Upcoming Teacher Meeting About School Struggles

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    • #39547
      Anni @ ADDitude

      This discussion was originally started by user Bright&Capable11 in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.

      My daughter just turned 6 and is in Kindergarten — she not only has ADD but also has a developmental delay for speech and articulation so she does have an IEP in place at school. I had taken my daughter to our family pediatrician in regards to the schools concerns with her attention and focusing struggles and we had decided that we were not going to medicate her — we would like to try all solutions before medication is the answer for my daughter.

      We work very hard at home and manage it at home and she has made what I feel is a ton of progress in regards to learning. I try to communicate with her teacher every week — it used to be every day but I got the feeling that the teacher felt put out by my daily questions about my daughter’s day so I now only communicate via email every other day or once a week. I feel that the teachers responses are the same each time. My daughter had a fair day, her attention was not good today, she is too something 4 or 14 times and cannot remember — all things that I am struggling to understand and truly makes me frustrated.

      I question what the problem is at school because I can get her to sit down and stay on task at home. I have tried to communicate with the school as to what helps me at home and really with my daughter it is all about communication — I have to be extremely specific with my daughter and give her a lot of encouragement — she responds well with this approach. I recently emailed the principal in regards to the constant school struggles and asked if we could do anything to better assist my daughters learning in the classroom — we have a parent, principal, teacher meeting next week and going into it I want to be prepared. I want to have a list of questions to ask them but I am struggling coming up with specific one’s — can anyone help give me advice or some things I could ask at this meeting? Please and thank you so much!!!!

    • #40367
      Devon Frye

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

      Your daughter’s issues sound very similar to my daughter, now age 13. She was able to focus much better at home because of the quiet environment at home. School has so many distractions, regardless of whether the school provides accommodations i.e. special seating, taking quizzes outside the room, etc. My husband and I have to spend hours at home reinforcing classwork, in addition to the regular homework load. She also has had years of after school tutoring. Each year is better as she is learning to self-regulate and come up with study methods that work for her. We tried everything in lieu of medicines, but reading was so difficult for her we decided to try meds — they have made a huge, positive, difference in her life.

      Your daughter has a medical condition, her condition may need meds, as would other conditions — i.e. heart condition, etc. It sounds like you have a good relationship with your daughter and she is open to your input. Try to keep everything positive and keep those lines of communication open, it is critical! Try to stay positive with the school too, approach it as a partnership between parents and educators. After years of emails, meetings, etc., last year we decided to take a step back from communications with the school and see how everything played out. The end result, in grades, has been the same, and it has been so much less stress on the family. We know that our daughter is learning, regardless of whether her grades reflect her knowledge.

    • #40372
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user cmullen17 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I second what boomer told you. At school, there are 20-30 other children, all are talking, making noise, dropping something, laughing, crying. It is overwhelming to our kids. Has the school psychologist observed your daughter? I was shocked when they observed my son in kindergarten — his attention span was about 30 seconds. Meds have been the only way to help my son, but all the experts agreed that he has severe ADHD.

      Having said all that, he is now 11 and much more able to self-regulate, but he still could not without his medications.

      Working with teachers and the school has been paramount for me. Some years were great, some a real struggle. But we are their advocates, so we have to do it.

      Good luck!

    • #40374
      Devon Frye

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

      I am a mother to two sons — who are 24 and 21 years old with ADHD — who were able to function without medication. However, they became obese. I currently have a six-year-old daughter who has ADHD. She’s currently in an ICT class setting and needs a smaller class setting. We are in the process of touring non-public schools through CBST for the next school year.

      I too was against the medication at first, giving her fish oil and vitamin D, and avoiding soy and other products. Those healthy methods did not help with the distraction within her surroundings and learning environment. However, I put my thinking on the back burner — along with all the negative feedback from family or friends. I put my child’s feeling — as she couldn’t adapt and learn — first. There are non-stimulant medications you can start with — speak with a Developmental Psychiatrist or Pediatric Psychiatrist to have them further help you.

      Also keep in mind: you are the key element of the special committee team. As boomer stated, you are a family and all want what’s best for your daughter. When you start looking at them as a part of your support team, everything will get better.

      Since being on medication, my daughter is doing much better and receives compliments from each of her service providers and teachers.

    • #40378
      Devon Frye

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

      I agree with the above. We resisted medicine until our son was in second grade, but it has made a world of difference. One of the most frustrating things is that each year you have a different teacher and they have different levels of tolerance, patience, and experience with students like your daughter. The teacher’s attitude makes a world of difference. I have no doubt that all of the distractions at school make things harder, but with my son, if he sensed the teacher was frustrated, he just retreated into his own world and focused even less. The teachers who have demonstrated trust and caring toward him get my son to work for them. It is really that simple. Of course, his issues make things sometimes difficult for him, but he’s also able to show that he’s intellectually gifted when the teacher has faith and patience with him.

      Sounds like the empathy piece may be missing with the teacher. That was very true of us in first grade, and we enlisted the principal to put in place specific accommodations that they were willing to provide. His teacher didn’t always follow them, but we could refer to our agreement and sometimes get her back on track.

      I’d ask when concentration seems to be worse? Is it related to hunger? Can your daughter have an extra snack, if so? Does working in a quieter part of the room at a separate desk make a difference? Does wearing headphones?

      What I’m saying is ask questions that get at whether or not the teacher has discerned any patterns, specific situations (like transitions), or times that pose a problem. Then offer various solutions to see if you can get her to think more creatively and proactively about how to help your daughter.

      I would also suggest beginning an evaluation process to see if a 504 or IEP is in order.

      All best,

    • #40384
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user Pump2Duncan in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Kindergarten was tough for my kiddo too. SOOOO many distractions. And their day would pop from a very active time to a very physically inactive time VERY quickly. My kiddo had a hard time with that.

      I agree with the other comments. You get one-on-one with your child; the school can’t do that. However, you can take pieces of what works and use that. Does she do better in a quiet setting? Maybe she can sit away from other students during test or work times. Does she need constant reminders? Maybe she can sit near the teacher’s desk so its easier for the teacher to redirect.

      If the daily email is too much for the teacher, maybe some sort of behavior chart can come home daily? This daily communication really helped me reinforce good behaviors at home and address how we could work on the negative ones.

      I’d ask if your daughter is disrupting the class or preventing other students from learning. If the teacher says yes, perhaps suggest a Paraprofessional. The school will probably (at least they did in my case) tell you that funding is not there for a para. I told them it didn’t matter; as a matter of the IDEA, if my son was disrupting the classroom and learning of others, a para was appropriate. I ended up losing that battle; HOWEVER, they became much more accommodating for other things (like the daily report, etc.)

      If all else fails, you might see if there is another teacher who is more experienced with ADHD/LD children. We’ve switched teachers before because one was just more suited to my child than the other. No hard feelings on either side, the school is actually the one that suggested that.

      We ended up starting medication in third grade. We made progress with the accommodations, but my son excelled with the addition of medication.

    • #40388
      Devon Frye

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

      My first thought was environment too. School is a lot more distracting. It’s also monotonous, overwhelming, and boring.

      The ADHD brain is motivation and stimulated by interest and urgency (https://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/10117.html). Most of the school day is not interesting to kids, so those with ADHD are already struggling to create the stimulation required to attend and focus.

      When you add in the other kids moving about and talking, the plethora of visuals covering the walls in elementary classrooms, etc… it’s super-hard to concentrate and stay on task, even for neuortypical kids.

      If she does have ADHD (I would recommend seeking a neuropsychoeducational evaluation), then she is 2-3 years behind her peers — like a 3- to 4-year-old in kindergarten, with 5- to 6-year-old expectations. That just doesn’t work. Expectations have to be changed for her to meet where she is developmentally.

      And, I’m with everyone else, when it comes to my child being able to succeed and find joy in life, ADHD medication was 110% worth it. What I found really helped with that consideration was learning the facts about medication, and not relying on public opinion, which is based on myth. These articles can help with that:

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

    • #40400
      Devon Frye

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

      My daughter was the same as yours. We did okay at home, but with the extra distractions and difficulty with transitioning at school, she really struggled — up until third grade. In first grade, she was so disruptive she was ending up in the principal office, and I had to come get her a few times. The classroom and teacher situation were not ideal so it was not all her, but she was just not doing well. I was VERY against medication and instead opted for a self-contained (small, quiet) classroom at the end of first, all of second (only reading group and PE/Music/Art in mainstream class) and half of third (part time mainstream part time self-contained). By spring break of third grade she had made a lot of progress but was going to start falling behind socially and academically if she did not stay in her mainstream class. She recognized she was different and was getting some teasing from other kids about being in the “special class”. I talked to my husband who, having recently been diagnosed with diabetes, was having some more sympathy with our daughter needing something to help her while she learned better behaviors (like he needs his meds while he is changing his eating habits and activity levels) and he agreed to give meds a try. I asked my pediatrician and he said he would NOT use stimulants and put her on 2 mg time-release Intuniv, a nonstimulant that basically helps slow down the overactive mind/body. It has been a life changer and if I could go back, I would absolutely have tried it in first grade and saved us all a LOT of pain, struggle and self-esteem. Just remember there are other options to stimulants and all of the side effects they bring with them. For us, Intuniv (generic guanfacine) has had almost no bad side effects, and the benefits have been many — including less anxiety, better sleeping, better social interactions (she’s made more friends) and all around better self-esteem.

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