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Old 02-10-2004, 06:31 AM   #1
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scituate HB User
Unhappy when stimulants don't work

Have an eleven year old boy with appearingly severe ADD Inattentive type. He's very bright on tests but can't make his way out of a closet with homework, books, assignmetns etc. Have tried Concerta, Ritalin, and Adderall. School (gourmet academic boy's school who doesn't believe in ADD) is ready to ask him to leave if he can't get it together. What should we try next when these stimulants aren't working. He's in and out and in and out from one moment to the next. He loves this school: sports, friends, even the subjects. It seems so unfair to him and me. Self-esteem in the toilet. Now on zoloft.

 
Old 02-10-2004, 07:23 AM   #2
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Re: when stimulants don't work

There's a LOT of reasons for boys that age to do badly with homework/lack motivation/not bother working for school.

If it's only his work at home that is affected and he is doing great in class and in tests, then AD/HD is highly unlikely, especially if none of the stimulant medications aren't working. Has he been tested for depression, epilepsy, thyroid problems etc?
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Old 02-10-2004, 08:17 AM   #3
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Re: when stimulants don't work

Scituate,
Is the school aware of your son's diagnosis? Does he have an IEP or section 504 plan in place? If not, perhaps that's what you need to do.

Even without that, he needs some help with organization. I would see if the school has a counselor that can maybe help him with that at school.

At home, I would try to do an analysis of where the breakdown is occuring. Does he know what his assignments are when he gets home? Does he get the work done? Does the homework make it into his backpack? Does it get lost in the backpack or lost/left in the locker? Once you figure out exactly what the problem is, maybe you can figure out a system to help him. Or, when we know where the breakdown is occuring, we can offer some suggestions...

 
Old 02-10-2004, 08:51 AM   #4
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scituate HB User
Re: when stimulants don't work

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redhead23
There's a LOT of reasons for boys that age to do badly with homework/lack motivation/not bother working for school.

If it's only his work at home that is affected and he is doing great in class and in tests, then AD/HD is highly unlikely, especially if none of the stimulant medications aren't working. Has he been tested for depression, epilepsy, thyroid problems etc?
He has been diagnosed with OCD, Anxiety, and ADD. He had the Brown Scales battery of tests done and he has the same outcome off meds and he does on meds. The psychologist said that it appears he has little stimulation going on in the frontal lobe.

His work at school is very much affected. He doesn't come to class prepared. He's left books all around the school. He doesn't get assignments down in a very specialized assignment book. When he focuses on tests, he does great.

Thyroid - that's news!

 
Old 02-10-2004, 08:56 AM   #5
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Re: when stimulants don't work

Oh, scituate, I just reread the line about your son's school doesn't really believe in ADD. Well! Let me assure you that they don't have to believe in it, but they are LEGALLY OBLIGATED by federal legislation to make accomodations for students with ADD when it negatively impacts their education. This is not a decision for a school, a district, or a state to make; it has been decided at the federal level. {Can you tell this is a topic that makes me see RED?!?).

I would encourage you to look at the "sticky" on the top of the ADD board about links to educational rights. Under IDEA, #1 there's a link that will direct you to the final regulations of IDEA that very specifically list ADD as an "Other Health Impairment" which *can* qualify kids for services. If they give you a hard time, I would print it out and hand it to them. If that doesn't help, I would contact the school district that your son would be attending if you hadn't chosen to send him to a private school. In some cases, they are required to oversee special education services in private schools.

Let me know how it goes....

PS. Prior to the final regulations of IDEA, there was a very nice memo from the US Department Of Education written in 1991 that addresses the need to include ADD as an "Other Health Impairment". I wish I could provide a link to that for you, but can't find it in a "board friendly" location. I'll keep trying.

Last edited by index.html; 02-10-2004 at 09:00 AM.

 
Old 02-10-2004, 08:59 AM   #6
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scituate HB User
Re: when stimulants don't work

Quote:
Originally Posted by index.html
Scituate,
Is the school aware of your son's diagnosis? Does he have an IEP or section 504 plan in place? If not, perhaps that's what you need to do.

Even without that, he needs some help with organization. I would see if the school has a counselor that can maybe help him with that at school.

At home, I would try to do an analysis of where the breakdown is occuring. Does he know what his assignments are when he gets home? Does he get the work done? Does the homework make it into his backpack? Does it get lost in the backpack or lost/left in the locker? Once you figure out exactly what the problem is, maybe you can figure out a system to help him. Or, when we know where the breakdown is occuring, we can offer some suggestions...
The school has very little consideration for any child that can't do the work which I find deplorable. They have said to me on several occasions that if he can't do the work, perhaps he shouldn't be here. They have a Nazi study hall program which he has been made to participate in. Sadly, if he doesn't have the assignments all lined up from the days school activities, what good is the study hall. It's torture for him.

My son is in the private school system. They can tell him to take a hike if they feel he doesn't fit their mold. My son is desperate to stay there. He has gorgeous friends, he loves the sports, he loves the school. I have never had that much passion for a school ever. At any rate, a 504 doesn't help in the private school system. They can tell anyone to take a hike. The irony here is that he gets A's and B's on the tests and F's on the homework. His average is a C.

I hired an organization tutor who works with him at the school for an hour a week. It took some doing to allow this to happen.

 
Old 02-10-2004, 09:07 AM   #7
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scituate HB User
Re: when stimulants don't work

Quote:
Originally Posted by index.html
Oh, scituate, I just reread the line about your son's school doesn't really believe in ADD. Well! Let me assure you that they don't have to believe in it, but they are LEGALLY OBLIGATED by federal legislation to make accomodations for students with ADD when it negatively impacts their education. This is not a decision for a school, a district, or a state to make; it has been decided at the federal level. {Can you tell this is a topic that makes me see RED?!?).

I would encourage you to look at the "sticky" on the top of the ADD board about links to educational rights. Under IDEA, #1 there's a link that will direct you to the final regulations of IDEA that very specifically list ADD as an "Other Health Impairment" which *can* qualify kids for services. If they give you a hard time, I would print it out and hand it to them. If that doesn't help, I would contact the school district that your son would be attending if you hadn't chosen to send him to a private school. In some cases, they are required to oversee special education services in private schools.

Let me know how it goes....

PS. Prior to the final regulations of IDEA, there was a very nice memo from the US Department Of Education written in 1991 that addresses the need to include ADD as an "Other Health Impairment". I wish I could provide a link to that for you, but can't find it in a "board friendly" location. I'll keep trying.
I am all over your response. I have felt paralyzed, cornered and demoralized, and that's just me. I can't imagine how this has impacted my son. Thanks.

 
Old 02-10-2004, 09:09 AM   #8
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Re: when stimulants don't work

Quote:
Originally Posted by scituate
They have said to me on several occasions that if he can't do the work, perhaps he shouldn't be here.
But he CAN do the work, he just needs a little help with organization.

For not getting assignments written down, this is what we do. If he has a "time tracker", use that. If not, make him a chart to write down his assignments in each subject. Contact each of his teachers individually and ask them if they would be willing to initial it each day indicating that they've checked it and that he has them written down correctly. We're in public schools, but I've never met a teacher who wasn't willing to do this (even for my younger son who isn't special ed or 504). I then give rewards to my kids based on the number of initials they remember to get each week. My boys don't always like using it, but it's helped tremendously!

 
Old 02-10-2004, 09:38 AM   #9
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Re: when stimulants don't work

Okay, now that I've calmed down a little...

Sorry. I get so angry about schools denying services! But, now that I've calmed down, I have to say that my suggestions of marching in there with the legal documentation maybe isn't the best way to handle a private school.

I would do the reading so that you are aware of what you are entitled to. I'd probably also see if you local public school's special ed department has any insights.

Perhaps the best way to go isn't with the school's administrators, but with individual teachers. You aren't asking for much. You want them to check that he has his homework written down correctly. You might ask for an extra day to get assignments turned in. You might ask for a second set of books that he can keep at home (might be worth it to buy them, if you have to). You might ask the Nazi study hall teacher to send him back to the classes where he didn't get the assignments written down so that he can get them then. Stuff like that. Even if administration doesn't want to bend, teachers as a group, I believe, REALLY want kids to succeed. If you're nice about it, maybe they'll help you out.

 
Old 02-10-2004, 09:41 AM   #10
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scituate HB User
Re: when stimulants don't work

Quote:
Originally Posted by index.html
But he CAN do the work, he just needs a little help with organization.

For not getting assignments written down, this is what we do. If he has a "time tracker", use that. If not, make him a chart to write down his assignments in each subject. Contact each of his teachers individually and ask them if they would be willing to initial it each day indicating that they've checked it and that he has them written down correctly. We're in public schools, but I've never met a teacher who wasn't willing to do this (even for my younger son who isn't special ed or 504). I then give rewards to my kids based on the number of initials they remember to get each week. My boys don't always like using it, but it's helped tremendously!
The reward system works some of the time. I wish I could do the same for his teachers. Part of the curriculum at my son's school is organization. That's the buzz for the 5th grade. It is part of their grade. There in lies the problem. If they assist him with the assignments, then they are doing part of his homework. Can you believe it? Personally, the 5th grade is the missing link.

I wish we had some rights in the private school system but WE DON'T.

 
Old 02-10-2004, 09:57 AM   #11
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scituate HB User
Re: when stimulants don't work

Quote:
Originally Posted by index.html
Okay, now that I've calmed down a little...

Sorry. I get so angry about schools denying services! But, now that I've calmed down, I have to say that my suggestions of marching in there with the legal documentation maybe isn't the best way to handle a private school.

I would do the reading so that you are aware of what you are entitled to. I'd probably also see if you local public school's special ed department has any insights.

Perhaps the best way to go isn't with the school's administrators, but with individual teachers. You aren't asking for much. You want them to check that he has his homework written down correctly. You might ask for an extra day to get assignments turned in. You might ask for a second set of books that he can keep at home (might be worth it to buy them, if you have to). You might ask the Nazi study hall teacher to send him back to the classes where he didn't get the assignments written down so that he can get them then. Stuff like that. Even if administration doesn't want to bend, teachers as a group, I believe, REALLY want kids to succeed. If you're nice about it, maybe they'll help you out.
I have a scheduled parent-teacher conference coming up next week. Your suggestions are tremendous and will be dripping off my tongue. "Nice"...., I have to grovel. The most simple assistance would take 5 seconds - Say, "Child, did you write that down?. That simple. That's the breakdown. He's not hearing it to get it into the assignment log.

This school, my son goes to, is a Washington, D.C. academic, sports, snobbery institution representing a ga-zillion highly over-achieving parents who insist their children be the same and around the same.

The head of the lower school said, "If he was smart enough to get in here, then he's smart enough to do the work."

 
Old 02-10-2004, 10:44 AM   #12
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Re: when stimulants don't work

I feel for you! You might do a little quiet snooping to see if your private school receives any federal funds. If they receive ANY federal funds, they are obligated to follow federal guidelines.

If not, do the groveling and try to appeal to their consciences. If organization is a subject area, they should be HELPING you son learn to organize himself. If it is a separate subject, it would be appropriate for him to receive poor marks in that subject. It isn't appropriate, IMHO, for his grades in other subject areas to be penalized because he has a disability.

{Editing to add this - let us know how the conference goes!}

Last edited by index.html; 02-10-2004 at 03:02 PM.

 
Old 02-10-2004, 07:51 PM   #13
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Talking Re: when stimulants don't work

Hello. i too have a son that is great on test but fails to think that he needs to do anything on paper.. Well I found that intellagance was our problem. He was on Ritalin when he was 3 cuz they told me he was out of control. I didnt like the out come of it. Sleeping troubles, Not eating losing weight. Well with the help of the school and the doctors we had him tested and he was testing 5th grade levels in 1rst grade!!! From that time on we started getting him challanged in school and at home. He is now 14 and grant it he still dont like to do his homework I am on him everynight to get it done. So far grades are much better he has been off meds for over 5 years now. If there is anything that your son seems interstead in let him do it but encourage him to succeed..... My son loves to build things with his hands and mind and he loves to draw pictures. As long as you believe you can succeed...

Last edited by dustdalnea; 02-10-2004 at 07:52 PM.

 
Old 02-11-2004, 11:50 AM   #14
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Jennita HB User
Re: when stimulants don't work

Of course if he likes the school, it's worth the effort to stay and try to work out things there.

But maybe if that doesn't happen, consider perhaps the alternative of public school, where he does have rights, plus the money you save will be that much more for college.

The reason I mention this is that my daughter went to a GATE program junior high (not private but had alot of the same types/snobs as you described since it was a high-rated gifted program school). She ended up hating it.... too much pressures and attitudes. It even caused her to lose interest in the very thing that got her there...her gift for math logic. Her grades began to slip down....

So we decided to get out of that program and she went to the public high school. Without all the pressures, her years there were fun and she got wonderful grades, participated in choir and drama, made lifelong friends. She was actually sad to graduate and leave there! Her renewed interest in her math has lead her to pursue accounting and math degrees in college. Public school turned out to be her lifesaver...of course, it was a very well-run public school with great programs, so we were lucky.

Anyway, some kids can't operate under alot of pressure, even the most gifted and intelligent.

Also, my brother-in-law was that way too and it caused him to be diagnoised with ADD but instead, when the pressure was removed, he did better...ended up with a college degree in a great field!! (by the way, without meds)

So if private school is presenting too much pressure, maybe an alternative with less pressure might be a lifesaver even if it seems less desirable at the time.

 
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