about to start school, what to tell teacher?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by stressedoutmama, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. My 5 year old is about to start Kindergarten. How much information should I give the teacher? Should I let her start with a clean slate and let the teacher form her own opinions or do I give her a heads up? My daughter meets the ODD profile. She has lots of meltdown, things need to be a certain way or she gets very upset. She lacks appropriate social skills :(

  2. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I think it depends on the teacher. I would set up a meeting with the teacher and tell her that your dtr can be difficult (or choose a better word here) and that if she wants any tips on handling her you would be happy to give them. I think I would give the teacher your email, phone number....whatever is easiest to reach you at.

    has your dtr been diagnosed by a child psychiatrist or a pediatrician? If she is diagnosed you may be able to get an IEP, which you could specify certain interventions be done for her. I have not tried to get one of these in kindergarten, so I do not know if it is any easier or difficult at such an early age.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If your daughter has a diagnosis, then I believe you should share that with the teacher. If you have sufficient concerns about your daughter that you are considering investigating, then I would probably still discuss this with the teacher, perhaps ask for her to keep an eye out with a view to sharing her opinion with you. But if it's just that you're finding her a handful at home, I would wait before saying anything.

    IF you feel your child meets the criteria for ODD, then keep looking. Increasingly, most of us here feel that ODD is a manifestation of an underlying condition which, if treated or managed better, will lead to improvement in the ODD symptoms. What you describe doesn't sound like ODD to me. There are a number of conditions it could fit, but a starting point for you to consider, is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Look for the online (unofficial) Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on www.childbrain.com. Whatever the result (even if it is normal) print it out and take it to the doctor, see if that gets you started.

    Keep us posted on how you get on. Do a sig, so you don't have to keep telling us about yourself in detail every time. Don't use your real names or anything to identify you - that way if the teacher turns out to be a dud, you an vent away here and not be tracked. IT'S GOOD TO FEEL FREE!

  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi, Jennifer! Welcome to our board! I'm delighted to meet you, and sorry you need you, Know what I mean??

    I am not sure there is a "best" answer to this. Has anyone given your child a formal diagnosis, even if it is just ODD? If difficult child has been diagnosis'd by a doctor, then I would share this with the teacher and send a certified letter asking for your child to be thoroughly evaluated. If she has NOT been formally diagnosis'd I would probably first look at how she behaved at preschool or daycare - if she attended, or even look at how she handled Sunday School or any other type of gathering with children of a similar age.

    Marg is totally correct when she says that most of us here do not believe that ODD is a diagnosis all by itself. ODD gives zero information on what is going on with a person, except that they are badly behaved. Most diagnosis's give at least some idea of what therapies are useful and how to handle them. Bipolar, for example, lets you know that medications to stabilize moods are crucial, as are certain types of psychological therapy. ADHD lets you know that certain medication and behavioral and "talk" therapies should be tried. ODD tells you that your child isn't behaving well and that the docs don't have a clue why (or don't really want to do the work needed to figure out why, from my experiences).

    Given the chaos of the first week of school, you might consider waiting until the second week of school, or even the third if all is going well, to tell the teacher. Some children with problems at home show none of them at school, or not enough of them to create real problems. in my opinion this is partly because they around new people and they don't want to or are afraid to act out and/or because the structure of a school day is easier for them to handle than the flexibility of the home. Telling the teacher about your child before they get to know each other could inadvertently put your child in the "problem" category even if it turns out that she is beautifully behaved at school. There are many studies that show if a certain pattern of behaviors is expected then most behaviors that are shown are interpreted to support the expectations. (One study involved a group of people with NO mental illness who checked into a psychiatric hospital, part stating they had a certain diagnosis and part stating no diagnosis. No matter what they did, if they stated they had a certain diagnosis the staff used the behaviors to comfirm that diagnosis. The patients who stated no diagnosis were given one almost immediately and everything they did was used to confirm that.)

    It would be a good idea to have your daughter evaluated by a neuropsychologist to see what problems are likely causing her ODD behaviors.
  5. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member


    Some good points have been made. I think that it is probably best to hold off for a couple of weeks if your daughter has no formal diagnosis. As mentioned, many kids behave within reason in a school setting. In my experience, more so when in the early grades and kindergarten. My difficult child was a handful from a young age, and I had the identical concerns when he began school, but no diagnosis. I mentioned nothing to teachers and had no reports of any problems until grade 2. difficult child melted down something fierce before school one morning and he'd been escalating and out of control for a period of a few weeks. So that day I explained to the teacher what he's like at home and the escalation and my concerns for him, and just asked her to let me know if he gets out of hand please. I had thought his meltdown would finally cross over from home to school at that stage. She told me she couldn't picture my difficult child acting as i described at all, and had no problems with him that she couldn't handle. (This was about 6 weeks or so before the end of the school year, so she had the whole year to get to know him) I received no feedback and no concerns were mentioned. About 2-3 weeks before the end of the year, I had a call to please come meet with teacher and principal. Suddenly her concerns were so strong and my difficult child was so out of control in the classroom (I still have no clue why if he was so out of hand and given that I had discussed this with her and asked for feedback, I had not one contact to inform me he was out of hand or a problem at all) the principal and the special education and class teacher had decided my son needed to stay home the last couple weeks of school because he was so out of hand the teacher supposedly could no longer handle him being in the classroom at all!!! They also informed me he would not be permitted to continue in a regular classroom the next fall, but would have to go into a day treatment type classroom. 8 kids, teacher, full time therapist etc) that was a behavior modification and social skills program.

    It was completely a strange transition for my difficult child. Prior to me mentioning issues to the teacher, she saw nothing in him to think he was a difficult child and was more than able to manage him and any problems didn't appear to her to be out of control. Suddenly she is told of his at home behaviors and he is deemed unable to be in a regular classroom and can't even attend for the rest of the year! I asked what had changed in that short period of a few weeks given that she'd told me that he was a delight in her class and that he just appeared to her to require more input and structure and guidance from her than some other students. The only answer I received was that the teacher hadn't noticed how much effort went into keeping difficult child from melting down and that she was seeing it now and was at a point where she no longer could keep him in line. I was stunned and reminded her that a few weeks ago she told me that he'd never melted down or shown signs of it. A couple of years later I learned that difficult child never had acted out badly in that class and her initial statement was accurate, she'd never had him near meltdown at all. She just viewed him differently based on my informing him of his problems at home.

    I'm not saying that it is always like this, just my own experience. Of course if there is a diagnosis or if your difficult child shows signs of not coping well in the classroom I would certainly discuss your difficult children issues with the teacher. However if there is no diagnosis, I would give difficult child a time to settle into a school routine and see how he responds. If you receive feedback that he is having issues in class, your input at that point would be very helpful for them to understand difficult child.

    Welcome to the board once again. You're among some pretty good people in here. It was a invaluable resource of support and been there done that type wisdom through those hard years with my difficult child.
  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I always tell the teacher about the parts of my difficult child that will likely manifest in the classroom. I don't tell them things that aren't likely to be an issue.
  7. ML

    ML Guest

    I decided to say nothing to the 6th grade teacher this year. Except this.. We had a "meet your teacher, drop supplies off into the classroom so you don't have to carry them on Monday" yesterday. We saw that manster's desk was in the back and we said, with humor, "oh, you'll want to change that" lol. He got it and said, oh sure, this is very temporary. I pullied him aside and told him manster has a 504 he will want to read, that he mostly needs reminders to pay attention and engage. I was going to say more but decided to keep the slate clean otherwise. He want through 5th grade with tics and no one every said a word to me and I decided not to mention the newly diagnosis Tourette. I can always say more later, but I can't say less. This will be an interesting year. This young man teacher was a high school football coach and while very nice, when he says something he means it and you best be paying attention. I think this will be a challenging but rewarding year.

    You are so early in the journey. I want to wish you the best with the process and remember we are here to hold your hand every step of the way. Good luck!