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Avatar universal

Is ADHD a responsibility disorder?

Can someone please explain to me why my teenage daughter, can hold down a job for over a year and counting...but at school she does not complete some assignments and does not score well on tests. She has a LD, ADHD, and the teachers are aware, but they will not think to check her work, they will not think to check for understanding, and they will not make inquiries prior to scoring multiple "F's".
They're response is: she needs to self-advocate. She needs to ask if she doesn't understand, she needs to inquire about the multiple "F's." And it is always evident that they think if a child doesn't do the work, I'm not going to do anything either.
I know there are many psychological factors for her not doing the work....well number one, SHE HAS ADHD! Obviously, she is being taught no differently than students without a disability, but at the same time, teacher's are saying: yes we know she has an IEP, we are willing to give her more time...etc. More time won't work without the understanding. It is maddening when  the teachers then refer me to their website, which is many times incomplete, and tell me I can go there, so I will know what's going on. They imply, that I need to take over for them and see to it that she gets her work done.
The reason my daughter is not getting her work done, is because she doesn't get it the first time! She needs it repeated, or she needs someone to show her how to get started, or she needs reminding because she has many different classes with many different things to accomplish....If the teachers are asking me to see to it that she gets her work done, I would need to reteach the lessons. This is like homeschooling only worse. I would need to guess at the curriculum or try to hunt it down.
How do I respond to these teachers? How do I explain the underlying things going on in my child's brain? How do I explain to them that ADHD is NOT a responsibility disorder, but a Learning Disability that needs their attention?
10 Responses
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Actually, to be precise, ADHD is a neurological condition, not a learning disability. Obviously, though, it can have a significant impact on learning. Trying to advocate for your child, particularly at her age (vs. the younger years) can be difficult. Part of the reason is that, as the years in school progress, fewer and fewer services are avaliable for support. High school students don't have the benefit of the range os services that students in elementaryb school have, for example. You might share with the teachers material from Russell Barkley's Taking Charge of ADHD. There is good material there about interactions with schools.
551343 tn?1506834118
Hi thank you for the recommendation of the book.

My grandson who is 13 has been diagnosed with ADHD and is on ritalin. We live in the UK and it has been such a fight to sort out his schooling. The school constantly excluded him for bad behaviour, and he is now got to the point where he is more used to being at home then at school, and is coming out with lots of illnesses. He hasnt been to school for over 2 weeks now, with either a really bad cold or stomach flu.

He really had a temperature and was sick with the stomach flu, he just seems to be constantly ill right now and my daughter is pulling her hair out, because in the UK you can get taken to prison if your child doesnt attend school even if they are ill.

I was so angry with the school over the constant exclusion. In the UK the child has to be statemented to the fact they have ADHD and then the school can get funding from the government to put in place some support. This has only just started last term it took 8 months to get the statement.

I am so worried about my grandson now as his schooling is really erratic and I cant see him passing any exams.

His behaviour has improved a lot to be honest (he still has his off days), with me he is fine, but I just feel he needs to get back to school he is slipping into a bad harbit.

Can a child almost make themselves ill? It sounds stupid typing that but I just cant understand how he is constantly ill for weeks now and the doctor checked him out and said he can see no reason for it.

Could it be his ritalin?

We have just got to get him back into school. He went today but I am not holding my breath how long that lasts.
551343 tn?1506834118
Hi thank you for the recommendation of the book.

My grandson who is 13 has been diagnosed with ADHD and is on ritalin. We live in the UK and it has been such a fight to sort out his schooling. The school constantly excluded him for bad behaviour, and he is now got to the point where he is more used to being at home then at school, and is coming out with lots of illnesses. He hasnt been to school for over 2 weeks now, with either a really bad cold or stomach flu.

He really had a temperature and was sick with the stomach flu, he just seems to be constantly ill right now and my daughter is pulling her hair out, because in the UK you can get taken to prison if your child doesnt attend school even if they are ill.

I was so angry with the school over the constant exclusion. In the UK the child has to be statemented to the fact they have ADHD and then the school can get funding from the government to put in place some support. This has only just started last term it took 8 months to get the statement.

I am so worried about my grandson now as his schooling is really erratic and I cant see him passing any exams.

His behaviour has improved a lot to be honest (he still has his off days), with me he is fine, but I just feel he needs to get back to school he is slipping into a bad harbit.

Can a child almost make themselves ill? It sounds stupid typing that but I just cant understand how he is constantly ill for weeks now and the doctor checked him out and said he can see no reason for it.

Could it be his ritalin?

We have just got to get him back into school. He went today but I am not holding my breath how long that lasts.
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
There is no doubt that children can display some malingering if they see secondary gain to be absent from school. Since there has been medical 'c'earance' for his return, I think it is best that he be made to go and that complaints of illness not be taken too seriously. Relative to the medication, if it is taken on an emopty stomach it can result in GI upset. But taking it with food should take care of that.
Avatar universal
Dear Dr. Kennedy,
What I failed to mention in my earlier note, was this is not new to the school district. She was diagnosed early after first grade. She was not learning how to read, so I took her to a private Dr., someone like yourself, to teach her to read, using methods not available in our district. She learned to read because of her parents, and at our expense.
Her ADHD, is a learning disability, when it is severe enough that it significantly impacts learning, and in her case it does. She was supplied a 504 in 2nd grade and then an IEP in the 3rd grade.
Because she learned to read, this gave her the advantage of not needing a lot of services, although she did receive some. The disadvantage came in middle school, where teachers not being able to see her struggles because she had not fallen below grade level. Most students like her, fall way behind because the district fails to teach them to read. But she learned to read! What they fail to consider - is not by them.
She now struggles with being prejudged constantly and given the little bit of attention she needs to help her in the general ed classroom, because her ADHD is questioned.
I can't share the book with the teachers, because I can't even get them to read 10 pages of her diagnosis. One teacher, I spoke to, I know has not read it, because he too thought she just got an IEP freshman year in high school. I had a middle school facilitator, flat out doubt her ADHD in a due process hearing, even after she admitted she never read her diagnosis! I've been lied to, and told accommodations, were really "best practices" and I've had a hearing officer, rule that her accommodations are not in violation of not being implemented, if they are included in the administration to the whole class, and not to her individually.
I've done everything possible that a parent can do to provide for her education, and it is biting me in the @*#. Her accomplishments are constantly getting in the way of her progress. What can I do to get teachers to understand this?
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
I understand your frustration and at the same time have little to offer you apart from what I mentioned. You cannot make someone understand something they are not open to. Unfortunately, you are left with little alternative but to pursue the appeals process as far as you can. 504 Plans are often without substance - that is, they may contain useful ideas but, because there is limited (if any) accountability, the ideas never come to fruition. Now, it is also true that if yor daughter's ADHD is well treated, it should have much more limited impact on her functioning. Perhaps your energy is better spent re-evaluating the treatment.
Avatar universal
Thank-you for your comment. Are you saying that if my daughter still needs support and acknowledgement of the problem, by her teachers in the classroom, that I could forego this through treatment? If her current treatment with Adderall is not sufficient, I would love to entertain a miracle drug that would allow us to keep this all under our hat and handle it ourselves. Is there such a thing?
As a backup, don't we change attitudes and understanding all the time? Aids comes to mind....
As for the Appeals Process, you're right...I should've appealed, but after a year of Due Process I needed to concentrate on earning a living - which had suffered.
When a State Hearing Officer say's, an Individual Educational Plan, does not need to be delivered to the student individually, it's pretty disheartening.
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Changing someone else's attidtude or understanding is not within your control. Of course you make every effort, but that's really all you can do. None of us can change some else's attitude.

Re: the treatment with Adderall - if your daughter remains symptomatic, even with the tretament, then the treatment should be examined. A change is dose might be reasonable; a change in the particular preparation (e.g., short-acting vs medium acting vs long-acting duration) might be reasonable; or a chnage in medication might be reasonable.
Avatar universal
Dear Dr. Kennedy,
It could be that she may benefit from a supplemental dose in the afternoon, it's been suggested, but she fights me. She says Adderall makes her depressed. Since she has been taking medication since second grade, we have tried them all, and they either make her depressed or Stratera makes her stomach sick.
I feel like we have done pretty well with her treatment, that is why when I need just a little bit of teaching support, it is maddening when I get teachers that look at the finished product, a well treated and diagnosed child, and they choose to pass judgment. They do not see that anything is wrong, to them it resembles more of a lazy child. After all, if she had a neurological disorder wouldn't she be worse off by now?
Of course she would, if ignored, she'd be on the dropout watch list.
What I am looking for is intelligent dialog to convey to these educators, as to how this disorder works. For instance, I used to tell them, she doesn't understand the assignment, she needs things re-taught...just recently, my daughter told me, when assignments are missing, she doesn't even know they are missing. How can I put what is going on in her mind into words, how do you explain the specifics of a neurological dysfunction? Would it be easier for these kids to track assignments if they were coded with numbers instead of blankety blank essay, or blankety blank packet...That way she would know, if they are up to quarter assignment 23, and told the count would be 25 by the end of the week...is it easier for ADHD kids to know 2 assignments are due that week? I am looking for information relating to how her mind makes connections, that will help....
No maybe I can't change their attitude, but I can tell them exactly what they need to do, and demand they do it. That's what it's come down to. Because I will not let them ruin the advances my child has made despite her disability. That's just not fair, and not an option.
BTW, because my daughter was treated and diagnosed early - by the parents - I might add, (Nevada was one of the states that prescribed to the severe discrepancy model, now outlawed) it was her diagnosis that got her an IEP, not her present levels. Health Impairment includes neurological disorders, that are severe in nature to cause a significant learning deficit. ADHD is a disability under this definition, although she is not disabled. Agree or disagree?
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Try not to get hung up on the issue of disability. Yes, ADHD can qualify as a disability under provisions of federal law. It is a neurological condiiton that can impede expected performance in school. However, it is not a specific learning disability - that is all I intended to convey to you so that you are correctly characterizing her problem.

And she may well display problems alongside her ADHD and those may be more important in her struggles than the ADHD per se. Your description of her functioning tends toward Executive Dysfunction in addition to the ADHD.
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