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ADHD in Boys

Son issues in school

My son is 14 1/2 he has been on Ritalin since end of 5th or middle of 6th grade. He usually has A’s & B’s by end of quarters in all classes but Math. The Math teacher butts heads with him and another student (also with ADD) all the time. Behavior has improved in all classes except again Math. He had at least 9 referrals for behavior last year in the class. For disrespect and disruption in the class (usually occurring after Teacher has made comments in front of the whole class which son reacted to). Met with principal at beginning of this school year to try to put a plan in place to prevent a repeat was told nothing could be done because of his grades. Within 2 weeks he had 5 referrals from that teacher or the para in the class that mimics the comments and treatment of teacher. We were told that the dosage of Ritalin he takes was the top level so have changed to Concerta Monday will be his third week of it.Still the issue with Math teacher only he just had his second in school suspension because the school moves up punishment with occurrence and the multiple ones from Math teacher quickly move him up the levels. How does a parent deal with teacher that singles out students. The principal is of no help (even told our son in front of us the she was raised to respect her elders and obviously he wasn’t). This principal has a Master’s Degree in Special Education btw. He can not go to another class as there is only one math teacher in the middle school….............


Sounds like you need to go over the principal’s head for this one.  Sounds like you’ve got a teacher who has some negative biases and is potentially abusing his power (and emotionally abusing your son and anyone else with ADHD).  The negative bias and abuse is being encouraged or at least tolerated by a principal with a similar mind set.

The other child with ADHD who is being singled out and potentially mistreated—if you can get together with that parent and confirm your impressions of the mistreatment you would have two parents fighting what will be an uphill battle (much better than only one).

Posted by BC on Feb 16, 2014 at 12:13am

Have gone over the principal, had some resolve but it was not long before Teacher fell back to old behavior. Teacher is now Tenured in MN so will take ALOT to get any consequence for him. I know there have been multiple reports on the teacher thru out the years personally I think it will take the teacher getting physical before anything would happen. Since he uses words it is hard to prove he is the issue in a he said he said.

Posted by MEL14 on Feb 16, 2014 at 12:25am

If you’ve gone over the principal before and that produced some results for a while then the act of the teacher & principal being exposed to a higher authority had some effect on their behavior, but as soon as the heat was off the teacher & principal went back to Business As Usual.  This is also what the typical school bully does, you know.

The longer their behavior is tolerated (by not going through the same channels you went through before to get some change) the longer they assume they can do whatever they want to do and get away with it.

Posted by BC on Feb 16, 2014 at 12:41am

How has his marks been in Math? Could he have a learning disability (dyscalculia) in math? Maybe that is why he is so frustrated.  Learning Disabilities and ADHD often go “hand in hand”. And if so - it is no wonder these kids are frustrated and act out in class. Ultimately, they feel stupid in class and don’t know what to do with those feelings (my son included).

Our grade 9 ADHD son has been doing Kumon for the past year and it has really made a difference. Kumon was recommended to me by our Psychologist. You might want to check it out. The more confident he is in math, the better it may be.

Good luck!

Posted by staypositive on Feb 16, 2014 at 1:10am

I feel for you, since my son struggles with math also.  It’s not that they aren’t bright students, it’s just that their ADHD brains have such a hard time with math.  Why don’t the math teachers get it?  I just had parent teacher conferences this week and I printed 2 articles from this website—“ADHD Secrets My Teacher Should Know”(gave this one to all his teachers) and “ADHD and Math Skills” (gave this one to his math teacher also).  I am taking the approach of working with her instead of making her feel like I’m ganging up on her. But I’m fully prepared to fight for my son’s rights to be treated fairly.

That being said, there is simply no excuse for a teacher to humiliate a student in front of the rest of the class. It only adds to the frustration and anxiety.  If nothing seems to work, I would go over the principal’s head as well and go to your school board.  If you had something in writing from his doctor or therapist to back you up, that could help as well.  Good luck and hang in there!

Posted by Machelle B on Feb 16, 2014 at 8:00pm

Hi Mel,
That environment may not work for your son. And people are often resentful when you go over their heads even though this appears quite justified. I do not quarrel with the idea but I believe that it may take a while and it looks as though it may not work.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Mar 09, 2014 at 2:18am

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