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  #16  
Old 02-04-11, 08:57 PM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

Grrr. My wife got a call back from the school today in response to 2 messages she had left for the dean.

Question 1: Since he seems to be getting in trouble at lunch recently (his last 2 multi day suspensions started with acting up in the lunch room) could he be separated from the other kids during lunch, and eat his lunch somewhere without an audience, and without as many distractions and temptations?

Dean's response: We can try to place him somewhere else when he has a lunch detention to serve. I'll look into it.

Question 2: The frequent suspensions are doing our son more harm than good. Particularly out of school suspensions, which are less of a punishment to him than being in school. Can the school try some other form of discipline instead of an out of school suspension?

Dean's response: No. I am legally required to suspend him from school.


--- Now, I get that he's wrong, and should be looking at other options. And I'm definitely understanding that we need to start pushing the school hard. Someone suggested we contact a lawyer or advocate. I've found someone in Iowa City that is listed as serving IL. That's about an hour from us. I'm still looking to see if there's someone closer, but haven't had any luck so far. Also, money is an issue. I would gladly hire someone if they can help us get through this, but I suspect any help would have to be limited to an advisory role in order to keep costs manageable.

I know I've got a lot to learn, and a lot of preparation ahead of me if it comes down to doing battle with the school. Right now, i feel like I should immediately write to the dean and request an evaluation for an IEP. But I'm thinking asking for that before I'm prepared might be the wrong thing to do. Am I better off to make the request right away with the school, or to wait until I have a better understanding of everything involved?
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Old 02-04-11, 11:13 PM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

I think you should be prepared before you request a meeting for an IEP or 504. The "Dean" seems very sure of himself and not willing to budge from what the policy is regarding suspension (as if that is the only punishment allowed!) You want to confidently walk into the meeting knowing exactly what your rights are as a parent and what you want the school system to accomplish. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!!

I also feel very strongly that your son needs a thorough, complete, comprehensive evaluation by a neurologist or psychiatrist! Not a psychologist. A medical doctor specializing in childhood neurological disorders. I cannot imagine having a child hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and leaving with no official diagnosis or medication for depression.

Based on your son's history, I would think you could get a referral to a specialist, even on medicaid. In our area of VA, children who qualify for medicaid get numerous services, including psychiatry for more minor problems than what your son is experiencing.

Do you know any other parents in your district who have a child on an IEP? Perhaps they would be a source of information and support for you. Another idea I thought of is to contact the special education department directly and ask for a meeting with the director of the school division.
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  #18  
Old 02-05-11, 12:09 AM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

Wow, OP, I'm not sure where to begin.

Here is your state's guidelines for qualifying for special education services:

http://www.isbe.state.il.us/SPEC-ED/html/categories.htm

Based on what you've described here your son would qualify for services under emotional disturbance.

Before the school could even hope to provide help to your son they'd have to have some understanding of what is causing this behavior. Have you asked the school for a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) as a precursor to getting a 504 or IEP? Here is a link to information about FBAs:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/discipl.fab.starin.htm

Basically, the school would attempt to understand the antecedants to problem behaviors; once those are identified they would develop a plan to either prevent whatever triggers the behaviors or deal with the behaviors in a way that prevents them from escalating (possibly into a situation that would necessitate suspension).

Your wife had a great idea about the cafeteria, btw. That is exactly the kind of solution to a problem behavior that would be in an FBA. It seems like the Dean isn't willing to think outside the box on this. Is there anyone within the school (psychologist, special ed liason at the school or district level) who would be willing to consider working on a behavior plan?

I don't know about IL, but here in MA we have a zero tolerance law. The law was meant to take kids who bring drugs and weapons out of the schools but has been abused by administrators who are unable or unwilling to come up with common sense solutions for kids with behavior problems. The principal at my son's school told us that he had "no option" but to suspend last year when we asked that he find a consequence other than repeatedly suspending a 1st grader. When we let him know we'd had an opportunity to read the statute and he did have other options he yelled at us that "no one tells me how to run my school".

At that point we went over his head to the superintendent (not the best move on our part but we felt that our backs were up against the wall--our son's behavior got worse every time he was suspended) and consulted an attorney (should've done that first) who gave us great advice. We succeeded in having our son placed at another elementary school in the district where he is doing well. So, things worked out in the end but if I had it to do all over again I'd consult with the attorney first.

Regarding medication--sometimes increasing the dose is the right thing to do but it sounds like this was not the case for your son. My son was on Adderall. The initial dose helped his behavior a bit but it wasn't enough. We increased the dose hoping to get some additional benefit but instead got a child who was extremely emotionally labile when the meds wore off. He used language threatening to harm himself and others causing him to get suspened from school and expelled from his afterschool program. According to his doctor (a neurologist) this can happen for some kids on Adderall. His simple solution was to take him off it--unfortunately the damage had already been done.

As it turns out, my son couldn't tolerate a therapeutic dose of Adderall or ritalin (that was a total bust from the get go). He is now on a non-stimulant. It took some trial and error to find a medication that worked for him. Several other people have recommended that you find a psychiatrist or neurologist. I agree and also suggest you find a one who specializes in psychopharmacology, if possible. Is there a university/teaching hospital that you can get to where you can find a doctor who will take your insurance? That might be a way your son could get seen by a specialist.
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  #19  
Old 02-05-11, 12:17 AM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

Thanks. That does confirm what I was thinking, that I needed to be prepared before even asking for the evaluation. I was also just concerned as to how long it takes to make the evaluation happen after I first ask for it, and also with wanting to get things started quickly to avoid things getting worse.

Honestly, the child psychologist working in conjunction with our family doctor was the best care we've gotten so far. Or at least, we were most comfortable with it. The psychologist did a wide variety of tests, explained the results, etc. He made a recommendation to our family doctor, who prescribed the meds. Now, we spend 10 minutes at a time with a psychiatrist, they write a script, we leave. Once a month we see a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I'd go back to the psychologist in a heartbeat, but he doesn't take medicaid.

Also, would the evaluation you're recommending be something that is part of the IEP process through the school, or something we need to have done separately first?

Getting a referral probably wouldn't be an issue, if we can find a provider. The problem with medicaid, here at least, is that very few providers accept it. As i said before, there's only one mental health clinic in the area that takes it. My son also needs braces. There's one orthodontist that works in peoria a couple of days a week, which is about 2 hours drive from here. Otherwise, the next closest is in Chicago, which is 3 hours away. Oh, and the peoria ortho is booked 6 months out. I don't mean to be whining or complaining about it, just trying to give a picture of how hard it can be to get in to a provider on IL Medicaid.

I did just read somewhere that the University of Iowa hospitals take IL Medicaid, and I think they probably have doctors that would be more appropriate. I'll make some calls monday and see.

I don't know a lot of parents in the district. I know someone with an IEP in a district near here, but I haven't discussed it with them much. That may help to find out more.
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Old 02-05-11, 02:45 PM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

I'm not familiar with IL locations and distances, but here are some links I found for you:

Southern Illinois University - Child and Adolescent Neurology:
http://www.siumed.edu/neuro/Clinic/P...euroClinic.htm
Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Clinic

Children's Memorial Hospital:
http://www.childrensmemorial.org/dep.../overview.aspx
General Academic Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, providing evaluation and treatment for children with behavior or development concerns including developmental delay, autism spectrum and attention disorders.

http://www.childrensmemorial.org/dep.../overview.aspx
Neurology - the division offers experts in epilepsy, neuromuscular disorders, neuro-oncology, neurogenetics, behavioral neurology including attention-deficit disorder, Tourette Syndrome and neurovirology

The NeuroCenter
http://neurocenteronline.reachlocal.net/

list of IL neurologists
http://www.autismspeaks.org/communit...?sid=17&cid=41



Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (find your local contact)
http://www.iaase.org/static.asp?path=2950

IL Special Education Services (lots of good info and resources)
http://www.isbe.state.il.us/SPEC-ED/html/parents.htm
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  #21  
Old 02-05-11, 06:54 PM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

I've been glued to this thread because Aurock, your son sounds so much like mine! (So much so, that for the first half of your initial post I was wondering if you were my husband ).

Like you, I also didn't believe a 504 or IEP would be helpful because my son is so bright, but I've recently been shifting gears as his behavior has gotten worse, and that's what we're starting to work on now, so we can have one in place before he goes on to middle school (in our district, middle school doesn't start until 6th grade).

I'm still new to all this and don't have many answers, but I recently found a parent advocacy group in our state that exists specifically to help families work with school districts on IEPs and the like. One of our son's doctor's provided us with the contacts, so you might try starting there and see if they know of any advocates. I also did some googling for a similar group in Illinois and found this, which might be

helpful.http://www.specialedadvocacycenter.org/


Good luck, and I'll be keeping an eye on this thread because he sounds sooooo much like my boy!
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  #22  
Old 02-06-11, 09:38 PM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

Legally required to suspend??? If I was told that the first question out of my mouth would be asking for proof of that.
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Old 02-06-11, 09:46 PM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

I think the "Dean" needs a job outside of education.
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  #24  
Old 02-06-11, 10:39 PM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

I've read a couple of places that they can't suspend more than 10 days in a year if the behavior is related to his adhd. Would that include in school suspensions, or only out of school?
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Old 02-06-11, 10:43 PM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

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Originally Posted by Lady Lark View Post
Legally required to suspend??? If I was told that the first question out of my mouth would be asking for proof of that.
I agree. I know there are a few things that they "have" to suspend for - like bringing a gun to school, but I find it pretty unbelievable that this is a "legally required" punishment for non-violent disruptions, especially those related to ADHD.
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Old 02-06-11, 10:47 PM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

This particular infraction started off with a dispute over whether he had already served a lunch detention. He called the lunchroom supervisor an old hag, and when the dean got involved, he was apparently mouthing off to the dean in the lunchroom. I'm not sure exactly what was said, my wife was the one that spoke to them. Overall, not the worst thing my kid has done, by far.
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Old 02-07-11, 07:32 PM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurock View Post
I've read a couple of places that they can't suspend more than 10 days in a year if the behavior is related to his adhd. Would that include in school suspensions, or only out of school?
I believe that pertains to out of school suspensions.

Once suspensions exceed 10 days (cumulative or for any single suspension of 10 days or more) there will be a manifestation determination hearing. If the hearing determines that the behavior that caused the suspension(s) is a result of the student's disability then the recommendation will be for no further suspensions/expulsion. It doesn't matter if the student has an IEP (and if anyone is wondering--yes a student on an IEP can be suspended).

MuscleMama gave you the link to your state's special ed website--this specific information is contained there at this link:

http://www.isbe.state.il.us/SPEC-ED/...discipline.pdf

Also, it says there that if it comes to that point, a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) is to be developed. In our case the FBA was done and the BIP was incorporated into my son's IEP.
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  #28  
Old 02-08-11, 07:46 AM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

Ms Mango -- Thanks. I actually did read through that whole document the other day, but didn't see where it specified in school or out of school when referring to suspensions. Also, it actually says the 10 suspensions/MDR rule doesn't apply if the student is not in special ed, and if there is not a very specific set of circumstances under which the school should think the student may qualify for special ed.

That's why I was wondering about in vs out of school, because it sounds like the school could go right past 10 without ever doing an MDR if the student isn't on an IEP or in the IEP process. My boy has definitely been suspended well over 10 days this year if you count both in school and out of school, but if it's out of school only I think it's probably more like 4-5 days.
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Old 02-11-11, 10:56 AM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lv2sleep View Post
I also feel very strongly that your son needs a thorough, complete, comprehensive evaluation by a neurologist or psychiatrist! Not a psychologist. A medical doctor specializing in childhood neurological disorders.
My wife asked yesterday in his appointment with the counselor about getting further testing/evaluation, and the response was essentially 'for what'? She said for a lot of issues like ADHD, depression, etc, there isn't really a test for it, just observations.

Maybe we're not asking right. Honestly, I'm not even sure what we should be asking for. What should specifically should we be asking for?

Thinking about it, any referral would probably have to come from his primary care physician, so we may have better luck there.


I do know that in reading the law, he seems to fit a couple of the definitions of emotional disturbances, as well as under the OHI category.


Quote:
(4)(i) Emotional disturbance means a
condition exhibiting one or more of the
following characteristics over a long
period of time and to a marked degree
that adversely affects a child’s
educational performance:
(B) An inability to build or maintain
satisfactory interpersonal relationships
with peers and teachers.
(C) Inappropriate types of behavior or
feelings under normal circumstances.
(D) A general pervasive mood of
unhappiness or depression.
B- I'm not sure to what degree he meets this, but he has had trouble making friends, all along. He has gone over to an old neighbor's house to play with kids occasionally, and when we visit his cousin they do well together, but prior to this year, that's about it. This year he does to my wife's friend's house to play with her kids sometimes, and has one friend in school that he apparently spends quite a bit of time with, and they tend to get each other in trouble. Of course, his mom and I are both very socially challenged, so it may just be that he's following our example.

C- Inappropriate behavior is of course pretty broad, and fits all of the trouble he gets in at school. As for feelings, he is a VERY emotional child, and often reacts with much stronger emotion than would be expected or appropriate in a given situation

D- He has a very negative outlook on things. Regardless of the situation, he will find something bad about it. For example, recently his mom and baby brother were gone for an evening. He and I watched some TV, went to walmart and bought a toy he wanted, and played with the toy together. We only had about 3 hours from the time I got home until he went to bed, but we spent probably 2-2.5 of that doing stuff together. Yet at the end of the night, he was on the verge of tears because he wishes he would have decided to play video games together or do something else instead of buying a new toy and playing together. It was a good night, he had lots of fun, but at the end of the night, he could only focus on the other fun stuff we could have done and didn't. It's always like that. We could spend a day at the amusement park, and when it's over, he'll be upset at the ride he didn't go on, or the food he didn't eat, or SOMETHING that didn't go quite right, and that takes center stage in his mind.

I think I've described these behaviors to his counselor and psychiatrist before, but I don't know that they've done anything with that information. Is there something there, or am I just looking for things to fit the definitions and finding problems that aren't really what the definition is going for?

Edit: I'm told that after bringing some of this up again today at the psychiatrist appt, he has decided to add zoloft to the mix.
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Old 02-11-11, 11:37 AM
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Re: My 5th Grader: ADHD, Gifted program, behavior problems

Have your primary care physician do a referral to a neurologist. Look at the links I researched for you in my previous post. They will help you understand what they can help diagnose and treat.

Instead of just adding another medication, I would definitely recommend you do this. Asap.
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