Treat me as if I'm a newbie

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mstang67chic, May 29, 2007.

  1. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    When I was starting out on my road to difficult child-ness, I didn't know about the wonderful resource of this site. I now have a friend who will be logging on for the first time later tonight. She has an elementary age son with severe ADHD and a (first) meeting with the school tomorrow. I want to have some basic info lined up for her for when she registers for the site and I'm not sure of some of it. What are some good places here for information for the schools (parent assesment form???) and also for evaluations by docs. (what kind to go to, forms to take to the docs, etc.) I have the feeling she's going to need all she can get as her school district doesn't sound like the best and a pediatrician diagnosis'd her son. From what she's told me about him, I think he needs more specialized testing by someone more qualified by a pediatrician.

    Any advice?? (and thank you!!!!)
  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    The FAQ board contains the Mutli-Disciplinary evaluation form and the Parent Report.

    It will be recommended by several that her child be evaluated by a psychiatrist and a neuropsychologist, although not necessarily in that order.

    She should really look into the Special Education board and Archives. The General Board Archives has tons of good info, too.

    Hope this helps.

    ETA: And most importantly, tell her not to be shy and to introduce herself. The more the merrier.
  3. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    That should get her started, Thank you!!!
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    My pleasure. :smile:
  5. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    She's in the midst of registering now. Seems to be having trouble getting the password or email verified but we're working on it.

    And trust me..........she's NOT shy!!!
  6. EB67

    EB67 New Member

    Tell your friend to feel free to PM me if she'd like to discuss this process more as my 7 year old received his diagnosis of combined type ADHD earleir this year and I can share the ins and outs of diagnosis and working with the school.

    In a nutshell, in Seb's case it went like this:

    In kindergarten we had a lot of feedback that Seb would not stay seated, that he was impulsive and disruptive. In 1st grade, more of the same... the file was growing.

    At the start of second grade we started to hear more of the same, but this time the schoool psychiatric was brought on board to participate in the parent / teacher discussions. The words "inattention" and "difficulty focusing" were used liberally to the point that I asked: "Are you suggesting that he has ADD?". To which they replied: "Oh, no, we can't diagnose. But we feel you should take it up with his pediatrician".

    Until that point I just thought he was a very bright kid who was bored with work that was too easy. He's an arrogant kid, he's cantakerous and explosive. I just thought it was his character. His pediatrican seemed to think he was just an intense, smart kid.

    Pediatricians don't spend a lot of time around your kid and they aren't able to make a correct diagnosis, by in large. Seb's pediatrician referred us to a behavioral neurologist.

    Meanwhile, the school administered an IQ test and two ADHD diagnostic tests: The Connors rating Scale and the Conners Continuous Performance Test. The Rating Scale is basically a series of questions that the parents and teachers answer. The questions pertain to behaviors and traits of children with ADHD.

    The continuous performance test is useless. It measures a child's response time by using a computer-- the child has to hit the space bar every time a certain character apppears. Trouble is, many ADHD can lock into this test and perform perfectly as Seb did. The test reported that he had an 86% chance of not having ADHD. He has an intense form of the combined type.

    The IQ test confirmed the suspected giftedness and demonstrated a disconnect between cognitive ability and performance.

    When we brought Seb for an evaluation, we brought the results of the IQ test, the ADHD diagnostic tests administered by the school and Seb's files from Kindergarten and 1st grade. The neurologist spent about two hours reviewing the materials and talking with Seb and us and then he made his diagnosis.

    As your friend will learn here, ADHD is rarely a stand alone condition. It's usually the first diagnosis and then from there other aspects of the child's temperament / behavior / mental and physical health are explored.

    When we received the official diagnosis we met with the school and informed them. Seb was then referred to the CSE for a 504 plan-- our meeting is this Thursday.

    Where it comes to the school, your friend would do well to research 504 plans and to understand what types of accommodations might benefit her child. Then she should be prepared to fight for them.

    That's the bare bones of it, I would be happy to give her support.
  7. Pinkie T

    Pinkie T New Member

    Where can I find out more about a 504 Plan ?

  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Ella, just curious -- how do you know the computer test is flawed and not the diagnosis? In other words, how do you know Seb's inattention and lack of focus aren't from a mood disorder, for example, instead of ADHD?

    The reason I ask is while I'm not a big fan of those computerized tests either, my son's first diagnosis was ADHD and anxiety. Years later, it turns out he may have mild ADHD, but his inattention and lack of focus are more closely tied to mood issues than anything else. If we had based diagnosis solely on those ADHD questionnaires, my easy child/difficult child 2 would have been diagnosed with ADHD as well. But she doesn't have ADHD at all. Her inattention stems from anxiety and depression. As we've treated those conditions, her attention has improved.

    It's important to realize that just because it looks like ADHD doesn't mean it is ADHD.
  9. EB67

    EB67 New Member

    Star here:

    Learning Disability (LD) online has a wealth of info.

    Also, if your child has a learning disability, he/ she may quality for an IEP, which I know less about as my son was chanelled towards the 504 plan.
  10. Pinkie T

    Pinkie T New Member

    My son is gifted ADHD.. does he fall under the guidelines for IDEA or 504 ?

  11. EB67

    EB67 New Member

    EXCELLENT point smallword. That's what I was trying to articulate when I said that the first diagnosis is generally ADHD. And infact, that's where we are now-- trying to figure out the rest of the puzzle with Seb.

    It's hard to arrive at the right diagnosis and the right treatment. I am really encouraged this week as Seb is doing so well with the Daytrana. But I have found so often that we move one step forward, two steps back.
  12. EB67

    EB67 New Member

  13. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    My son responds well to stimulants, too. But his psychiatrist tells us that kids with depression frequently do well on stimulants because the medications stimulate their otherwise not-very-motivated brains (of course, stimulants are not a long-term solution to depression). Even though we are not convinced ADHD is a major problem for difficult child 1, we continue to treat him for ADHD because he struggles with getting both schoolwork and homework done (and he has a gifted IQ as well). He seems to be able to attend a bit better when taking stimulants. by the way, he passed the TOVA, another computerized ADHD test, but received 9/9 for a questionnaire that rated symptoms of inattentive ADHD. While these diagnostic tools can aid in making a diagnosis, I think clinical judgment matters far more.
  14. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    there is no way of know whether your son qualifies for an IEP without the school doing testing. Under the law, his diagnosis of adhd would qualify him for a 504 if his diagnosis interfers with his ability to learn.

    There is a criteria that must be met for a child to qualify for an IEP. The only way to know, is to have him tested by the school.

  15. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'm pretty sure that in the case with ADHD and most other disorders it's not the diagnosis itself that determines whether a child qualifies for a 504 plan or IEP. Qualifying is determined by the impact or lack of impact that the disorder has on the child's ability to learn in the educational setting. In the end it is the school that must determine whether the student qualifies but the assessments leading up to that can come through medical, mental health, and/or school personnel, depending on the nature of the problems the child is experiencing. For instance, 95% of the testing was done by private sources prior to my son's first qualifying meeting because we didn't think the school district could cover all the bases for him. The school just filled in the gap with one test the private sources recommended.

    Do you have a friend who knows the system who can attend the meeting with you? It's so overwhelming at first. Some schools are superb at guiding first time parents through the process and giving accurate information but others are downright illegal and avoid the expense and trouble of taking on more special education students. I recently attended a meeting with a friend and even though she did her homework it was still helpful to have someone who had been there, done that along.
  16. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Pinkie, there is a forum right here on this site called 'Special Education 101'. Just go to Forum List and you will see all the different forums here.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with smallmom. ADHD, unfortunately, is kind of a first diagnosis. catch-all for every disorder. Inattention, lack of focus, and restlessness are not just ADHD--they can be a childhood mood disorder (in which case stimulants or Straterra would make it worse) or high functioning autism (hard to diagnose unless you have an intense evaluation, usually with a neuropsychologist) and other issues. ADHD is usually a first, but often NOT the last diagnosis. Both me and my son failed the ADHD test, but ADHD isn't the main problem both of us have. (We took the computer test at the NeuroPsychs). I have bipolar II, and bipolars are very restless with poor attention spans and my son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, a high functioning form of autism. ADHD is part and parcel of autistic spectrum disorder and is usually the first diagnosis. the kids get. If you want to touch every base, see a neuropsychologist outside of school first. We found schools very lacking in the ability to diagnose. If your child has an ADHD mimicker, and this commonly happens, the help you get for ADHD won't be enough, or could even do harm (medication-wise). We spent nine glorious (not) years getting the right diagnosis for our son, but we had a feeling he was on the spectrum so we demanded Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) help--speech, social skills, Occupational Therapist (OT) and PT--and we got it, even though, at the time, his diagnosis was only ADHD/ODD. Now that he has the right supports he is thriving and is no behavior problem at all. He is focusing better now. In his case, he does not need medication and we just took him to his Honors Dinner at school last night. He is almost 14 and almost completely mainstreamed. His is a bright kid, if a little quirky, but no longer so frustrated that he rages. My bipolar II was there, even as a kid, and I raged. They gave me Ritalin and that made me 10X worse and I remember how it threw me into black depressions. Be careful of who you trust with your precious child's diagnosis and, in my opinion, it's good to always get another opinion. Rather than starting with a therapist, a plain psycologist, or the just the school district, I recommend, from long, bitter experience, starting at the top with a Child Psychiatrist (with the MD) and a neuropsychologist (who will do an intensive evaluation). Don't make the mistakes we did. Hugs and good luck.
  18. Jewel1

    Jewel1 New Member

    It is so dis-heartening to read these...yet so full of information. I am switching my son's schools this coming fall..into a charter school that goes into H.S. I don't know if he is gifted or not...I don't know how to get these "tests" done for my son. Or how to utilize the resources that are apparently out there.

    My son has a hard battle with-homework (never used to)...and if it requires any amount of work/effort, he almost immediately gives up. It is very frustrating to me. In spelling, he gets almost 100% every time...he has always been a good speller. He is a very bright guy...I just don't understand.