 or 6 kids but now he’s back in the traditional classroom & it’s absolute H-E double hockey sticks. I found that public schools do have more resources than private schools. I put my son in a private school & he was expelled (well there was a hearing for it) But they allowed me to put him back in public schools instead of expulsion. The IEP process can take a long time I would highly suggest starting that as soon as possible. Children are different so it could work for your child but public schools do have more resources and HAVE to educate your child, they HAVE to accommodate them, where as private schools do not.

Posted by ZaynesMom88 on Apr 04, 2017 at 2:29pm

I agree with everyone get that IEP going ASAP..and get to know your school district and special ed faculty well..I got to know the head of special ed for the district and everything went a lot smoother and faster than I had the squeaky wheel for your kids education don’t feel like you are bugging them..ask questions send emails..Im sure I wasn’t my schools favorite person at the time but now everything seems right in place..Stay in public school..they offer alot more….Good Luck

Posted by SDAJ on Apr 05, 2017 at 11:38pm

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