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  #1  
October 16th, 2012, 08:05 AM
~*Nicole*~'s Avatar Nicole
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I know we have quite a few of you and I have an important question!

When my younger son started 1st grade this year, we (his doctor and I) decided to hold off on giving him his ADHD meds because we wanted to see if he could be successful without them. On the 3rd day of class his teacher called me and pretty much told me that he would fail if I didn't start him on medication again (I made the mistake of mentioning his ADHD diagnosis when we met her on back-to-school night). So we started him on medication, but if he didn't take it one morning she would send him with a note to the office to have me called to remind me to bring him a pill. Seriously, this happened 4 times before I got so fed up that I threw a fit with the principal. His teacher complained that he stood up too much at his desk and blurted out answers to questions when he didn't take it. ***. Boys do that regardless. She made it seem like I needed to put him on enough medication that he would not move which I refuse to do. Long story short, we put him a new class but same thing is happening. He is being asked EVERY morning if he got his medication and if he didn't he has to sit at the office until I bring it. Before school even starts, so it's not his behavior that is causing them to ask, they are just asking and then not letting him participate in class if he didn't take it. His new teacher told me that she wants me to bring his medication to school so they can administer it there. It's a stimulant, so it's not like he would suffer from not taking it every.single.day. What if I chose not to medicate him at all?? Is this normal for a school to treat parents of kids with AD(H)D like this??
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  #2  
October 16th, 2012, 08:19 AM
mccaroline's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Not a teacher, but wholly cripes I'd be mad if I were in your shoes. I really hope you are able to find a solution to this.
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  #3  
October 16th, 2012, 08:25 AM
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Unfortuantely, a lot of teachers/administrators/school nurses/paraprofessionals, etc have the mentality that all kids with ADHD have to take medicine for it and they make their opinion known about the subject. We have one teacher and one paraprofessional that make comments about students' medications. I wish they didn't, but they do. The comments like, "I know he didn't take his medicine today" or "Mom said she gave him his medicine and I guarantee you he didn't take it." Things like that. But then again, the para and teacher that make those comments also try to make everything their business. The same para once told me that I needed to do a home visit because she thinks this 6th grader's mom is an alcoholic.

Okay, I got off topic there.

I completely understand asking a student if he has had his medicine when he is extra unruly and I think it's normal. But to ask him before the day even starts is basically like saying they have no faith in him as a person, just his medicine.

I'm sorry you're dealing with this. What did you say to the teacher who wants you to bring it to school to be administered? (We do have some students who do this.)
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  #4  
October 16th, 2012, 08:32 AM
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But I do have questions...I hope you don't get offended by me asking.

Is he much better with the medicine? Is there a reason that some mornings he doesn't take it? What does the principal have to say about everyone who asks about his medicine first thing in the morning? Does your son refuse to take the medicine or realize that his behavior is different when he does take it?

I'm curious because I work with our "at risk" population. So I get a lot of attendance, academic, behavior, and social service issues. Sometimes I will have a student having a horrible day. I don't come out and ask if he/she took medicine for whatever the issue is (bipolar, depression, anxiety, etc) but I will ask them what is different about today compared to yesterday. A lot of times they will say they forgot to take their medicine or they ran out of their medicine or something along those lines. Some of the students I do ask about their medicine, but it's not the first thing I ask about when they have a bad day and I would NEVER ask a student as soon as they get to school. That part just amazes me. I think we need to give the kids a chance to TRY to have a good day! Grrrr.
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  #5  
October 16th, 2012, 08:44 AM
~*Nicole*~'s Avatar Nicole
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Quote:
Is he much better with the medicine? Is there a reason that some mornings he doesn't take it? What does the principal have to say about everyone who asks about his medicine first thing in the morning? Does your son refuse to take the medicine or realize that his behavior is different when he does take it?
He is much better academically when he takes it, yes. Although, he still does very well on his school work without it, when he takes his medicine he is able to concentrate better and work more neatly. He is almost NEVER unruly for me, but apparently it's different at school. It's when he's around other kids that he starts getting hyper. And he is very impulsive. But he's also a 6 year old boy and I know that it's not just him that deals with that issue! Some days I just forget to give his pill to him and I guess I don't personally feel like it's a huge deal for him to miss a day now and then. He never refuses to take it, but he has gotten into the bad habit of expecting it to change his behavior without him trying to work to change it himself. I am trying to get him to understand that he can't blame not taking his medication when he has a difficult time at school. He didn't have this attitude about it last year, but if he gets into any trouble he blames it on not taking his medicine. I really, really want to avoid that mindset because I don't want him to think he has to take medicine for the rest of his life just to be "normal" or to have that crutch to blame all of his behavior on.
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  #6  
October 16th, 2012, 08:47 AM
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^^^ Completely what Mandy said.

I have medicated and unmedicated students (ADHD and otherwise). For some there's a big change in their behavior w/ w/o meds. I don't think the teacher should be pre-emptively asking about taking the medicine, but wait to see in class.

If the standing thing and blurting out things are regular problems, perhaps they could do some behavioral modifications for him - a swivel chair (or rolling one), hand signs (or other code) to cue him about answering questions. I would try those first before meds, personally.

Now, I will tell you, when they get older - like middle school - those hormones are horrible and the meds don't always work. So, if he continues w/ meds, be aware of this when he hits puberty.

Good luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*Nicole*~ View Post
He is much better academically when he takes it, yes. Although, he still does very well on his school work without it, when he takes his medicine he is able to concentrate better and work more neatly. He is almost NEVER unruly for me, but apparently it's different at school. It's when he's around other kids that he starts getting hyper. And he is very impulsive. But he's also a 6 year old boy and I know that it's not just him that deals with that issue! Some days I just forget to give his pill to him and I guess I don't personally feel like it's a huge deal for him to miss a day now and then. He never refuses to take it, but he has gotten into the bad habit of expecting it to change his behavior without him trying to work to change it himself. I am trying to get him to understand that he can't blame not taking his medication when he has a difficult time at school. He didn't have this attitude about it last year, but if he gets into any trouble he blames it on not taking his medicine. I really, really want to avoid that mindset because I don't want him to think he has to take medicine for the rest of his life just to be "normal" or to have that crutch to blame all of his behavior on.
ok, I hear this often from parents. I would recommend observing your son's class if at all possible, or better yet have them video tape a class so you can observe the undesired behaviors. (Our kids always act different when parents are in the room.)

The kids do act different at home than at school. When my medicated kids don't take their meds, I struggle with teaching the 35 other kids in the room because I am constantly redirected the one child. Not saying this is your case, but just as an example.

Also, some meds need to build up in the system to be effective and when the kids aren't medicated over the weekends, the first couple days back at school are even harder.

Please know I don't believe in medicating, unless it is necessary.
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  #7  
October 16th, 2012, 09:07 AM
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This has potential to be a hot topic, so I hope it doesn't go there. As a teacher, I understand one side. And as a mom, I understand the other side. I totally think that asking if your son took his meds before school even started is a little weird. However, in my experience as a teacher, the kids who are on medication for ADHD really need it in order to concentrate and stay focused. It makes a HUGE difference in their educational day. I can tell when one of my students has not taken his or her medication, pretty much right away. For me personally, it's not a matter of convenience and getting the kid to not move. It is a matter of getting the kid to stay focused and be less disruptive to the rest of the students. I can't explain how much of a difference the right medication makes. I know it is frustrating as a mom, but try to trust that the teachers want what is best for him too. Just as a side note, I don't think going to observe the class is a good idea because he will behave differently when he knows you are there - but I think a video camera that the students are unaware of is a good idea. It might give you some idea for what his behavior is like when he is in a different environment than home.
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  #8  
October 16th, 2012, 09:25 AM
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I believe that if things have gotten to the pint that the child needs medication, they should be taking it without fail. As Dee mentioned, many of those meds have to reach a therapeutic level to be effective, so popping him on & off could actually do more harm than good. It's almost like he's taking them for nothing.

I believe before choosing to medicate a child, other strategies should be used. I found using cues, allowing the child to work alone in a quiet area, & teaching study habits to be effective for some students. Some need that, but also need meds in addition to those strategies. I'm assuming all of those things were tried before you decided to medicate him.

Also whenever you disagree with a teacher or are not regularly observing the behaviors the teacher is concerned about, it's a good idea to first visit the classroom to understand how a classroom works and how disruptive it truly is for a student to refuse to observe classroom rules. Shouting out may not seem like a huge deal to a parent, but when you have 22-25 6 year olds in one room, any breach in structure can result in chaos. Learning doesn't take place in chaos. So the concern is for both your son AND the other students. First grade is the MOST important year of primary school. Studies show that mastery of this grade level usually results in success. I just want to highlight how imperative it is that you guys get on the same page this school year.
My suggestion is to work closely with his teacher and other professionals on campus to ensure strategies are put in place to help him, whether he's medicated or not. I also suggest coming to a conclusion on what exactly you want to do with the meds. Do you want him on or off? Visit the school often, & observe his behavior in an academic setting, inconspicuously is best. Is there a window you could look through? If not, have someone record the class. Recording him in small group with his teacher and 2-3 other students is telling.


I have seen many parents who, for whatever reason, play with dosages, discontinue meds or change meds, then become upset at the end of the year when their child is failing school.
I hope you get it sorted out soon.
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  #9  
October 16th, 2012, 09:27 AM
~*Nicole*~'s Avatar Nicole
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Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate the feedback. I have discussed with my pedi not medicating him all the time and he assured me that stimulants do not need time to build up in the system. They are in and out in a day, so that's not an issue for us. I have no problems medicating my son if it helps him succeed. The last thing I want is for him to be disruptive to the other kids in the class, but I also don't want him to be made to feel that he has to be medicated to be successful himself. I guess I'm just more concerned with the harassment by the school, especially since it's against federal law for anyone at the school to mention medication to my son or recommend it to me. Of course, I don't want to pursue anything legally, I just don't want to deal with this anymore lol. What do teachers do with kids whose parents don't want to use medications at all?? I don't know how elementary school teachers deal with that many small children all at once! I am not envious
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  #10  
October 16th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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Not a teacher, but a parent with an ADHD child who is also in first grade. I don't think its ever appropriate for a teacher to harass a child about medication before school even starts. I have Jahvon on the Daytrana patch and when we first started using the patches a few of them messed up. This caused us to run out. The day Jahvon went back to school without his patch, his teacher sent a note home saying he wasn't as focused as he usually is. I just explained to her that we ran out of medication and his next doc appointment is in a few days. She never sent another note home but I'm sure he was off task those few days without his medication.

I'm sorry I have no real answers, just that I can sort of relate to what your saying. I hope you and the teacher can come to some sort of solution to the problem.
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  #11  
October 16th, 2012, 09:36 AM
~*Nicole*~'s Avatar Nicole
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Quote:
I have seen many parents who, for whatever reason, play with dosages, discontinue meds or change meds, then become upset at the end of the year when their child is failing school.
It is really hard to find the right medication/dosage of ADHD medications. We have tried four different medications at many different dosages to find the right fit for us. One made him stay up all night, one made him crash severely and depressed... there are so many side effects that it is nearly impossible to find one that works the way it's supposed to without drastically altering their personality
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  #12  
October 16th, 2012, 09:39 AM
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To answer your question about what do schools do with the students who's parents choose not to medicate: struggle. Honestly, it's really difficult.

It's difficult dealing with the kids who should be on medication, but are not taking it for whatever reason. We have one student (first kid that pops into my mind on this topic) who's Mom refuses to use medication and he is a severe behavior issue in class. He's disruptive in the cafeteria, the hall ways, the classroom. Mom doesn't want to try medicine either. Nothing else works. It's a constant battle. He gets send to the BAC room a LOT...as in almost daily.

I don't know if ya'll have a BAC or program like that there, but it's the Behavior room for the students who have ADHD or other conditions that can make them a huge distraction in class. So they meet one-on-one or in group settings with our Behavior guy instead of sending the kids to ISS (where they wouldn't behave anyway). The goal is to KEEP them in the classroom, but not if they are a constant disruption to the other kids.
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  #13  
October 16th, 2012, 09:44 AM
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Yes I understand that. I know how hard it is to find one that works for each individual child. I had a student who found a perfect fit for her, but had to discontinue because for some reason it turned her into a severe nail biter. I'm talking biting them down until they bled. I understand playing with dosages then.
What I don't understand is the parents I encountered who took the child off or changed things for no real reason. We had a parent say she'd rather use the $75 for karate practice, or the child was playing with & lost the meds, or parents who change meds with the trend, even if the existing meds worked.
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  #14  
October 16th, 2012, 09:45 AM
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OMG I haven't ready anything really for replies. but they have NO BUSINESS asking him that. esp not at his age. ***. seriously? I'd talk to them, and explain that you are an adult and his mother and youare very capablie of giving him his meds if/when you and his care giver(doctor) see fit and that if they ask him again or make him sit till you bring it you will be filing a complaint.
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  #15  
October 16th, 2012, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandy5586 View Post
To answer your question about what do schools do with the students who's parents choose not to medicate: struggle. Honestly, it's really difficult.

It's difficult dealing with the kids who should be on medication, but are not taking it for whatever reason. We have one student (first kid that pops into my mind on this topic) who's Mom refuses to use medication and he is a severe behavior issue in class. He's disruptive in the cafeteria, the hall ways, the classroom. Mom doesn't want to try medicine either. Nothing else works. It's a constant battle. He gets send to the BAC room a LOT...as in almost daily.

I don't know if ya'll have a BAC or program like that there, but it's the Behavior room for the students who have ADHD or other conditions that can make them a huge distraction in class. So they meet one-on-one or in group settings with our Behavior guy instead of sending the kids to ISS (where they wouldn't behave anyway). The goal is to KEEP them in the classroom, but not if they are a constant disruption to the other kids.
We had what we called the Blue Room on my former campus. It was a sensory room, bare with nothing but blue paint on the walls. I had a student whose mom refused meds because she was convinced her cousin's suicide was the result of meds. This child spent so much time in the Blue Room, that I had to retain him. There was no way he could go to first grade & function. It really broke my heart.
The school had an aide work with him one on one to complete work I had for him, but that wasn't a replacement for good classroom instruction. Kids can't pass a grade level with just a pack of worksheets to complete.
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  #16  
October 16th, 2012, 11:00 AM
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In my district we usually have to send them to the office to work in a quiet space. Most of my students are medicated. Our issue tends to be finding the right ratios, type of meds, dosing times, etc.

I remember one student that desperately needs ADHD meds. She was so smart, but could not function in class with 24 other students. We finally got her medicated and she started doing her work - A's on all her papers. Unfortunately, state aid required a dr check every month before renewing her perscription. She knew she was better on meds, but because of the state aid, she wasn't always on the meds.
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  #17  
October 16th, 2012, 01:17 PM
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As a parent I would be absolutely enraged if people in the school did this to my son.
I understand kids with issue need their medication to function better, but for the teacher 2 just ship him out without even giving him a chance????
I think youve gotten some great advice from the girls. I would be filing a complaint none the less.
Honestly, if It was me I'd give him a freaking tic tac so he could tell them he got his meds.
Ugh. Every day something makes me question the public school system.
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  #18  
October 16th, 2012, 02:42 PM
~*Nicole*~'s Avatar Nicole
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Thanks for all the replies! I definitely get the other side of the picture. It's easy to see it from your own side and not know what the other side looks like, kwim? Anyway... I think my school just SUCKS so bad. I sent an informal email to the superintendent explaining the situation and just saying I thought I needed someone from an outside source to mediate the situation because I'm in over my head but I can't deal with the incessant phone calls and questioning. It must have been forwarded to the school principal because I got an angry voicemail saying she needed an immediate meeting with me due to the email I sent. So much for confidentiality! Lol. I haven't even heard from the district yet
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  #19  
October 16th, 2012, 02:44 PM
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I'm sorry about the angry phone message. Not appropriate. Even if the principal didn't like that you emailed the super., it was no call for an angry vm.

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  #20  
October 16th, 2012, 02:59 PM
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Ditto to Dee. Stick to your guns when you go in there too. They should not be shunning your son.
What would they do if you decided to stop medicating him? Make him spend the entire school day in the office?
Maybe its the repeated BS I've dealt with in my school system, but this situation just makes me livid.
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