My son turned 6 in March and is in Kindergarten, half day, 2.5 hours per day. His teacher has expressed concerns with his focus, listening, and attention since late Fall. She said my son falls off task very easily, is easily distracted by others around him and she has to repeat directions several times to him. Despite these issues he is on target to make his end of year goals. He does struggle a bit with writing and phoenics, but is reading short books and is doing well with Math.
We have had issues with his listening at home too, and I always thought it was a behavior issue and we have been working on listening at home, but some days are better than others. He is quite impulsive as well, but I always thought it was because he was a boy and still immature, etc. I have noticed at T Ball and soccer practices my son doesn't listen, goofs around, etc but I thought maybe that was because he wasn't truly interested in playing sports. But now I am wondering if there's a correlation between all of these issues.
At spring parent teacher conferences the teacher said my son is still having issues with listening, directions, etc and it has not improved over the course of the school year as she had hoped. She suggested I bring up the issue to our Pediatrician at my son's 6 year check-up , which I did. The Ped suggested I have the teacher fill out the ADHD screening sheet and this way we can see where we stand and decided how to move forward, if needed. I filled out the sheet as well.
The doctor called me last week and said the screening sheet from the teacher definitely is positive for ADHD and the sheet I have filled out is borderline. We scheduled an appt to speak with her further , but she did mention even though it's the end of the school year it might not be a bad idea to consider meds so we can see how my son reacts, if it helps in the classroom and then we have the summer to iron out med issues, etc.
Part of me thinks we should wait and see if he matures over the summer and if we have the same issues in 1st grade. I think going full day to school will be an adjustment for him and I am worried if we're having issues in 1/2 day school, what will full day bring? My husband says why put him on meds if he's not failing in school, he's making goals. He thinks the teacher just wants a perfect classroom.
Here is a recent email from the teacher -- what should I do ?
I have not seen much change. Writing is the most difficult by far. He really is not writing at all. He wants an adult to sit with him and write it so he can copy it. I just haven’t seen the maturity I had hoped would come this year. Interestingly enough, I did ask him why he comes to school. He said he did not know. I was hoping it would be to learn something – or something along that line. He just wants to see his friends and play. That is really what I see him trying to do throughout the day. Of course, that conflicts with trying to have him learn things. I have to repeat most directions for him. We can talk further, but attention and focus seem to be a big concern. What I am not sure is whether or not he is able to make changes in those areas. The changes seem to be beyond his grasp at times. Maybe you will have some insights for me when we speak tomorrow.
Hi there. Most kids of that age have friends and play on their minds and the ones who say they are there for school work are parroting their parents. Don't let it concern you that his social activities at school are things that dominate his idea of school. My kids still say gym is their favorite class!! They are good at school but gym is fun!!
So, I speak as a mother that has two sons, one that has sensory integration disorder which is very similar to add/adhd. (In fact, you can check it out if you like as it is often mistaken for add/adhd and is treated differently---- a good web site is Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD). We had issues with our boy as well. His diagnosis of sensory changed everything for us because we were able to fine tune what he needed to be successful.
Here is what I'd do if in your situation at this point--- I would indeed wait until next year to decide on medication. It is always there for you to try down the road. I'd, however, embrace that something more is going on and learn all you can about what it may be. If they are saying add/adhd, I'd make it your mission to research this to understand as much about it as you can. My son's issue as I mentioned were sensory. Sensory responds very well to certain kinds of physical activity. We had him doing those activities every single day. We also rearranged things at home to have 'practice' for what school is like. Example, we had a period of time each day in the summer in which he had to raise his hand in order to speak and could only do so after I 'called' on him. Sounds goofy but it helped a bit with practicing self control.
I would look around in your area for a hand writing workshop he can do. Occupational therapist offices often run these in the summer. My son had trouble with handwriting with the hallmark sign that this was difficult for him of avoiding it whenever possible. Your son could be the same. It may be hard so he just doesn't want to do it. If he learns/practices over the summer---- he may then not be so resistent to doing it next school year. I have activities you can try at home as well if you are interested and I like the "handwriting without tears' program that you can buy and do at home as well.
Your husband is off the mark in my opinion regarding his comments regarding medication. Again, I'd wait to try it too but . . . making the bare minimum to pass through isn't living up to one's potential. If he has what he needs (which down the road may turn out to be medication) to maintain focus, be able to concentrate, etc. he may do very well as opposed to just getting by. Not to mention the bigger problem of his teachers constantly being irritated (and trust me, I've been in these classrooms . . . the child that constantly needs redirection and one on one attention is difficult when trying to teach. It isn't about a perfect classroom but that why is that child not able to do what the rest of the kids are doing in the classroom and they are disrupting the flow for everyone else) and other kids as well. Kids get irritated with the out of the box child that is demanding of so much attention and disrupting their classroom time as a result. It will eventually affect his peer interaction and self esteen.
I'll write more later. must get to a soccer game. it will be fine. peace
First, I'm a little concerned with the terminology your doctor used - that the written assessment by the teacher is "positive" for ADHD. That sounds like he's describing a lab blood test, not a subjective description by a teacher who may or may not be exaggerating. Some teachers really like kids with mild ADHD, and it grinds on the last nerve of some teachers.
I wouldn't medicate him yet. If he still is succeeding socially (sounds like he is) and is getting by academically, I'd wait. My first son was put on Ritalin in Kinder, and took it through 5th grade when he decided he hated it and wanted to stop. He developed great strategies - sitting next to kids who were always on task so he could glance up at them and see what page he should be on, realizing he didn't write down the homework so he would call a friend in the class, etc. He's brighter than average and so he was able to get by - and how he's an emergency room nurse. And he's terrific at it.
I agree with getting your son OT during the summer - they can teach you exercises/strategies to use with him.
I'm also concerned about what they say about his writing. It doesn't seem like he has any trouble with the actual "writing" - he's quite willing to copy an adult's written word - he has a problem with "starting" and "composing". I've been a classroom mom forever, and have seen kids who just could NOT begin a written sentence when it was freeform. For example, if given a picture of a child picking apples, and the assignment is to write about the picture, it's FINE to write "I like apples too". Or "The boy looks like Jason". Any observation at all is fine - and letting the child know it doesn't have to be the most perfect observation to have done a good job on the assignment.
Best wishes. Personally, I like kids with ADD. In my family we say regular kids have attention surplus disorder. (I mean really, how can those kids stand doing the boring work day after day they're willing to plod through?) ;D
Thank you so much for your feedback and insight it truly helps to hear others opinions. I want to do what's best for my son and perhaps your right, take the summer to see how he matures and see what happens in 1st grade. I think as long as I keep in touch with the 1st grade teacher starting early on he won't fall too far behind! Thanks again !
Thanks RockRose for your insight and feedback, appreciate it. I agree with what you said about the writing. When we have homework sheets it's usually writing a few sentences and while my son may take awhile to do his homework and complain he doesn't want to do it, he does complete his HW and will write sentences, this is completed with my help, but I don't do the HW for him. I walk him through the sentences and he sounds out the words, etc. I think he's easily distracted in class and more concerned about what's going on around him than doing his work. We will keep an eye on things over the summer and see how he does in 1st grade. Thanks again
Lots of good ideas from the above posters! I think the most important one is when Specialmom said, " I'd make it your mission to research this to understand as much about it as you can." You are going to be your child's main advocate for the next bunch of years. Not only may you have to explain to his teachers what he is going through, you also will have to explain it to him. So information is key. And by the way, if he does have ADHD, it has nothing to do with maturation. Yes, as he does age, he will gain more control, but that is not going to happen for awhile.
As Rockrose mentioned - teaching your son coping strategies is very important. But, many kids due to the frustration of ADHD learn the wrong kind of coping strategies - self medication, etc. So make sure that he is learning how to cope with his problems - both scholastically and emotionally.
A few suggestions. Your son's present teacher does sound like she knows what she is doing. Also, I don't think she wants a "perfect classroom," I have seen letters or emails from teachers that want the perfect classroom and they are very different then hers. Ask her opinion of the best teacher for him next year and make sure the principal is aware of the teacher you want. Chances are she will do this for you, but not all schools assign kids the same way and this is something too important to miss out on. His teacher next year is going to be very important!
Next, get a 504 plan going for him now (if possible). In the, "The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley, is a great section on 504 suggestions. Also, I highly recommend that you get this book anyway (only about $10 on Amazon and its the one I recommend on the ADHD forum). It will become your "bible" for many, many years to come.
Medication wise - kind of a toss up. For any child who needs the medication, starting is always trial and error to get the correct dose (as all kids and meds are different). So having a teacher that is well used to your child monitor his behavior changes (if any) does make sense. However, meds should really only be used if needed and it sounds like he will make it through this year. By the way, he does sound like a pretty sharp kid if he is reading and doing his math. You don't want to settle for him just getting by in the future, because I guarantee you that he will know he should be doing better.
Finally, here is one more site to check out. Oh, make sure you read the comments below. But also notice that under "parenting ADHD children", there are many more good ideas. The site is http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/683.html
I hope this helps. And if you have any more questions specific to ADHD, you can also always post on the ADHD forum. Best wishes.
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