Things were going good, and now...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by forkeeps251, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. forkeeps251

    forkeeps251 Member

    It's been a while since I've been here... the reason is that things were going so good! difficult child started first grade this year, and made it until just about a month ago with no major issues! No principals office or anything... And starting about a month ago, things changed... I'm not 100% sure why, but they did and now they have been going down hill fast. He has been to the principals office every week since then. All times, it was for refusing to do his work. The past two weeks he has only been in school two days (last week we went on a cruise... I know, bad parents for taking them out of school) and then he came down with strep throat, so today was his first full day back in a while.

    We got a call towards day saying he refused to participate in a music class practice for the PTA program. Rewind a little: I asked him last night if he wanted to do it and he said "oh yes!!" so I filled out the form that said he did. Then this morning on the way to school, I started explaining to him just what I meant by "PTA program" and as soon as he figured out he would have to sing in front of a bunch of people, he said he didn't want to... he REALLY didn't want to. I understand typical stage fright, but he has other issues as well, and because of that I'm not going to make him perform in front of people... as much as I would like for him to. Anyway, I told him we would talk about it tonight. So, practice comes today and he refuses to practice, saying that he doesn't want to and he isn't doing the program anyway. That is what ended him up in the principals office today.

    Background: He was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety disorder after evaluations by the children's psychiatric group by us, and the school psychologist believes that he suffers from depression as well. Also he has a pretty significant speech delay, and is WAY behind in reading in school. We just had our last appointment on Tuesday, and the doctor pointed out that he is likely refusing to do his work because he CAN'T do it. She also switched his medications, taking him off Adderall and adding in Focalin XR. The prior medications made NO difference what so ever in his ability to concentrate. He also takes Intuniv at night. A little more background: last year, before any medication and his first year in school, he would regularly get in trouble for major tantrums, such as throwing chairs. When we started Intuniv his impulsiveness seemed to go down, but his ability to focus has not changed... It is only his third day on the Focalin, BUT yesterday I had him doing make up work at home and he seemed to be doing it much better than before... whereas before it would take him an hour to write ten words down, this time he managed to go through three worksheets in 45 minutes... progress!!

    Anyway, my question is this: I will have to look at his IEP to see what is on there already, but if necessary, can I request that they add something about optional participation in non academic stuff? Would that even be a good idea?? For a child with major self esteem issues and anxiety, I can understand why he isn't comfortable singing on a stage, even if it was just practice. And how do I know that it WAS nerves, and not outright defiance? It breaks my heart... I WANT him to do what all the other kids do, but should I push him into it? Should they? This wasn't normal music class either, it was a rehearsal.

    One of the things... the only noticeable change to his routine since the behavior problems started, is that his teacher has started making a consequence for him choosing not to participate in class time. So, if he refuses to do "carpet time", then he loses recess, or something like that. He doesn't get in trouble but he does lose a privilege. We both think he is getting frustrated because of that, and that is resulting in him lashing out at other times. I agree that he should have to participate in class work because he is SO far behind, but something like what he got in trouble for today....?

    **Just got a text from the husband saying that difficult child had a good day in class today, so that's something!!
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The problem is, your difficult child is NOT just "ADHD" plus mood disorders.
    He hasn't got the right diagnosis yet, and without that... he isn't getting what he needs.
    The doctor is right - he isn't doing the work and/or isn't participating because he can't, and school is labeling it all as "attitude".
    been there done that.

    Warrior mom time (again).
    I'm still thinking the missing dxes might include...
    - Aspie or somewhere toward that - the social skills stuff, in particular, and the inflexibility...
    - Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) - although they likely won't test him yet
    There might be other possibilities too.

    Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) is what almost KILLED my difficult child.
    His inability to do the work was directly tied to not being able to "catch" the directions.
    He then got in trouble for...
    - copying the work of others
    - not staying on task
    - "attitude"

    The anxiety came from not knowing what he was supposed to be doing, and not making the right "guesses"... plus the social problems that were already developing. The way the school handled it made everything 100x worse - and we didn't know what we were dealing with until 10 years later.

    Is he getting help with speach and motor skills? (Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and Occupational Therapist (OT))
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Before I even finished your thread, it spoke to It said, "This kid is on the autism spectrum." Forget what you were told. Take him to a neuropsychologist. That would explain why he literally is afraid to get in front of a group, his speech delay, and how hard it would be for him to transition from going on a cruise then being sick to going back to school. I seriously think you need to re-evaluate him. I think his psychologist is looking in the wrong direction and it never hurts to be too careful. This sounds like a lot more than ADHD and psychologist keeps adding to it rather than looking for one umbrella issue, which will get him a lot more help in school than the alphabet soup combinations.
    Consequences for non-participation upset but don't cure kids on the spectrum. They are more afraid to participate than to be disciplined. Plainly put, that doesn't work. He needs interventions and if done at school they are FREE and very good!
    My son's first diagnosis was a bit like yours.
  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You can discuss adding anything you want into his IEP, it makes sense to me to document if you do not want to push him to do certain activities.
  5. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    As far as I'm concerned, the school was WAY out of line by punishing him for something that was voluntary, from what you said. You filled out the forms but didn't let the school know that he won't be doing it. You also asked if he wanted to without expalining it to him in the first place. Those are simple things that you can change in yourself.

    Your post reminds me so much of difficult child 1 at that age, when we had an incorrect diagnosis. The problem was that he didn't do things (school saw it as defiance) because the activities didn't make any sense to him. Why do something if you have no idea WHY you should. What's the point? Those are questions difficult child 1 asked me all the time when I asked him about his refusals. When he reached a certain "level" of work at school, he wouldn't do any of it at school. He brought EVERYTHING home (school saw it as defiance). The problem was that he didn't understand the work as they explained it, or didn't explain it. I would explain to him what he was supposed to do and he'd do it quickly. Another issue difficult child 1 had was with work that seemed "too big" or "too much" for him. He'd take one look at it and freak out because it seemed like so much work and then just not do it. It had to be broken down for him and given to him a little at a time.

    As for the IEP, you can definitely add that he not be forced to participate in certain activities and definitely not punished for non-participation. I think you need to figure out WHY he doesn't want to do certain things during school. WHY is he refusing. Taking away privileges only made difficult child 1's anxiety go even higher because he had "reasons" for not wanting to that he couldn't verbalize (lacked the skill of putting thoughts into proper words) and then he got punished on top of it. He gave up even trying anymore. What really helped me figure out the why's, I read the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It gave me ideas on how to get to the root of the problems and it really WORKED. It made a HUGE difference and I learned how very differently (and somtimes faulty) difficult child 1 thought. You might want to give it a shot.
  6. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I'm a teacher at heart. I love education, but I was also realistic enough to know that difficult child 1 couldn't focus on everything. I picked my battles (and teaching him to read was a huge battle). I knew what he would need and didn't care about the rest. We have been changing his classes left and right. He doesn't like choir so we change it. Has a problem with Spanish we changed that too. There are a few subjects I won't change: reading, math, and science. We also focus on behavior. He must learn how to behave. The rest I play to his strenghts. I try to get him to take classes he is interested in and good at. Then when he graduates he will know how to do something. Many schools just focus only on weaknesses or on so many weaknesses that no progress is made. And then he can't do anything and feels awful about himself. This is a pet peeve of mine so please forgive me for being preachy.

    Oh, and he has enough work he hates at home to teach him how to stick with a job he doesn't like. I've got that covered, so school doesn't have to teach that lesson.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would have a FIT that would be talked about for years to come if they made my adhd diagnosis'd child skip recess. That is the STUPIDEST idea that many teacher's have. Why? You have a kid with too much energy and are taking away his chance to run it off. Does that make ANY sense in ANY reality? NO. it does NOT.

    I would put it in his iep that he does not have to participate in any class but the basics. I would also get an Occupational Therapist (OT) to evaluate him for sensory disorders ASAP and get sensory breaks built into his day. I see a LOT of spectrumy behaviors, and sensory issues are almost a given with them. Help for those sensory issues is easy, fun, and can be a big part of learning. So it is time to jump on that with a PRIVATE Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation - they are more complete usually.

    I would suggest walk and talk recess instead of no recess. He would walk the perimeter of the playground rather than runnign around. Our entire elem system uses this and the benefits are HUGE. Many kids will choose this instead of other things, and there is no stigma attached. The kids walk around, they can talk to each other, and they end up burning off energy. Those with social issues can walk alone or near others with-o having to truly interact if they are unable or uncomfortable with that. Some kids bring mp3 players and sing to music, or sing with-o them, or talk to themselves and it isn't a big deal. It has made classrooms function better esp after lunch, and it has cut down on behavior problems in the entire elem population. Well, we have one school who refuses this even though it is a direct mandate from the BOE. They just never sem to have kids in trouble on days they are observed. They are the 'rich' school, by reputation, and many of the teachers there and the substitutes who have taught there have fought to have their kids go to other schools. They think theya re better than the other schools, so they don't 'need' various things the other schools do. They have more suspensions and at earlier ages than the other schools, they have more people who refuse to substitute teach there ever again than the other elems combined (6 total elem schools incl this 'rich' one), and they have more behavior problems overall. Their numbers for various types of problems has gone up steadily while the other elem schools have gone down on the same things since walk and talk was started. It is a simple thing that makes a HUGE difference.

    It is very probably that the therapist who said he acts out because he cannot do the work is correct. The school needs to find ways to reach him and teach hm rather than just punishing him because it won't help anyone in the long run. I wish it could be different, but it is what it is. Push them to do what he needs, rather than pushing him to do what he cannot do.

    Kids do well WHEN THEY CAN not when they want to. BIG difference and in my opinion it tells the story for your child.