Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Thursday, November 06, 2008 ADHD Mom, Community Member, asks

Q: 13 year old son who has adhd is now failing all of his 8th grade classes....

He was diagnosed with Adhd when he was 7 years old and after alot of counseling we started him on medication. We stuck to a strick schedule and behavior plan. We had no academic or behavior problems until he started a new middle school last year. He began struggling with his grades and now in the 8th grade is failing all of his classes. His Dr has changed his medication around and still nothing is helping. We met with the school and have requested an IEP to be done. They are complying with the testing but are very negative concerning his behavior and asked us what we expect an IEP to do for him. I thought this was the schools job? are'nt they subposed to come up with a plan that will help him succed in school? He does his homework if we know about it, they are subposed to post it on the web site daily and 1/2 the time they don't. He does not turn in assignments that I know are completed he forgets them in his locker. He rushes threw everything so it's sloppy and has careless mistakes. Can anyone give me suggestions as to what I need to request of the school as far as modifications for his IEP? He is currently taking Vyvanse and his Psychiatrist wants to add Risperdal.

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Answers (4)
teacher, mom of ADD-gifted, Community Member
2/24/09 11:19pm

I am an 8th grade math theacher and the parent of an ADD 7 year old so I see things from both sides.

 

As far as day to day from a teacher's perspective - Middle school is a whole other country. Some of the issues you are describing could be from the change of schools, from problems with not understanding the concept, from personality conflicts between the teacher and your son or from "middle school syndrome". Since it is across the board and not just one or two teachers, I would tend toward the latter.

 

As a teacher I see so called " normal " 8th grade students ( not ESE, not ADD or any other alphabet soup ) suddenly showing some of the same symptoms you are describing. The student who was one of the best and brightest,( smiling coming into class, answering all the questions, asking for help when confused, doing all the assignments, even helping other struggling classmates ) is now unmotivated, could care less about his grades, makes silly or even inapropriate comments in answer to a question, never does homework and doesn't even bring pencil and paper to class.

 

At our school, all students are given an agenda/planner notebook on the first day. One arrangement I have with a few parents of ADD / ESE students is that the student is responsible for copying the assignment from the board to their agenda. He/ she brings the agenda to me at the end of the period. If all the work was done in class, I cross it off and sign it. If not, then just a signature to show that the assignment was copied correctly and that the student kept up their end of the arrangement by coming to me daily. It takes me about 30 seconds and  gives the parents the information they need, but still leaves the responsibility on the student to keep up with their work. For some of my students I also add a brief behavior comment from time to time, usually on Fridays. The parents know to check the agenda daily for homework, comments about missing work and behavior notes and initial that thet saw it. They also have a reward system set up that the student earns some sort of incentive for a full week of my signature, Mom's initials, all work turned in on time and a happy face for good behavior on Friday. It seems a little like Elementary school, but it works. Ask the teachers if they would be willing to try this. It is also a common accommodation for ESE students.

 

There is a definite difference between 8th grade and anything else. I have taught every grade from 5th to 8th, both "regular" sections and " intensive" or " remedial " classes with ADD / ADHD and ESE students included. We want them to be more independent ( getting ready for high school ) and so do they ( I'm 13, I'm not a child anymore). However, I have found that they need just as much structure and supervision as ever. You just have to make them part of the process. 

 

What the school is required to do varies by state. Contact your son's school to speak to the ESE depatrment and the guidance counselor. In some states, ADD is not covered under ESE ( no IEP ) but is under something else. Here in Florida it is known as a 504 plan. The teachers are made aware that the student has a diagnosis and is taking medications. The school tries to schedule the ADD students into smaller classes and to make the students weaker subject in the morning when the medication has not worn off. The students are not given an IEP or any other ESE paperwork unless they also have a documented qualifying learning disability. It is up to the student, parent, teacher and guidance counselor to keep the student on track. Again, regulations vary by state, so you will have to do a bit of research on your state's policies.

 

Go ahead and check with your son's doctor about his medications ( pubery and hormones have strange effects on body chemistry ) and talk to your son's school about what can be done to help him. But ultimately, he is a middlle school boy ( who just happens to be ADHD ) and is still affected by all the typical middle school drama and adolescent attitude changes. He is just as intelligent an capable as ever, but unfortunately, the motivation has been overcome by hormones. The true battle ove every middle school teacher and parent is finding a way to make them care about more than video games and who's dating who. Good luck and God bless. 

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my advice for you, Community Member
1/ 8/11 11:20am

Wow...I loved your repsponse...thank you!!!  Your ending statement is so true. 

 

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Jan, Community Member
11/ 6/08 9:59am

I'm not sure I can help you with specific IEP ideas, but there should be a Special Ed person either on the school board or in the PTA.  My 8th grader (son) has an IEP, but what he's getting now is minimal (an aid looking over his shoulder, a case worker, etc).  Good luck.

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charlene c, Community Member
2/14/09 11:28am

I am a parent of a 13 year old son, in oakland, ca.  I recently had my son diagnosed with

ADHD, althought I suppected he had it years ago, I dropped the ball by no being aware of the other disorder it could become, such as odd, and conduct disorder.  I was perscribed concerta but decided not to continue after 2 days because he was so angry after taking it.  If you notice behavior problems in your son, make sure you are aware of the class room setting, other children in the class that could be a distraction, or his peer group that he associates with.   13 is an impressable age, where they need more supervision, not less. I would also try to give natual suppliments, vitamins and minerals, b vitimins, fish oils, and a health diet, no sugar.  also read the book 3 steps to conquering add-adhd, by jon bennett.

 also, request a sst from your son school, sst- is a student success team.  I am just now trying to get an iep from my son school, but hopefully I won't need one.  Two days after I had my 4th sst meeting this year, I explained to all of my son's teachers his diagnoses and all the problems I had with him, they change some of his class that he was not doing well in, because of the distractions from the other kids.

I now make sure he eats breakfast every morning, and I give him suppliments from Native Remedies- Brightspark and focus formula- after 2 days I got a phone call from his teacher saying that whatever i was doing to keep doing it, because my son had shown a dramatic change in completing his assignment on his own without help and getting  perfect score on his test, this is his algebra class and he is not it any special classes.

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Just sayin, Community Member
5/ 8/11 10:45pm

Hey, I am a 8th grader who is in a simular situation as your son. I have ADHD, dyslexia, and much worst so i know what it`s like to struggle in school. Last year I failed all my classes(including athletics due to attidute and behaviour issues)in the 3rd semester and my parents did everything they possibly could to help me. But, nothing they did helped. One day my Coach talked to me about changing my schedule so I could focus on the important classes when my meds all kicked in. Her plan works and I found out she originally went to school for counciling so ow she`s trying to help me mentaly solve other issues. Thats not my point though, all I`m saying is the solution will be very random and effective. No amount of meds can help you more.

(my mother told me to answer this qeustion)

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By ADHD Mom, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/24/14, First Published: 11/06/08