I need input from parents of kids with ADHD or similar struggles

internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
I got this email today from my son's teacher.
Hi Leticia,
I just wanted to check in with you regarding Jared. Lately he has had some difficult days. He has not turned in math or reading homework for several weeks straight. He has hit and shoved other classmates numerous times. His actions are rarely made out of anger. When Jared is overly physical with other students, it is usually caused by sudden impulses. I am reluctant to send him to the principal because I know that it is his inability to control himself that leads to these incidents. However, a couple of students have really been hurt by his actions. I sent one behavior slip home to be signed, but Jared has lost it. I have let him know that I would send you a note regarding behavior. When we sat at conference time, we tentatively set up a plan where you would pick him up after school on Wednesdays if he turned in his homework regularly. I introduced the plan to Jared, but it was not effective in motivating him to do homework. In doing research on working with kids with ADHD, and based on your recommendations, I have learned that immediate reward systems are most effective. I have tried some, but they have not impacted Jared’s behavior. I really like Jared. He is smart, funny, and very curious. I want to give you a picture of what I am seeing so that you are aware of his struggles at school. It is the time of year when teachers make decisions about which class to place the students in next year. I have requested that Jared be placed in a straight 4th grade class (no split or multi-age) that is highly structured. I am hopeful that he will be more successful in a smaller environment.
Thanks,
****

I am not sure what to do. I have avoided medication for him up to this point, but I am concerned that his struggles in school will continue to get worse. I am going to set up another appointment with his doctor, and see if there is something else that she can suggest that we do.

Comments

  • cosmicflycosmicfly Posts: 1,814Registered Users
    I am not the parent of a kid with ADHD but I am a speech pathologist and I work with young kids. I can let you know that I have seen the right medication make a big difference in behavior and school performance for some kids and not so much in others. If I was faced with this as a parent, at this point I might investigate the possibility of a trial of medication with the doctor. What other supports are in place for him at school?

    I will check back, I'm pretty sure I'm not in labor yet, but if I don't get right back to this, that might be why.
  • sundaysunday Posts: 535Registered Users
    As a teacher, one of the most effective things I have seen work for ADD students (and I know it's the end of the school year) is an assignment notebook. Everyday the student and teacher write down exactly what the student needs to do that night, even if there is no homework, and both the parent and teacher sign it. It really helps with organization and homework. There is also a reward system which goes along with this. As far as medicine goes, I have seen it do wonders for kids. I understand why you wouldn't want your child to take it though. One bad thing is that most kids have to go through a trial adjustment period before they find the right dose.
    3 something
    fotki pw: sunday
  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    sunday wrote: »
    As a teacher, one of the most effective things I have seen work for ADD students (and I know it's the end of the school year) is an assignment notebook. Everyday the student and teacher write down exactly what the student needs to do that night, even if there is no homework, and both the parent and teacher sign it. It really helps with organization and homework.

    My son is in the 3rd grade and every student has a daily planner. I have to sign off on it everyday. I also correspond with his teacher in the planner.
  • CynaminbearCynaminbear Posts: 4,476Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    My son would get extremely, uncontrollably hyper and oppositional when he had any of the foods he's sensitive/allergic to.
    My only personal experience with ADHD was our foster daughter took Adderal (sp?). The difference was very noticeable when she forgot to take it, and there was no way she could go without even on weekends.

    My brother was hyperactive when he was young, and while I'm not an expert, I think he could have been diagnosed with ADHD. My mom tried the Feingold diet for him and the change was very noticeable. Especially if he had a trigger food like tomatoes, he was impossible to deal with. A friend of mine put her son on the Feingold diet as a preteen. It helped tremendously, but the damage for him had already been done regarding behavior becoming habit.
    My former roommate had a son diagnosed with ADHD, as well as having asthma. She found a doctor that did nutritional testing, had him evaluated and they gave her a detailed list of supplements for him to take. The first 3 weeks he got worse, then suddenly he was a new child. He was evaluated annually and adjustments would be made to the different things he'd have to take.
    There's no such thing as global warming. Chuck Norris was cold so he turned up the sun.
  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    Like cynaminbear mentioned I'd definitely look into food allergies (via a naturopath or natural minded doc) before considering meds. I know the school system definitely sees the benefit of meds in ADHD children but only because it tends to make their job easier. Only you as the parent can weight the pros & cons in light of your kid as a whole person.

    Doesn't hurt to investigate food & other allergies first just to eliminate any doubt.
  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    I will bring up the allergy possibility to his doctor. She's not a rush to medication kind of doctor, so I know she will be open to exploring other avenues. It's just that he's going to be in fourth grade next year and every school year he has these problems. I am starting to wonder if my being so anti-medication is to his detriment.

    :(
  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    IC, does your son have an IEP plan? If so, ask for a behavioral consultant to be brought in to work with your son and his teacher.

    I agree with Marielle and Cyn. There's absolutely no harm in eliminating certain foods to see if there's a difference in behavior.

    You're a wonderful mom, L. Drugs are a big deal and I think it's very wise of you to explore other alternatives beforehand.
  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    medussa is wise - definitely use his IEP to make sure he has the resources he needs to succeed and if he doesn't have one, now would be the time to push for one. I agree, that your resistance to meds just shows how committed you are as a parent to explore other avenues first like you already have.
  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    Thank you.

    He doesn't have an IEP. I will ask about that.
  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    cosmicfly wrote: »
    I am not the parent of a kid with ADHD but I am a speech pathologist and I work with young kids. I can let you know that I have seen the right medication make a big difference in behavior and school performance for some kids and not so much in others. If I was faced with this as a parent, at this point I might investigate the possibility of a trial of medication with the doctor. What other supports are in place for him at school?

    I will check back, I'm pretty sure I'm not in labor yet, but if I don't get right back to this, that might be why.
    I guess you were in labor! Happy birthing. :)
  • curlygirlymecurlygirlyme Posts: 1,340Registered Users
    IC

    I just had to mention that my teachers demanded I be put on meds as a child for ADHD. I was violent towards others (mostly provoked) and didn't do homework etc. It was really bad for awhile. Until my parents had be tested at a school at NIH and found that ADHD wasn't the problem at all, I had vision issues and it made everything worse for me. The school refused to help and still demanded the medication. After a year or so of the meds my parents were so pissed (because I had become a vegetable) that they chucked the pills in the trash and never made me take them again. It changed my life.

    It's seems your sons school is being a lot more compassionate about the situation I would suggest to take some of the advice offered here and explore all routes so your son can have a solution that really helps.
  • sundaysunday Posts: 535Registered Users
    I know the school system definitely sees the benefit of meds in ADHD children but only because it tends to make their job easier.

    Nine times out of ten, if there is a problem at school, there is also a problem at home. It is just so frustrating for teachers to see such potential in ADHD students and know that their condition is controlling them.

    IC - your son should have an IEP! You can even ask for a one on one aide to work with your son. The constant supervision and encouragement might make a huge difference.
    3 something
    fotki pw: sunday
  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    sunday wrote: »
    I know the school system definitely sees the benefit of meds in ADHD children but only because it tends to make their job easier.
    Nine times out of ten, if there is a problem at school, there is also a problem at home. It is just so frustrating for teachers to see such potential in ADHD students and know that their condition is controlling them.

    IC - your son should have an IEP! You can even ask for a one on one aide to work with your son. The constant supervision and encouragement might make a huge difference.

    Agreed, it's just that meds seem to be the prevalent answer from an overburdened school system when I've seen that if the parent is searching for answers a host of other options come up including diet modification, behavioral therapy, etc.

    eta: To clarify, I don't think the teachers mean harm to children by recommending meds just that it seems to be the first tangible (sometimes only) change they can recommend. Not many teachers are familiar with or sold on diet modification (ie. fiengold, GFCF, etc.) or with more alternative therapies. That's definitely where a parent who has reached the end of the list of mainstream suggestions suddenly goes on what seems like a neverending search of ideas to try and help their child without some of the developmental and physiological risks of meds.
  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    I spoke to his teacher, and she felt a 504 plan would be better for him than an IEP. IEP would require him to be put into special ed classes, which she doesn't feel he needs to be in. She said teachers are expected to follow the plan, and it goes with him each year. It will include things like accommodations for testing, behavior reward system, modified assignments, as well as other things. She is going to set up a meeting to go into further detail and get the ball rolling.

    Thank you all for your input. :)
  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    I spoke to his teacher, and she felt a 504 plan would be better for him than an IEP. IEP would require him to be put into special ed classes, which she doesn't feel he needs to be in. She said teachers are expected to follow the plan, and it goes with him each year. It will include things like accommodations for testing, behavior reward system, modified assignments, as well as other things. She is going to set up a meeting to go into further detail and get the ball rolling.

    Thank you all for your input. :)

    That's great news!!! I didn't realize that in your state, an IEP requires the child to be put in special Ed classes. In my state, the goal is to have the child in a regular ed class with some supports, if needed.

    I'm glad your son is going to get some assistance. Please keep us updated. icon14.gif
  • cosmicflycosmicfly Posts: 1,814Registered Users
    I was going to suggest you mention a 504 plan as opposed to an IEP- depending on your school district and his standardized test performance, an IEP might not be indicated. Just be sure you actually get the plan in writing as you would an IEP- I have seen parents informally agree to a 504 plan and a verbal agreement is not a guarantee that it needs to be implemented.

    Just to clarify- when I said to discuss a medication trial, I meant to get more information about the possibilities from the doctor before making a decision about meds. I think if you're willing to try diet modification first, it's worth trying. Like with the meds, I've seen diet modifications make a big difference for some kids and not much difference for others. It's really a trial and error until you find what works for your child. The other thing to keep in mind (and you probably have as you're obviously a great mom who is right on top of this) is that a diet change or medication can make it easier for your child to change his behavior, but they won't automatically get rid of learned behavior patterns. That's where the 504 plan, the behavior consultant, environmental modifications, etc come in. He'll still need support to be as successful as possible.

    I hope I'm making sense, I had a baby yesterday :).
  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    You made perfect sense, and congratulations!

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