Alternative middle school specializing in ADHD

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    • #61080

      This comment is for parents ONLY. I do not want to get ads from schools. For context, I have an 11-year-old son with ADHD and learning disorders. He is new to middle school and is currently failing every subject, despite the accommodations offered with his IEP.

      I am in a situation where I will need to get another job next year. My husband works remotely so we are not tied to our area in Indiana, and family is in other states. While the school is making accommodations for my son, the approach that it is taking to my son’s learning will probably never work with my son.

      I am seriously considering packing up my family and moving close to a middle school that specializes in ADHD. My husband supports this idea as well, as long as I can get a full-time job that is close by. As a result, I would restrict my job search to areas close to these schools.

      Do you have an experience at a middle school like this that you would be willing to share with me, either positive or negative? Thank you so much for willing to be transparent with me.

    • #61083

      I don’t have experience with a specialty ADHD school. However my son is also 11 and in his first year of middle school and I will share what they do that works well for my son. Maybe as you are talking with prospective schools these ideas might give you good questions to ask them. In lieu of a second elective he has a directed studies class. All 6th graders have it here. During this period they go over their planners together to be sure all assignments and homework are listed and understood. They can also use this time to redo any tests or assignments they scored below a 60% and they can resubmit those to get an average of the two scores on said assignment and raise their grade. This is also a period where they can bring unfinished classwork and get help completing it or where they can make up work/tests missed due to absence. The school also offers one period each of math and language where there are two teachers instead of just one to help students who need it. Instead of the 30min silent reading period most students have, he takes a life skills class where the kids work on social skills and interpersonal communication. He has a hand tremor so he was issued an iPad to do all written work which he submits by email. The district has a real time grading app that parents can use to track every assignment and every grade so you are alerted if an assignment is missing or has a low score as the teacher records it. Because his IEP allows for extra time to turn in assignments this is helpful in making sure he completes missing work and still gets full credit (in my son’s case it’s often that he completes an assignment on time but forgets to turn it in). Finally he has the option to tell the teacher if he needs a mental break and he is allowed a 10min session with the counselor on request. We’re only a month in, but these tools are helping him maintain A’s in all his classes for now and most of these options are available to all students, not just those with disabilities. I wish you luck and success in your school search. We moved from a school district that had no clue how to help him to one that is experienced with kids like him and it has made a world of difference.

      • #62579

        BBLK, I feel like a whiner when I look at your list. My son is getting all of this and more. When I reflect on his needs, two things stand out: 1) his learning disability in math, and 2) the incessant Chromebook use. He tests very low in math, and right now he is mainstreamed in a normal 6th grade classroom. He does have several aides, and he also has a second math period in which he is given a lot of help with understanding the concepts. I personally think his failing grades are due to being overwhelmed, but it also seems that he has very low motivation as well right now. Also, has anyone noticed issues with ADHD and a lot of computer usage in the schools? This is probably a totally different topic and belongs in its own string. My son plays around with the computer instead of using it for his work, and his friend who also has ADHD told me that the computer usage “speeds up” his brain even faster.

        deb91, Thanks for the info on the KY school.

        ADHDmomma, I just read Gina’s story. Beautiful! I will look up the school as well. Many thanks!

    • #61126

      BRLK – I want my son to go to your son’s school! If my son had that directed studies option alone that would solve so many of our problems! I think I’m going to suggest that to his middle school, a study hall instead of an elective like Agriscience that he will prbly never use.

      Lisa – I live in KY and there is a school in a neighboring town that is private and geared specifically for kids with ADHD, ASD, LD, etc. It is called the KORE Academy. I have thought about having my son go there, except it would be way out of my way to take him to school there and then drive back to work, plus the expense of tuition. This school is a K-12 and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council. Their website is I don’t have experience with the school or know anyone who does. You could probably ask for references from current and former students though.

    • #61776
      Penny Williams

      This is Gina Gallagher’s (of Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid fame) story of great success for her daughter in a specialty school: She recommends that school wholeheartedly.

      I have a friend whose son goes to a twice-exceptional school in Los Angeles; I believe it’s Bridges Academy ( She raves about it.

      And here’s a high school started by parents of a child with learning difficulties: If there’s a good middle school in the Chicago area, this could be the next step.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #62762

      Hi. I live in northern VA outside of Washington DC. There are a few schools in the area for children with “learning differences”. I hear great things about all of them. My 12 year old son, who has ADHD, Dyslexia and anxiety, goes to Oakwood School and he’s been there since 4th grade. Love this school! Best decision we ever made for our son. He no longer HATES school and he’s doing much better academically. Unfortunately, it only goes until 8th grade. There really are no high schools in the area that offer exclusive help for kids like ours. Good luck in your search.

    • #63109

      Hello Lisa.
      I totally hear your concern and frustration. We started to notice our son’s ADD symptoms with depression in middle school. His GPA was 1.6. His self-esteem was depleted; he was highly depressed and borderline suicidal. He spoke negative about himself and wondered why God made him this way. We started with comprehensive testing and brain scans at Amen Clinic in Cosa Mesa, CA (one just opened in Chicago). We got a wonderful diagnosis and they started with nutraceuticals and talk therapy to help heal his brain for 8 months. That helped, but we needed more so we continued with the nutraceuticals, added Concerta (medication for ADD) and at the recommendation of his doctor, at Dr. Amen’s clinic, we selected to try a military boarding school, St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, WI (North of Milwaukee, WI). My son started the summer during his 8th grade year, as a test, to see if he would do well there academically. Over the summer, at St. John’s, our son took Algebra I and obtained a B+ average. We knew that we had found our solution. It was a multi-disciplinary approach requiring, comprehensive ADD testing, talk therapy (now discontinued), medication and the structure of a military boarding school. Our son is now a junior in high school with a 3.5 GPA, in honors classes and was inducted into the Chinese National Honor Society (my son is not Chinese). His confidence and ability to self manage is awe inspiring. Moreover, he is now able to help lead other young men struggling with similar concerns. The classes at St. John’s are very small and their is a lot of peer-to-peer support for learning and mentoring. I do not think our son would be doing so well with nutraceuticals, talk therapy and Concerta alone. It was the structure (limiting computer time, structured study hours and the oversight of the school’s leadership and faculty) that has enabled our son to excel to the point where he can now lead others. If you want more info about the school you can call email me at and we can set up a time to talk. Yes, this was the hardest decision I had to make as a mother because I only have one child. But, it was the best decision for him! I am so proud of the 16 year old young man he has become over the last 3.5 years at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy. I hope to talk soon. Bev

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