ADHD Hates school......AHHHH!

Updated on December 27, 2009
E.D. asks from Homestead, FL
21 answers

My son is 6yrs old. Since preschool had problems really focus or concentrate on his work, often won't do it, he has very high and very low emotional outburst and is most of the time disruptive in class.Some days its impossible for him.He tends to give up and act like a rock. LATELY he has expressed to his teachers, grandparents and us that he hates school and would rather sell artwork and make money.(for my son to say that broke our heart) I dnt knw how to deal with him or get him to undestand the value of an education. He has been diagnoses with adhd but we are just starting the process and have not yet gotten him on meds. If there are any parents that have or are going thru the same please help us understand how we can help him understand how important school is and how to better deal with his emotional outburst and suport him.

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So What Happened?

Let me start my thanking everyone for all your ideas. Last wee seemed like it would never end. His choices were so bad. I didnt know what eles to do.Besides the school behavior mods., parent teacher meeting, social workers, and everything eles we took all his toys, tv and games and sent them to his grand parents house and told him we threw them away, we did time outs, military stlye punishment, kept him in his room....u name it we did it.I felt so alone over whelmed. I dont feel alone anymore.My husband and I made some changes to our diet and daily habits. His diet is high protien, low carb. and absolutly no sugers, yellow dyes or red dyes! We are 3 days in and he himself has told us he feels the diffrence( he has made a 360 change and everyone is amazed). It takes a bit more to shop but its so worth it. We also have a award system daily he gets extra play time for good choices and weekly he can spend the night at his grandparents. The school he attends is also working one on one with us. He is on an IEP and ESE class so its smaller and he is on behavior mod. that gives him awards for good choices.This weekend we started our new diet and we had a stomp....it was his grandfathers b day and there was going to be cake..we offered to buy the cake. We went to publix and found out they make special cakes made with no suger....splender...it was great he ate a slice and was not bouncing off the walls...or driving any one crazy. He was able to sit enjoy a movie with the whole family.It felt good because it made s realizes he could be a normal kid.I pray that his diet contiunes to help him.

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J.M.

answers from Pensacola on

I have read lately that a big factor in adhd and add kids is a need for more frequent and intense exercise. I know very little about either add or adhd but thought I would give you what I have heard. Maybe you can google it and see. From what I have read, these children have a much higher need for exercise than 'normal' children. All I can imagine is seeing a child, inattentive, foot tapping on the floor, hands wiggling in their lap. Too much pent up energy?
Best of luck to you!
Jen M.

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H.B.

answers from Tampa on

Public school settings are not a good match for every child, particularly boys in early grades. Just imagine ANY setting that treats everyone the same, regardless of interests, intelligence, personal struggles, desires, etc. It is an institution and although is considered the 'norm', it is not a good match or experience for many kids. If homeschooling is an option you may consider it. There are LOADS of co-ops, groups and organizations locally to be involved in, gather with, take classes of every subject even PE! If it's not something you feel you can do, maybe consider alternate schools such as a Montessori schools or maybe consider the Sudberry school called Spring Valley in Palm Harbor. These schools function entirely differently than traditional public schools with lots more hands on, teacher involvement and don't gave the cookie cutter expectations of public schools. It might be just what he really needs! He really needs something else since he's so unhappy at such a young age. As for the ADHD .... That is probably a diagnosis given because he's not meshing in the rigid public school classroom. If he were somewhere that he were happier, more comfortable and more relaxed he would probably lose the label, but watch his diet ( I recommend Dr Sears book called NDHD for helpful ideas!) and eliminate or reduce any junk or processed stuff and it will really help him physically ( his body will thank you and respond well!)....

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N.H.

answers from Orlando on

Definitely check out a neat book, The Mind of Boys by Michael Gurian & Kathy Stevens (something like that). It goes into why education is so painful for boys and has practical advice for parent and teacher. In my observation, it would be helpful for girls that have a bit more male brain wiring. And I will forward mammasource to a mom I know that has dealt with this. Hope the book helps.

1 mom found this helpful
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K.S.

answers from Tampa on

Hi E., K. here. I know exactly what you are going through. I have two boys that I love dearly. They were both diagnosed with ADHD. My 14 year old has Aspergers Syndrome and my 10 soon to be 11 was diagnosed with Autism. They are both on meds and are doing pretty good. Of course, my 14 year old(teenager), doesn't like school either but we have remedied that one. He has virtual school in the morning and campus classes in the afternoon. It is working. He doesn't get up early enough to get to school on time so he is doing two classes in the am online and doesn't have to be at school until 11:00 for his 3rd period class.

Have you thought about taking your son to a neurologist? If not, you should. See Dr. Jose Ferriara. He is very good. The office is kid friendly. The staff is awesome. ###-###-####. They take all insurances if I am not mistaking. They are located in south Tampa, off of Habana and DeLeon. Good Luck. If you need a good behaviorist, you should see Dr. Howie. She is located in St. Petersburg, part of All Childrens Hospital. Pediatric Behavior Specialist. ###-###-####. Take care and Merry Christmas.:)

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K.M.

answers from Tampa on

Please don't put him on meds- this is a symptom of the awful "food" available today- see WestonPrice.com, DrBruce West at HealthAlert.com, and Fiengold diet- handle the underlying cause- and get all sugar OUT of your house, and food dyes, and artificial anything, no soda pop, no cookies, icecream(except if you can get it raw) you are now in a battle for your sons future- and I hope you are up to it, for his sake.
I understand there is a WestonPrice chapter in Tampa, and check for Fiengold groups- you are NOT alone.
best, k

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J.A.

answers from Jacksonville on

Relax, he is only six! One of my daughters came home at that age and wanted to work for payless so she could get a discount on shoes! That child is a shoe horse to this day, but she grew up to be an air traffic controller.

I would find a good child/family counselor to work with you and your son. If your son does have adhd there are other ways besides meds to help him. It takes time, there is no easy cure or fix, and it's alot of work. Get info off the internet and start trying things. Diet changes go a long way with these kids, I know from experiance. Please don't be in too much of a hurry to put pills in his mouth. The meds for adhd have LIFETIME side effects. The doctors downplay the side effects so much, but they are real and they are there. If you have spent the next two years trying everything including counseling, tutors, diet changes, and behavior modification, and he still needs meds, then go for it, you will know you have tried it all.

D.P.

answers from Sarasota on

I am so sorry to hear your frustration. It's a very common thing these days. I have twin boys now age 7 and both have issues. My hubby is a Chiropractor and we are very much into a more natural approach to helping not just our kids but others. I don't like meds for the side effects can truly be far worse. I have found a nutrtional supplement that has literally changed our lives and many others. I have a personal testimony that I could share with you but if you would like further info feel free to contact me at my email address [email protected]____.com Dietary changes can truly make all the difference in the world. There is so much happening today with our children and it's all from the foods. for more info view my website http://www.mymonavie.com/ydocai

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J.S.

answers from Jacksonville on

My son is 6 too and if he were in a school setting they would put him on medicine in a heartbeat. As it is some days I think a tranquilizer dart would be my best friend. LOL
The thing that works best with my son is when we cut out all but the ocassional soda and sweet treat. Gave him a lot more active play time than school time. And let him wiggle during his school time.
I still get frustrated and loose patience some days because he is so wiggly, but then I hear him reading a chapter book or reciting addition facts just for fun and I know he is ok.
I also know when I start to get frustrated or he starts to get frustrated we have to change gears. We switch subjects or take a one minute goofy break. Thats where he gets one minute to act as crazy as he wants and then we finish whatever we were doing.
School settings are not the best place for young boys but I know sometimes it just can't be helped. Remember when kindergarten was more about playing school than actually doing school?? I don't remember very many kids in my school being on medicine to control them when it was like that.
Talk to the school about your concerns. Talk to his teacher. See if you guys can work something out together to help him.
Most of all hang in there. Your little boy is unique and special. Do what you can to make school fun and exciting for him. Skip the homework in the evening as much as possible and let him run around and play outside whenever possible. He does not get enough of that during the day at school. Your a great mom and you know your son better than anyone. Do what works for your family! :)
Be Blessed!

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J.C.

answers from Tampa on

one of my grandaughters is having the same problem, the way we are dealing with it is extra help from the teachers, and reminding her that in school they will teach her how to count, and read. then she can count her own money as well as read to us instead of us having to read to her, for right now first grade it seems to be helping, also the first thing the dr did for my daughter is to tell her to WATCH and control her diet, and to keep her active in things she is interested in to help her learn how to forcus and concentrate. he does not want to follow the idea that it takes meds to control it until we have exhausted all other avenues, good luck and GOD BLESS J.

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S.S.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Ohhhh E., I feel your pain. My son was diagnosed with severe ADHD when he was 6. First things first, you will run into the doctors that will want to pop him on a heavy dose of medication and the teachers will cheer. You will be confronted by others who say medication is bad and how horrible it is for the child. My experience was to see what the alternatives were first, when behavior charts, behavior contracts, behavior modification, counseling, psychologist etc. did not work. I found a pediatrician who helped me with the decision to move him to meds. I also worked very closely with the school, some people will advise against this. I am a single mom and needed feedback from experienced parents and consulted directly with the Principal. (They are not allowed to make recommendations.) I just asked her if he was your son what would you do?

I am very pleased with a single tiny pill with a time release component to it. I keep him on the absolute minimum dose so that his personality shines through. My nephew was over medicated and had severe side effects to his medication and at age 16 struggles with school, despite being incredibly brilliant and has seen juvie twice, because of not being able to control impulsive behaviors and refuses to take the meds because of the side effects he remembers from being 8.

One thing about my son is that because of the ADHD he is very goal focused. I try to help him set the goal and then remind him what he needs to do to get there. I know your boy is only 6. I started mine at about age eight and it still works.

Your son probably hates school because he's always in trouble and is just so overwhelmed with the classroom stimulation that he shuts down. In second grade my son had a behavior contract that worked okay, not great. The teacher blocked out all the activities for the day and he got a happy face, neutral face or sad face based on his behavior for that time block. So many happy faces got him a reward. My kid was motivated by $ so that was his reward. With his ADHD diagnosis your son should be able to get a 504c (I think that's what it is called.) It allows him to be in alternative settings for tests and other high level of concentration activities. He might do much better in a special ed setting where he does the regular curricula, but the classes are much smaller. I know there is lots of "stuff" that goes with that, but right now you need to figure out what works, at least short term.

Also, as you work through this process of figuring out what is best for your son, you will find highly judgmental people who can't figure out why you can't control your kid and why you don't just pop him on a higher dose of drugs. You will also find highly judgmental parents who will judge you for your decision to use medication, should that be the way to go. You know your boy best. You'll figure it out, it just may take some time.

Sorry this is so long, I just want to make sure that someone else can benefit from my experiences and not have the same issues that I did. Lastly, you will want the school to do a full battery of tests, if they haven't already. They will probably fight you on this because he is so young, but make them do it anyway. You need a baseline. Maybe there is a learning disorder that you don't know about. It's important that you do not be panicked by the results. Remember your kid is ADHD so taking the tests themselves are going to be a challenge for him. My son tested at 79 IQ, auditory and visual integration issues, but this allowed us to better understand why the classroom and curricula was seemingly such a challenge.

E., just remember he's only 6. If you have to throw a year of learning away to get things figured out, it's better now than later. He can catch up easily in a year. You just don't want this to continue until 4th or 5th grade. Then you will have a much bigger challenge. You might also want to consider an alternative school setting, such as Montessori or Walden (if affordable) if your son is okay with the less rigid learning structure. My son needs structure and has to know what happens when, he gets anxious and overwhelmed without structure. Jeepers, long answer. I could probably write a book on this. E., good luck. Keep us posted.
S.

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L.C.

answers from Orlando on

This may sound crazy, but in general, the best way (in my opinion) to make school fun (or at least more tolerable) for a child at any age is to relate it to their lives. At 6, he really does think that you don't need an education to "sell art", that all you need to know how to do is draw. Well, do some role playing with him. How will he find customers to sell his art to? He needs to be able to read and write in order to advertise that he is selling his art. He needs to be good at math so he won't get cheated -- people will give him money and if he gives them the wrong amount of change then he will end up poorer than when he started. Anything he says, counter it with why he needs an education-- like if he answered the money thing saying people can give him checks, explain why he still needs to know math AND how to read and write to open a bank account. Focus everything he says and does around his art if that is what interets him right now. Does he like to make comics? No one will want to buy comics with words that are spelled wrong so he needs to study and do his best on spelling tests. Does he want to open his own store (gallery) so he can have a place to hang his art where people will see it so they can decide if they want to buy it? Let him know that people who own their own stores often go to COLLEGE to make sure they know how to run their business so they don't get cheated by people who are mean yet smarter than them.. Anyway.... if you explain why he needs an education revolving around what is important to him (art) then maybe that will help. As for his emotional outbursts, speak with the guidance councilor at his school. His teacher may or may not have the training and experience to give you tips on how to deal with various behaviors. Also, use art as a reward-- do some sort of behavior/grade chart so he has a goal to work toward and buy him art supplies as a reward

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V.M.

answers from Tampa on

To help decide what to do consult with the pediatrician & the teachers. You may want to go to CHADD meetings. It is a support group for parents of children with ADHD, ADD, etc. My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD 2 years ago. She goes to the pediatrician, a psychologist and a neurologist, she also goes to a group that has kids her age to help interact with her peers. She currently uses the RX Daytrana. This summer I started going to the CHADD meetings at the Palm Harbor Library. You can look up on their website the nearest meeting place to you. I highly recommend going to at least one meeting.

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L.B.

answers from Stationed Overseas on

I'm going to respond to this from the point of view of a classroom teacher, as I am one. I have a child of my own but she is not ADHD.
I am not a huge proponent of the quick fix of medication. I have seen medication work wonderfully to where the child is concentrating and the grades are coming up and I've seen it backfire because the kid is half asleep from the medication.
Do what works. If your son's classroom teacher is approachable and knowledgeable she should be able to help you. Now I'm in Canada so the school system here works a little differently. But in my world the classroom teacher is your best advocate when dealing with the school system. A good teacher should be willing to work with the school system to help your child. Whether that includes behaviour modification, a classroom tutor or councelling the classroom teacher (at least in Canada) has to make those recommendations back to the appropriate people. Additionally she should have the help of a special education teacher who can help suggest activities and ideas to help keep your son on task during the day.
I've seen kids with ADHD have modified school days, where they only go to school when they are at their calmest, whether that's morning or afternoon and for how long would depend on the child. The rest of the time the child is at home or in a pullout one on one with another teacher.
The modified school day works well until other means of controlling the ADHD can be implemented. It obviously is not a permanent solution, it's a temporary fix where the idea is, if the child is climbing the walls in the back of the room, are they really learning anything anyway? Probably not. So lets get as much out of the child as we can at whatever time of day works best for the child and the rest of the time either have the child at home or try a little bit of pullout with another teacher.
Unfortunately teachers get caught in the middle sometimes because they have to balance the needs of one with the needs of the whole group. A child with "uncontrolled" ADHD in the classroom has a tendancy, through no fault of their own, to take away too much of the teachers attention from the rest of the class. This is often why teachers are relieved when kids start on medication because it means they can now concentrate on the rest of the students instead of always having to control the behaviour of one. Behaviour modification, charts and all of those other things are time consuming for the teacher and not immediate fixes to the problem. Again, this is all part of that balancing act that teachers have to play. How much attention can I give one child and still manage to give the rest of the class the education they deserve?
As for your son being frustrated with school, I'm sure he is. School is hard when you can't sit still long enough to listen to the instructions. You probably aren't going to convince your 6 year old that school is a good idea at this point. He's too young to understand those concepts. Keep working with the teacher / school to get the help you need or find a modified environment for your son. If you can, consider home schooling until you can work with your child's doctor. Or, on the flip side of that, I've seen parents actually go into the classroom and sit with their child every day as a "tutor". Having the parent there usually helps keep the child calmer and allows the teacher to teach the rest of the class.
Hope that helps.

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M.H.

answers from Daytona Beach on

Please try changing his diet (more fruits and (raw)vegetables) and cut out all sugar. Start reading labels if you haven't already. Is there a chance you could homeschool him? Homeschooling is so rewarding and will let you cater to his needs and interests. Good Luck to you and don't drug your child.

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B.K.

answers from Tallahassee on

These things might help with ADHD
1. diet change can help a lot. These foods are often culprits: food dyes, preseatives, wheat dairy, white flour, processed sugar
2. Look into getting craniosacral therpay done on him. It's a really light form of massage. We're in Tallahassee and I can recommend some names here. May be pressure on his brain from birth that could be aleviated and alleviate his behavior symptoms.
3. Explore homeopathic medicine. again, I know a name of a guy in Tallahasse.e. Not sure where you are..
And of course education is important, but maybe he will be a gifted artist who can sell art and live off it? Eveyone has different learning styles and is drawn to different things.

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V.

answers from Tampa on

E.,
I sent you a private message too.

This is for those that might read this looking for alternatives.

We are using prescribed meds. And have had success with just 1/2 a dose. a full 10mg was too much and had bad reactions.

I am doing Homeopathy. It is a long process but it is all natural!!!!!

Try feeding larger breakfast that are more eggs, bacon and fruit and only one piece of bread.

CUT OUT any fun foods with dyes. I believe I read somewhere that Yellow 10 and Red?? were the worse culprits, then later I someone said that Green was too.
Go as natural as you can.

Some people I have ran into swear by the Finegold diet. But be prepared, This will take a lot of time and commitment by the entire family. When you read it, you will understand.

We have done Interactive Metronome. This was a fun thing, about four to six weeks. covered under OT, at least for us it was. We have seen some good results.

We are currently doing Therapeutic Listening. We have seen a huge increase in "wanting" to write and draw. When he does write and draw (usually with the CD going) He writes and draws much smoother and stays in the lines. With out, it is still shaky and coloring is all over the place.
We are six weeks into a 12 week program.
There are special head phones. If you use any other headphones, it will NOT pick up some of the embeded sounds.
I researched headphones and I could not find a set that had the same tech data the special ones have. ($150.00 just for headphones)

We are still researching other things. Most programs will not allow you to start until you are at least six.
Unfortunate, when you are having the problems at FOUR.
Grumble.

Another lady just wrote the other day about BioFeedback.
Have not heard of that until she wrote. I do not have anything to offer on that subject.

In my conversations with other like people: Heavy exercise helps a lot.

We are also keeping a daily log of food, activity and vitamins. looking for a pattern to behavior.
So far, Growth Spurts and Full Moons.

Enjoy your journey. What a wild and crazy ride.
That is my 2 cents, and what we are doing.

Good Luck
V.

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S.A.

answers from Orlando on

E.,

I read that you changed your son's diet and that it helped a lot, which is great!! Have you considered putting him in sports or maybe karate? Since he has so much energy, he can't control himself, maybe the physical aspect of these types of activities would help him out. My boys used to be in tae kwon doe and they loved it and you can practice with them at home for daily excercise. And it is a great workout! Best of luck!

S.

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R.S.

answers from Tampa on

My son has never liked school. 4 months ago he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and now all he does is emotional outbursts in regards to school (I homeschool). I am at the end of my rope, but just yesterday we had a talk, and I told him as I have many times that he has to do school. Whether he likes it or not, school is not an option. But I told him how school goes is his choice. He has to choose to do school well. Of course my son is 9 not six, so this may be a little over his head. But just know, I can sympathize with you. I have also heard, that what foods you feed a child with ADHD makes a difference as well. I have suspected my son might be ADD or ADHD, but I make sure he eats a well balanced diet, and now with the Diabetes he has to be even more careful, so I hope this will help in the long run. Good Luck.

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S.S.

answers from Miami on

You have to get this little man into a good sensory integration therapy. Look for OT's who specialize in it. SIPT certification is what to look for. His proprioceptive sense and vestibular sense are failing him and he cannot process information accurately or efficiently. Get him out of traditional school and put him in Montessori (AMI). He is a kid who needs to move in order to learn. MEds will never help him in the long term. At the end of the day you still have a kid with a brain disconnect btetween the left and right hemispheres. Read Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo and you will understand what is happening. All these symptoms he has....they call it ADHD but it is actually a brain imbalance and disconnect. It can be fixed. He needs to get his brain and body integrated. Also check out NAET treatment for hidden food allergies. All these type kids have them very strongly.

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R.W.

answers from Tampa on

My son is 11 and we went through this exact thing with the help of the school (it took some pushing to get help) he now likes school and is doing great on his own because he wants to. He does take meds he started taking them in second grade and he has some problems with reading and writing but is in advanced classes for science and geography and does great in math. The one thing that helped the most was changing the attitude of the teachers and his own attitude we did this with help from the guidance consoler at school which took a meeting or two with her and the principal but basically they put him on a behavior chart literally every half hour at first the teacher would give him a star (or not) for being on task and at the end of the day if he had so many stars he would take it to the guidance office and the whole office would make a huge big cheering deal and she would let him pick a toy or candy then off to the bus to come home. We started with just a few stars needed to get the treat and slowly expected more and more on task and good behaviors to get the rewards and after so many weeks of reaching his goals we would have a special lunch in the office. It really was all about changing his attitude and making it fun and positive for him to stay on task. All the punishments and groundings and lectures in the world didn’t help but this worked wonders. Good Luck!!

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J.S.

answers from Miami on

You need to help him find healthy ways to express his feelings and a learning environment that supports his learning style. The meds for ADHD are worthless in terms of truly helping him. He can focus on things he enjoys so it's his impatience and his unpleasant feelings that are the issue to be worked with - medicating just sets someone up for a pattern of substance dependency and ignoring their true feelings. There are many other options to consider.
www.phinsights.com/adhd.html

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