Hi there. So hard! Sorry you are going through figuring this out as it is really hard on a parent. I would always stay very upbeat with your son while you work on this---- always emphasizing his positives and finding activities that do make him feel good about himself.
Our state is also moving to core curriculum. Currently, if a child in third grade does not score at a certain level, they are moved on to the next grade (this begins in 3rd grade) but have course work that next year in the previous years material. That way, the dramatic part of being held back is less so . . . and the child still receives the basic work they need to be proficient.
The reading portion of the core curriculum is something they've really beefed up with the theory that if a child has comprehension issues, it will eventually affect them in everything. I can say that is true as in all honesty, my son who is now in 4th grade does a tremendous amount of reading for science and social studies let alone language arts. If he had trouble with comprehension, ALL subjects would be very hard for him. Does that make sense?
I have a really good friend whose son is also in third grade (I have an 8 yr old in third grade this year as well and also a 4th grader, both boys). Her son is bright but was identified as having issues with reading comprehension this year through the new core curriculum. His parents were so distraught over this but have come to realize it is for the best that it is identified now so they can work on it.
He has no learning disability. They've been to a specialist for dyslexia as well as a learning center. He works with the reading specialist at school and they hired a private tutor. They've determined part of the problem is skimming the words with out really focusing on them. Through the help of the school offered extra teaching time as well as the private tutor, he's now scoring much better.
I would really consider a private tutor to work with him.
Does he have an IEP plan?? My son in 4th grade has sensory integration disorder and now has a 504 plan. This allows accommodations like extra time on a text. Your son sounds like he could use someone to read questions to him, extra time, etc. and with his add/adhd, I wonder if that could be part of his plan at school. so, what do you have in place now??
Are they willing to test him for any learning disabilities?
i would assume that you have tried all the different learning strategies, sleeping techniques, food checks before going to medication. What puzzles me is why straterra? Its average response rate is 30% vs 70% for a stimulant med. - http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/822549_7
If you have decided to go the medication route - why not go with what will help your child the most?
And yes, there are many co-occurring disorders with ADHD - http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/822549_6
but many of them are occurring due to the ADHD. Once that is effectively treated, then the other disorders diminish. And his problems are very typical for a child with ADHD.
Specialmoms idea for a tutor is definitely something that you want to consider. But, it would be helpful if the medication is still working when the tutor is there. Have patience, you cannot correct two and a half years of lack of concentration overnight. And help over the summer in both math and reading is important.
I can send you links for homework strategies that will help. But, I agree with specialmom that a 504 plan is very important. You can get some very good info on that from, is "The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley. And, I have a feeling that you could also use a lot of the other great info in the book. Best wishes. Please post if you need any more info.
I chose a non-stimulant because my son has a twitch and did not want to acerbate it. I was hoping the Strattera would make a difference, but so far it's not.
I have modified his diet, eliminating food coloring, preservatives, more protein, and am mostly organic. His sleep schedule is 10 hours a night on average. We have a homework routine too. Could you elaborate on learning strategies? We do use flash cards, post-it notes, plus I constantly redirect and prompt.
We have a 504 but does not help him. --extra time, redirection, checking for understanding, preferred seating, test taking in another room--it doesn't help Because He does not understand the lesson taught. I explain it to him, over and over but he doesn't get it. I can see it in his eyes that he is not hearing me, that we are not connecting. And the same must be true at school. Will a stimulate medication make the difference? As I write this I guess I just might give it a try. We have a doctors appointment next week. I'm just so afraid it will make his twitches worse. No one seems to know what medication will or will not be effective. A doctor should know, their doctors. There is a level of excellence that comes with certain professionals, and a doctor is one. It does not sit well with me that a doctor can say "let's try it and see?" especially when you're treating a child. My kid is not a guinea pig. With all the medical advances, how can this be allowed? Can I turn around and say "I'll try to pay you, let's see" I just want to do what is right. I don't want to guess. I don't want him on a roller coaster with medication.
With all my reading, asking questions, talking to doctors, I'm still at square one. I feel like I'm racing and getting nowhere.
The school had tested him for speech/language and said because he was not deficient in all areas of testing that he did not qualify for any services. A tutor is on the top of my list. A definite must. Any pearls of wisdom and recourses are welcomed.
Lastly, should I have my son tested for a learning disability privately, who specifically do I go to?
I thank you and specialmoms for responding and allowing me to vent.
Just recently found this link to multiple sites. It looks pretty good.
This is a great site with many very useful, practical ideas.
And yes, it has got to be really frustrating that doctors don't seem to know all they should about the meds. There are several reasons for that. Most having to be that they don't specialize in ADHD and don't have the experience level or the time to do so. And, from all I have read, each med does work a little bit differently and they are not sure why.
Probably, the best information I have seen on this is a book I just finished reading (New ADHD Medication Rules by Dr. Charles Parker) His last chapter on "Managing with Your Medical Team" is very helpful. It might be worth your time to get it. If nothing else it gives very clear guidelines for determining the best doses for the meds working. Its a bit technical, but not too bad. If you go to his web site you can get more info - http://www.corepsych.com/
I do understand now why you choose to try straterra. I am sorry its not working, but not surprised. However, it does take two to four weeks to reach full effect (hopefully, your doc mentioned that). From this link on all adhd meds - http://www.leeheymd.com/charts/adhd_1.html
What kind of a twitch does your son have? Does he take any meds for that? or any kind of other meds? I do remember reading about twitches and meds and will try to find more info on that.
Hope this helps! Best wishes.
Oh, forgot to ask when he was tested by the school system. If it was awhile ago, his problems by now should be more pronounced. What areas did they find the deficits in? Of course, they have recognized the problem - hence the 504.
In terms of additional testing (or meds for that matter), what kind of a doctor are you seeing now?