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Should a primary teacher know the difference between ADHD and ASD?

(61 Posts)
Clevelandriot Wed 15-Jun-16 13:35:49

We've just had word of the class allocations for next year and I spoke with DD's teacher who seemed to know what he was on about. He's given me a transition form, and said he had some info he could email me which might be useful. I emailed him a brief overview of DD and her diagnoses (SPD/ASD) and he emailed me back with two documents. One was a charity training day for the parents of kids with hyperactivity, and the other was the care pathway locally for ADHD.

DD doesn't have ADHD. Hyperactivity has never been mentioned, but I think he's got them confused. AIBU to think he should know the difference? It's a big school, she's far from the only SN child. This is to transition from YR2 to YR3 btw.

knittingwithnettles Wed 15-Jun-16 13:51:29

Ds2 has a diagnosis of ASD/HFA. He has never shown any signs of impulsive ADHD or hyperactivity, but years after diagnosis it is clear that he has "inattentive" ADHD. Symptoms might be tuning out when overloaded, finding it difficult to do homework for long periods of time, waiting in queues, not appearing to take information in unless he is fidgeting. It CAN overlap with sensory processing disorder.

I just say this because I would have been surprised if anyone had suggested that my child had ADHD when he was 8, he was well behaved, had good sleep routine, polite in class, a far cry from someone jumping around - my idea of ADHD. The strategies for ADHD would have been helpful for me, and him if I had been aware that he might have had the inattentive form. He is not medicated (at 14), and I don't intend to medicate him.

knittingwithnettles Wed 15-Jun-16 13:55:49

Could the teacher also have them confused because the presentation of ADHD can be the same as the presentation for SPD in the fidgeting, needing movement breaks, tuning out, not appearing to listen? I agree that he should know the difference though.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 15-Jun-16 14:01:45

Maybe they attached the wrong file? Easily done.

t4gnut Wed 15-Jun-16 14:09:28

You would expect so, but with so many acronyms you'd hope they just got crossed wires.


Primary and Secondary teachers get precious little specialist training for ASD - make sure they're fully aware.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Wed 15-Jun-16 14:12:50

Wow I hope this is a mix up

Clevelandriot Wed 15-Jun-16 14:20:52

Knitting the teacher concerned has never taught him before. He's not a fidget either and has never shown ADHD traits.

Jasonandyawegunorts Wed 15-Jun-16 14:21:49

Let's hope it's a mistake...

Although i woudln't be suprised if it wasn't.

Clevelandriot Wed 15-Jun-16 14:22:11

Scarydinosaurs if so they attached two wrong files and wrote a cover email telling me I might find them useful. So I'm guessing he's confused, which doesn't Instill confidence for next term.

SpoonintheBin Wed 15-Jun-16 14:24:40

Just write back asking for correct info? And explain why?

Most teachers have never worked with children that have my ds' disorder so I had to send them the information. It happens.

LyndaNotLinda Wed 15-Jun-16 14:25:27

I would write back politely, thank him for the files and point out his error.

Our surname has become a fairly popular boys' name of late (along the lines of Finley) and you wouldn't believe the number of teachers who've started meeting with me calling DS Finley or indeed writing it in his book at the start of the year.

Clevelandriot Wed 15-Jun-16 14:28:25

I've replied:

"Thankyou for your email. I'm confused as to the attachments, XXX doesn't have ADHD nor does she show similar traits. Can you clarify?

Clevelandriot Wed 15-Jun-16 14:30:08

spooninthebin I take your point but there are plenty of kids with ASD/SPD, and I'm astonished he's got it confused, but then maybe IABU as its a big part of our lives. If this was rare I'd just send info, but it isn't.

SpoonintheBin Wed 15-Jun-16 14:59:42

Maybe there are but maybe the teacher's personal experience is limited. Just clarify it.

Clevelandriot Wed 15-Jun-16 15:05:09

That's the worry - that his personal experience is so low that he doesn't know the difference. And doesnt know that he doesn't know.

OurBlanche Wed 15-Jun-16 15:06:33

Just clarify the differences. It comes down to Teachers Teach.... SENCOs set up pathways, teachers teach using them. Different LAs have vastly different levels of training.

It sounds as though he had some new-to-him info he thought you might find useful... and made an error ... as he is a teacher and doesn't write the support plan, just puts it into practice.

If you use his gaffe properly both he and your DD will benefit.

SpoonintheBin Wed 15-Jun-16 15:09:48

Unfortunately not all teachers have in depth experience and knowledge of all major disorders, disabilities, learning difficulties, social and developmental issues (such as looked after children, children that have been in care, children that have fled countries at war, coming from abusive homes, children that have a parent in prison...). Parents have to work together with the teacher and the school to ensure that it is managed appropriately. Don't want to burst your bubble.

Aeroflotgirl Wed 15-Jun-16 15:13:42

i would re clarify it with the teacher concerned, and tell him that there has been some mistake, dd has Autistic Spectrum disorder, not Attention Deficit disorder, that they are two different things.

DriveInSaturday Wed 15-Jun-16 15:54:53

Acronyms are not helpful until you are sure that the person is familiar with the conditions they label. For example, I was confused by your DD having SPD, as on MN it is usually suffered by pregnant women. I would email him back with the full names and some useful links as holiday reading. If he hasn't had a child with ASD in his class before, he is probably a bit hazy on the details.

Sending you the (wrong) info at least shows that he is keen to work in partnership with you. He can't be expected to be an instant expert on any condition that a child who is going to be in his class might have. But you can steer him in the right direction, and the Senco (and whatever outside provision there is in your area) will be there too. He is showing that he wants to work with you to help your daughter; help him rather than criticising.

myownprivateidaho Wed 15-Jun-16 16:11:01

He just sent you some information you might find useful. He wasn't diagnosing your child. Fine if the info is not useful but I think your email was a bit pass agg. He is not medically trained and ultimately is going to respond to your child individually as a teacher, as well as following any support plan. If you haven't got any complaints about how he does his job, I wouldn't get arsey about him forwarding an email that doesn't apply to you.

DixieNormas Wed 15-Jun-16 16:16:44

Why on earth would the op find information about ADHD useful? Why would he think she would find it useful, Her dd doesn't have ADHD.

Unless he sends the information to all parents which would be very odd

OurBlanche Wed 15-Jun-16 16:17:45

OK.... so you read the thread .... smile

JustHappy3 Wed 15-Jun-16 16:24:16

I agree you needed to pick this up and i understand your frustration - but i think your email was unnecessarily passive agressive too.

If you made a mistake would you want it pointing out like this? It won't endear him to you - and surely part of your role (unfairly) is to smooth your kids' way - and use places like mn to vent.

Clevelandriot Wed 15-Jun-16 17:20:59

spooninjam "burst your bubble"? Do you mean to be so rude?

ourblanche Thankyou - I'm disappointed by his lack of knowledge. He's apparently very experienced.

aeroflot I'm going to try and catch him face to face this week after school.

driveinsaturday I don't expect him to be anything like expert, but I'd like him to appear to have heard of it!

myownprivateidaho I'm not suggesting he was diagnosing, nor do I think he should be medically trained.

I'm so tired of everything being a battle and having to explain!

SuburbanRhonda Wed 15-Jun-16 17:38:07

It would be a shame if you chose to take against this teacher even before he started teaching your child for what sounds like a genuine mistake.

One of our children has just been diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) and none of the teachers have had any previous knowledge or experience of it.

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