My Forum Comments
May 23, 2017 at 5:09 pm in reply to: Student with ADHD given award for ‘Most Likely to Not Pay Attention" #50151
This was certainly not just a bad “reaction” by the teachers. The word reaction implies that no forethought was put into the “award”. These teachers not only had to come up with the award, but write it down, send it off to get the trophy, get the trophy back, and then present it. That’s not a reaction, that a thought out plan. Not holding their teachers accountable for their actions would have shown the students that devaluing the student is completely acceptable.
IF the teachers lacked training completely, then perhaps the firing was harsh. However, I sincerely doubt any teacher is so lacking in training that they do not know that making fun of a student with a disability is not the right thing to do.May 22, 2017 at 4:35 pm in reply to: Student with ADHD given award for ‘Most Likely to Not Pay Attention" #49933
That is horrible and I think goes way beyond even bullying. That shows a complete lack of knowledge of the condition and zero sense of empathy. Poor kid! In addition to the firing, I hope the teachers get some form of training/education in regards to disabilities like ADHD. Makes me so incredibly sad.
I feel for you. I know it is extremely painful for your son to tell you that he doesn’t want you at the practices/games.
I coach a soccer team and have coached other soccer teams and baseball teams in the past. As a coach, I will say, there are certain children who perform better when his/her parent is not around. I’ve met these parents and they are terrific parents, but for whatever reason, their children do better sans parents. In my daughter’s dance and gymnastics classes parents are not allowed at the practice. Same for cheerleading. These coaches have found that the parents are a big distraction for the children, so they flat out ban parents.
For whatever reason, perhaps your son realizes he does better alone, which might sting – but if you think about it, that is an incredible self-realization and shows an ability to identify his own emotions and maturity to verbalize them. Maybe ask him why he doesn’t want you there to try to find out if it’s fear of disappointment or something else?
Perhaps you could practice with him at home? Start with a game of catch between the three of you and then maybe about catching the last inning of the game? And then go from there.
If the goal is to have him participate in an activity and have fun, sounds like you’ve met those goals and that is no small achievement. If this is his first season, perhaps it is just nerves and he might be more open to parent-spectators later on. If you know any of the parents on the team, I’d talk to them and perhaps work out an arrangement where they take pictures or video and send it to you. Hang in there!
Have you tried speaking with the pediatrician for a referral? Perhaps they would know of a psychologist that would happily perform the testing outside of the school system. We are going through that now for additional assessments and the pediatrician was able to refer us out. I’d also suggest maybe reaching out to other parents of special needs kids to see what services/organizations they used in your community. A local support network can really be helpful in helping navigate the system.
And I agree with the other posters who have suggested Wrightslaw. That was a terrific resource that I used continually when we were having issues with the IEP.
I agree! My older son is academically gifted. School has always been easy for him. Not only did that make every teacher love him, but that also made his educational opportunities vastly superior to my ADHD son.
Since my older son was academically gifted, he was able to apply to a top middle school in our town. While it’s still part of the “public” school system and is free, a student is admitted based on their academic abilities and teacher references. This school receives so much support (even has their own Board that raises money through local businesses to supply the school with grants for special projects) that not only is the education superior but so are the resources and programs the students can participate in (5 foreign language classes are taught, my son is currently in Chinese).
My ADHD son would never make it into that school. So his opportunities are immediately decreased. While my ADHD son’s counselor told me years ago that I needed to lower my expectations, that my son would never attend college – I never believed that. I feel schools need to give every support available to every student to ensure that student reaches their true potential. Luckily, a Charter school opened up and my ADHD son got in. They feel the same and for the first time EVER, my kid (the kid labeled “slowest in the class”) has surpassed every college readiness test the school gave him. Take that skeptics! Good teachers really do make a world of difference.
Part of the IDEA and the IEP is to maximize the student’s potential, not to merely get them to grade level. So perhaps your daughter is at grade level now, but with proper services through the IEP, your student’s “potential” may actually be a grade-level above her current grade level.
We just had our annual IEP at the beginning of the week. My son tested at or above grade level in every subject. His new goals raise those levels. For example, he’s currently at just about a 7th grade reading level (he is in 5th grade) – hiss new goal is to be at an 8th grade level by March 2018. Math was the same way. Because my son’s potential with proper supports through the IEP is not merely an ‘A’ on the report card but to be above-grade level. When we started the IEP he was 3 grades behind in every subject.
This was also the first year we worked with the Dean at my son’s new school. She made a couple terrific observations about how his IEP was previously written. 1) Not ALL diagnosis were listed, only Specific Learning Disability was put in (which she said limited the IEP); she added his anxiety disorder and his ADHD (he now qualifies for the IEP under the SLD (specific learning disability); Emotional Disturbance (anxiety disorder); and Other Health Impairment (ADHD); and 2) the “Parent Concerns” section includes concerns, observations, suggestions, basically anything a parent wants to say – not just “concerns”. So if you’re noticing increased anxiety, make sure they put it in the IEP.
Hope the meeting went well! I know it can be a frustrating process.
I agree with finding out exactly what the teacher means. I probably have a chip on my shoulder. My son had certain accommodations related to homework and behavior that required teacher participation. For example, at 9 years old he had a daily behavior report that was sent home that was broken up into hour increments. The report was sent home daily so that I could reinforce proper behavior and/or identify and help work through problem behaviors. It worked surprisingly well, but his teacher felt it hindered his “independence”, which was code for her not wanting to have to make on a paper whether my son was good or bad every day. She was also supposed to prompt him to put his homework folder in his backpack. And in the beginning, instead of turning in individual assignments – he turned in all of his homework in his folder at once. Again, the “independence” argument was used. I received significant push back from the general education teacher, to the point where the special education teacher was going up to the general education classroom to ensure teacher compliance because she also knew how helpful these strategies were for later success. And I do understand the general education teacher’s perspective, I can only imagine how difficult it is to teach 30 kids a day AND remember that 1 kid’s special accommodations.
Over time, those accommodations were lessened. Daily behavior reports turned into every other day (and now we’re on weekly). For homework it was “okay on Mondays you have to put our folder in your backpack unprompted” and then we gradually added days. He gets no assistance with making sure homework gets home now or turned back in.
Bottom line, in my opinion, support with small increments leading to the end goal of independence is the way to go.
PS – We have the same issue with glasses. We went through 4 pairs last year! He has managed to keep the same pair of glasses for the last 5 months now. We think we’re on a roll!! (knock on wood)
Thank you for the articles. They made me almost cry because they remind me so much of my son. I reached out to an old friend, whose daughter has Asperger’s, and she was able to refer me to a local non-profit that may be able to help with diagnosis and any necessary counseling or treatment.
I feel like I did right before I turned in my portion of the Conner’s Test for the ADHD, like my heart is breaking. Part of me doesn’t even want to pursue the testing, even though I know it should be done.
I concur with the other posters who have suggested making all communications in writing and getting the higher-ups involved. While not with grades, we had issues with an IEP and BIP- teachers were not implementing but complaining about my son’s poor behavior at the same time. My suggestion that they follow the BIP (that was PROVEN to help my son) fell on deaf ears.
I started putting everything in an email. And not just to the Special Education teacher, but also to the Principal, Vice Principal, and every General Education teacher he had. When that didn’t work, I looped in the Director of Special Education for the district. I made sure I knew the process, so I could say things like “if progress is not made by [date], I will be proceeding with filing a formal complaint with so-in-so”. We got a meeting and when I showed up for it the front desk receptionist at the school told me that she had never seen the Director of Special Education EVER come to a meeting.
You can be nice while also being firm and not letting yourself be stepped on.