School is not helpful

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    • #39832
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user JesseK in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      I have a 4th grade boy with ADHD.  We have been in the same district since kindergarten and the first two years were great! IEP was drafted and followed based on testing we had done the year before when he was going to start kindergarten (I held him back, he’s a September baby).  There was no issue anywhere.  Then fast forward to 2nd grade.  Our school district was rezoned and we were sent to another school (I found out years later I could have had a zone waiver approved to stay at the first school but didn’t know at the time).

      The principal never comes to the IEP meetings, which I’m okay with because she and I have had words regarding kiddo and his ADHD and behavior.  The vice principal that attends is dismissive and intimidating.  I walk away feeling like I’ve lost a battle.

      Then last year, they decided since he tested so high in IQ and grades that he no longer needed an IEP (again, I have since found out that was actually wrong and had no bearing on qualifying) and switched him to a 504.  His 504 is primarily for his severe food allergies, although there are NO accommodations in there for the food allergies and only a couple regarding the ADHD.  We live in Tennessee and last year the state testing was cancelled so I never got to see how he does on testing of that nature.  I was also told that they could not allow accommodations for his ADHD in state testing (which I have found out that was false also. Are you sensing a theme here?)

      We now have the opportunity to switch him to another school because we moved across town.  I have heard many good things about this school so I’m wondering if I let him finish out 4th grade at his current school or switch after Christmas break?

      I kind of know the answer already, I just want to see if there are any alternatives to our situation.


    • #40856
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by user brlk13 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      It sounds like your current school is not adding anything positive to his education. I wouldn’t wait to switch and starting out on the right foot with a new school by having an advocate with you could help ensure things are smooth from the outset. We moved my son to new school in 4th grade (not in the middle of the year) because we moved. Our first school was reasonable and seemed to want to help him but didn’t have the first clue on how to do it. We also got a new principal when he was in 2nd grade who was clueless and the opposite of helpful, and made every step in the process a challenge. Our new school had experience with similar kids, knowledgeable staff and he has made amazing progress in 4th and 5th grade. Good luck!

    • #40857
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by user ADHDmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      My son has experienced a couple school years where no one understood his special needs and pushed and pressured him to do more and do better. Those two years, his anxiety was through the roof to crisis level and he was emotionally destroyed. We finally have him in the right school and this doesn’t happen anymore (especially since he is in middle school and changes classes, not stuck with a damaging teacher (or learning philosophy) all day, every day). And I know the signs in order to not let it happen again.

      From that experience, I would vote to move him during Holiday Break too. At the core of these school struggles is a very fragile self-esteem and self-worth. Besides learning, a healthy self-concept should be the goal for our kids. I really value it more than learning (my son is twice-exceptional too, and I know he’s learning the material, even if he’s not able to show it in the ways school expects to get good grades).

      If your son is hesitant about the change, take him to the school before his first day to tour the building and meet his teachers and support staff. Identify someone he can turn to whenever uncomfortable or struggling, meet that person, and talk about that plan with them. I do this each year for my son and it helps immensely—usually his SPED teacher and guidance counselor are the people who understand his struggles and he can fall back on.

      If you can afford an advocate, I’d definitely use one.

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

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