13 year old son with repeat behavior issues at school

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by missmolly, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. missmommy

    missmommy Member

    a little background. My son is diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. He is on both vyvanse and Zoloft. He is in 7th grade and attends a school for children with ADHD and autism. It is a private school primarily funded by the state we live in. Before this he attended public school and was failing many classes. Now he keeps a B average. He has had the same teacher for two years. She has about 7 students. This year he has to change classes and so he has 2 other teachers also. He is currently seeing a therapist and an occupational therapist although that is just getting started. He's also awaiting psychiatric testing. It is suspected he may be on the autism spectrum, perhaps Aspergers. He's definitely a little professor, smarter than most and knows it, tends to experience frustration when people don't get where he's coming from which is MOST people.

    What he has been in trouble for:
    Not staying in his seat
    Being disrespectful to teacher
    Singing or talking over the lesson
    Bothering other students especially a girl he has really liked this year
    Leaving the classroom
    Lying or being deceitful/manipulative
    Unprepared for class

    These behaviors though minor are causing constant problems for his teacher who is at her wits end she says. Friday last week he was suspended for two days because of the buildup of these behaviors since the beginning of this semester.

    I met with the admin and teacher Tuesday afternoon. They literally spent one hour telling me repeatedly how they have tried everything and are seeing no improvement. When I asked them for suggestions they had none. They advised me they'd done all possible accommodations for my son with no result. I suggested a daily behavior check on so I can be made aware of how his day went. They refused. At one point the administrator told me in a very authoritative tone that I was NOT to text my son's teacher at all that night! (She and I text sometimes but only as a way to communicate about my son) I admit I got defensive and told them I felt they are failing him as they have given up on him. Brick wall. As I was leaving I asked if there was anything I could do to encourage him for the next day when he returns. Admin responded: stop sending him to school with sweets! (Friday he had brought treats for his birthday with teacher permission!) I felt at that point that I was simply being reprimanded because they are angry. Not that they had legitimate issues because if they did, wouldn't they have addressed those during the hour prior when they were telling me again and again how difficult my son makes their lives?

    I suggested an IEP to which they replied by saying they already make every possible accommodation! And read me a list of those, most of which are academic. I felt like they just wanted my son to leave. I think they're trying To get me to withdraw him. I'm getting zero from these people. Now his teacher sends me daily lists of each and every behavior shown during the day almost in a passive aggressive way. I don't know if he's better or worse than before because they don't tell me that, it's a list of things he's done wrong with no context or positive comments to show the balance.

    I've been fighting schools for so long I'm tired. I thought it was done but this school has shown they are unable to do what they profess to be purposed for.

    Where do I go from here?
  2. missmommy

    missmommy Member

    His father and I have been divorced for going on 8 years. Dad thinks son is normal just being raised wrong. He tends to get involved with school only when things are bad and then it's a battle to keep son positive because one or two weeks after the behavior he sees his father who punishes him for it.
  3. missmommy

    missmommy Member

    Also to his behavior at home --- he is sneaky. He steals from family members. I recently found matches in his room. He's broody and sad often. He doesn't sleep well. He is a smart ass all the time. He sometimes breaks things although that has improved. He tends to just be up to no good a lot. His hygiene is lacking. He's smart as can be and can focus on things he loves such as playing the piano and computer things.
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    If he is on the autism spectrum, and to me it sounds like more than ADHD, that would account for much of his school behavior. No matter how smart they are they greatly lack social skills and many blurt out or sing inappropriately. They need interventions, not just academic adjustments.

    Many autistic kids dont have good hygiene partly due to sensory issues. The feel of a shower could hurt them or sound too loud. They are sensitive to touch, noise, even smell and textures of food. Breing sad makes sense if he is misunderstood and always in trouble.

    These children are different. I have an autistic son, now grown, and your son's school sounds inflexible and clueless about autism. He needs a good evaluation...i took my son to a private Neuro psycologist. Frankly, most school testing stinks. You get what you pay for. Garbage snd wrong labels. Dont let the school do this. Its too important.

    As for Dad he sounds clueless too. I feel bad for your boy and am not sure what you can do about Dad.

    Some of his behavior such as fire setting and arguing may be something else but also may just be a very sad little boy who is frustrated that he is Neurologically different and can't help it, but is treated as if he were bad. Except for you, sadly nobody seems to be on his side and just think he is a nasty kid which is not true.

    Is he getting any autism interventions? My son did and it changed his life. He is an independent happy 23 year old who lives on his own and works and he is still a little quirky but everyone loves him.

    Also, autism and ADHD are neurological differences and not psychiatric problems. Psychiatrists are NOT the best at diagnosing autism. Neuro psychologists, which are psychologists with extra training in the brain, do a much better job diagnosing.

    Your son is a good kid. He just needs to be taught how other kids think and act. He needs patient, informed educators, not this fake special needs school. They don't get him AT ALL. Sadly I had to educate my sons Special Education teacher in public school. Happily she was eager to learn,loved my son,and made a huge positive difference in his life. Be proactive!!

    Good luck.
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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  5. missmommy

    missmommy Member

    He is receiving no interventions currently. Just psychotherapy. Hoping to get more answers soon. I've suspected aspergers for years and I've been dismissed as "looking for an excuse for his bad behavior" by everyone. Therapist agrees he has those types of traits but of course she cannot diagnose him.
  6. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    Hi! Is your child in Special Education right now? If he is, you have the RIGHT to have an IEP meeting. Don't sign off until you are happy. Do you mind saying what state you are in?

    I am sorry about your ex, and the school.
  7. missmommy

    missmommy Member

    He is in a private school and they've told me they implement IEP accomodations for children with ADHD and autism. I call major BS on that. He does not have an IEP. I am in SC.
  8. JRC

    JRC Active Member

    Have you ever thought about hiring a child advocate to help you negotiate with them? It sounds like they are suddenly adversarial--for unknown reasons. His behavior sounds challenging but hardly a what amounts to a nuclear response by them.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I want to know why the school is so suddenly aggressive and adversarial to you. To me this signals they have done something wrong and they don't want you to find out, so they want to cow you, to beat you down so you don't ask any questions. I have seen this happen. It happened when I was a child, in how my parents would be treated after my teachers did something and then tehy would go to my parents and act aggressively. I watched teachers and principals do it with my own children. It just makes my spidey senses go off, all my red flag warnings go up as to something wrong has gone on that the school does NOT want you to find out about. Your son may not even know that the school or teachers did anything wrong, so he may not tell you. But SOMETHING is going on, or has already gone on.

    In the meantime, your son needs complete assessments. Many here recommend seeing a neuropsychologist, a psychologist with special training in how the brain works. Make SURE the neuropsychologist knows that aspergers has been suggested (in many ways your son sounds like my oldest, Wiz), and that you want the most complete testing possible. Usually this is ten to fourteen hours of testing over several days, and it gives a lot of information.

    My son had a very hard time in school. And in a lot of other places. A lot of his teachers in elementary school disliked him because he was smarter than they were. Some even punished him for this. It didn't take even a school year for a teacher doing this to make him go from loving school and learning to hating school, learning and all teachers that didn't prove that they were different. I do find that making sure that my son had plenty of protein before school and at lunch helped a TON. I did this by eliminating cereal and having things like leftover pizza, scrambled eggs, protein bars, etc... for breakfast and for lunches there had to be a certain amount of protein or else there was no dessert. I kept large supplies of protein bars (ALWAYS read the labels as many brands are more sugar than anything else) on hand also. The protein seems to help the boys keep their cool and not get so upset so easily. In talking with other moms of boys like ours, they say that it helps also.

    I urge you to have your son evaluated by an Occupational Therapist, or O T . The Occupational Therapist (OT) will look for sensory issues. These are common with the things your son has going on. One thing that may help in class is to have fidget items to manipulate during class. They will be a bone of contention with a more traditional teacher. Often teachers want to use them as punishment or reward, but what the items do is let the hands stay busy so the mind can focus. All of my children focus better if their hands are busy doing something. If you cannot get the teacher or principal to allow small squishy balls or whatever, look for novelty pens and pencils. One year I found pencils with little puzzles to manipulate on the top of them. They were amazing for my crew and I ended up buying about 24 of them for our school's Special Education teacher to give out as kids needed them. They were an item that a teacher couldn't take away as a punishment because they were not a toy, so the student had the fidget item for fidgeting even if the regular ed teacher didn't want the child to have the time. (I hope that makes sense). You can find things like this in party supply stores and catalogs if you look. Oriental Trading often has interesting items also if you are looking for fidgets.
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  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Susie and I have had similar autistic kids and I urge you to value her wisdom. It is a real pain in the backside to try to get schools to even acknowledge let alone help kids with differences that look like willful misbehavior but are actually caused by invisable neurological glitches. I had a teacher tell me to get my kid on Ritalin...he had ADHD (he did not) and she was sure of it.

    I.had learning problems myself years ago and the teachers picked on me so I was very certain to make sure no teacher picked on my kids. I asked her when she got her psychiatric degree and she sputtered thatbshes been a teacher for twelve years so she can just tell. I told her that is not true...she was in no position to diagnose and order medication and that Is report her if she diagnosed my son agsin.byears later it was my pleasure to show her the Neuro psycologist report that said pervasive development disorder NOD. She turned white and shrugged.

    Another bad experience was when I first took my son to meet his Special Education teacher. I learned to love her, but the first thing she said when I told her he had Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified was "He has what?" I.told her and she admitted she was not trained in autism but she was willing to learn so we worked as a team. She made a huge difference in his life, positive in academics to socializing. I loved her. But I had to speak up. Don't assume teachers know what they are doing with differently wired kids. They are educators, mot diagnosticians. You may have to help them and that's okay. I suggest public school. My son was both able to get help yet socialize with kids who were not different.

    His school was full of kids that were the normal mean to each other bit because they had been interacting with various levels of special rd kids since kindergarten, theybwerrbkind to them. My son is very high functioning. He sat at a lunch table with some Special Education kids plus some Neuro typical kids, most of them the brilliant "geek" kids. My son had wonderful self esteem. Still does.

    I'm high school he was mainstreamed with an IEP and did well and the school helped him get adult services. He is living a good life and does not identify himself by his autism. His school and our being proactive helped him. This little public school was amazing. Not sll are.

    Don't let educators scare you. The educators at this school don't seem to be kind of even to.understand what they say their school is about. Take him out of there. Look at schools. Find one you know will meet your sons needs kindly.

    Call your State Department of Public Education. Ask for the special needs advisor. He will give you the name of a school advocate. It costs nothing. The advocate will stand beside you as you fight for your son and make sure your school district has the facilities to help your son. If it doesn't, the advocate will make sure your district pays for an appropriate school...plus transportation. Court is an option if they refuse.

    My son went to a nearby school on the dime of our district because they had no Special Education. They paid for cabs to take him back and forth. To their extreme credit, they did not fight us. .This cooperation doesn't always happen.

    Now? My son is an angel from Heaven. Happy, loving, well liked, works two part time jobs, and happy with himself. He bowls and plays softball. He does most things himself but has a case manager in case he needs assistance. His siblings adore him. I know he is in good hands when we leave this earth.

    Unfortunately many of us have to fight for appropriate services and even more unfortunately in my opinion teachers often think that they are diagnosticians just because they work with children. Don't ever let a teacher act like a psychiatrist or a Neuro psychologist. They don't have the training. I know many parents with differently wired children who encountered teachers like this. Ignore them. If they want to be able to diagnose they can get their PhD in psychology or go to medication school. Teachers don't have that level of education.

    Don't trust school testing. It is shallow and limited. You have been warned. Go to a high level very well educated professional. I personally prefer Neuro psychologists to psychiatrists. My son got ten hours of testing. You'll never get that at school. And don't trust talk therapists either, even private ones. Legally they are not qualified to diagnose. Go to the top of the heap and try to find somebody that other people recommend, not just a good internet advertisement. Find somebody if you can who actually helped somebody you know and trust. Or call the Autism Society for names. If a good professional does not see autism, he won't say your son has it. Do your best. None of us are perfect.

    Sorry for the novel. I just wanted to explain what we did. Take what you like and leave the rest!
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    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  11. missmommy

    missmommy Member

    I can't even express how grateful I am for your responses.

    I do not know why the school has suddenly decided to wash their hands of us. That's definitely the feeling I get. He has annoyed them for far too long! Apparently.

    His teacher is a special education teacher. They claim they've done all possible accomodations. It wasn't until finding Dr. greene's site, Lives in the Balance, that I've even been able to pinpoint what accomodations he really needs. I'm starting to learn now.

    He is smarter than most adults and that does tend to put teachers on the defensive with him. He was in trouble on day one this year because a teacher asked the students to read a passage and he read his quickly and put his book down. The teacher called him out saying he was goofing off when in fact he had read the passage and was finished. She made him take a quiz on the material to prove he knew it. And he did. She had no choice but to apologize. So ultimately she looked silly and he felt superior which leads to more problems between them. It is hard for him to find adults he respects and even harder for him to falsify respect for adults he dislikes or lacks attachment to.
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Some autistic kids, not understanding societal norms, think everyone is on the same level. They don't know that a teacher is "above" a child and treat adults like peers. My son wasn't like that but many are.

    Get your son out of that awful school and take him to a neuro psychologist. You can find them in university clinics and children's hospitsls.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  13. missmommy

    missmommy Member

    We have begun the process of bringing an occupational therapist to evaluate him. His school has advised me that I myself cannot come to school and observe him (!) but a therapist could. So I'm considering that. I am wondering if they can bar me from the classroom like that? Seems weird.
  14. missmommy

    missmommy Member

    The only reason I don't withdraw him is because he truly does like school and wants to remain. So I'm going to try everything I can to get the school on board. But if he is suspended again I'll be withdrawing him because I don't want him to have an expulsion on his record and limit his options for other schools.
  15. missmommy

    missmommy Member

    He is on a waiting list for seeing a psychiatrist at our large local hospital. I don't know if it's a neuro-psychiatric but I'm going to check Monday. I've been told they'll evaluate him for autism and other things.
  16. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    NO sweets, sugar, soda pop, etc. at school or before school! PERIOD! (ADHD)

    Discuss his behavior at school with his doctor(s).

    Above average intelligence people easily get bored with "regular" school / teaching. If they have an advanced class which goes twice as fast, that may keep his attention. Unfortunately teachers go the speed of the slowest student in the class, quite boring for smart kids!

    Rather than texting, go talk with his teacher in person.
  17. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Is there some reason you don't want him in public school? In many states private schools do not have to follow IEPs. That was the case for my son so we switched schools and finally got cooperation. Dont get me wrong. We had to fight for it and that was exhausting, but the end result was great.D get an advocate. The school was suddenly very cooperative once we had one...the know the laws of the states and can take action.

    I would never test a scol that didn't let the pants I at w. What are they hiding? I used to visit my sons classroom and was welcomed warmly

    I doubt your son is misbehaving on purpose. It's sad that he is being perceived that way. I don't see how suspending him helps. It's crazy for a school that claims to understand special needs.
  18. missmommy

    missmommy Member

    To respond to a few things:

    1. I do meet with his teacher regularly however those meetings have become more about them asserting authority over me and less about helping. Texting was always used for just in between type updates and communication. I don't text anymore as I've been reprimanded for it even though the teacher herself often does text me. I email only now and copy the administrator.

    2. He does not receive sweets or junk food often. Certainly not before or during school. Protein breakfast, healthful lunch which he rarely eats due to appetite suppressing medication. The comment made by the admin in our meeting was referencing that I had sent treats for his birthday with permission from the teacher to do so.

    3. He wants to be there hence why I haven't withdrawn him to attend public school. When he attended public middle school beginning of last year he was called out by teachers, bullied and called names by students, he did not find his place there or feel safe and comfortable. His current school he's quite comfortable and has friends.
  19. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Well, I wouldn't send him to be bullied either. I'm sorry. We were fortunate both with the school and my sons teacher. She actually admitted she didn't know what my son had or what to do about it (even though she was a Special Education teacher) and I respect that. And she was eager to learn and she did a great job. You can't work with aggressive know-it-all educators. Some think they are sure your kid isn't perfect because you are a bad parent. My bestie works at a school and says the teAchers bAsh the parents in the lounge all the time. Makes me so n. Some never even had kids or are fresh out of college...i wish you luck finding a good school.
  20. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I definitely think the teachers want your son to change schools. They aren't capable and qualified to teach him. I don't teach students with Asperger's, but he sounds like he has some of the traits. We have students who are struggling in this same manner. Asperger's is not a new thing, but knowing how to teach those children is a relatively new thing. All teachers are trained to some degree to work with these students, but not all of us are highly trained and qualified to help kids like your son. Talk to other parents who are going through this. Locally, if you talk to some other parents, you should be able to get names of capable teachers and schools who are specially trained for this.