View Full Version : Frustrated with my childs school


kea1300
01-20-14, 09:14 PM
I have a meeting with my sons teacher and the school social worker to discuss his behavior while he is in school. They had me do a Connors test on him which their reply to the results were "we cannot diagnose but your son's score is showing all the signs of ADHD". Then his teacher told me that academically he is one of her top students and that if he got his behavior under control he would be one of her best students.

Now this behavior that is getting him in so much trouble consists of getting out of his seat when he's not supposed to, blurting out answers instead of raising his hand, talking during quiet time, and basically poor impulse control. She also told me there was a time when the social worker came into the classroom and my son ran over and gave her a hug which she said was way out of line.

I get calls 3 or 4 times a week that my son is down in the office and now he absolutely hates school because he is always getting in trouble. He is never aggressive physically or verbally and he always gets along with his classmates. I'm just not sure I am willing to put my 5 year old on medication this quickly but I know that's what they are leaning towards.

ccom5100
01-20-14, 09:41 PM
They can't force you to medicate your child. It does sound like classic symptoms of adhd, however. If you're not ready to put him on meds, perhaps you can find an alternative that works for you. We used the Feingold diet when my ds was very young. As a matter of fact, we still follow it and he is 14 now. We didn't add in meds until he was in middle school, and then just a small dosage.

I can understand your reluctance to put a 5 year old on meds. But you do need to do something to keep the teachers off your back. You might even consider homeschooling him for the rest of Kindergarten until you can find a treatment that works for you and that you are comfortable with.

Ms. Mango
01-20-14, 10:41 PM
Hi and welcome to the forums.

I see this as more of a problem for the teachers at this point in time. He's 5 for cryin' out loud!

His behavior will have academic and social implications down the road, so you have time to decide on a course of action. At this point you might want to consider private testing (to get a diagnosis if there is one) and behavioral therapy. That should get the school to back off--for now at least.

With schools pushing academics into Kindergarten--and holding teachers accountable for results--it gets more and more difficult for ADHD kids. The expectations put on all kids is borderline unreasonable and impossible for an ADHD kid to meet.

kea1300
01-20-14, 10:57 PM
That's what I am saying he is 5 this is his first year that he is in a structured school setting all day. It just make me mad because when I went to parent teacher conference for my daughter who is in the same school the teacher said "your son sure is a handful in his classroom which makes me think his teacher talks about how he is so "bad" in her class which has already labeled him a problem child.

zette93
01-21-14, 03:41 PM
You could request that he be evaluated for a 504 plan to put accommodations and positive behavior support in place.

Do you have options for charter school, private school, or homeschool? A teacher in a very small class like 10-12 would have more time and flexibility. Perhaps project based learning or Montessori might be a worth looking into.

Socially, the other kids will start to avoid him if he is always getting in trouble with the teacher. I was told kids are pretty forgiving until 2nd grade, but after that it becomes an additional issue.

Did you fill out the Connors as well, or just the teachers?

One advantage to medication at age 5 is that it often takes several months to figure out the right medicine and dose. The earlier you figure it out, the less time he spends experiencing life as the "problem kid".

CrazyLazyGal
01-22-14, 04:31 PM
It's probably too late for this year, but I would find out about the teachers he might have next year and request one that is known to be more patient with students. You might get this information from other parents, or sometimes the special education teacher may have some insight. This isn't because your son needs special education classes, but rather that special education teachers often have to work with regular classroom teachers, so they have a better idea of who would be good for your son.

How is he outside school?

busymomonli
01-22-14, 04:50 PM
When is his birthday? Is he on the younger side of the spectrum as far as his peers? This could be entirely a maturity issue and may resolve with time. Schools are so quick to jump on the ADHD bandwagon and push to medicate. While my son showed signs of ADHD in Kindergarten, I did not jump into anything until about 2nd grade. By then I felt sure that it was a problem and not just him immaturity showing.

Frankly, I would thank the school for their concern, and tell them you will handle it when you fell necessary and in the way you see fit.

willow129
01-22-14, 06:28 PM
What is he like at home? Is he really hyper there too or do you not see that?

sarahsweets
01-23-14, 06:31 AM
F**k that teacher! She missed her calling, she should have been Ms Trenchpole in Matilda.

kea1300
01-23-14, 12:11 PM
He will be 6 in March. I almost feel like his teacher is bullying him by calling him out for every little thing he does. Tuesday he lost a tooth at school and she sent him to the office to get an envelope to put it in, and on the way to the office he made sure he told everyone that he lost his tooth even teachers who had their doors open he yelled to them and told them and she said that behavior is way out of line. I told her well he's 5 and he was excited he lost his tooth, did you bother to explain to him why that behavior was unacceptable or did you just discipline him because he disrupted another class. I just feel like I'm going in circles with the school because I feel like they have already made up their minds that he's a "bad kid" and that's not going to change.

Ms. Mango
01-23-14, 09:48 PM
The teacher is the one who is out of line here. I know your DS doesn't have a diagnosis, but overly harsh discipline is really counterproductive for ADHD kids. It can push a kid to become oppositional/defiant. She seems to be frustrated and overreacting as a result.

When is your meeting? Don't let them gang up on you. You don't need a diagnosis to get help from the school; you should look into getting one anyway--but that's not important for this meeting. Ask if they will assess him for an IEP--you can even put your request in writing and bring it with you--and ask for a functional behavioral assessment. A functional behavioral assessment looks at his behaviors and gives the teacher tools to help him. Check out the Wrightslaw site to learn about the assessments and find out how to formally ask for them.

I'd politely, but firmly, put the ball in their court. What do they propose to do? You aren't going to put him on medication--heck, you don't have a diagnosis--so what do they propose? Ask the social worker what kind of help they plan to give the teacher because she seems to lack the skills to deal with a spirited child (you probably want to word it nicer than than that ;)). Doing an assessment for an IEP and getting a private evaluation (if you choose to do so) will take time--so what is their plan to work with your son now?

willow129
01-25-14, 10:12 PM
It does sound like your son needs to be evaluated. At least they're telling you I guess. If he does have ADHD this is a great time to figure it out. I know him having problems in school is stressful, no parent wants that! But I feel like many people wish they had gotten their ADHD figured out in kindergarten. Just for that reason, I would say, investigate it.

You haven't said what he's like at home? Is he hyper? Defiant at all?

I am a teacher also, this is my second year so I'm still learning a lot but I see about 100 kids a day (just to give perspective) in a BIG elementary school - I have to say it can be very hard to handle really energetic/impulsive students in a public school setting. Especially when you don't know what's going on with the kid. When you find out it's ADHD or whatever I feel you gain a better perspective on how to approach the student. And, on top of your energetic kid, there are about 20 other students in the room who need attention and help too, that's what I find challenging: it's not fair to the others to spend a lot of time trying to get one student to follow directions. So, maybe that's why the teacher is feeling impatient. I'm only saying this to try and see it from the teacher's perspective, fyi. Energetic kids can be frustrating but also awesome and I tend to love them even when I don't know exactly what to do with them!

Being able to work with the teacher is really important for the kid too. If you're not getting along with the teacher, there's no way your kid will and that's a waste of time. So, finding teachers who are a good fit is a good thing to keep in mind when you can.

The thing is....hmm, the behaviors that you're describing that he's getting sent to the office for, you said: "getting out of his seat when he's not supposed to, blurting out answers instead of raising his hand, talking during quiet time" I wouldn't necessarily send my kids to the office for those things (though I might tell the parent since it does sound ADHDish)...if they're being RUDE about calling out, yes, to time out they go. If they're testing me by getting out of their seat when I've very clearly asked them not to, yes you will go to time out. (That's if they're TESTING me, as in being defiant.) If I sent them to time out (for a minute or so) and they know they're there for a reason and they're continuing to be disruptive then I might call home or send them to the office. And I have done this before. I would definitely send a kindergartener to the office for screaming, kicking, climbing on things, being repeatedly defiant so I have to stop class a lot for them, that kind of thing. I haven't sent many Ks to the office.

I may not be a great teacher, but god, my Ks forget to raise their hands ALL THE TIME. When that happens I say something like "Oh!! Wow, I think I just said raise your hand if you know the answer! I wonder who can raise their hand if they know the answer? Kaitlin! Look at what a nice job you're doing! Thank you so much for following directions!" And like, most Ks are tripping over themselves to please you at that point haha. If it's just one kid calling out, honestly, I ignore them OR remind them that students who call out don't get turns OR give them a chance to correct themselves.

So that makes me feel like, either she really is an impatient teacher and maybe another teacher would be a better fit, OR she's not telling you exactly everything he's doing. The fact that the social worker is there is interesting. (Like, for the getting out of his seat: Is he getting out of his seat and refusing to go back? Is he running around the room? You've heard he's a handful...maybe more details would help.)

It DOES definitely sound like he has impulse control issues though. The barging into classrooms thing to tell about the tooth, honestly, is pretty impulsive. I don't know many kindergarteners who would do that, it's pretty ballsy! (Some of my current Ks would do it out of defiance maybe if it occurred to them ha. I have one girl who has done that kind of thing, and it was definitely done out of defiance.)

So, yeah. That's my two cents! Ultimately, investigate the ADHD.

OH! One more thing. He has other teachers besides his Kindergarten teacher probably - like for example, the gym teacher, the music teacher, the art teacher. I would really consider asking them how he is in their classes. If THEY say there aren't really any problems, then you know he's not gelling with his current Kindergarten teacher. But if they say they've had to send him to the office too, I would ask for details from them. If they've had to send him out also then I think...something's not working. (Don't lead them into an answer, just ask how he's doing I think...yeah.)

Ms. Mango
01-26-14, 04:06 PM
@willow129--Here's the thing, though. My son's school never administered the Connors. Why did this school? We all know the school can't diagnose. It sounds like a not-so-subtle hint to the OP to put her kid on meds. And guess what--if the OP took her son to the pediatrician and told her/him about the test results there's a good chance she'd walk out of the office with a script.

As pro-meds as I am, that's not the way I'd like to see it happen. The OP should definitely follow up and have her child assessed. Not for ADHD specifically--co-morbid disorders and learning problems should also be investigated. The OP needs to get the total picture and get an actual diagnosis. ADHD meds won't fix dyslexia (something you know the school also won't diagnose), for example.

This kid and teacher definitely don't work well together, but you know as well as I that most schools will not move a child to another classroom mid-year. The teacher is stuck with him (and he and the OP are stuck with her). I'm sure his behavior is frustrating her. It's out there, but not so out there that it would explain her reaction. We may be missing some of the story, but why would the teacher or social worker be holding something back if it bolsters their case for putting OP's son on meds? Maybe, like you, she's new. Maybe she's burned out. Maybe she thought teaching would be rainbows, lollipops and unicorns and her preconceived notions are bumping up against harsh reality. Whatever, the school is doing everyone a disservice by appearing to put this 100% on the parent and kid. What is the purpose of sending the kid to the office for what he's done? It's not justified and neither the teacher nor student learn anything from it. Why administer a test like the Conners--and only the Conners--when there is nothing the school can do with the results other than try to strong arm the parent into putting her child on medication?

Most experienced teachers have seen behavior like this before. If not, the school's special ed department should be working with her. They can definitely support her and give her some better tools/strategies for dealing with challenging students. It sounds like the only thing she has in her bag of tricks is to send the kid to the office. You, two years out of school, already sound like you have better skills to work with a kid like this.

This child sounds impulsive and, like kids with a bona fide ADHD diagnosis, acts like a younger child. Hugging a social worker is "out of line"? Well, developmentally, kids that age are not so demonstrably affectionate, but her assessment is a bit harsh. And, dx or not, it can be difficult to see where the line is between impulsivity and defiance in a child that age. Being told twice (or 15 or 137 times) not to do something, like getting out of your seat or shouting out an answer, and still not being able to comply with that request is not necessarily an act of defiance. Adults see it that way, though.

willow129
01-26-14, 05:02 PM
@willow129--Here's the thing, though. My son's school never administered the Connors. Why did this school? We all know the school can't diagnose. It sounds like a not-so-subtle hint to the OP to put her kid on meds. And guess what--if the OP took her son to the pediatrician and told her/him about the test results there's a good chance she'd walk out of the office with a script.

I'm actually not sure what the Connors is - sorry for my ignorance **feels embarrassed** But that...yeah. I agree it sounds like they want the kid to go on meds. And it's not up to them. Period.

As pro-meds as I am, that's not the way I'd like to see it happen. The OP should definitely follow up and have her child assessed. Not for ADHD specifically--co-morbid disorders and learning problems should also be investigated. The OP needs to get the total picture and get an actual diagnosis. ADHD meds won't fix dyslexia (something you know the school also won't diagnose), for example.

I agree.

This kid and teacher definitely don't work well together, but you know as well as I that most schools will not move a child to another classroom mid-year. The teacher is stuck with him (and he and the OP are stuck with her). I'm sure his behavior is frustrating her. It's out there, but not so out there that it would explain her reaction. We may be missing some of the story, but why would the teacher or social worker be holding something back if it bolsters their case for putting OP's son on meds? Maybe, like you, she's new. Maybe she's burned out. Maybe she thought teaching would be rainbows, lollipops and unicorns and her preconceived notions are bumping up against harsh reality. Whatever, the school is doing everyone a disservice by appearing to put this 100% on the parent and kid. What is the purpose of sending the kid to the office for what he's done? It's not justified and neither the teacher nor student learn anything from it. Why administer a test like the Conners--and only the Conners--when there is nothing the school can do with the results other than try to strong arm the parent into putting her child on medication?

Actually at my school kids have been moved midyear, sorry, I assumed other places did that too. Doesn't seem to be uncommon here (somewhat annoyingly.) And also just wanted to reiterate that finding a good fit for a teacher - even if it means a different school, is a really good thing for the kid + parent.

That's what I was thinking also, that either this teacher is new, OR she's burned out. My bet is on the latter. I'm really curious the answer to this one. Just because I'm nosy - I guess it's not really relevant. (AlTHOUGH, it could give the OP something to think about when finding good teachers in the future.)

Most experienced teachers have seen behavior like this before. If not, the school's special ed department should be working with her. They can definitely support her and give her some better tools/strategies for dealing with challenging students. It sounds like the only thing she has in her bag of tricks is to send the kid to the office. You, two years out of school, already sound like you have better skills to work with a kid like this.

I am *really* surprised her admin supports the going to the office all the time thing. That's another reason why I was thinking maybe there's more the parent isn't being told somewhere in the story. I should have mentioned it before but my post was just getting so long!! I feel like MOST schools would not be cool with a teacher sending a kid to the office multiple times a week unless the kid is really an issue and a known one. At my school, I sent a middle schooler to the office for telling me my class sucked and the activity was BS and Eff that I'm not doing that. In front of everyone and very loudly and belligerently, OBVIOUSLY a challenge in front of the whole class (32 kids). I sent him to the office and the vice principal met with me saying I should have done a different consequence and if every kid who swore went to the office they'd have 20 kids in the office. (What?! That is first of all not true and WHAT?! It's not like he just let a swear slip out.)
So, yeah, I'm really surprised she's able to do that.

This child sounds impulsive and, like kids with a bona fide ADHD diagnosis, acts like a younger child. Hugging a social worker is "out of line"? Well, developmentally, kids that age are not so demonstrably affectionate, but her assessment is a bit harsh. And, dx or not, it can be difficult to see where the line is between impulsivity and defiance in a child that age. Being told twice (or 15 or 137 times) not to do something, like getting out of your seat or shouting out an answer, and still not being able to comply with that request is not necessarily an act of defiance. Adults see it that way, though.

Re: hugging. I've never seen a teacher yell at kids for hugging. :( Poor kid. I don't disapprove of hugs. Maybe he likes the social worker better than the teacher and was so relieved to the see the social worker he had to run up to her. :giggle:

Actually, one thing I will disagree on, at this point in the year, you know when the kids are being defiant vs. they aren't aware of what they're doing. I think so anyways. And I think a lot of Kindergarten behavior goes in the "they didn't know better" category, not the defiant one. Because it's their first time in school!! And often they call out because suddenly there's one adult and tons of kids and they've been (often) used to one-on-one with adults. And so they want their teacher to love THEM, and notice THEM!! IknowIknowIknow!! Or they get up out of their seat to go to their teacher and show them something or whatever. Ks are almost as a rule eager to please unless something is wrong at home or developmentally. A defiant kindergartener is a pretty different thing. (NOT FUN.)

Tmoney
01-27-14, 09:16 AM
Has a behavior modification plan been established to address these behavior problems?
If they set up a plan to address these behaviors and the occurences decreased, would they still medicate him?

Let's find out first if he can control the behavior and visualize a consequence for his actions before we medicate. I agree, this seems to be a teacher struggling with a student who is a little more challenging then the others in the classroom.

Went through it with my son John. John had no fear, he would say things and do things most kids wouldn't and he would not hesitate to get up and hug someone either.
So they called me into the school not knowing that I worked with kids and said "We have a problem with John and we need you to address it"

I said okay, I give you my word that I will address it with John, but you need to tell me how you plan to address it here at school because I can tell you he does not act that way at home!

He knows that if he does there is a consequence or if he's good a reward. So unless you want me to come in sit in class each day, you need to come up with a behavior modification plan to address this as well.

I also told them to direct this plan around catching John when he is behaving good and reward as opposed to catching him being bad and punishing him. I can assure you if you try to punish he is going to make your life very difficult! (he has no fear)

So John was put on a reward system, a note went back and forth each day so we could monitor his behavior and address it immediately and wouldn't you know it, John got better all the sudden!

If John's behavior got the point where we felt he did not have the ability to control his impulses and it was causing more negativity in his life because of it, then medication will always be ther waiting for him!

Good Luck and keep up the good work Mom!

Ms. Mango
01-27-14, 10:02 PM
The Conners is an ADHD questionnaire. It can be administered by school personnel, but makes sense to be given with other tests. Again, this may have happened and the OP just didn't put it in her post.

There are times when you can definitely say a child is being defiant. Often though, especially with very impulsive children, the adults around him start to attribute that impulsivity to defiance. Especially for frustrated adults (don't ask me how I know). How many times do you ask someone to stop doing something before you start to think they are doing what they're doing intentionally?

When my son was that age, and not medicated, he was so impulsive that he was totally unable to do what we (adults) asked. So, if he was doing something we asked him not to do previously we'd call him over and it would go something like this:

Me: I've asked you not to [whatever].
DS: Oh, sorry.
Me: Could you please stop?
DS: Yes. I won't do [whatever].

DS turns around and promptly returns to doing [whatever] within 3 minutes.

Believe me, it was an ephiphany to me, one hour after taking his first AdderallXR, when I asked him not to do something and he said "Ok, mommy"--AND THEN DIDN'T DO IT! My DH and I looked at each other in disbelief. We spent the rest of the afternoon asking him not to do things just to see him NOT DO THEM!

Point is, we pegged DS as defiant and so did his teachers and school administration. Defiant as in willfully choosing to disregard our instructions. At that age it was not the case--he was impulsive.

The other reason seeing the word "defiant' puts my radar up is that there is a difference between a kid that is sometimes is ornery and kid who meets the clinical definition of defiant. We've had parents come here with kids OP's DS's age with an ADHD/ODD diagnosis. I'm not saying it's impossible, I just don't want to see that label hung on a kid indiscrimiantly. I can see why the OP is concerned that her kid is already pegged as a problem child.

willow129
01-27-14, 11:25 PM
Thank you for sharing your experiences with me!!! I'm going to remember this for sure. Want to post more but bed time, but thank you!

beepbeep
03-05-14, 02:42 AM
Then his teacher told me that academically he is one of her top students and that if he got his behavior under control he would be one of her best students.

It is strange how it works against you when your kid is fine academically. I don't understand this. If the child can't do what the school requires because of ADHD this is a disability the child has. If they do OK on tests, that is not the same as doing OK in school.

LynneC
03-05-14, 06:28 AM
It is strange how it works against you when your kid is fine academically. I don't understand this. If the child can't do what the school requires because of ADHD this is a disability the child has. If they do OK on tests, that is not the same as doing OK in school.
Well said, and very true. I think this stems from the lack of understanding by the majority of teachers and school administrators about ADHD and how it affects kids...they see a bright kid and assume that he can complete tasks and behave like his peers, despite a diagnosis of ADHD.