Behavior Issues in School

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  ian90 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #101932


    My son is 5 years old and the sweetest boy. Everyone loves him.. He just started full day kindergarten back in September. This was his teachers second year teaching and she reminded me of a little mouse.. She was danty and I think a pushover.. My son needs someone will will push him.. I got a letter from his teacher on 10/3 stating that he was hitting, kicking, spiting (learned from another student) other students and the teacher. She also said that he sat behind her desk all day and did not work what so ever.. I got so upset and excepted that his ADHD was affecting his education. I called his Neurologist right away and was forced to make the decision to put him on medication (it broke my heard. I felt like I failed him) The doctor gave him a patch that goes on weekly and stays on. I got a call last week (6 days into the medicine) from his case worker, school behaviorist, and teacher.. They wanted to move him from the class because they felt his behaviors of refusing to do work the whole day was fueled by attention given by his classmates.. I agreed to the change. He started with his new teacher this past Monday and things were great Monday and Tuesday.. He was happy going to school.. He didn’t give me a problem doing homework. It was like a completely different child.. Then yesterday comes. The teacher calls me to introduce herself to me and is praising my son.. He is the sweetest most compassionate child. Very positive call. She is a toughlove teacher and I was happy. It was short lived. Two hours later I get a call from the teacher that they had to remove all the kids out of the class and that he has been in a melt down phase for over an hour already.. They had people in the class trying to calm him down.. It broke my heart.. When was they say that they had to remove all the kids (which I understand) and they were trying to calm him down.. I called her back to check and they said they were able to calm him down.
    I feel like I am battling the whole world to make sure my son gets what he needs in help.. My husband is never on the same page with me. And my son spends most of his time with me and I do everything (waking up, feeding, spending time, homework, feeding, getting him ready, dressing, bathtime, reading books, nighttime)
    My husbands family is far from supportive and I see he gets it from them. I am finding myself very emotional and helpless. I spend all my time with him and rarely do anything with him with me.
    Does anyone else go though this??

  • #101949


    This is the age we discovered my son has horrible anxiety. The behaviors you’re decribing of refusing to do work, hiding behind the desk and the inconsolable meltdowns can all be signs of anxiety. If the patch he is wearing is Daytrana, that’s a stimulant and stimulants can make anxiety worse. I would discuss the possibility of anxiety with your doctor. We did great my son with medication for anxiety first at age 6, then moved to meds to control his impulsivity and other ADHD behaviors once he seemed to be less anxious. Mine is 12 now. ADHD/ASD (added to his dx at age 9) with anxiety and he takes meds to treat all of it. He still has rough days but treating the anxiety, if it is an issue, can make a huge difference in behavior.

    • #101954


      The patch is a medication called Clonidine.

  • #101956


    Ah. Well clonodine is a non stimulant so wouldn’t necessarily exacerbate anxiety but you might not rule it out. FWIW my son took clonodine at one point and it made him tired, which made him grumpy and made him act out in class too. He was a little older though. Both clonodine and guanfacine/Intunive has this effect on him.

  • #101963


    So are they calling you to just inform you of what’s going on at school or to ask you to “fix” the situation?
    My son is almost 18 so lots of years of dealing with school here. One thing I found that often helped in these situations was to say “ok thanks for letting me know- so what are you planning on doing about it ?” I often felt school was too quick to call me for a solution. Those calls that forced me (I felt forced anyway) to have to be the case manager resulted in me having PTSD and my sons ADHD morphing into Severe anxiety, depression, school refusal and now him dropping out of school this year – 12th Grade. So
    He doesn’t get to graduate with his friends and who feels like the failure – him and me. Even though I feel the school should be partly to blame as well.

    I’m hoping my story will help someone like you to advocate better than I did. If he doesn’t have an IEP or 504 then you should request a full psychoeducational evaluation. There are form letters on this website you can use as a guide.

    You should also request a meeting in the meantime with all involved parties to figure out exactly why he is having these behaviors. I just came from a workshop with Dr Ross Greene – if you are not familiar with him please google him. His website Lives in the Balance is very helpful in these exact situations. He believes kids do well if they can and if they are not doing well then we need to figure out why. That means you have to involve the student in the solution. If you just have adults trying to impose unilateral solutions they will rarely work, everyone will be more frustrated and precious time will be lost.

    And please make sure you are taking care of yourself through all of this. I didn’t for awhile and that was hard because I couldn’t be as available to my kids since I was trying to play catch up and take care of the part of me I had ignored for a long time.

    • #101981


      I believe they are calling me to inform me. He has had an IEP for three years and this past January we got a 504 letter. But they said we don’t need the 504 letter if he has an IEP..

    • #102228


      Dr. Ross Greene’s organization has a Parent Tour on the website. It is free, and gives an overview of his approach.

      We treat our child’s behavior as an anxiety issue and have to consistently and persistently “Change the lens” on issues for teachers and school administration. When we set up the 504, we made a point of using language with a “lagging skills” approach.. rather than perpetuating the myths that our child is lazy/deliberately rude etc.

      If you do not have a 504/IEP in place, I recommend requesting an evaluation for both of these items in writing. By putting it I writing it is now in their court to document and discuss the findings with you/your husband.

  • #102137


    Two things come to mind:
    1. The medication isn’t right for him and causing additional behavior problems; OR,
    2. He is being triggered by the environment at school or the way people are interacting with him.

    Behavior is communication. Kids don’t just have meltdowns — there’s a trigger or other antecedent. Until you figure out what that is, you can’t improve the behavior.

    Time for Plan B? 10 Tips for Dealing with an Explosive Child

    I would request 2 things of the school:
    1. Do a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) to create a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). This meeting should be facilitated by a behavior specialist, helping to identify potential reasons for the behavior and strategies to try; AND,
    2. Call an IEP meeting. Clearly, his current IEP isn’t serving him like it should.

    5 School Assessments Your Child May Be Entitled To

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

    • #102139


      Thank you for the information.. He is on the third patch so I know it takes two weeks to start seeing a difference and anywhere from 2-4 months to really see the affects of the medicine.. Your post put my mind at ease because the school already requested that they do a Functional Behavioral Assessment on him and I signed the paperwork to do so.. So it looks liek I am on the correct path.. Plus his neurologist was able to fit him in at the end of November..

  • #102557


    How is he sleeping at night? I also have a 5 year old, not diagnosed yet but I have ADHD and I see the signs. I am having him evaluated because his teacher did say he has a hard time focusing and starting his work. I started using melatonin at night to get him to fall asleep easier and it has been working well. I also cleaned up his diet tremendously (I always feel this works well for him), and started him on a vitamin regimen. I know for me if I don’t get enough sleep I am cranky and tired, but as an adult I am able to control how I feel outwardly. Hopefully some of this helps!

  • #102567


    First of all, you are not alone. Your story sounds a lot like ours. My son is now 6 and in the first grade. He also has had an IEP for the past three years.We are on our third medication and did try guanfacine which is similar to Clonidine. As others have said it can make your child tired and with both of mine very emotional and sad. My younger son has now been on Strattera for a few weeks and is doing much better. The older one (12 year old) is going to start Strattera today.I hope that your school is working with some sort of a reward system and consequence system that is always immediate, not postponed. We recently moved from California to Texas and while in kindergarten my son was at the principal’s office regularly, here they choose to suspend him. He has been suspended multiple times this year but that is not an immediate consequence. He doesn’t like school so it’s also not a deterrent. He has now been assigned a one-on-one for the majority of the school day. This allows him to be in the classroom, which he prefers to a separate room without peers. Between the medication change and the one-on-one he has improved tremendously, not to say we don’t still have to deal with tantrums but they are fewer and less severe. Well, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and offer what has worked for us. Good luck!

  • #102572


    This is the first I have been on here. My son who is 9 has been on medication since he was 4 years old.
    Many different ones. He is disruptive, ODD, ADHD, has meltdowns. Alot, Some years are better when he gets great teachers and great school environment. One year, month, week, day or even hour of inconsistency and not caring attitude, low tolerance and frustration level from adults around him, he regresses and has meltdown. We have struggled for 5 years and he’s on his 3rd school just this year. I wish i had more and better advice. We have had it all, FBA, pscyho evals, best doctors and drained our savings. the fact is school will do what they want and only takes one adult in his surrounding to make things go seriously south. So even in the best schools or best laid BIP plan, it’s only as good as those CARING for your child. The word is CARING. If they are treated like just another child that needs to be whipped into compliance, it only makes things worse. I wish I could help my son as well but I guess the only thing we can do is love them UNCONDITIONALLy because finding the older they get, the more adults around him do not

  • #102576


    Don’t loose hope and transform your frustration into action. First ADHD in a marathon . Every day brings a new challenge. I can tell you are a good mom and please don’t ever doubt that. Im a retired pediatrician and the mother of a young woman of 20 who was diagnosed to have ADHD at 18 after her first year at Cornell, and the loving aunt of a 10 year old girl with the worse case of ADHD I’ve ever seen. They are both doing very well in school and in life but the road of ADHD is a roller coster ride. Base in my experiences as a doctor a mom and an aunt this is my advise: Get your boy tested and evaluated by a psychologist that specializes in ADHD and other learning disabilities. The more detailed and thorough The evaluation the easier to find the right medication and Treatment it will be. Be aware that there is no magic medication or medication dose. Before we found the right medication at the right dose we have tried different medications at different doses . What works for one patient not necessarily will work for another. Meds even at the right dose will not be all the solution. Proper nutrition, behavioral and cognitive therapy, and even the right environment at school and home are extremely important and part of the solution. But my most important advise to you is : you have to get your husband in the same page. The key is education.You can start by giving him articles from this magazine (By the way I love It, It had Help my family a lot). Not just the ones that explain the condition, but also the ones that show the impact ADHD have, and the difference the right Treatment makes. Ask him to go to your boys visits to doctors, psychologists, therapist, teachers. I assure you your boy senses you are not in the same page and that contributes to his behavior.He needs both mom and dad to understand what he is going through. it’s not easy to be a kid with ADHD. The rest of the family have to either get in the same page or get out of the way. You are now your kid’s advocate and he have rights. Schoolteachers, counselors ,and principal have to be part of the solution . You have the right to demand help. Inform yourself about your boys rights and don’t be afraid to demand.Continue educating yourself about your boys condition. Talk with people that are in the same boat . My best wishes for you and your sweet boy. Remember there is nothing stronger than a mother trying to protect her babies.

  • #102588


    I agree with the participant who said you son is being triggered by the environment. Medications help but are not magic wands.
    In preschool my son refused to do a lot of activities in the class. I took him out. Then kindergarten came and he would do well with the main teacher but not the aids nor her reading teacher. Sometimes people need to know how to interact to create cooperation…maybe this school is not for him.
    Small class, interactive activities with teacher who engage and are calm but firm worked for us.

    Best wishes.

    • #103108


      Since we switched teachers and started the patch along with natural things he seems to be doing a lot better.. I am thinking he also has some anxiety going on.. In preschool he use to bite his nails all the way down.. He stopped probably around last April and now I noticed he started again.. The teacher said he does really well in the am but the afternoon is his down fall.. He is like clock work at a curtain time he starts asking for me and wanting me.. Luckily the teacher has been able to redirect him when this starts..

  • #102589


    Don’t give up! I know how hard this is and have been there. I recommend bodywork as it can really help his body start to regulate. The best site for this is This was started by Sonia Story who had 2 daughters with major sensory processing issues. There are online classes taught very clearly about massage and bodywork tools that you can do to start helping your child’s body. They really work but need to be done daily for quite awhile–if you do them though as a routine they will make a lasting difference.
    I especially love the Rhythmic Movements that she teaches (based on a book called Movements that Heal). Also there is one other bodywork tool at that you can add as well. You can also look for a practitioner in your area.
    Then add some nutritional supplements and diet changes (www.mychildwillthrive) or find a MAPS trained doctor in your area.
    Take good care of yourself and start to add these things in one day at a time. It can be overwhelming but it’s worth digging in to deeper solutions for your child then just medication (which treats more symptoms, less the underlying cause). No judgement towards medication, but in my experience with a very affected explosive ADHD/oppositional 5 yo boy (who is now a mostly normal functioning 11 yo) it took the deeper solutions to make a true change. He is medication free and it took a lot of bodywork and reading on my part. I had to rest a lot and cry at times too. But I never gave up and I kept reading and working to heal his body & sensory processing system. Take care!

  • #102701


    I have a 6 year old boy with adhd/odd. Last week he was sent to the office because of his behavior. Now my concern is that the school implemented a new program that allow children to have a party every 2 months that haven’t been to the office and gotten in trouble. I got a call from school that same day to pick him up because he was acting out again (because he missed the party) he was so sad. To top it all off they put him on in school detention on the following week because of his behavior on the day of the party.
    I just feel like they are punishing him non stop for something he can’t control. I need advice please I called the counselor and we are having a meeting to go over his 504 plan later on this week. I’m just sad by the way he is getting treated.

    • #102881


      You must fight this. Kids should not be punished for behavior that results from a disability. You wouldn’t punish a child in a wheelchair because he didn’t walk up the steps like everyone else.

      In writing, ask the school to perform a Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) and create a resulting Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). The BIP should include that he is NOT to be suspended for behavior related to a disability, and that he’s not to be left out of parties and such for behaviors related to his disability. This is NO OK.

      5 School Assessments Your Child May Be Entitled To

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

  • #102774


    You are right. They are punishing him for something he cannot control. I would advocate for a one-on-one.Most of the people who work in the public school system don’t have experience with special needs children. They need to know that these children aren’t purposely making mistakes. They want to belong and be accepted just like everybody else. I think they need to use more positive reinforcement. My son was always in the principal’s office in kindergarten. Then we moved and now in first grade they suspended him multiple times initially. Now with a one-on-one he has not been suspended. He has also started Strattera, which seems to be helping. I didn’t want to medicate but tried every supplement and dietary restriction and he was still having such a hard time. I hope this helps.

  • #102859


    I am a Speech language pathologist and work with children with ADHD. I usually work in a multidisciplinary team which includes an Occupational therapist. I think that your son could benefit from an OT assessment focusing on sensory integration function and processing The therapist could help figure out what triggers these outbursts, but then should help educate you and the school staff on triggers but more importantly solutions. A good OT should be able to also help your son recognize triggers himself and help him become self aware, and responsible for himself as time goes on. The OT could probably help you with educating your husband and help “get him on board” as well. I often see this in my practice (husbands reluctant to see the problem), however with good team work,
    (You, your son, the teacher, OT, Dr,and other “team members) you could all help educate your husband and eventually he will join the team and thank you for years that he did. Look up an approach called “cogfun” and see if there is a provider near you. If not, see what might be similar. there is also another multidisciplinary similar type of treatment designed for autism, but based on the same model – Floortime – Dr stanley greenspan and Serena Weider – they have an excellent website.
    Good luck!

    • #103109


      My son has speech and OT in school.. Speech twice a week and I believe OT once a week..

  • #103139


    I’m new to posting so forgive me if this is not helpful.

    I did a lot of similar things at school, with a good teacher I learnt a lot, behaved fairly well and for the most part didn’t attack children or teachers.

    When the good teacher left I didn’t do so well and was very anxious and even with medication acted out, to the point I was no longer welcome at the school, at this point I was around 10 years old and on Ritalin.

    I moved to a school where the teaching staff understood that I could become bored or anxious and allowed me to leave my class to work in IT or mechanics which I enjoyed, I left school with good results, which considering my concentration level was surprising.

    The medication aside, as I haven’t had the ones mentioned in my experience if I was given something that interested me, even in a classroom situation I would focus on it and have no problem, when I was bored well that’s another story!

    Hope I didn’t get too far off topic!

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