getting through the school year/dealing with referrals

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    • #104386
      dragoncita
      Participant

      I have posted here many times and appreciate all the help. Our son is 10 years old, he takes Ritalin LA, we live in Mexico but it looks like we will be moving to the US at the end of the school year. I think this will be a positive move as there are good public schools there, and therapy, support groups, etc. Well, I hope so.

      We decided to wait until the end of the school year so that we can get our things in order, figure out how to move, job stuff, but also to give our son some closure — this is the only school he’s ever been to and a big part of his life.

      However, he CONSTANTLY gets referrals (this is basically a note home that means you’re in trouble). They are always basically for having ADHD. He has had 7 since the beginning of the year. Today he got one for being rude (saying “boo” or “oh no”) when other kids got up to present in Spanish class. He told me that it wasn’t personal; he didn’t mean to be mean, but every time someone presents their answer, the class has to discuss it and the noise of everyone talking makes his head want to explode.

      We will have (yet) another behavior meeting about him next week. They will probably suspend him again (as they did after three referrals).

      My question is, what should I do when he gets the referrals? They are always for things like not being able to focus, impulsivity, executive function. Thus far I basically discuss them with him, talk especially about how we should treat other people, and sign them. But do you think I should punish him? Ignore them? What?

      How can we get through the next 7 months?

      Thanks for any advice you can give.

    • #104550
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      The things you listed that he’s getting in trouble for — “not being able to focus, impulsivity, executive function” — are all symptoms of ADHD. This is his brain. No amount of punishment will change that. He’s basically being punished for having a disability, which is not acceptable at all. 🙁

      I don’t know what sort of rights are in place for students in Mexico with disabilities, but if there are any, I’d challenge the school that they are discriminating due to disability. In the US, you could ask for a Functional Behavior Assessment and a resulting Behavior Intervention Plan that would call for no punishments for disability-related behavior.

      Now, if the safety of himself or others is at risk in these behaviors, then they definitely need to be addressed, but in a way that will actually help.

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

    • #104554
      dragoncita
      Participant

      Right, as I said above, they (the referrals) are always basically for having ADHD. It’s a private school; no rights. This is why we are leaving.

      My question is about the next 7 months: how do you think *I* should address the referrals with him? Do you think I should ignore them?

    • #104680
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      Personally, I’d just talk to him and let him know that you know he’s being punished for things outside his control and that you know it’s unfair. Let him know you still expect him to do his best, but you understand that the school is expecting him to do things his ADHD makes very difficult, and you will not punish him for times when he was being punished for having ADHD.

      Penny
      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #104723
      dragoncita
      Participant

      Thanks for your advice; I appreciate it.

      Now I have a different problem. It seems he’s been stealing from kids at the school. Money. He’s gone into at least one backpack and one wallet and taken the money. He’s had problems before with taking things. He’s also using his lunch money to buy things (there’s a store at the school, of course) instead of food. He only copped to stealing the money when I told him there are video cameras (which is true). He only showed remorse after I looked really sad for about 24 hours (which I was). I just found out about the lunch money so I haven’t talked to him about it yet. There’s a big meeting with the school on Monday about it. We are on the same page about stealing money, though not about anything else. I just don’t know what to do. I’m so worried about my kid and I feel like there’s no one to support or help us. THanks for listening.

    • #104725
      Andler
      Participant

      So, I was one of those kids who would steal stuff. It started when I was young, probably 12-13 when I really started seeing things I wanted and couldn’t get. My parents weren’t poor by any means, but I didn’t ask for anything for fear of rejection.

      My biggest reason for stealing was because I didn’t have money for the things that other kids had. In my pre-teen years, I wanted those cool gel pens and novelty toys like fidget spinners. Back then, they were magnets and other various, cheap, knick-knacks. I would steal from piles of money my step mother had from when she was the treasurer on a youth athletic board. She would obviously notice the money missing, but I was 1 of 3 boys, so she couldn’t tell who it was. Once my parents figured it out, they took me to the sheriffs station and straightened me out. I never kept track of the money I stole, so when the Sheriff asked how much I took, I honestly had no idea. I stopped after that and figured it was easier to just go without.

      Now that I am 28 with a 7 year old son who has ADHD, I’ve been concerned with the stealing, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem. It is very likely due to the fact that I let him buy the little novelty items like the sizzler magnets, pokemon cards, fidget spinners, etc. I make him work in order to earn cash. Yeah, he might be spending it on some things that will get broken or lost within a week, but he won’t have a need to want to have it any longer after the novelty has worn off. Plus, he has already started to understand what it’s like to earn a dollar, the right way. I know it’s not a cheap solution, or even the right one, but that is my experience having been the theif at that age. Now, I’m raising a little mini me that is identical in every way except for his brown eyes.

    • #104750
      dragoncita
      Participant

      Thanks for your insight, really. But we do buy him some things, if he had asked me for money for stuff for his school project (what he spent his lunch money on) I would have given it to him. He just lied to me several times WHILE discussing this. I guess he’s a pathological liar? I don’t know.

    • #105188

      I work in 2 schools as a counselor and am the 504 coordinator for both schools and if your son is diagnosed with ADHD, and it affects his learning, he qualifies for a 504. Which is accommodations for his ADHD. You would need to talk to the school’s 504 person to see that he gets accommodations for his ADHD. There is also a behavior accommodation section in most 504’s as well. I would check with his school.

    • #105248
      andreajpoma
      Participant

      I don’t think your son is a pathological liar, and he’s doing what a lot of kids do. I’m not a therapist either, so take this with a grain of salt, but based on his having a hard time with ADHD behaviors and feeling like he isn’t in control (i.e., he gets in trouble for things that are instinctive to him and probably he can’t control at this point), he’s looking for ways to create a feeling of control. Obtaining money and having the ability to pay for something – independent of anyone else’s feelings or rules – would be an excellent way to control something for a kid.

      My advice is to find ways to show him that he has control in his life. I don’t know what those would be for him, but this idea of giving a powerless kid a feeling of control (really, self-control) really has helped my own son.

      • #105249

        Maybe some sort of allowance or way to make money through doing work around the house could help? It’d probably help him understand how other kids feel having their money taken, establish a sense of independence, and help him buy things without having to ask.

    • #105337
      Auntie Rita
      Participant

      Having raised a child ADHD, and another with ADD, I have some ADD tendencies, and a grandson with ADHD…I have a little experience with how not to deal with situations. I have a few suggestions.

      1) Try to remain calm. Yelling and screaming just doesn’t work. If they are in trouble at school, they have been dealing with troubled thoughts about what is waiting for them at home.

      2) Become familiar with DBT. Dialectic Behavior Therapy is a method of teaching kids to control themselves. It teaches them how to think instead of just do whatever pops in their active little minds.
      Some prisons use this type of behavior control in order for a prisoner to qualify for parole. It helps reduce repeat offending.

      3) Love that kid to pieces. Most are really brilliant and you can’t see it if you have a negative attitude and focus only on the behavior that they get into trouble for. Invest in them, get the help they need. Counseling or whatever they need. Whatever you might need for yourself.

      I have mixed feelings about meds, I used them for my son and it helped him to focus and reduce some of his behaviors. But I didn’t have enough wisdom to add DBT to the mix. It’s not the answer for everything, but it gives you a good tool and skills in listening and self control. All these things will help you give your child the tools he needs to survive and thrive in his world.

    • #105212
      sandman2
      Participant

      It is possible that his medication is not working for him as well as it should. Ritalin LA should last at least 8 hours and it sounds like it is wearing off much sooner. If he has been on the same medication for several years this is really possible.
      I also wondered when you said that, “the noise of everyone talking makes his head want to explode.” if he also might have SPD or sensory processing disorder. It is somewhat common for kids with adhd. Are there other things that bother him like bright lights, textures,
      tastes, noises, etc? This is something that an OT can diagnose and treat when you get back to the states. More on that here.
      https://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/
      And, I do agree with the others. You do not punish him for something that he cannot control. You do practice, practice, practice things at home that he can then carry over to school.

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