Reply To: Med Refusal – Is This Reason Normal?

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Second, the law says they must accommodate students with disabilities and offer them a “free and appropriate education” just the same as non-disabled students. That means they have to accommodate so kids with disabilities have the same opportunity for learning and school “success.” The law DOES NOT say, “provide a free and appropriate public education to only students with disabilities who take medicine.”

Thank you for your response and the pamphlet.

The school is very much aware that they have to provide children with disabilities the same education. Trust me when I say they are very creative in the way they use both language and the school rules.

When it comes to discussing meds, they don’t break right into asking if he’s taking them. It’s more that they want to know if I’m following all “doctor’s instructions” or if I’ve kept all followup appointments for him, etc. Sometimes they directly ask if he’s taking his “doctor prescribed medications” but more out of “concern” for his health and treatment.

I know they really just want him on meds, but can’t come right out and say so.

Even when he takes his meds he’s not a model student, but, he’s on time, follows the school dress code, participates in class, finishes his homework (and that alone is amazing), does his reading assignments. I’m not in the classroom, but I do get reports from some of the other parents that he, like many high school students, can be difficult as well.

So, on meds, he’s never received a formal write up or suspension.

Off meds is another story. He has a few formal write ups for violations of school policy. None are for any form of violent behavior, just things like being late, not finishing homework, cutting up in class, etc.

To get around the federal law that they provide him an education, I think their plan is to write him up at every possible junction, then suspend him (it’s an “in school” suspension). With enough suspensions they can transfer him out. So, the transfer wouldn’t be because he’s not taking his meds, it would be because he has the required number of write ups. Yes, it’s a distinction without a difference. But, that is how I see it playing out.

OK, there is some good news. In a word, “driving”. He really wants to get his drivers licence and failed his first attempt at the written test.

I’m not happy that he failed it (to be frank, I’m not sure I could pass it and I’ve been driving for decades). I do, however, think it was a wake up for him. Maybe. It’s not uncommon for parents to have different dynamics with their kids. My husband has a very different style and relationship with my son. He works while I stay home.

Recently, we’ve tried a new approach. My husband took him for the driving test. My husband has been talking to him more than before about his med refusals. Frankly for my husband talk to him directly about it at all would be “more”. So, the next doctor’s appointment my husband (who rarely misses a day at work) is taking off to take my son to the doctor.

It’s not easy in many ways to step back. I don’t think I’ve said before that my son is adopted (I also don’t think I’ve said that he has two Dads). Seriously, I don’t think he or his friends care about that one way or the other. At least half of them come from families that through divorce and remarriage have a complicated family tree with aunts, uncles, cousins, step-brothers/sisters, half brothers/sisters. It’s just not a big deal.

So, there’s progress. The one thing my husband and I agree on is that he can’t start meds to get what he wants (like a drivers licences), then stop them until he wants something else. It’s either every day (or at least every school day) or not at all.

I’m an optimistic person by nature. I really do think we’ll find a way through this.

Lastly, please understand this, if you met my son, you’d like him. He’s a really nice person. Yes, he’s a teenager, but he gets on with people. He might meet you, say hello then go to his room to be alone – but, you wouldn’t feel as if he’d treated you badly.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.