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How to help desperate teacher of my ADHD child
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hiddenhorses posted:
Please help me help my son's teacher. I have made several suggestions previously and none have seemed to help her.

My EMAIL:
I was reviewing INOW and noticed that XXXX does not have a grade for this assignment. While it is not affecting his grade at this point, I wanted to make sure that he was not suppose to make it up.

I understand that you have had some difficulty with XXXX and wanted to see if there is something that I could do to help. I am not sure what methods you have tried (removing from close proximity to peers, or cueing him to stay on task, reward when behavior is appropriate, etc.). I know for XXXX to not be on ADHD medicine poses challenges for you, and I am extremely appreciative of your efforts to help him to be successful in your class. His emotional well being and physical health in NOT being on the medicine has improved so much this year and we (XXXX, XXXX and I) would like to continue with him not taking his medicine. However, if it not feasible, we certainly need to know. Any feedback would be helpful.

TEACHER'S RESPONSE:

Quiz 3 has not been recorded because the class was required to retake this quiz during the week before Thanksgiving. It was open note but it was also while I was out sick. I'm not sure what caused the whole class to do so poorly but based upon my report that I got from my sub, 7th period was not productive at all on this particular day. XXXX was actually one of the names that was turned in by the sub for being too talkative. XXXX, in general, is always very talkative but it gets pretty extreme at times. He always wants to ask a question (which is normally encouraged) but what I can't get him to understand is that the majority of his questions have already been answered in one form or another and that if he would stop trying to talk to everyone around him then he would not have this problem of not ever knowing what we're doing. It comes to a point to where it seems as though he is searching for an opportunity to be the class clown and this is when I get frustrated with him because it then becomes a class distraction. I've tried moving him to the front away from distractions. I tried putting him on a self monitoring system. I've tried meeting with him individually. I've tried writing him up for Class I offenses and I've even tried push-ups after class. I'm very patient with XXXX but he just doesn't seem to understand how his excessive talking negatively impacts the class as a whole. I really do like XXXX and I love his enthusiasm for life. I wish I had half as much of his energy to keep up with him but he can't seem to find the balance between when it's appropriate to be the funny guy and when it's inappropriate. I know that you have an open relationship with him which I admire. Talk to him about these observations that I have seen from him during 7th periods and let me know if there is something that I can do to in the classroom that could help us all out. I feel like I'm beginning to reach the end of my rope here. Thank you so much for your dedication and support at home. I really appreciate your help.
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jaejae76 responded:
Sounds like he needs consequences for acting up and write ups and talking is not doing it, maybe taking a privilage away when he gets home or an extra chore. Kids with adhd often focus better when they have more than one thing going on. Have the teacher try giving him a job such as counting how many questions were asked or counting the dots on the cieling tiles or something where he is busy, then reinforce the good behavior with a small reward of some sort. If the other kids in the class or laughing and talking to then that teacher needs to get her act together and stop singling your son out because she knows he is different.
 
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03wendy responded:
I haven't been diagnosed with ADHD, because I never went to see anyone about it, but I have some of the symptoms and also had them as a child, impatience in class and difficulty concentrating on longer tasks being one of them.
I only discovered this in highschool, or my history teacher did: I responded a lot better to lessons organized in the form of discussions, or questions and answers: the teacher proposed a task or a question that was interesting and didn't take a lot of time to solve, and the answer to that task lead to the next one, and so on. These questions or tasks were adressed to the whole class, and I perceived them as a form of competition, and that motivated me. From what I've read, a lot of people with ADHD can concentrate intensely for a short period of time, but loose interest and attention in tasks that require concentration over a longer period of time - this is how it works for me, anyway. Tasks that can be solved in a short time bring an immediate result and immediate satisfaction, and that can keep a child (or an adult ) motivated. Hyperactive children are also known to be competitive and, in my case, it gave me the possibility to stay the center of attention in a constructive way.
Good luck!
 
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Gina Pera responded:
To me, this teacher sounds patient and thoughtful. I would seriously consider her reports of your son's behavior in the classroom. It sounds like he is truly struggling.

If you think a teacher can entirely compensate for a child's untreated ADHD to this degree, I'm sorry to say you might be deluding yourself.

Some day, he will be out in the world. Do you want him to be able to pay attention to his boss, his co-workers, his spouse, his children? Or will you expect the world to keep accommodating him? I've seen MANY parents who came to deeply regret that they did not take their child's ADHD more seriously before they graduated high school. After that point, it is extremely difficult to un-do bad habits or have an influence. Not to mention all the "emotional baggage" accumulated during years of symptoms going unabated.

You say that his physical health has improved since stopping medication. I would be curious as to the quality of his medical care. Perhaps you need to take a more pro-active approach and learn more about the proper use of medications, with adjunct dietary and exercise habits. I would highly encourage you to do that. For your son's sake.

If you have ADHD as well, I would encourage you to pursue treatment along with your son. That will help you to give him the support and guidance that he needs during these critical developmental years.

I wish you both luck.
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