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My son and ADHD(17 Posts)
A friend told me to come onto Mumsnet and see what advice ADHD parents can offer.
My son is 12 yrs old and was diagnosed with ADHD earlier this year while still at Primary School, he started Secondary School in September 2018.
He is really struggling (already) and his tutor is concerned how he will cope, we were told that they school could offer him support and plans would be put in place, this has not happened. My sons' school diary is filled with scribbled notes from teachers saying, distracted (detention), distracting others (detention), talking out of term (detention) etc etc....
We have an appointment with his tutor later this week, she has asked what could be put in place to help our son, I am no expect, this is all very new to us, can anyone offer any advice?
Thank you kindly.
When your ds was diagnosed, was medication not mentioned as an option?
Ask for the support they have promised you!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
As parent with a dc with ADHD i know only to well the distress of so many detentions etc. The fact is no matter how many adjustments they put in place, your ds will have problems concentrating and engaging fully with education. ADHD is not like Dyslexia where they can be given a computer to assist with writing etc. Truth is there is not a lot school can do. They can put in more behaviour management strategies, rewards for good behaviour, detentions or sanctions for poor behaviour, give him roles of responsibility, be lenient and ignore etc don't forget 'distractions' include shouting out in class, talking over others, turning around and disturbing other children, making silly noises etc. Other dc will also egg him on thinking its funny and making it all round worse.
Sadly even with all of that in the end, you will find is just one long time waste as half the lesson has gone into employing all these strategic adjustments and it will show in his academic attainment eventually.
The only thing backed up by evidence that makes a difference to a dc with ADHD is medication. When you use medication together with all of the above, thats when your dc will start to fully access education and you'll see a remarkable difference in behaviour.
@menalight - thank you so much for your time and detailed reply, this is in fact also very reassuring that I am not the only parent to feel frustrated with how schools deal with children who need extra assistance. We are currently not medicating our dc as we feel its not necessary however dc is due to be seen again by our specialist in December to see how well dc is coping with Secondary school, I worry about the side effects of medicating and seen the awful side effects of medicating first hand with other conditions, however I do not want to rule this out if in fact it would be in the best interests for our dc, thank you once again for your time
You need to meet with the SENCO, rather than his tutor.
What could be put in place? First of all, SEN dept need to ensure there is good teaching across the board. Strategies specific to ADHD and him should be shared with staff.
There may be extra support in class but this depends on finances and there will be a graduated response to his needs (so they'll start with good quality first teaching, specific strategies for eg and will assess and review, if that isn't enough they'll add more).
If he is really struggling, I would consider medication. I've seen some really struggle even with as much support as school can offer.
Please don't think schools don't care about those who need extra assistance.. essentially it all boils down to money which is so limited.
OP don't think at all that you are alone in your worries about medicating and the side effects, all of us went though it. But in the end nothing else worked. Its also double the worry the contra indications of the medication IF your dc has another underlying neurological condition. You will spend a long time researching, debating, arguing but then in the end all you can do is try it cautiously. For the majority of dc though, it works and the side effects are manageable. But you can breath a sigh of relief when you see your dc happy again at school, making friends, and doing well academically. Medication is not a magic bullet by any means, there will always be a scrapes here and there but not to the degree you are currently experiencing.
The also usually start dc on the lowest dose of medication to find the right fit and in order for the body to get accustomed to it. If its Methylphenidate you're talking about it takes about 2 weeks of consistent use before you start to see a difference although i have heard some noticed a difference within 48 hrs.
I also think you should come on the SN board where you can hear the opinions of more people who have been down the medication route. There is also loads of information about ADHD and meds in the archives if you do a search.
We are currently not medicating our dc as we feel its not necessary
All of the problems such as being distracted and distracting others etc are symptoms of his ADHD. Detentions will have little impact on behaviour he can't control.
Google Russell Barkley and watch his very long YouTube video which explains ADHD very well. Look up ADDITUDE magazine on line and read some of the great information regarding medication. Children who are not medicated are more likely to self medicate with alcohol or other drugs. Think about the negative messages he is being sent daily when he is disciplined for behaviour he can't control.
Medication for her ADHD changed my daughters life. She was almost expelled in year 7 for her behaviour at school and her peers were annoyed with her behaviour. Now at the end of yr 9 (not in the UK) she is doing well academically and socially and has been given leadership roles at at school.
There is no one magic pill and there is sometimes trial and error before getting the right one but it has been well worth it for us.
The SEN system is very difficult to navigate and you are certainly not the only person struggling with it. First step you need to ask if your son is on the SEN Register or receiving SEN Support? This is the first level of support available under the law and it means you should get a termly meeting to discuss your son's IEP/Provision Map/SEN Plan (or whatever your school happens to call it). All schools are obliged to say that they will provide support and they may even have brochures saying all the types of the support that is available. Getting that support in place is a whole other ball game - unless you are lucky to be in a good school. My DS has had an EHCP for 18 months and the school still hasn't got the listed support in place. You need to learn to advocate for your child and grow some sharp elbows to ask for what he is legally entitled to. Ask for copies of his support plan. Start communicating with the school in writing and keep good records. I have previously been very against the meds but having heard friends report the changes in their children, I have changed my view. Those with attention deficits can't focus on lessons, so it is difficult for them to succeed at school without help. It may feel very difficult to start with but you need to stay completely calm while becoming a "squeaky wheel" with the school/SENCO. Learn about your rights - possibly via an IPSEA Foundation Law course - and quietly assert them. Consider moving schools if the SEN team don't act.
My 9 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD last summer. After a lot of stressful discussion and research we decided that we would try meds on the basis that we could just stop if we didn't like how he was on them. So we kind of had the attitude that it wasn't whether or not we tried meds but whether or not we stayed on them. It took about 9 months before we got the right med at the right dose with the least amount of side effects. It has changed his school work and his self esteem around school completely. There are side effects, but for now the advantages easily outway the disadvantages for him and our family. You also don't have to go with meds now, you can change your mind when you feel it's the right thing. Good luck, it's really hard deciding what is best.
We tried diet changes to alleviate symptoms but in the end the only effective aid was medication. We use it for school but as it wears off so quickly he doesn't take it on holiday or weekends and does extremely well with it. We were told that too often medicine isn't considered unless the boy is/was violent. DS takes a pill in morning and knows when it wears off which is usually around 4pm (XL). Homework (night-time) is tougher but he is able to focus in spurts and gets the work done. Good luck with whichever way you decide to handle things.
My son is 12 and has ADHD (inattentive). Like the poster above he has medication on school days only and the change in his attainment has been remarkable. It is not perfect, he still struggles with some things, and has days where he is a bit absent, but on the whole I believe it will change his outcomes for school.
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