View Full Version : How Much Do You Share With Teachers?

09-06-12, 09:19 PM
My DH and I don't really agree on this.

DH says we shouldn't tell the teachers DS is on meds or ask for much feedback. In the past (one teacher in particular) he was nitpicked when we asked for feedback. Every little thing was an issue, it was like she was looking for things to tell us.

But I do believe feedback is needed because they see him in environments we don't. We need to know that he speaks out of turn and can't sit still. That he takes too long to write notes from the board. And we need to know if these things improve when we tweak his meds like we are doing now. We didn't see these things as much last year on his other meds.

And I believe they also need to know so they don't penalize him (moving conduct levels) for things he may truly not be able to control until we get his meds in order again. The last few years his teachers gave him lots of extra chances. This year, I don't know if warnings for speaking out of turn are because he has exhausted his extra warnings or because they are more strict. Afterall, it is 5th grade.


Ms. Mango
09-06-12, 10:18 PM
DS is on an IR med, so it's hard to keep it a secret when he has to go to the nurse's office for an afternoon dose.

I don't get into the nitty gritty details of the meds DS is on, however. They know he's on meds, more than that and their eyes tend to glaze over. DS has an IEP and I find I communicate with the special ed staff more than the classroom teacher. He also has a communication log that comes home every day and we often communicate that way. Putting it in writing may make us all a bit more circumspect and concise.

My experience at DS's prior school taught me not to overshare and to be more proactive in asking for feedback. What I've learned is to be very exacting in what I share and what I ask for--I don't want a laundry list of DS's shenanigans, I want to know about specific behaviors and what time they occurred. So I've asked:

*How is DS when he gets off the bus (have the meds kicked in?)
*Do you notice any change in behavior or ability to attend and do classwork before lunch? If so, what time?
*Does he eat lunch?
*Does he seem to have difficulty getting back to work after lunch? If so, for how long?
*For any of the above, briefly, what types of behaviors have you observed?

That sound like a lot, but if anyone starts spinning I stop them. I'm just gathering facts for DS's doctor, thank you very much.

Most of my interactions, now that DS is in another school in the district, have been positive. I increased DS's dose 3 times last year, and added a stimulant, based on the feedback received from them in combination with my own observations of DS at home.

09-06-12, 11:29 PM
I'm a teacher, and it's really helpful for me to know something that will affect a student's learning, interaction with peers, etc. A teacher can be a very valuable team player, providing feedback that other adults may not be able to give. It's also helpful for us to know when students are going through changes in medication, if applicable, so that we don't worry that something's wrong when all of a sudden a student isn't acting as they normally do. Obviously going into huge amounts of detail isn't necessary, but just know that a student is adjusting is helpful.

I'd say definitely bring it up so that the teacher can help you and your son.

09-07-12, 09:14 AM
My son is only in 2nd grade, so we I've only had to deal with 3 teachers so far. The beginning of the school year is always difficult because you have to figure out what the teacher wants to know and how much. My son has an IEP so the teacher usually knows when they get him that he is pulled out for certain things and that is a way to start the conversation. I feel like it is really important for the teacher to know whats going on so that they can give me feedback on him during the day if needed. We are a team and all players need to be in the game. I dont expect that he gets special treatment, nor do i want him to have special treatment, but it helps her manage him better. She has 23 other kids that she has to figure out as well, so if I can give her some input, then I feel like that can only benefit.

I usually give it a week or 2 before trying to have a quick conversation because I dont want to bombard all in the first few days of school. There's enough going on then... But, I think it is very important to communicate with the teachers.

09-07-12, 02:57 PM
I always fill the teacher in via email on the first day of school or before. I think it's essential that the teacher know that my DS has ADHD and that he takes medication for it, and that we, as parents, want to be kept informed as to how he is doing in the classroom.

In addition, I ask the teacher to fill out a questionnaire re behavior and attention after the first couple of weeks of school. It's an online one that DS's behavioral pediatrician provides the link to; it's only accessible by the Dr. once it's completed.

This is helpful is assessing whether he needs a meds adjustment or not; sometimes teachers may be hesitant to be completely forthcoming to a parent, but if they know that it goes right to the doc they may be more likely to make a completely honest assessment.

As an aside, at open house this week I saw that his teacher had placed him right up front, closest to her, and had taped a little reminder note to his desk that outlined what he was supposed to do when he first gets to class. Good job, teach!

Ms. Mango
09-07-12, 04:02 PM
I can understand why your husband feels the way he does--you've been burned in the past. However, that was that teacher. You still need to think about what's in the best interest of your DS, especially when contemplating a med or dosage change.

I would still let the teacher know and let her know you'll be looking for specific feedback to take to DS's doctor. If she tries to turn it into a let's bash DS session, shut her down.

The other thing to consider, depending on the size of your school, the teacher may already know. Those teachers, they talk to one another!

09-09-12, 04:45 PM
As a general rule... If it will affect him at school then the teacher needs to know. You also need to know how he is acting in school. 5th grade is a lot about preparing the kids for middle school in which a lot more is expected of them.

Yes you need feedback. Especially when tweeking meds. My ds is so sensitive to his dose that just a little too much turns him into a zombie and he has a very high metabolism which means that the XR won't even last all day. I need his teachers to tell me if he is a zombie or still bouncing off the walls and talking too much when he should be listening.

So just keep what you share with the school on a need to know basis. Tell them what may affect his behavior at school so they know what to look for. And ask for the feedback that you need. If they start getting nitpicky then tell them so. They shouldn't be singling him out either!

09-09-12, 05:31 PM
I think perhaps it's not necessary for the teacher to know he's on medication, but the school nurse if you have one, should *definitely* know about it. Also, use them as a resource, a lot of times they will be happy to tell you which of the teachers are more receptive to knowing about medications and LDs and which ones are better about it.
A lot of times you can simply ask the teacher if they can put your kid next to someone who's quiet and not highly distracted. There was a kid in my class, that looking back, he was probably ADHD, and it helped him a lot to have the studious girl next to him willing to poke him and go "Hey. Class time. Pay attention."

09-09-12, 08:38 PM
Thanks everyone. I agree with all points. I'm sure she already knew. He had a couple of REALLY ROUGH years so I'm sure EVERY teacher in school knows about him. But the least two years were really good so hopefully they aren't stereotyping him. She did put him up close to her and we are good with that.

I believe she does need to know we are still tweaking his meds so maybe she will give him a little extra leeway on some behaviours until we can get his meds to a good point. He has 3 teachers so I need to share with all of them.

Thanks again for your input. Its made me feel much better about talking with them!

09-10-12, 09:21 AM
I believe she does need to know we are still tweaking his meds so maybe she will give him a little extra leeway on some behaviours until we can get his meds to a good point. He has 3 teachers so I need to share with all of them.

I just sent an email off to my son's teacher about this exact situation. :)
(ps I like what I saw with the Vyvanse over the weekend, too. Much less argumentative and in a better mood than when he's taking Focalin)

09-11-12, 10:50 AM
Sent off my emails this morning. We'll see what becomes of it.