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IamtheMumma

DS & School

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IamtheMumma

DS is in prep. He has ADHD and is medicated with 10mg Ritalin FA once a day. He's struggled with the social side of schooling and has had playtime removed for various behaviours the school doesn't like (some I roll my eyes at, others are legit). He's getting teased about being the smallest. All his classmates have had a growth spurt but he still looks like a backpack with legs at dropoff and pickup time. The school is very quick to punish bad behaviour but their methods are having no effect on DS. He's had his playtime removed umpteen times and it doesn't change his behaviour. The school has now started to suspend him for a day. This is not only a pita for me because I work, have to source alternative forms of childcare but it doesn't have the desired impact the school wants. He gets a day off school and gets to play instead. 

How can I get the school to look at other alternatives to play removal or suspension? They talk about green and red choices. I reiterate kind hands, kind feet and kind words. I do my best to model the same behaviours at home. I've even started stopping the name calling (playful) between him and his dad so that we can try clamp down on that too. He calls the kids who tease him, stupid. Which he gets in trouble for. 

I'm actually ready to remove him from the school but I don't have an alternative. His dad is worried if I pull him out, he may not want to go back to prep next year. 

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PuddingPlease

Have the school taken any steps to actually address the teasing?

If he is being punished for retaliating but the teasing that led up to it is not being addressed then I'm not surprised that the punishments are having no affect. 

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a letter to Elise.

The most successful strategy for my son, was social stories about behaviour, and how to help him stop situations from escalating. Rather than constant punishment, it was a more positive strategy. For example, they talked about how to stay in the green zone - certain behaviours might move him to the yellow zone, so they gave examples of how to get back to green, instead of moving to red. So even if he made small mistakes, they were fixable. 
 

He also had safe places that he could remove himself to if he wasn’t coping, and didn’t have to do things like sit on the floor (he could sit on a chair instead). 
 

we had to change schools to get a more positive approach. Prior to that, he was constantly in trouble for everything. I’d get a list of all the bad things he’d done that day. Some of them were nonsense, like talking too much or wriggling. But constantly having every nice thing about schoolTaken away  (such as play time) was making him so much worse, and was brutal on his self esteem. Not to mention that not giving kids a chance to move, really sets them up for failure in the classroom. 
 

we struggled for 3 years at the first school, so if you feel like it’s not working, I’d look for other options now if you can. The second school also helped us find a great OT and a new psych, which really helped. They all worked together to help him. 

 

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a letter to Elise.
2 minutes ago, PuddingPlease said:

Have the school taken any steps to actually address the teasing?

If he is being punished for retaliating but the teasing that led up to it is not being addressed then I'm not surprised that the punishments are having no affect. 

This was a huge problem for us as well. He’d be teased and teased, and then eventually explode. The school never addressed the teasing. My son told me he’d given up trying to get help because no one listened. It’s so important that they address the teasing. 

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Dianalynch
Posted (edited)

School culture needs to come a long way to cater for kids with neuro diversity. Adhd is a disability under the definition of the discrimination act, and as such accommodations need to be made, such as to the environment, to cater to your ds. What changes have they made so he can burn off some energy, fidget, walk around the room if he needs to, sit somewhere on his own with no distractions to complete a task, ensure instructions are repeated at regular intervals or one ta a time, reduce distractions in the room, give him extra PE classes, or whatever it is that will help your ds, I was just thinking of things that help ds and I of course making the environment more suitable for your ds will it's own arrangements. 
 

they need to change the environment and stop trying to change the child 

 

Eta take away his play time? What does he have to do instead, sit quietly? Are they trying to torture him? That’s awful, your poor ds. 

Edited by Dianalynch
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José

Do you have a psych or OT involved?

Do you and school feel like the medication is right?

Is there a behaviour support plan? Developing or reviewing the plan could be a way to discuss what strategies the school is implementing and suggest something different.

 Schools will often say the purpose of suspension isn't necessarily to punish or cause the child to change their behaviour but it gives school time to rethink and rejig the supports a child needs.

 

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IamtheMumma
Posted (edited)

The school hasn't made any adaptions for him that I'm aware of.  They did ask for him to be medicated during the school day as well as the first dose. I trialled it for 6 weeks but it quickly became apparent that he wasn't sleeping or eating. With the single dose, I give him a huge breakfast and huge dinner. He doesn't eat lunch but around 4/5pm he starts to get hungry again. He gets ritalin at 8am. He has melatonin to sleep. With the second dose (5mg) he was still awake at 11pm and not eating at all until 4-5am. He'd wake up then as he'd be starving. I had to give him sustagen  to try get something into him. I've canned the second dose. 

We used to have an OT but since moving, we're on a wait list. I'll chase that up next week. He doesn't have any extra help inside school. Yes they make him sit still when he misses out on playtime. 

Edited by IamtheMumma

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MsLaurie

Making an adhd kid - and a FYOS kid at that- stay still instead of moving at break times seems like an incredibly unhelpful response. Even if he’s not allowed with the other kids for whatever reason, surely he could walk around with the teacher on duty or run laps of the oval or something?

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Crombek

Geez, there are schools that still support students with disabilities like this?? 

It is ENTIRELY inappropriate for a FYOS child with ADHD to miss out on physical activity. It is completely and utterly inappropriate for them to be  suspending a FYOS with a diagnosed disability. 

I would be demanding a meeting and asking to see his ILP. He is entitled to one, and to be included in the funding support system. If you don't get a response framed positively regarding his behavioural & social needs (which may include a reduced timetable but is definitely NOT suspension) and leaving is not an option then I would be escalating to the department. Make noise. Strongly request the school psychologist (if they have one) is there.

Far out. 

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Paddlepop
Posted (edited)

Change schools. The current school sucks, doesn't understand ADHD and never will unless there's a leadership and culture change. If necessary just write the rest of the year off and start fresh next year. Schools should be holding open days for next year's Preps, and then transition sessions next term. Go see a few schools and check them out. At the very least phone the school and request a phone call or zoom call with the person in charge of children with disabilities at the school. They'll be able to tell you what the school can and will actually do to support your DS. 

Making a child with ADHD sit still instead of playing is cruel. That goes against everything that works for ADHD. He needs to be able to move, use energy, get stimulation and feedback from physical activity, and have fun. The school should be looking at allowing him movement breaks during class time to help him be able to concentrate. My DD used to have them when she was younger (ASD and ADHD) and it could be as simple as a 5 minute break to play with toys at the back of the classroom or a 10 minute walk around the school with her teacher aide or running and jumping around outside for 5 minutes with her teacher aide. 

Of course a key thing in that paragraph is that DD had a teacher aide and your DS does not. In the first few years of school the head of special ed. at DD's school managed a funding miracle and DD had a teacher aide 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. There were 1 or 2 other children who were also looked after by the aide who helped to fund the aide for them all. No way would DD (or the teachers) have coped without the teacher aide. (Edit: the funding of DD and the other children was pooled to enable a full time aide to be funded. Government funded, not privately funded.)

Start googling new schools in the area. 

Edited by Paddlepop
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daybreaker

The school does sound very strict with him compared to other children. So they get away with teasing him but he gets in trouble for calling them stupid? I think you definitely need to have a meeting with the Principal and class teacher. My son, now 13 and much calmer and well-behaved, was very disruptive and active in his early years at a public school (NSW).  He has ASD and I've always suspected ADHD.  He did have a part-time aide provided by me (is that an option the school would allow or you could afford) who would shadow him, help him socially, manage his classroom behaviour and take him on short walks around the school BEFORE he became overwhelmed and would burst. If he did misbehave, he would have to sit outside the very understanding Principal's office for a short time. I think only once did he ever miss out on playtime (in Year 4) and was never suspended. In fact, they were more accommodating with him because they knew he had a disability and couldn't help it!  If things don't change soon I would be looking for a new school too and talk to the Principal first to get an understanding of her and the school's culture and attitude to disability and how they would manage challenging behaviour. Suspension is a very lazy and wrong disciplinary method for a 5 year old.

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Prancer is coming

What stands out from your post is the school is not managing his ADHD very well.  If he is already getting suspended in prep, does not bode well for the future.  Sounds like they are not making efforts to accommodate him at all.

 

it does also sound like he is having trouble managing his ADHD.  Have you talked to your paed about the difficulties you are having at school, along with stopping the second dose?  There are numerous different medications out there and a psych may also offer some assistance with managing behaviours.

 

How I often deal with the school is to be sympathetic to their situation and ask them what help they can provide.  I think sometimes they get used to parents siding with kids or minimising the situation that it throws them  that you acknowledge the problem and would like assistance to deal with it.  Are there any specialists at the school they can refer you to? and the Good thing about school specialists is they can assist with with strategies and help you deal with the school.

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PocketIcikleflakes

Find another school if you possibly can as per PPs.

DS took 10mg in the morning and 5mg at noon. It couldn't be after noon or sleep would become delayed. We did discuss the idea of 2.5mg at noon if it had been a problem though. He did get a noticeable come down effect on the short acting ritalin. He is now on ritalin LA 20mg as that is apparently the smallest dose but it's actually far better for DS. It slowly starts working so it's a better transition and it's worn off by about 5pm, in time for dinner without the after effects he had on the fast acting type.

It may be worth discussing options with your paediatrician to see if there's ways of adjusting the dose or type of medication.

But that's a different issue to the school not giving your DS the way they should be.

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José

I would talk with paed about the medication to see if any other options are appropriate. 

Id get OT and psych ASAP. They might be able to help you advocate with school as well as teach strategies. 

School really should have held a meeting with you to discuss supports. But since they haven't you should request one.

Although, I must say I would also be investigating other schools. It shouldn't be like this. 

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blimkybill

A school that suspends a 5 year old child for actions which arise from their disability is creating an unhappy, disengaged person, not helping him in any way.

If you can't get them to realise that pretty much straight away I would look for another school. It doesn't have to be like that.

A good approach will meet his need for movement and breaks and will teach him the social skills he needs, noy punish him endlessly for not having those skills. 

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Redchick2

I’m just astounded a school would suspend a 5 year old child! I’m so sorry you are going through this - I don’t have any experience with this sort of situation but I think a new school is about the only option. 

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.Jerry.

- I would ask the school to write up a support plan for your son - with what adjustments are made to support his disability.  Could consider sensory toys, movement breaks, social stores, supportive play options.

- I would get the Paed to review medication.  I have seen students with adhd cope much better on some of the "newer" medications available.

- Is he ready for school in other ways?  Sounds like he his quite small.  How is he going academically?  Not all students are ready for formal learning at official school starting age.

- what is the style of the school? Expected to sit at a desk and do pen/paper work in prep?  What about age appropriate pedagogies?

 

Good luck. :)

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EsmeLennox

I’d be looking at another school, one that makes appropriate accommodations for children with additional needs.

Any school that suspends a child in prep would ring alarm bells for me, unless the behaviour he’s being suspended for is chronic violence.

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