Hi Im new and have a question about ADD and problems completing schoolwork


New Member

My name is Gail and I have two boys with ADHD. My difficult child 2 is 6 and is very smart. The problem is he wont do his work in school. He is currently on the patch (Dextrana) 15 mg. I had him boosted up last fall and his teacher complained so I put him back on 15 mg. He started making good grades and everything was fine, then she emailed me and told me he isnt where is should be and maybe he should be held back for another year of first grade. I am currently setting up a meeting with the school counsler and the teacher to discuss what to do. I know he probably isnt as mature as alot of other first graders and that may be the problem but I plan on insisting he be tested for Learning Disability (LD) before I let them fail him. I may even go ahead and boost up his medication. I just so frustrated. We go over his spelling words every night, take practice tests. We are doing the timed math sheets and he will get 40 problems completed in 5 minutes then at school he'll only get 7 done in 5 minutes and make a 68 on his spelling. The teacher nor I can sit with him all day long and make sure he does his work. What is wrong?

Thanks :confused: <font color="yellow"> </font>


Active Member

I would look at the Special Education Archives on this forum. There are a lot of great threads on dealing with the school district.

Before offering any advice, I have a few questions:

1. What happened on the higher dose of Dextrana that the teacher objected to?

2. Why, specifically, does the teacher think he needs to be held back? Is it because he doesn't complete the work in class for her, because he can't complete the work for you or her, is socially immature?

3. Does he have an IEP?

I'm very impressed that you can get as much studying out of him as you do. If I get 10 minutes a couple times a week out of my boys, we've had a great week.


Well-Known Member
Hi Gail and welcome.

I have some of the same questions that JJJ had.

"Why, specifically, does the teacher think he needs to be held back? Is it because he doesn't complete the work in class for her, because he can't complete the work for you or her, is socially immature?"

Since you already have a meeting scheduled, perhaps you could contact the teacher and have her bring any work that she holds in the classroom (at our school, difficult child doesn't bring home most tests and some classwork - they keep it until end of grading period when we get a big envelope full). Ask the teacher specifically, as JJJ's quote says, WHY she recommends he is held back? It is clear that your son can do the work since he does it for you. It is up to the teacher to let you know what is going on in the classroom that she feels is preventing your son from doing the work. Is he being obstinate, is he being disrespectful, is he playing around when he should be working, is he just staring off into space?

Have there been any changes in his home life since the school work denial began? Does he have friends at school?

You are right to be meeting, and right to no accept grade repetition unless you specifically know what is up. You may want to request the testing at your meeting with the counselor and the teacher. You will have to sign off on a permission form for the testing to be done.

In the meantime, perhaps talking to your son about how smart he is and well he does his work at home would be a start. Then begin to question why the work in not be completed/done at school.

The school needs to come up with solutions not bandaids. Stick to your guns and go over to the Special Education board and archives.

Glad to have you with us.



Well-Known Member

I would try posting this in Special Education 101 forum.

I also have trouble getting difficult child to study. I have not figured out any way to make this better.


New Member

How does the school go from good grades to repeating a year? Sounds like the teacher should have been informing you of difficulties a lot sooner. Has she been emailing you with problems for awhile now or is the first you've heard of it? I don't see how they make that recommendation without lots of paperwork or communication to back it up. Just my thoughts on this but grade repetition seems extreme.....Good luck.


New Member
Thanks for your replies. I will check out the Special Education board as well. She does keep me informed and usually sends home graded papers regularly. When we switched to the patch he started making good grades on send home papers. The patch is a little different then the Ritlan Xr that he was on, the dosage doesnt have to be as high. His Dr. had him on th 15 mg for about a month then raised it to the 20 mg. and the teacher said he was acting weepy, would cry at a drop of hat. I've noticed that is the same thing that happen when he was dosed too high on Ritlan. So I put him back down to the 15 mg. Like I said, he did good for a while and then all of a sudden he is back to not paying attention. He just will not or can not complete class work, if he gets messed up on a word on the spelling test he just wont finish the rest. He will complete homework for me but he is sitting with me and we work through it together. He cant seem to follow directions but once I explain it to him he does it with no problem. He write beautifully for me and when we get the papers home his writing is a wreck. Another thing that he does is gets his letters and numbers backwards sometimes. He does not have and IEP yet but Im not sure what to ask for on an IEP, when we meet Id like to see what his teacher says he needs. His teacher thinks he should be able to do better, do more math problems in 5 minute timed tests. Like a said before he does better for me then he does for her but I am one-on one with him. I just dont think holding him back a year is going to make a difference. He knows it now he does it now he just doesnt do it in class, the problem is he is not performing for her when he knows it now what is going to make him do it next year when he still knows it? We've got to get him to perform, but how?


New Member
Welcome Gail,

If you are satisfied that medications are right (and you don't need to use time-release), I would suggest that it's one of several things or all. Either your child lacks motivation, lacks test-taking and staying-on-task skills, or lacks respect for his teacher. If she does not have the skill to capture his attention, he probably doesn't respect her enough to perform for her.

Obviously he has a nice relationship with you, or he would not work well for you. So I may check out the class and see if you can tell what's going on. Ask what exactly she's seeing. What is he doing instead of his work? Where does he sit?

What does she do when he is not on task. You may find something surprising like she's embarrassing him somehow and therefore he despises her. Wouldn't be the first time. Make certain that she is not making comments about his having ADHD before the class. Don't be accusatory. Just observe.

I'd suggest getting him checked at Sylvan or Kumon depending on his needs. They can determine what he needs to learn. He may just need some skills. Perhaps he finds the other students too distracting. Or he needs to sit nearer the teacher. Can he have headphones during tests? All this can be handled in an IEP.

I would ask the teacher to complete an observation form that you can give your child's dr. Just in case you suspect the medications may need a tweak. That's a nice way to ask for her observations without her feeling cornered.

Motivation is always a huge challenge with a child with ADHD, huge. I cannot overemphasize the benefit of using a reward system for rewarding good handwriting, good homework and classwork completion, etc. Check the back pack each day.

I always required my child to rewrite papers messily written at school, for homework. That stopped that really fast. And perhaps he may have a dessert after dinner if he brings neater handwriting.

Just try telling him, "be sure you keep that handwriting neat today because you probably rather play longer when you get home, than to rewrite it". That oughta do it. And "What do you want for your dessert if you're handwriting is neat all day, cookies or cake?" or popocorn or pretzels. You know his hot buttons. Push 'em.

If he brings home messy writing, you may prefer to try this instead. Well, looks like tonight we need to practice writing because it seems you've forgotten some skills. So here, write me two lines each of the alphabet from margin to margin. And let me know when you're ready for me to check. And leave the room. (Peek to watch him pick up his jaw!)

One more idea. Obviously he likes your company. So maybe you say, "Please bring home neat writing today so can sit together and have hot chocolate for 20 minutes before we start homework. Otherwise we need that time for you to rewrite it."

School can be a winning game or a losing pit of misery. See if you can play up the winning part.

Just remember to reward good behavior (your one-on-one time is a reward). Your child needs reward more than you know.

Hope you find something here useful. You can do this :smile:

been there done that