View Full Version : 1st Grader & ADHD

09-17-12, 02:08 AM
My daughter is 6-1/2 years old and in 1st grade. She has a speech delay and has been in school since age 3 with an IEP to receive speech therapy. It has been suspected she had ADHD since she was 4 being very impulsive, not able to focus, immature acting, etc. Counseling started when she was 5 and medication started shortly after she turned 6. She started on Adderall XR 5mg and was upped to 10mg 3 weeks before school started this year. It is stated on IEP that she was in the process of getting a diagnosis of ADHD, but that is the only mention.

Almost every day my daughter comes home with notes from the teacher saying she wasn't paying attention or she was disruptive or she didn't follow directions or her work was messy or she shouldn't be drawing on her work or she's talking...

It's not like I expect her to get special treatment, but teacher knows she has ADHD (a form was sent home asking for any "disorders"), so OF COURSE these things are happening. I talk with my daughter every day before school about what is expected of her and we talk every day after school about how her day went. I get so frustrated because I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be doing something more about this. I'm torn between "she has ADHD, so she can't help it" and "she should be grounded because she knows better."

My daughter has her moments, but she is a good kid. She is very happy and playful and friendly and has this charisma that draws people to her. I have seen first hand how difficult it is for her to stay focused with school work just by helping her with her homework for Kindergarten last year and 1st grade this year...and that's one-on-one...I could just imagine how hard it is for her with one teacher and 20+ kids.

Any words of advice for me? I have not had a face-to-face sit down with the teacher. I have thought about scheduling one, but am not sure what I would say. I don't know if my daughter should get more chances to mess up because of her ADHD or if she should be treated exactly the same.

Ugh...I just don't know. :(

09-17-12, 06:08 AM
Does your daughter have a formal learning plan?

09-17-12, 06:27 AM
Hi, you have to have the face to face with the teacher. This is the only way forward really. The teachers need to know how adhd affects your daughter specifically, not just in general, what the goals are, what they can expect from her etc.

Her teacher seems to know little about her condition. She needs to know that your she may have to approach your daughter directly, get her full attention and give her instructions. ADHD kids can have a hard time following simple verbal instructions, so she may need to be shown. She may also need regular checks throughout the lesson to make sure she is staying on track with the tasks, again adhd kids can wander off track very easily.

Itīs not helpful for her to be punished for things that she canīt control. She is very young, hopefully counselling is helping her but some kids need to mature more before they can modify some of their behaviours, like talking in class.

You may feel bad that the teacher has enough to do already etc but sorry thatīs the schoolīs/her problem. Your daughter requires additional help so donīt feel guilty.

You should schedule follow up meetings to make sure things are going ok. I donīt know what the laws are in Australia but here in Spain teachers have to put strategies in place to help kids, no matter how big their class sizes are.

I have a great report from my sonīs educ. psych. which outlines in which areas he is affect and by how much and the learning strategies need to be put in place to help him achieve his optimum.

There is a lot of info designed to educate and assist his teachers who may not know much about it or have experience with it. School starts tomorrow and she is going to ring his school today just to go over what they need to be doing and gently remind them of their obligations.

Without her, I would be a shrinking violet and have trouble asserting myself. good luck

Ms. Mango
09-17-12, 09:15 PM
Don't assume your daughter's teacher has seen her IEP. There have been a couple of posters on here who figured the Special Ed department shared this information with the teacher only to be unpleasantly surprised.

That would be a good starting point. Find out if the teacher read the IEP. Are there recommendations for accomodations for your DD? For example--preferential seating, additional breaks, behavioral supports, etc.? Is the teacher following those? You say she is complaining about your DD's behavior but what is she doing to mitigate it as outlined in the IEP?

If it were me I'd definitely go on a fact finding mission beginning with the teacher. Just find out what's going on in a non-confrontational way. Is she aware there is an IEP? If so, has she read it and understood what she should be doing?What are the problems she sees with DD? What is she doing in response?

You may need to bring in someone from the special ed department depending on the responses you get. Again, not to be confrontational, but to help the teacher comply with the IEP.

You don't need a specific diagnosis to get an IEP at your daughter's age. It doesn't matter if she has a dx of ADHD or not, if there are certain behaviors that make it difficult for your daughter to be in the classroom the IEP must address them and the teacher must follow through with implementing remedies.

It's very sad to me that anyone would think your DD is "messing up" or being allowed to do so. If anyone is messing up, it's the adults around her.

If your daughter were like everyone else there would be no need for medication or an IEP, both are in place to help her so she behaves and learns in a way that more closely approximates her NT peers.

Good luck and let us know what you find out.

Ms. Mango
09-17-12, 10:21 PM
Oh, and I forgot to say welcome to the forums! If you haven't already, take a look at Dizfriz's Corner ( of helpful advice there!

09-18-12, 04:50 AM
welcome. Have a meeting with the teacher and def. get an education plan like 504 or IEP. Happytexas who is ofetn with this sort of info could help. You can also try sending her a pm.

09-18-12, 02:31 PM
Oh, and I forgot to say welcome to the forums! If you haven't already, take a look at Dizfriz's Corner ( of helpful advice there!

You need to have a face to face, non-confrontational meeting with the teacher. :)

Read through thes essays that Ms. Mango linked to, and print some of them out for your DD's teacher. Highlight the really relevent parts that pertain to your daughter.

It sounds like this teacher is woefully ignorant about ADHD, and perhaps reading through this material may help her.

There are things that she could be doing in the classroom that would help your daughter to stay on task, like seating her near her (near the teacher), redirecting her with a light touch to the arm or shoulder when her mind is wandering or she's chatting, allowing her to be 'teacher's helper' with things like passing out worksheets, etc.

You are your child's best advocate. Bring up all those wonderful qualities that you mention in your original post... :)

09-18-12, 03:57 PM
I get so frustrated because I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be doing something more about this. I'm torn between "she has ADHD, so she can't help it" and "she should be grounded because she knows better."


First thing, check out the information in Dizfriz's Corner (link in Ms Mango's post).

Developmentally in some ways your daughter is more like a 4-1/2 or 5 year old.

Of course she can't behave just like the other kids in her class can yet.

This is a result of part of her brain being underdeveloped, which also means

she can know quite a few things but have trouble doing what she knows.

Please don't ground her or blame her for this.

Please work with the teacher and staff to help her.

The IEP needs to be updated to include more than just speech therapy.

09-21-12, 04:19 PM
Hi - I will be making a similar post shortly.

I try to be as proactive as possible with my daughter's teachers. First, I do my very level best to meet with and talk to the teacher before the school year begins. So far, I have been able to talk with her teachers to at least let them know what to expect. It's like my "elevator speech" for my daughter. I tell them that she is VERY loving and is happiest when she can be helpful. I give them suggestions for helping to keep her in her seat and let them know that if she gets wiggly, falls out of her chair, or wanders around the classroom, that she is NOT doing it to be naughty. Her muscles crave the input and she does not have the impulse control needed to delay this kind of gratification. She actually needs it.

At this point, I would agree that you need to talk to her teacher and I would also suggest talking to her special education team to make sure that they are sharing info among them.

I have quite a few strategies that I have shared with teachers over the years, so please bear with me.

1. Tell her what TO DO, not what NOT TO DO. If she is blurting out answers in class, she should be reminded that she needs to raise her hand and speak in an "inside voice". Telling her "Don't do that" does NOT tell her what she should be doing instead.

2. Daily behavior charts. Have the teacher choose the behavior that bothers her the most or is most disruptive to the class and make a positively reinforced behavior chart. Using the blurting out example, you would make a chart that she would get a sticker or tick mark or whatever EACH TIME she raises her hand and uses an appropriate voice. When she reaches her goal of X tick marks, she gets some kind of reward. Whatever motivates her. Make the goals easily attainable, so she gets to experience the reward often. After she has had several successes, make the goal a bit harder to reach. Keep increasing the goal in this manner until she has it down, then move on to a new goal. I suggest keeping it to one goal since she is still so young. Her focus is already limited, so keep it as simple as possible.

3. Seat her near the teacher AND near a good peer model. My daughter's behavior and focus are MUCH worse if she has a partner in crime. If there is another kid who will act up with her, DON'T put them next to each other.

4. Give her positive reasons to get out of her seat. Let her be the one who runs notes to the principals office or goes to fetch supplies or hands out papers. She can be up and moving and be helpful at the same time. This also shows her peers that her teacher values her, even if her teacher has to call her down for unwanted behavior.

5. WIGGLE SEAT - One of the single most useful things my daughter has for school. It is an inflatible rubber cushion that goes on her chair. It is only partially inflated, so it makes an unstable surface to sit on. The constant readjusting helps get the wiggles out. A yoga ball might work for this also, but not sure how that would go over with the teacher.

6. Chair push-ups, wall push-ups, and thera-bands. When she starts to feel wiggly with her arms, she can push down on the chair with her hands and lift her bottom off the seat. She can also lean against the wall and do push ups there. Another way to help get the fidgets out is to wrap thera-bands (these are thick stretchy lengths of rubber used in physical therapy and excersize) or bunjee cords around the front legs of her chair. She puts her feet behind the bands and tries to lift her legs or puts her feet in front and tries to push back on the bands.

7. Weighted blanket - Our school system doesn't let kids use these, but a weighted lap blanket has been very helpful with my daughter. It can be very calming to kids who have trouble with hyperactivity or sensory issues.

8. IGNORE IT IF YOU CAN - this has got to be one of the most helpful things that her teacher can do for her. If it isn't disrupting the class (and I mean the actual behavior, not the teacher taking time out of class to call her down for the behavior) and isn't dangerous, IGNORE IT. If she gets up and wanders around the class room, but doesn't bother the other kids, IGNORE IT.

I know that, for our family, it hasn't been helpful to punish her for things that happen at school. She needs much more immediate feedback and as I mentioned above, responds better to being told what TO do. We get much much better results from rewarding the desired behavior than by punishing the unwanted behavior.

09-24-12, 09:27 PM
My one suggestion would be for you to offer or buy rewards so the teacher does not have to. Just my opinion, but the McDonald toys or pencils from the rewards box never motivated my daughter. Perhaps she can earn a ticket with a pencil attached (pencil for immediate gratification and ticket to do something fun at home) rather than earning recess or computer time in school as this may not be a great idea, as our kids probably need this down time to help them behave better so they should always get them.

My daughters teacher allowed exercise balls last year. Said she wouldn't do it again. My daughter said many kids did not make good choices with them.

Another thought. Perhaps your daughter could be involved in the behavior chart. Like when she does the desired behavior, the teacher tells her to add another marble to her jar. This would let her get some movement which might be another immediate reward, and not take the teacher away from teaching to implement it. Just thinking if others kids have these charts, the teacher may be trying to teach, mark charts, walk over to kids to answer questions, etc & then the behavior chart gets forgotten and all is lost.