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ADHD at School

Starting Kindergarten


My son that has been diagnoised with ADHD, Sensory Integration, and Anxiety will start Kindergarten this fall.  What kind of things have you found helpful: therapy seats/cushions, fidget toys (if so what kind), scented pencils, lap pads, feet sensory disk, etc.  There seems to be so much out there I just don’t know what to try.  Any advise would be helpful.

Replies

I would say start with nothing and see what presents. Also find out what the school allows…

Posted by Usillymommy on Jul 19, 2011 at 4:25am

My son too has what your boy does and I’m also thinking the same thing but I like Usillymommy’s recommendation.  My son is 5 turned in June and everyone kept saying at his old private preschool give him the gift of time and hold him back. I decided to change school and pay for a pricey private school to see if it’s the atmosphere. Did you hold your boy back? Also, someone said to me because he has ADHD, sensory and visual and obviously anxiety he should have been held back.  AS for Anxiety, I see him chewing his tee shirts to pieces and constantly peeing.

Posted by livingwith-adhd&add;-infamily on Jul 19, 2011 at 4:31am

Does your son have an IEP in place? If so does he have an OT (Occupational Therapist)? If not I encourage you to call a meeting. An Occupational Therapist will have many ideas for you. Some of the ideas you mentioned though may be overstimulating to your son. At this point, I think he needs a place in the room where the teacher can allow him to go and just center himself for a few minutes. If you haven’t talked to her yet I encourage you to introduce yourself to her also. Can your son do a pre-first day visit? If he can spend some time looking at the room, etc. before the others arrive it would help.

Posted by kidswriter on Jul 19, 2011 at 5:29pm

Hi there,

It’s great you’re being so proactive before the school year starts.

We’ve actually asked our readers this very same question—what have you done to help ADHD children succeed in kindergarten?—and they shared the following tips:

Pre-K and Kindergarten IEP
Behavior Accommodation

“My son’s special ed teacher adopted a new plan this year inspired by my son’s love for LEGOS. For every day that he does not get a time out, he gets a LEGO piece. After 10 pieces have been earned, he gets to take them home. He brought his first baggie of LEGOS home last week and was so PROUD! We also have a notebook that we use on a daily basis to communicate his progress and issues. The LEGO idea has really been great!”
- posted by Frustrated Mom of 5 yr old ADHD
Excess Energy Accommodation

“Knowing that my adopted son, Aleksi, nearly 6, had some issues, I got an early start with Early Intervention and formal evaluations. Besides ADHD, Aleksi has a non-verbal learning disorder, plus anxieties, and some sensory issues.

“Among other services, Aleksi will be receiving OT. For movement, they have provided a balancing ball to sit on versus a chair, and will permit him to stand up to eat snack or write on an easel, if that suits him better than a flat desk.

“Aleksi is VERY ACTIVE. The child needs to move around. The IEP also includes scheduled ‘motor breaks’ during the day, either in a sensory room equipped with a swing, trampoline, and the like, and/or the teacher is supposed to include more motor breaks in the class for all students. He will be taken out of class as little as possible, to avoid too much disruption, but enough so that he is not so distracted and can focus better on a one-on-one basis. He has visual-spatial issues, so copying from a board will be impossible. For such tasks, an aid is supposed to be available to guide him and reiterate the lessons of the day. (Auditory processing is challenging.) “Handwriting without Tears” is the method to be used to help improve letter-writing skills.”
- posted by East Coast Mom

(Source: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/6511.html)

Here are some helpful links on accommodations (you may need to copy and paste the URL into a new browser):

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1664.html
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/6190.html
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/5901.html

All the best,

Mary

Posted by ADDConnect Community Editor on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:38pm

Thank you everyone.  Should have read this before I went to US Toy Company and bought some fidget toys.  We have them if we need them.  Right now we are in the process of doing the evaluations with the school district.  We have not had the ARD meeting yet.  My son will be 6 in October so we are not holding him back.  He will be one of the oldest.  He does private OT and starting PT soon.  But still when he did his evaluation he just about ate a hold in his shirt.  I kept giving him mints to just make it.  Thanks for all your help.  Will see what they recommend.

Posted by TJF on Jul 20, 2011 at 4:36am

hello, kind of late in answering, but our 5 year old daughter is also starting kindergarten this coming year smile as you can imagine we are very nervous as well. our daughter was diagnosed with sever adhd. odd, expressive language disorder, and hearing impaired. we had her assessed at the central valley regional center for autims orgionially so we were able to give the school a copy of her results. we also requested an educational assessment, etc. and they realized that she could not handle a normal classroom.

her iq is normal to high range, but her emotional iq is low for obvious reasons. we have her going to a language class m-f, where they will be teaching her how to regulate her activity level. we also have her on homeopathic medication, but like many other folks are looking at putting her on concerta. i hope that helps, bc i know that reading everyone else’s posts help alot!!!!!!

jenny

Posted by jennykb on Jul 21, 2011 at 6:07pm

I posted before but when I read about the fidget toys you bought it jogged my memory of something else to tell you. I am a Teacher, Special Education, and one of the coolest things I had in my room last year I called a bouncy ball, It was a peanut shaped sit on thing for pilates or something I got for excercise class one year. My fidgets loved it. I

Posted by kidswriter on Jul 23, 2011 at 1:53am

...CONTD.

Posted by kidswriter on Jul 23, 2011 at 1:54am

kidswriter: I second your comments. Good thinking.

I’m a little concerned that children in kindergarden are being diagnosed with ADHD. Can ADHD be detected at this age? Perhaps.

My reservation is based on age-brain mass research that I’ve found that shows that the frontal lobes do not fully develop till approximately age 12.

So in the meantime if children are being given say methylphenidate at age 5/6 then one might be handicapping their ability to develop healthy grey-matter by artificially augmenting their neurological activity in those undeveloped centers.

Posted by michael:affectfocus.com on Jul 25, 2011 at 2:04pm

@michael - yes it makes sense to be diagnosing a kindergartner with ADHD. The diagnostic criteria actually specifies that it presents before age 7. As for frontal lobe development - they don’t fully stop developing until around the age of 26 - which I’m sure many parents agree would be far too long to wait for a diagnosis that can help their child.

[edited to correct love to lobe - that’s what I get for writing the comment on my autocorrecting phone]

Posted by Aguane on Jul 26, 2011 at 3:45am

Great ideas!  One other thing I can mention that has worked well is something for those kids who seem to get distracted by fidget toys and therefore not able to listen to what the teacher is learning.

Put a piece of velcro on the bottom side of his desk.  Secure it there (usually it’s sticky on one side).  This way he can rub his fingers on it during those “fidgety” times but not end up playing with it, like some kids do with fidget toys.

I’ve seen this idea in many different types of educational circles and it works wonders!  Best of luck.

Posted by Momto2cuties on Jul 26, 2011 at 5:13am

I knew our son had ADHD before starting kindergarten but he had not seen a doctor yet. We had only seen a counselor. The counselor told us not to tell the teacher because he would be labeled. I would rather have him labeled as having ADHD than a bad kid. I scheduled a meeting with the teacher and counselor before school started. We set up a rewards program just for him. It was similar to the others but she broke it down into smaller chucks of time for him. If she saw that he was losing control or needed some time, she would have him go to the counselors office and the counselor would play some quiet games with him. His teacher emailed me daily so I could visit with him about his day when he got home. By working with the teacher and counselor, it went much better than I had ever dreamed it would. Luckily, he had a teacher that was willing to work with us and really played towards his strengths.

Posted by Angela K on Jul 26, 2011 at 5:08pm

Hi I’m sorry for the late response but I want to.share my experience with you and my adhd son in kindergarten. He started kinder last year at age 5. I had always known he was adhd ever since about the age of 3 when he started preschool. He was always Getting in trouble for hitting other kids because of his frustrations, anxieties etc….....
When he started kinder he wasn’t diagnosed yet nut that came s couple months later. I opted against mess and tried other things. While in class he was constantly in n out of hid chair, tapping his pencil on the table, eating his clothes, breaking crayons among other issues with not being able to focus, attention, fine motor skills and lack of social skills.
Anyhow, reward programs, extra breaks to exert some of his energy, modified homework packets made it a little easier to get him to do well.
At the end of the year I had finally received an IEP appointment. There we discussed his adhd and they told his teacher and I about the lap pads, the chair bands, the fidget toys. We thought the recommendations were great and are trying them this year. He is repeating kindergarten because of his lack in social skills and has since started a low dose of medication to help him focus. I have seen a huge difference in only 7 days and school hasn’t started yet. His chair pad and fidget toys will help him stay focused longer together with his medication it should be a completly different year. His teacher will also be sending home any work, flash cards etc…on colored paper, preferably pink or yellow,  it will help him stay focused on his work. Although homework has never been a problem for us. smile
I would start letting your son use his toys at home while watching tv,  eating dinner,  reading a book. See if you notice a difference in his attention. Talk with him while hes using a fidget toy and just see how long He can stay engaged in your conversation.  I would also look up B-Calm. They are mp3 devices that soothe and block out all outside noise. I recently ordered one for my son but hasn’t arrived yet.
I hope this helps…....
Xandersmom

Posted by xandersmom on Jul 26, 2011 at 10:01pm

Luckily my daughters first grade teacher worked with us and our daughter was allowed to use a squishy ball for her ADHD tendencies during group time.  It worked for awhile and then we had to move on to another form of fidget toy.  We kept changing them up so she didn’t get bored.  Also her teacher and my daughter worked together and found a special place in the room when the students would be working on class work and homework where she could work undisturbed.  She would post a sign that said “student working please do not disturb”  this helped her keep her concentration and she performed much better.  The other kids didn’t think anything of it after awhile and the class was fine as she was not the only student that this system was used for.

Posted by catmom on Jul 31, 2011 at 4:46am

Luckily my daughters first grade teacher worked with us and our daughter was allowed to use a squishy ball for her ADHD tendencies during group time.  It worked for awhile and then we had to move on to another form of fidget toy.  We kept changing them up so she didn’t get bored.  Also her teacher and my daughter worked together and found a special place in the room when the students would be working on class work and homework where she could work undisturbed.  She would post a sign that said “student working please do not disturb”  this helped her keep her concentration and she performed much better.  The other kids didn’t think anything of it after awhile and the class was fine as she was not the only student that this system was used for.

Posted by catmom on Jul 31, 2011 at 4:47am

DD was diagnosed during K.  We suspected before then, but wanted to see how she did in K before taking her for an evaluation.  Her teacher was the biggest key to her success.  The teacher, even without a 504, gave DD seating next to the teacher, gave friendly and gentle reminders to stay on task, and always praised DD on how well she did on things (when she really did well, not just empty praise) and before DD started meds, she had us bring her in to show her how much she had improved from Aug to Feb without meds to help show DD that it wasn’t just the meds, the meds just helped make it easier to get to the next step/level.

I would just start with having the teacher know, having your son sit next to the teacher, and communicating regularly with the teacher about problem areas and areas that are going well and what is working and what isn’t.

We had some communications issues last year in 1st grade, and I will do all I can this year to make sure those issues don’t happen again.  I tried to open up the lines of communication with the teacher, but I didn’t follow thru much until the interims came out and it was obvious things weren’t going as well as they could.  Make sure the teacher knows you want to know how things are going in the classroom so you can help your son and the teacher have a great year.

Posted by TamilynT on Aug 01, 2011 at 8:09am

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