Just once I wish DS's teacher would say... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 02-07-2012, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We love having DS in class, he brings so much enthusiasm to the class, he's always so eager to learn new things, and catches on so quickly.

 

He is a bright, lively child who I do think seems more "into" whatever is going on when I've taken him to educational things: like a family friendly opera performance at a local college, to a raptor demonstration at a nature preserve, he pays rapt attention, asks relevant questions, talks excitedly the rest of the day about what he's learned.

 

From his teachers I hear how he can't sit still, touches things, is silly at inappropriate moments. He has no diagnosis but is being gently guided towards ADHD, which I do believe exists, but I've seen my boy function, yes he's different, but he's kind, loving, creative, fun...

 

Why can't they tell me the good stuff, too? Don't they see it?gloomy.gif


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#2 of 14 Old 02-07-2012, 11:16 AM
 
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He is WONDERFUL. He's smart, enthusiastic, and happy. He's a joy to behold. hug2.gif

 

They're choosing not to see him for who he is, but rather for what he does.

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#3 of 14 Old 02-07-2012, 11:21 AM
 
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This kind of post makes me sad and angry at the same time. 

 

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No, a paid stranger is not going to pay much attention to his eagerness to learn, but they will sure notice when his inability to sit still, shut up, and listen to someone drone on about stuff he's not interested in makes *their* job harder to do. 

 

If you are going to have your son diagnosed and treated for ADHD make sure it's for a good reason and not just to make him easier for teachers to manage.

 

Sorry, biased homeschooling rant here... but it makes me so angry how this particular institution looks at our children as being somehow "wrong", damaged, broken because they don't fit into this artificial mould they've created. It's bullshit.

 

 

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#4 of 14 Old 02-07-2012, 11:45 AM
 
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I wonder how much of this is school culture, because my kids are now in 6th and 3rd grades, so I have a fair number of years under my belt.  My son had some serious struggles in K-3 with sensory issues, attention, etc.  He eventually recieved a dx from the school evaluator of sensory issues and visual-motor integration.

 

And I think every single teacher, for both kids, has gotten to know my child well enough to be able to tell me things *I* didn't know about my child.  About the way he learns, or the way she uses language, or how he interacts with kids his age vs. older or younger kids.   Most of them have 10+ years of experience and specialized training in child development, and it's fascinating to have them talk about the typical progress of learning to read, for instance, and understand where in that progression my child is, and what I might expect next.

 

We had a lot of conferences that did include "Okay, so he's having trouble wiht X."  But it was generally preceded by "First, he is a wonderful child.  He's kind, and creative, and I've never seen him be consciously mean," and was followed by "I know that he doesn't do X on purpose, so we need to talk about how we can work on that."   

 

I say this not to boast, but a bit in response to the idea that our teachers are "paid strangers."   

 

I dont' know how much of our school culture is fed by being a district that has committed to low student-teacher ratios and strong support of teachers, and how much of it is that we have a school full of experienced, dedicated teachers, most of whom trained as teacher and began teaching before NCLB was passed.  We did have one long-term sub who was a much younger teacher, fresher from ed school, and I have to say her outlook on kids and classroom management was very different, and I could see that it might ultimately have been damaging.  

 

Is your district under NCLB pressure to produce test scores?  Have there been budget cutbacks that mean he's one of 35 or 40 rather than one of 20?   Do you think the teacher would respond to a conversation where ou say "I know you see X, and I see it too, but I lalso see Y.  How can we work together on X and preserve Y?"


savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#5 of 14 Old 02-07-2012, 12:45 PM
 
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This is why I won't teach classes. When you have 30+ students, many of whom would rather be anywhere else, it's extremely difficult to notice anything other than the disruptions. The saddest part is that students are usually disrupting either because the teaching method isn't working for them or because there are unaddressed issues in other parts of their lives, but there's no possible way (that I could find) to use a teaching method that works for everyone or to investigate other potential causes, so teachers end up basically policing against mayhem. Certainly not ALL schools are like this. The private school I attended had much smaller class sizes and experienced, devoted teachers who, with a few notable exceptions, did wonderful work. It wasn't until I worked in an overextended, underfunded public school that I realized just how lucky I'd been. If your school has large class sizes your son's teacher may simply be too overwhelmed to even notice positive, non-disruptive behavior.

 

Is your son unable to pay focus on and stick with activities he enjoys? ADD and ADHD definitely do exist, but a lot of tactile/experiential learners get misdiagnosed simply because book learning and lecturing are ineffective teaching methods for them. Occasional inappropriate silliness is developmentally normal for early elementary school, especially in boys, no matter how much it may annoy teachers. I just wouldn't want to see your son get misdiagnosed simply because he needs to learn in a different way.

 

I basically agree with Piglet's post above, and I was/am a teacher! Though I disagree that "paid strangers" don't care. I can assure you people don't go into teaching for the money. But new teachers are generally hired by poorer performing districts, and it doesn't take long for getting through another day to supersede caring.

 

Anyway, I'm sorry you're getting so much negativity from your son's teacher and I hope you can find a good solution to his problems in school.

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#6 of 14 Old 02-07-2012, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone, I was feeling sorry for myself. DS does have issues, he's on an IEP, gets OT and speech through the school which we have been supplementing with a social skills group. He has regressed a bit in the sensory seeking department in the past couple months, it is frustrating. But as I said there is so much good about him, it would just be nice to hear about the good things now and again. I actually like his teacher and the school, we transferred in the fall after a move and it seems better than our last. It's one of the best districts in the state and one of the best schools in the district. The class has 20 kids and a full time TA to assist the teacher.  It's good.  I just don't know what to do to help. If he does have ADHD its not a level is medicate for, he reads whole books at home and is doing well academically his teacher confirmed when I spoke with her today. I just don't know. And I'm sad that his issues override his many awesome qualities.


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#7 of 14 Old 02-07-2012, 03:14 PM
 
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I know, it is really frustrating!  As I said, our teachers always led off with the good stuff, and I still would come home saying "I wish we could have a conference that didn't go 'he's an awesome kid BUT here's what we're working on...'"   

 

How old is your son?  Mine had a really hard time making the transition from the play-based K and 1 to 2nd grade, even though our school isn't really harsh or restrictive.   His sensory issues just seemed to kick into high gear, and the coping strategies we'd worked on, and he'd worked out for himself, didn't work as well anymore.   His teacher that year was *great* -- she reinstituted some whole-body work with the whole class, and worked out a private signal system with him so she didn't have to correct him in front of his peers, and worked with seating arrangements to minimize the sensory load.  

 

I know some teachers think of OT and services as somehow separate from what goes on in the classroom, but this teacher was all about doing things in the classroom to accommodate him, too, and I think that was awesome.   Do you think you could get your teacher involved in that kind of way?

 

 


savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#8 of 14 Old 02-07-2012, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The teacher is definitely working with the OT on classroom strategies and a sensory diet is in place, they're trying lots of things. So that's great, I guess I'm feeling also discouraged that it's not working.


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#9 of 14 Old 02-09-2012, 06:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Qestia View Post

  I just don't know what to do to help. If he does have ADHD its not a level is medicate for, he reads whole books at home and is doing well academically his teacher confirmed when I spoke with her today. I just don't know. And I'm sad that his issues override his many awesome qualities.


Whether or not medication is considered depends on the extent to which it interferes with daily life. Though stimulants (which is usually what first comes to mind) aren't the only option; there are non-stimulants, and sometimes supplements are beneficial--my ds did show some improvement in K with his hyperactivity with a liquid magnesium supplement and a fish oil supplement.

 

It can be helpful to keep in mind the 30% rule for children with ADHD--their ability to regulate behaviors and emotions is generally that of a child 30% younger; be aware that this has little to do with intelligence or achievement. Academically ds hasn't had any problems, except for sometimes actually completing the work; and any benchmark testing needs to be conducted with the awareness that ds may need a  lot of redirecting to the task at hand. Ds loves to read (started K at a mid-2nd grade level) and can play with Legos, X-Box, anything he loves, for hours at a time.

 

Though even with medication (starting in 1st) ds continues to have difficulty sitting still, touching things, and being silly at inappropriate moments. What the medication did help with was to reduce his aggression, impulsivity and destructiveness, and enabled him to be redirected towards finishing his work. His first grade teacher did not try to make him do circle/carpet time; he would either sit outside the circle or walk around as long as he was not a distraction to others and he still learned the material. She also had a high tolerance for ds using things in/on her desk and stored around the classroom, which was helpful in dealing with ds; the other 1st grade teacher was not Ok with this (understandably) and it probably would have been a more difficult year for ds had he been in her class. Ds is having an even better year this year as far as his behavior in the classroom; he seems to have matured quite a bit over the summer. I feel that both his 1st and 2nd grade teachers really cared love.gif and always tried to emphasize the positive.

 

 


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#10 of 14 Old 02-09-2012, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your response--I'll read through the articles you sent. Can I ask you what specific supplements you used? Fortunately DS is not aggressive or oppositional... His teacher has agreed to let me observe the class so I can see what's really going on. In the meantime we've altered our morning routine to allow time to run around outside before class (and I've banned the ipad in the morning). This is just day two... it's definitely an improvement at home in the morning, much less shouting on my part for DS to get dressed, (only had to say it twice this morning!!)


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#11 of 14 Old 02-09-2012, 12:31 PM
 
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I just wanted to say that whenever the school recommends doing something with your child (particularly medicating him), ask yourself this question:

 

Are they doing this to make life easier for HIM, or easier for THEM?

 

A good school (and I know there are some great teachers out there) is going to try to make the environment fit the child's needs, not the other way around. I would never put my child on medication just so he can be more manageable, or do mindless busywork the school deems important. But I might consider it if I could see that my kid couldn't get through the things that HE felt were important.


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#12 of 14 Old 02-13-2012, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to update I sat in and observe DS's class this morning so I could see exactly what the teacher's talking about and what she's doing. I have to say, I'm really happy with how the teacher handles him. DS has a really hard time transitioning to a new activity. Like, she gave a writing assignment and all the kids went and found places to work and sat down and started while DS was still kind of standing staring into space.This happened with every change of activity. And with a few words from her, DS did get down to business and read or partcipate or do the writing he needed to. But while there were kids who needed her reminders here and there in the class he was the only one who needed reminders every time. And in his sensory-seeking behaviors, I think they've got some good seating for him, where he can be really stable and comfy (a nice bean bag chair by something to lean on). But even so he'd start spinning his head in circles while sitting there, three different times, even sticking his tongue in and out. What is that? Anyway I left the class feeling glad DS has the teacher he does, I do think the things she's doing are great. It's just made me realize we really need to get this kid into a developmental pediatrician and try to figure out what is behind all this. It's not getting better. The other kids are not like this. I've been avoiding an eval because I didn't want him labelled, but we need help. We need answers.


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#13 of 14 Old 02-13-2012, 12:07 PM
 
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But even so he'd start spinning his head in circles while sitting there, three different times, even sticking his tongue in and out. What is that? Anyway I left the class feeling glad DS has the teacher he does, I do think the things she's doing are great. It's just made me realize we really need to get this kid into a developmental pediatrician and try to figure out what is behind all this. It's not getting better. The other kids are not like this. I've been avoiding an eval because I didn't want him labelled, but we need help. We need answers.


The right labels can be helpful smile.gif. Ds didn't have a medical label in Kindergarten but he sure had some "informal" ones irked.gif. You don't have to give whatever labels the eval spits out to the school, so I wouldn't avoid an evaluation for that reason; you could also ask the evaluator for the results in a format that you would be ok with the school seeing. But, if the school sees him as ADHD though he is Asperger's as well, they may not be giving him the right kind of help--my ds has the immaturity of ADHD but the social understanding and literal mindedness of a child with Aspergers. Or, he may not be ADHD at all; some learning disabilities and giftedness can appear to be ADHD, so an evaluation can help you understand what is going on and how it affects how he learns.

 

The movements could be sensory related because he is being made to sit (my ds did stuff like that in K); or they could be tics. When ds decided to sit for carpet time (instead of spinning around or touching others) he would still flap his hands, but he only did the hand flapping in that circumstance. My ds does have tics and they occur in different locations. One K class in my ds' school has one of these ; they look a bit pricey, but if he is or becomes part of the special education program they may purchase one for use in school.

 

As for supplements, when ds was in K I gave him a liquid magnesium supplement with his multi and it helped with his hyperactivity. I also gave (still give) him a Dr. Sears Omega-3 DHA fruit chew.


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#14 of 14 Old 02-16-2012, 07:17 AM
 
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My Sympathies and big hug to you!  I still remember my first meeting with my son's kindergarten teachers. They had only negative things to say about him. I was crushed, so I know how you feel!

Over the years my son who is now 13, has had different teachers; some seemed to genuinely like him a lot and see the good in him, and others less so, but I never had such a horrible meeting since that kindergarten! Also it was only in that particular kindergarten where he misbehaved, so teachers really do make a difference.

 At that time I did have him diagnosed by an occupational Therapist and found out he had Sensory Processing disorder.  In his case, he had an oversensitivity, which explained why he was acting up so much in a crowded class, however none of the teachers he has had since then have ever had any problems with him misbehaving in class!

In your case I would recommend taking him an Occupational Therapist to check for Sensory Processing Disorder first before going to an ADHD evaluation with a psychologist simply for the reason that many school psychologists know little about SPD and are over eager to medicate. An OT will be able to give you better advice. If and only if this does not help, then you can check out other possibilities but in my opinion your son is too young to give him an ADHD label.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qestia View Post

We love having DS in class, he brings so much enthusiasm to the class, he's always so eager to learn new things, and catches on so quickly.

 

He is a bright, lively child who I do think seems more "into" whatever is going on when I've taken him to educational things: like a family friendly opera performance at a local college, to a raptor demonstration at a nature preserve, he pays rapt attention, asks relevant questions, talks excitedly the rest of the day about what he's learned.

 

From his teachers I hear how he can't sit still, touches things, is silly at inappropriate moments. He has no diagnosis but is being gently guided towards ADHD, which I do believe exists, but I've seen my boy function, yes he's different, but he's kind, loving, creative, fun...

 

Why can't they tell me the good stuff, too? Don't they see it?gloomy.gif



 

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