No school

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    J is not going to school. Long and unedifying story short, the teacher at the small alternative school where he had a place at the beginning of the year here in Marrakesh decided after 10 days that she was not going to let J come back. Without any discussion whatever with me, without my being aware there was any problem whatsoever, she decided from one day to the next that he was too difficult and that his impulsivity posed a security danger to the other kids... I will spare you my thoughts about this woman and her way of doing things; suffice it to say that one of the lessons for me is to listen to my intuition because from the beginning of knowing this woman, about a year, I have felt she lacks compassion, warmth and patience. All necessary qualities for working with a special needs child, right?

    J was obviously hurt by such a violent rejection. I have tried to limit the damage as best I can. In the meantime... I have found a tutor who comes for an hour or so a day and other than that... he is not at school. I obviously have to leave Morocco, where there simply is no other possible school for him and feel as though I have to go the UK, where school provision for special needs is better than in France. Part of me wishes I could have the courage of my convictions and not send him to school at all... I realise we are both terrified that the same thing is going to happen somewhere else, that he will be kicked out because of his behaviour.

    He learns best one to one. Could it be possible to carry on with just tutors, I wonder?
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You know your son best. You could home school him if you think that is what is best. It is something you would have to be very committed t carry out so that you make sure he gets all of the important curriculum necessary to his success. However, many children benefit from school in a lot of ways (socialization being one of them). l

    It amazes me that a school can just decide that he isn't coming back. In our country a private school could do that but a public school could not say no to a student.

    Wishing you the best with whatever decision you make.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi there
    Well, it wasn't a public school of course... it was very much a private school, created by one teacher. Actually I kind of wanted to edit my post after I posted it but could find no way to do so... of course nobody can take this decision for me and really I was just kind of ruminating aloud. Thanks for your thoughts though! I feel as if I am desperately trying to find a soft landing place for J and it just doesn't happen...
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, well, that makes a difference.
    My reaction would be to tell my son, when he asks, "Why won't she teach me any more?" that it's because she's a b*tch. :)
    But I'm a bad person.
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Don't worry, Terry, I'm bad too... I have already told J that I am angry with this teacher, and angry at myself for allowing it to happen to him. The whole thing was such a balls-up, the way it was handled, and I AM angry.

    Being sensible about it, I think the best thing we can do is go to the UK and for J to go to a primary school there. It is all very different from France. There are systems in place whereby a child with difficulties MUST be identified and helped, unlike in France where it is so often down to the parents to do all the battling.

    However... I seriously am terrified of the same thing happening again, of J's impulsive, undisciplined behaviour meaning he is ultimately asked to leave... this can also happen with ADHD kids in the UK even though kids are not supposed to be "discriminated against" because of their difficulties. We have now tried four ADHD medications: Quasym (marketed as Metadate in the States), Strattera, Concerta and Ritalin. They all lead to J having horrific, psychotic-type meltdowns when they wear off. This makes me wonder seriously if the base problem isn't rather that his birth mother drank during the pregnancy leading to ADHD-like symptoms. I have read that the medications often don't work for these kind of children.

    Any thoughts?
  6. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    My son reacted the same way to ADHD medications. I never drank or did drugs. His reaction maybe because of the way he metabolizes the medication.
  7. jal

    jal Member


    I haven't posted in quite a while, but I read here and there and have followed a bit of your story. My difficult child had tried numerous ADHD stimulant medications with terrible reactions when he was younger. He also trialed the same four that your son has with terrible results. My difficult child was also kicked out of several daycares, transferred to an out of district placement in elementary and I never drank or did drugs while pregnant. We did finally find a combination a few years ago which has made huge strides in his ability to handle school. He was able to transition back to his elementary school and is currently in middle school doing very well. This combination along with gaining a little maturity has helped him to come a long way. He is on Fluoxetine and Intuniv. Fluoxetine (generic Prozac) for help with anxiety and Intuniv for Adhd, which is an extended release blood pressure medication. He just could not tolerate stimulants. He still does have impulsivity issues which I think will diminish as he gets older because he's at an age now that he recognizes it, he is not perfect, but he is so much more in control of himself with this combination.
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Maybe I'm on the wrong track with the alcohol thing. I can't ever know for sure since sadly it is very unlikely that we will ever meet J's birth mother.

    I think things are worse than I have been acknowledging. J is a great kid, lots of people say he is a great kid and yet... his behaviour is so frequently unmanageable, chaotic. Unable or unwilling to follow rules in any group setting for much of the time, raging anger outbursts at times. Lots of people blame me, and maybe I haven't done a good job of boundary setting and all the rest. It's not meant to be this hard, though...

    I am fearful for the future, I'll be honest. So many places we can't go, so many places he's not welcome any more because of his behaviour... We do need to be in a place where there is more in place to help him because although I don't want it, I think that's the road we're going down.

    Sorry, just watched "We need to talk about Kevin...." hasn't inspired my thoughts in an optimistic direction.
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Apologies, very gloomy post that obviously inspired nobody to respond... J isn't a psychopath and I don't see him murdering dozens of his classmates one day. It's just... this is a lonely road and he doesn't get magically "better"....
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Malika, vent away.

    To be honest, I was hesitant to respond because...I am not sure he is strictly an ADHD kid. What else may be going on, I would have not a clue, but I don't think it is just ADHD. Alcohol? Could be. Attachment? Don't know. Autism? I don't know. Can it be helped? Probably more in the UK as they seem to have more knowledge about childhood difficulties than France did or Morroco does.

    It is too bad the school system is allowed to exclude your poor little boy because he is different. I hope the UK has schools that accept that ALL children need an education and that SOME need extra help and/or a different sort of learning.

    It is actually too bad you can't learn more about his biological mother AND father. It would give you quite an eye-opening look into your son's behavior. I don't know if that is possible, but if it is possible, I would go for it. It is worse not to have any background to give a doctor than to have it.

    Many hugs and so sorry for your pain and sending good thoughts to your sweet little boy who is such a cutie and deserves a better chance. He seems like a kid who has possibilities if only somebody would help him the right way.
  11. jal

    jal Member

    At this point I would say neuropsychologist evaluation. I don't know if you can get one where you are but can you get to the US for an evaluation? You could rule in or out the alcohol question and focus on the other issues and the why/what. My difficult child had his first neuropsychologist evaluation at 4 which was worthless. His next was last year in 6th grade. Soooo insightful. School paid for it and it was the most incredible thorough report they'd ever seen. I was lucky in that I chose the doctor and school covered the bill.
  12. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Hi Malika,
    J sounds so much like my grandson and we've tried medications, groups, etc. He's currently on Concerta, but it isn't working anymore, I don't think. He just started trialing Intuniv and it's made him a zombie with a nasty attitude. Perfect. The thought of this dear little person being on drugs is killing all of us. It has been three years since he started and his growth slowing has become quite obvious and the pediatrician recommended Intuniv. He is doing okay in school. He's academically ahead, but not crazily so. He is an amazing reader and loves all things science. He is in a public school in a general education classroom. In theory, special education isn't a place, rather an array of services brought to the student to help them succeed as much as possible in their education placement. And in accordance with their least restrictive environment, this is with their typically developing peers as much as possible. He doesn't qualify for an Individualized Education Plan--IEP (the legal contract between the school district and the family to provide those services), but we have been strong advocates for him and his school is pretty wonderful in putting him with appropriate (e.g., patient, understanding, willing to try other modalities, and did I mention PATIENT) teachers. Socially he struggles and just seems to be fighting life so hard. Isn't childhood supposed to be joyful?

    And my grandson has something else going on, but we can't figure out what it is. Little bits of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), intermittent explosive disorder, oppositional defiance (I know some of these are placeholder diagnoses) and we just try and try and try to have him get through his days without blowing up, tearing apart his schoolwork, angry outbursts, keeping him fed enough calories, drinking enough water to counteract the medications, and on and on and on. I don't know what his future holds and I worry about him all the time.

    I feel your worry and pain because you want your little guy to feel good about himself, learn to be independent, and regulate his emotions, have fun, and be connected to good friends. Does J seem to cycle? My grandson will have better weeks and worse weeks and when we're at the bottom of a bad week, it's hard to see a good week coming.

    Take care,
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all your interesting thoughts. Well, the fact that your grandson is an amazing reader differentiates him from J right away, HMBgal! J HATES reading and writing and doesn't do either to speak of. Because I have until this point concentrated on him acquiring languages - he is trilingual, which is an important part of who he is and, I would say, of his self-esteem because people eveywhere are so impressed by it - he has not had much consistent specialist help with his dyslexia. We have moved country too much. He is bright and curious and people would say intelligent but his most obvious "talent" is actually practical - seeing the practical solution to something, or repairing things, which he seems gifted at. He doesn't "cycle" that I've notitced but I do keep getting lulled into a false sense of security, because at times he can seem basically fine, if always larger than life, and then suddenly, bam.... a huge temper tantrum or bout of opposition will descend seemingly out of the skies.

    As for neuro-psychiatric evaluations, he had a thorough one when he was six, in France. Pointed to severe ADHD (neuro-psychs in France cannot formally diagnose ADHD but their tests can reveal it, showed a biggish discrepancy in IQ (as is typical) using the WISC IV, highlighted visual-spatial problems. The trouble with doing one in the States, say, is that it would be "corrupted" by his lower level of English - though he is fluent in English and it's the language he and I speak together, it is his "least good" language and he does not write it all. Of course this will change if he goes to school in UK. I had no idea pre-birth alcohol exposure could be identified by a neuro-psychiatric evaluation, is that true?? Of course, MWM, if I could know anything about his birth parents, I would have insisted on knowing about it by now. There is nothing to be known. An unknown woman, presenting no identity documents, went into hospital just before giving birth to him and then disappeared, leaving J behind.... That's it.

    As for "something else" going on other than ADHD, I feel we are slightly misrepresenting what ADHD is... it is not just a few gentle concentration problems in the classroom. According to Russell Barkley, the "ADHD man", at its BASIS is a problem of self-regulation, of emotional self-control. And the opposition develops/is exacerbated by the way in which the child is treated, being so often criticised, punished, rejected for behaviour that they cannot essentially control. In J's case, however, there IS some level of attachment problem and he has long been particularly difficult, rude, defiant with me above all. He needs stability, I think, fixed routine and he needs people who will, yes, give him a chance and see his potential. I really don't think J is autistic but he shares some autistic traits - finds change/transition very difficult, real sensory over-sensitivity, etc.

    It just catches me blindsided. He can be so sweet, funny, affectionate.... he'll be going on like this, basically co-operating and clearly trying to be good and then, as I say, Mr Jekyll will suddenly appear, frothing at the mouth and intent on making life hell for all around... usually linked to him not having something he wants. He can call me the most disgusting names under the sun, try to kick and hit me, throw toys around. He just will not give up... It's like a much, much younger child... a two-year old... he still sucks his thumb and has a security blanket, at nearly eight. Stopped wetting the bed at night about a year ago, hurray, and in other ways is very "street smart" and independent. I see him in groups... he is fairly social, outgoing and friendly but he never wants to do what the group is doing, never wants to submit to the "group experience" but wants to do things his own way. And that's really the basie of what is "wrong" with J. He cannot accept not having things his way.

    I really sympathise with the medications problems, HMBgal. Maybe your grandson got to be able intellectually because of the medications? We had to try them but I have lost all hope, really, that there's a medication that won't make J violently react. It's as if they are toxic for him. But we probably will try the remaining few, available in the UK, the "dex" amphetamines. Putting an 8 year old on amphetamines! It's crazy isn't it....
  14. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    All schools in the UK will accept children who need extra help and must, by law, provide whatever help is needed.
  15. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Malika- I understand what your going through, trying to find the right medications, right diagnose, right school, the blame game. I do regret things I have said or thought as well as wishing I handled things differently like sticking with a punishment but most really doesn't work so I kept changing. I really hope the best for you both and too bad we aren't closer to help each other and let our boys meet! :) Hugs
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You could make the move to the UK and find similar problems with school. part of the problem will be J's expectations (and yours). The past problems only set you up for more.

    That said, it could work. And also, a period of home schooling may also work for him. See what is available in correspondence schooling. You may even be able to plug into UK education via correspondence, and stay in Morocco.

    That teacher sounds like an insensitive idiot.

  17. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's a good point, Marguerite. Past problems and future expectations will not help us... I think i fear homeschooling at this point because 1. J is dyslexic and I feel needs specialist help to learn to read and write properly and 2. It is not good for us to be thrown together all the time, I think. Other than that, it is tempting :)

    Insensitive idiot... yes, that is a politer version of what I feel about it....
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You can do it by making him more personally accountable. For us, the correspondence school did a lot of the nagging for us. Also, when work has to be done, it has to be done. it doesn't go away when the rest of the class moves on, it just sits there waiting to be completed. Also, for us, the school made accommodations for learning difficulties. With dyslexia, some of the things that can be done is lessons on DVD or audio. You can load them onto a laptop or iPod. I would strongly urge you to get movies of the classics, Shakespeare plays, for example, on DVD and get him to watch different versions of them. There are some wonderful TV programs coming out of the UK (the Aussie educational TV networks use them) and we had difficult child 3 watching these from very young. Senior high school Chemistry, senior high school literature and poetry - the sort of stuff you think our kids won't handle. But the "Arrows of Desire" 15 minute poetry program, for example, where poets talk about poetry - when difficult child 3 finally got to the lessons for those poems, about six years after he first started watching the program on our TV, he understood the poems thoroughly and totally surprised his teacher. War poetry, for example - Wilfred Owen is an important poet who my older kids hated having to study, but Arrows of Desire explained the poem "Dulci et Decorum Est" so brilliantly in five minutes, that difficult child 3 was able to explain it to his teacher in about the same time. "An Irish Airman Forseeing His Death" by WB Yeats was another war poem that difficult child 3 was able to call on. We had Australian poets (songs, ballads) that were not part of the Arrows of Desire program, but because they were songs we were able to discuss them ourselves, listening to them in the car. The thing is, it's okay to say if you like or don't like a poem, but it's also important to be able to say why. It was really unusual to have someone with autism being able to write poetry and discuss it. It's only because of that TV program, but being able to do it has given difficult child 3 confidence about his writing ability, and creativity in general.
    Taking difficult child 3 shopping really helped with Maths and with social skills. I have to shop sometimes, and we used it to advantage. Driving along, we would use car licence plates to practice the periodic table of the elements (it helps that I know it all). The game is to make elements from the letters we see. Another game you can play with letters, is to go through the alphabet in order, seeing each letter in turn from the signs around you as you drive. Poor readers are allowed to choose from street signs, while good readers are restricted to business signs on shops. The driver is the adjudicator.
    Documentaries - just about anything with David Attenborough for example, is really good for biology.

    There is so much you can do. What I used to do when we were watching a movie (including a Shakespeare play set by the correspondence teacher) was I'd make popcorn and we'd get comfortable on cushions. maybe even stay in our pyjamas for it all.

    I really had little choice. difficult child 3 got thrown out of the mainstream system. He was simply unable to cope with it, and they couldn't cope with him. So we found our ways of making it work.

  19. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Sadly, Lucy, although all schools have to accept children initially, a high proportion of SEN children (compared to "normal" children) are ultimately permanently excluded from state schools, with a particularly high proportion of those children being ADHD.

    In the end I feel J will be better served by the routine and structure of school. I am now terrified of it all just ending in J being excluded again. As is he. Where are the angels who will commit to working with this child come what may?
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Malika I dont know if you are reading me or not but I want to try anyway. If not, maybe someone else can get my message to you.

    I am so sorry about what is happening with J. I have always thought he sounded like an adorable little boy. One thing I have always said is that of all the special kids I have seen, they all seem to be adorable which is a huge plus for them because it keeps us from killing them! He seems like a very concrete learner. If I remember right he is about a year younger than my oldest granddaughter. She has always had a really hard time with reading and writing but this year she was diagnosed with ADD and put on Adderal and suddenly she is soaring. This isnt to say J needs Adderal but it could be that either another year will make a difference OR there is another medication out there that he can take and will help him.

    Do they have Montessori schools in the UK? Maybe he would do better in a school like that because they are more based on the child...or should I say child led. If the child is great at math or whatever, they can move on ahead while staying behind picking up where they need it. Classes dont tend to be graded.

    If J does need medication then maybe you could possibly look into something called a neuropsychopharmacologist. They are supposed to be the best at looking into psychiatric medications. I dont know where you would find one overseas but they have them here in NC at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.