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Jen_in_SanJose 02-06-18 03:09 PM

Meeting with School Today
 
Hi everyone! Brand new to this forum. I have a 9 year old son that was just formally diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive disorder.

He goes to a private Catholic school and I am meeting with his teacher today to discuss the accommodations that his psychologist recommends. I am not super nervous as they have already been somewhat accommodating over the last 3 years(use of headphones, standing at desk, taking work into the hall, etc.)

but the biggest thing I want to see is LESS busy work. He is very bright and I feel like some of the work is just not needed. They are "check the box" kind of teachers so it will be very interesting to see how they respond.

My question to all of you is how has your school accommodated?

If anyone lives in San Jose I would LOVE to hear how the public schools deal with that as well as there is always the option of moving him if needed.

Mostly I just wanted to say hi and find a support system for how to handle the next 9+ years..... :)

Jen_in_SanJose 02-06-18 09:49 PM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
Ok, so the meeting didn't happen. I sent my son's teacher the official diagnosis and request for accommodations so she could review it ahead of the meeting and she said the VP and team need to put together a formal plan for him and they can't do that and present it to me until after winter break. So we have to wait until March to implement. So annoying! We even asked if we could just make some modifications ahead of that and she said she had to check with the VP but probably not. Geez..it isn't like we are asking to move mountains here. Frustrated!!

sarahsweets 02-07-18 04:39 AM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
I hope you realize how lucky you are that a Catholic school is willing to even consider helping your son. Religious schools are exempt from the laws that govern public schools and your childs' right to a free and fair education that meets his needs. So as annoying as it is to wait til March you are still very lucky.

Caco3girl 02-07-18 10:15 AM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
Agree with Sarah, when you said Catholic School was already being accommodating I almost fell out of my chair. I haven't heard of that before. The public schools are funded by the government, so if they don't follow the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) they could actually loose their funding. There is no incentive for a Catholic School to allow anyone accommodations, which is why most don't.

I have an 8 year old and a 15 year old, both ADHD, both with a IEP. Both are in what we call co-taught classes. Two teachers, one teaches and the other acts as a back up if a kid is struggling with a concept, or they see someone spacing out they get them to focus back on the teacher. It has worked WONDERS!

I can't see the teacher assigning less work. It isn't catholic vs public it's that it isn't fair to the other students if he has less work to do. That would require him to go to a special class which is why kids in public school that have an IEP are considered Special Education, because they literally need special education. The classes teach the same things but in a more streamlined way. My son didn't have an IEP until 8th grade so he was able to explain the difference to me.

In the general classes the teachers are trying to get the kids to use their imaginations, and explore their personal feelings, and link those things to learning. So the teacher might say how do you think Columbus was feeling on his voyage to the new world, what would YOU have packed for that long trip? That is actually a good way for most kids to learn, but my kids would be so hung up in their thoughts they would miss what everyone said, and also miss when the teacher said there was a test coming up, he was just off in his own head thinking. In his new classes the teachers give them dates, and facts, and if they do discuss what he might have brought with him they give him a word bank of things that Columbus may or may not have brought. This helps him stay focused on the topic.

Jen_in_SanJose 02-07-18 02:21 PM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
Oh I know how fortunate I am, however I believe that is more a function of where I live and not that my specific Catholic school is special. I won't get into politics, but the bay area is much more accepting and accommodating and that is why I live where I live. :)

My son has had amazing teachers up to this point and they have already accommodated him even without a diagnosis. They let him have a standing desk, use a rubber band to "run", work at the back counter or teacher's desk, and created "Luka island" which is his desk separate from the others so he wouldn't be as distracted.

What I am really looking for are things like no timed test, take tests in the office so no distractions, and no busy work. In third grade there are tons of assignments that are repetitive. He is gifted and is testing at 6th grade level for reading and math. He doesn't need to do something 100 times to prove he knows it. He doesn't need to color in a worksheet every week to prove he knows basic music notes as he reads music and has been taking piano since he was 6. I don't want him to have an exception to know concepts he needs to know, I want him to be able to prove he understands the concept and move on.. His psychologist agrees and that is what she asked for.

I think in some ways we will be more accommodated for in our current school because we don't have to go through the government "red tape". His school values him and wants him to be a part of their community. They can also use common sense instead of having to follow set guidelines pushed down to them. If he KNOWS something, why make him suffer and keep doing it over and over again?

Maybe I am wrong, but I am hopeful they will be accommodating. I just get nervous in the higher grades when he won't automatically know a topic/concept right away and will need to concentrate to make sure he masters it. In those situations I think a "team teaching" approach like what you guys described would be better for him and that is not available to him, obviously.

This is all new to me as he was just formally diagnosed, but we are also luckily in a good school district so we always have that as a fall back. With both my kids I have always taken each school year as it comes and reassess if the catholic school is the right place for them. After all we are paying for it. :)

Thanks for all the advice. I was hoping to find someone in San Jose that might help me with our schools specifically. I couldn't find anything on the school website about ADHD, etc. I guess I will just have to call and ask to speak with someone. I want to understand what programs and concepts they use at the public school around ADHD.

Jen_in_SanJose 02-07-18 08:02 PM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
This is how amazing our school is. I emailed the VP yesterday and already got this AMAZING response. I have tears in my eyes I am so happy. We are so fortunate to have a loving school and community. I hope and pray for the same for all the children in the US, especially the ones with special needs. God loves us all, no matter what we look like, who we love, or how we think or process information. :)

I have received the paperwork from Luka's doctor and will work on putting together a learning plan for Luka. I am available to meet with you to go over the plan on 2/26 or 2/27. My apologies for not being able to meet next week but I am already booked up due to our accreditation visit. I will send you a copy of the plan by Thursday 2/15 and would be happy to exchange information via e-mail. Looking at the recommendations, I feel that most are doable. We will need to discuss how Luka would go about dictating his thoughts. Perhaps software or an Ipad could be used. I have asked Luka's teacher to work on implementing as many of the suggested accommodations as possible. She does not need to wait for our written plan to get started. Please let me know if you have questions. I look forward to meeting with you. Please let me know a time and the date that will work for you.

sarahsweets 02-08-18 04:42 AM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jen_in_SanJose (Post 1984799)
Oh I know how fortunate I am, however I believe that is more a function of where I live and not that my specific Catholic school is special. I won't get into politics, but the bay area is much more accepting and accommodating and that is why I live where I live. :)

My son has had amazing teachers up to this point and they have already accommodated him even without a diagnosis. They let him have a standing desk, use a rubber band to "run", work at the back counter or teacher's desk, and created "Luka island" which is his desk separate from the others so he wouldn't be as distracted.

Wow you are super lucky!
Quote:

What I am really looking for are things like no timed test, take tests in the office so no distractions, and no busy work. In third grade there are tons of assignments that are repetitive. He is gifted and is testing at 6th grade level for reading and math. He doesn't need to do something 100 times to prove he knows it. He doesn't need to color in a worksheet every week to prove he knows basic music notes as he reads music and has been taking piano since he was 6. I don't want him to have an exception to know concepts he needs to know, I want him to be able to prove he understands the concept and move on.. His psychologist agrees and that is what she asked for.
but it doesnt matter if he doesnt need the repetition or the busy work because he is gifted. The other kids are not. If he is that gifted then maybe a diffrent private school altogether would make more sense. He is doing grade level work and you might think its busy work but moms of the other kids might think otherwise. Its not about proving he knows something- its demonstrating the skills of following directions, working in a group or on your own. Focusing and not getting distracted etc.

Quote:

I think in some ways we will be more accommodated for in our current school because we don't have to go through the government "red tape". His school values him and wants him to be a part of their community. They can also use common sense instead of having to follow set guidelines pushed down to them. If he KNOWS something, why make him suffer and keep doing it over and over again?
How is it suffering to do something repetitively. School is like that everywhere. If he is too smart for that he needs to test out of third grade and skip to a grade where the work is challenging.

TygerSan 02-08-18 07:28 AM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
Reduced workload isn't necessarily a terrible accommodation. It is possible to show mastery of a subject (like a math concept) after 10 problems rather than 20. I was allowed to do every other problem because I work very slowly. As the math got more complex, though, I actually could have used a bit more of that practice.

Caco3girl 02-08-18 11:16 AM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
I don't see any school, public or private, being able to do all the things he needs. Have you thought of home schooling?

Jen_in_SanJose 02-08-18 12:37 PM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahsweets (Post 1984880)

but it doesnt matter if he doesnt need the repetition or the busy work because he is gifted. The other kids are not. If he is that gifted then maybe a diffrent private school altogether would make more sense. He is doing grade level work and you might think its busy work but moms of the other kids might think otherwise. Its not about proving he knows something- its demonstrating the skills of following directions, working in a group or on your own. Focusing and not getting distracted etc.

Super interesting that you keep pointing out "the other kids" and implying it isn't fair. First off, life isn't fair. It isn't fair that our kids have ADHD. We aren't all the same...thank god. If Luka can prove he has mastered a skill and if staring at a list of busy work gives him anxiety and he feels overwhelmed and starts saying things like he is stupid and he can't finish and it makes him hate school, why shouldn't the school say he knows the skills we need him to know let's let him skip some of the busy work. I mean that is just common sense. And again, he is in third grade. He isn't learning rocket science yet. On the standardized tests he is 99% in the country for English and Math. I, as a parent could careless if some other kid is doing less work than mine as long as he isn't disrupting the class, which Luka isn't. Luka also has a really good attitude...he actually WANTS to complete his work, he just sometimes literally can't, especially in the evenings when he is tired and as his psychologist puts it has been trying to focus all day and do what he is suppose to do and is just DONE. Other nights, no problem, he whips through his homework in 10 minutes. Also, he has ADHD, so we know he can't focus "like the other kids". I don't understand your point. Are you saying he isn't successful at school because he can't focus? He has no issue with completing tests or working in a group(though there isn't much group work at this age), it is just finishing certain repetitive assignments or coloring.

How is it suffering to do something repetitively. School is like that everywhere. If he is too smart for that he needs to test out of third grade and skip to a grade where the work is challenging.

It is suffering because he can't focus. He gets anxiety about not finishing assignments. He isn't like one of those kids that doesn't care and blows it off. He is literally in a panic in the morning if he knows he didn't finish something. And for what? Because he didn't write the 20th sentence to correct grammar that he already knows and it would be more appropriate to just correct the grammar rather than re-write the entire sentence. As for "testing out", again we are in a private school. It doesn't work that way. The material he is learning is only 25% of it for me. I want him well rounded, interested and exposed to lots of different things and his peers. Socially he is in the right class. I would never want him younger in grade, especially in the HS years when he will be immature and unable to handle the peer craziness plus the workload. More kids at our school stay back as the work is challenging(they are likely doing 5th grade work compared to public school), so for example my daughter is 11 in 6th grade but she has at least 5 kids that just turned 13... He is already in advanced math, so we are all good. At this stage I am not even sure college will be the right place for him. Yes he is super smart, but if he doesn't enjoy school he will need to find something he is passionate about and that will make him excited to learn. Right now he wants to be a chef. Yes, he can focus on a recipe for well over an hour...He is 9 and makes some really good food. :) Everything that I have read on ADHD inattentive is him to a T. If something excites him he can super focus, if something is boring he struggles and struggles.

So sad to me that all of your schools struggle to implement these state mandated plans and they can't just see what your children need. This is making me more and more confident that public school is not the place for him. As for a "gifted school", most of them would provide more work and I want him to be a kid and play and have fun with his friends. I don't need him to be Doogie Howser at age 16 and I don't think he is off the charts IQ wise, just lucky to be smarter. I haven't had his IQ tested so I couldn't tell you what it is or where he falls. Homeschooling is not an option for many many reasons, but thanks for the suggestion.

TygerSan 02-08-18 12:54 PM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
When I was in school, reduced workload and extra time on tests allowed me to show what I really knew rather than how much I produced. While it may technically be true that there is limited accommodation in the "real world", a 9 year old is not only learning content, they are also learning coping skills and how to navigate the school environment.

Schools are also not the most accommodating places. To some extent you can choose a job that is more aligned to your needs than sitting in class all day is. At a desk job, you may be able to get up and walk around without asking for permission, for example.

Accommodations and curriculum modifications exist for a reason, and it's not just for those students who are visibly struggling. In fact, it's sometimes harder to identify those students who are strongly motivated and well-behaved in school, but meltdown at home because of all the pressure to achieve despite learning differences.

Jen_in_SanJose 02-08-18 01:47 PM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
Exactly Tyger! Let's face it we can choose our career and what we do for the rest of our lives. He likely won't have a desk job and there are plenty of trades where he can be active and productive doing what he loves to do everyday. School is created as a one size fits all approach and not everyone learns the same way with or without ADHD. Yes, it is teaching you that sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do, work in a team, etc. But the facts you learn in school aren't really relevant for how I live my life. I'm not saying school isn't important. But I am concerned that self-esteem and anxiety issues could lead to huge issues down the line so his emotional and mental health are way more important to me then if he has written 10 sentences or 20 and if he has colored in his music homework or just identified the correct notes. :) I can see him turning to drugs/alcohol, falling into the wrong group of friends, etc. if he doesn't feel good about himself. After all the #1 priority is keeping them alive and on the right track to be productive, happy adults, right?? They already feel different and "weird" with ADHD so anything I can do to help that I will.

Caco3girl 02-08-18 02:54 PM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
I want to address a few points from above:
1. Who said you had to enjoy school to go to college? I freaking hated school, almost all aspects. I went to college because I wanted to earn more than 30K a year and didn't want to learn a trade.

2. As a parent with a 10th grader I feel I should warn you that K-7 was a breeze. 8th grade is where it gets complicated. The basics are learned over and over for a firm base. MANY MANY kids learn them and forget them after a week. Studies have shown that it is doing something over and over and over again that teaches kids the best.

3. If he is experiencing anxiety when things are not done then he should have more time to do them. Maybe even do them at home. I still don't think it is wise to limit the iterations.

4. It isn't the facts you learn in school that are relevant, school teaches you how to work your brain. At first you learn one thing, and you do it 100 times. Then you are learning 2 things, doing each 50 times, then you learn three things all at one time...but the time you get through high school you know yourself and your limitations far better than had you never been to school. Learning the exact year Columbus sailed isn't as important as knowing that those type of things happened. When he gets to college it won't be any different. He will still have to take general ed classes that made me want to pull my hair out! When will a chemist need music appreciation? NEVER! But it does make me a more well rounded person and introduced me to things I would not have come across.

5. I don't know a single kid who wants to do 20 problems over 10. they ant to get onto the NEXT thing, but having to do 20 is part of the learning process too. I can do math in my head super fast, or with a calculator beyond fast...it didn't come by doing half the problems as everyone else.

6. You are very concerned with his emotional and mental health. Have you ever considered he feels different because you tell him he is?

7. You said "I can see him turning to drugs/alcohol, falling into the wrong group of friends, etc. if he doesn't feel good about himself."....um, take it from me, NOOOOOOO teenager feels "good" about themselves. Definition of a teenager there. They are too fat, too thin, too many freckles, not enough freckles...I think my favorite one I heard was "my wrists are too thin, they are like pencils".....huh? What the heck does that matter? Other people here can comment more on the addiction side of life, but for my son it's about who he hangs out with, where and when. He is supervised, yes even at 15 he is supervised. If I don't know their parents he isn't going over there.

8. have you thought about giving him an outlet outside of schools to be social in? My son LOVES baseball. It's the glue that holds him together. Perhaps with your son it would be a sport or a cooking league?

TygerSan 02-08-18 05:29 PM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
I'm trying to let this go, but I can't. I would not have survived school without the reduced workload modification in elementary and middle school. More time does not always alleviate the problem. Especially as the workload and homework load increase. If the kid gets 10 out of 20 questions done in the allotted time, but gets 10/10 correct, why waste more time/let the kid get further behind practicing the same thing over and over again when he clearly gets it?

One of the students I worked with had physical challenges that means that every response is a time consuming process. The amount of physical and mental effort involved is incredible. Assessing competence in this instance is much more important than spinning wheels "excercising brains." That doesn't mean that nobody is working on solutions to make the process more efficient, but until that happens, we do the best we can. Why should it be any different for a mental disability?

It's one thing to exercise your brain; it's quite another to beat it to death with a stick. Leading to mastery should be a thing for everyone. If your kid ever does the Kahn academy practice problems, that's what the program does.

Lunacie 02-08-18 06:01 PM

Re: Meeting with School Today
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TygerSan (Post 1985004)
I'm trying to let this go, but I can't. I would not have survived school without the reduced workload modification in elementary and middle school. More time does not always alleviate the problem. Especially as the workload and homework load increase. If the kid gets 10 out of 20 questions done in the allotted time, but gets 10/10 correct, why waste more time/let the kid get further behind practicing the same thing over and over again when he clearly gets it?

One of the students I worked with had physical challenges that means that every response is a time consuming process. The amount of physical and mental effort involved is incredible. Assessing competence in this instance is much more important than spinning wheels "excercising brains." That doesn't mean that nobody is working on solutions to make the process more efficient, but until that happens, we do the best we can. Why should it be any different for a mental disability?

It's one thing to exercise your brain; it's quite another to beat it to death with a stick. Leading to mastery should be a thing for everyone. If your kid ever does the Kahn academy practice problems, that's what the program does.

Yep, it became part of my granddaughter's IEP early on that as long as she
could show she was understanding the work, she only had to do half as many
problems since it takes her at least twice as long. School has never been "a
breeze" for her.

Also, every child is different. For my other granddaughter, 5th grade was when
it got complicated and the teachers were finally willing to fill out evaluation
forms to get her diagnosed.

But for me, middle school, 7th and 8th grades, were when the struggle got
real for me.

And I totally agree with Jen-in-SanJose that unremitting struggle is very
damaging to self-esteem. It breaks my heart to see my oldest granddaughter
feel like she is 'less than' or 'not good enough' because of how some of her
teachers and her dad treated her. Didn't matter how often her mom and I told
her that she was great. Most people "feel" the negative comments more
strongly than the positive ones.


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