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ADHD at School

What is considered right and wrong with school discipline

My 6 yr. old son started kindergarten this past year and he has been in and out of the principles office on a weekly basis. He started out just not sitting still and than it turned into him hitting, spitting, and kicking the teachers when he couldn’t get his way. He scored above average on his school tests for his grade level and was very popular. When he would throw his tantrums they would immediately send him to the office or send him home. Due to the school sending him home over every minor thing he learned that acting bad was a good thing because than he could be at home with me. I was told to look into ADHD and I had him evaluated. They diagnosed him with it and we have been trying medications. They weren’t working quick enough for the school so they were suspending him. Calling it “time to get his meds rights” I fought until I finally got approved for the IEP program. The teacher of the special education class and principal said that they did not think it would be best for my son to attend the end of the year school event due to his behavior. So I kept him home. Now I feel guilty about it and he can’t get that back. I don’t know when to trust my instincts or my son or the teachers. I feel like I am failing him as his protector by allowing others to dictate my decisions but I feel if I don’t listen to them than they will always look down upon him and myself as a parent. The principal himself told me that he wanted my son to have half a days because of his behavior and when it came time for the teachers to pick their students, he didn’t want them to say no way do I want that boy (my son) in their class. I feel so much pain for my son!!

Replies

Basically I’d say there’s a fine line… Our kids need to know that there are consequences to their actions, but they need a *lot* of support so they don’t get to that point!

I’d suggest using the summer to become an ADHD expert.  That way you’ll know what is possible for an ADHD kid, what to avoid, what to try, what he’ll need to succeed, etc.  And then you can go into the IEP meetings knowing exactly what you need to fight for!

Posted by Rai0414 on Jul 01, 2014 at 2:43am

BTW, your instincts are right… they’re sending him home because it’s easier for them.  He’s learning that he can have an easy afternoon with you instead of having to deal with school.  And he should never be shrugged off like that.

You need to read books, get involved in parenting groups for kids with ADHD, talk to your doctors (esp. a child psychiatrist who specialises in ADHD), attend seminars, etc.  My son was diagnosed in grade 4 and is going into grade 7 next year.  He only went on medication last year.  But I’ve done all the things I mentioned above and now feel like I can really fight for him.  I know what he needs and how he will succeed.  I know I have many long years ahead of trying to educate his teachers, pushing for the support he’ll need and fighting for him, but I’d never be able to get anywhere without that knowledge first.

Posted by Rai0414 on Jul 01, 2014 at 2:49am

Hi lovelybonesiowa!

You will have to stand your ground with the school and demand the appropriate education for your son.

Currently, they are punishing him for his disability. This is not acceptable and, I believe, against the law under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The IEP team needs to come together and make a plan for how to handle his outbursts at school.

You are right, every time they sent him home, they taught him to act out and then he could go home and not have to try to fit in their box. It will take a strong and consistent effort to undo this. I suggest behavioral therapy.

When my son was in 2nd grade, he was punching another child several times a week. He couldn’t stand to see the rules not followed or anyone hurt, so he punched the other kid involved every time anyone in the classroom did anything wrong or hurtful, whether to him or not. It was all he knew to do and instinctive. Each and every time this happened, we had a conversation with him that went something like this:

“Why did you hit Sam?”
“He took Sally’s crayons.”
“How did that make you feel?”
“It made me mad.”
“What are some other ways to show someone you are angry?”
(He and I would work together to list more appropriate ways to show anger, but he has to lead this to practice problem solving.)
“So, when Sam took Sally’s crayons, was it ok to hit Sam?”
“No, Momma.”
“What can you do to show you are angry next time something like this happens?”
“Use my words to tell Sam I’m mad, and tell my teacher.”
“Right!”

I learned this method from the book “The Explosive Child” by Ross Greene. I highly recommend you read that book. As well, he has a great webinar on ADDitudeMag.com you should listen to: http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/10272.html.

As for getting the school to handle outbursts appropriately, and at school, your best bet would be to hire an educational advocate if you can (some cities have non-profit organizations that can provide advocacy services free of charge). The advocate will make appropriate suggestions to the school for the behavior issues and push the school to implement. Schools are much more accommodating to suggestions from advocates than parents.

There are also some great free downloads on ADDitudeMag.com on ADHD at school, IEP plans, meeting effectively with teachers, and sample accommodations:
http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/9109.html
http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/2728.html
http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/2738.html
http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/2739.html
http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/2740.html

Rai0414 is right, take the summer to arm yourself with knowledge, and then make sure your child receives appropriate accommodations and services at school.

Good luck!
Penny
ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 01, 2014 at 4:55pm

Hi lovelybonesiowa!

You will have to stand your ground with the school and demand the appropriate education for your son.

Currently, they are punishing him for his disability. This is not acceptable and, I believe, against the law under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The IEP team needs to come together and make a plan for how to handle his outbursts at school.

You are right, every time they sent him home, they taught him to act out and then he could go home and not have to try to fit in their box. It will take a strong and consistent effort to undo this. I suggest behavioral therapy.

When my son was in 2nd grade, he was punching another child several times a week. He couldn’t stand to see the rules not followed or anyone hurt, so he punched the other kid involved every time anyone in the classroom did anything wrong or hurtful, whether to him or not. It was all he knew to do and instinctive. Each and every time this happened, we had a conversation with him that went something like this:

“Why did you hit Sam?”
“He took Sally’s crayons.”
“How did that make you feel?”
“It made me mad.”
“What are some other ways to show someone you are angry?”
(He and I would work together to list more appropriate ways to show anger, but he has to lead this to practice problem solving.)
“So, when Sam took Sally’s crayons, was it ok to hit Sam?”
“No, Momma.”
“What can you do to show you are angry next time something like this happens?”
“Use my words to tell Sam I’m mad, and tell my teacher.”
“Right!”

I learned this method from the book “The Explosive Child” by Ross Greene. I highly recommend you read that book. As well, he has a great webinar on ADDitudeMag.com you should listen to: http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/10272.html.

As for getting the school to handle outbursts appropriately, and at school, your best bet would be to hire an educational advocate if you can (some cities have non-profit organizations that can provide advocacy services free of charge). The advocate will make appropriate suggestions to the school for the behavior issues and push the school to implement. Schools are much more accommodating to suggestions from advocates than parents.

There are also some great free downloads on ADDitudeMag.com on ADHD at school, IEP plans, meeting effectively with teachers, and sample accommodations:
http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/9109.html
http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/2728.html
http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/2738.html
http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/2739.html
http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/2740.html

Rai0414 is right, take the summer to arm yourself with knowledge, and then make sure your child receives appropriate accommodations and services at school.

Good luck!
Penny
ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 01, 2014 at 4:55pm

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