At My Wits in with ADD.

Updated on March 25, 2011
D.K. asks from Galesburg, IL
15 answers

My son is having allot of trouble in school staying focused and on task. He has just recently been diagnosed with ADD. He starting taking medicine and now he is getting his work done. The teachers still continue to give him color changes everyday for not paying attention and not following directions. When my son gets color changes he feels bad. He states to me he gives up I think the teacher has made up her mind she just doesn't like me. He also complained if he gets so many color changes he has to go to the bad room on Fridays and all the other kids get to watch a movie. he hates school and he dreads Fridays. I tell the teachers getting the color changes are very ineffective and ask is there any other things we can do to help him? I asked,"How about positive reinforcement?" These teachers seem like they are to busy to help him. To do a different system to much work maybe. I tried to contact the school principal but she is not in today. My son is very quiet and to him self and will occupy his time fiddle with whatever he can and not do his work. I don't know how I can help him at school.
any suggestions?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Well I had a big meeting with his school after talking with the principal. Got hold of a local advocate and got some great advice. Looked up a bunch of info on the Chadd site and other sites. My son got his medicine increased. The meeting at the school was great all of the first grade teachers, principle, guidance counselor and special education teacher were there. I let them know that I wanted to have him tested for learning disabilities and to get him a IEP/504. They told me that my son at this time should not be tested that they are going with different approach now. They do this RTI program and as long as my son is progressing up the blocks then he is doing great but if he falls back then they would look into testing him. I'm fine with this as long as he is doing well.
His teacher also states that she will do a positive reinforcement plan with him. So now ever since the meeting he has not had not one color change, he feels happy to be at school and teachers are beginning to see improvement in his academics. Thanks to everyone advice I have learned so much about ADD and learning that it is a problem and you can get help if you ask questions.
I know I still have allot to learn for my son's sake. Thanks everyone so helpful D. Krebs

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

Wow!!! I think that is the wrong approach for them to take. I certainly would be having a sit down conversation with the teacher to come up with a win win situation. If they know he has ADD then they should be helping him and exhibiting a little more patience since you are addressing it. Sending him to the bad room is not going to help and make it worse. Now truly if the color changes are a result fo disobedience and disruption that's different but it sounds like he is a target. Time to meet with the teacher so there is positive reinforcement vs punishment.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Columbus on

Has he had a school based evaluation? I would suggest that you request one, and either get him an IEP with a behavior plan that requires positive interventions, or a 504 plan that includes accomodations for his behavior that is positvie. Both could be accomplished.

First, what kind of private evaluation do you have? Has he had a Neuropshychological Evaluation (that you own) and does he see a Board Certified Child psychiatrist for treatment? If not, I would consider getting both asap. He should be in some kind of theraputic intervention too, not just medication. Cognative behavioral therapy, social skills classes, OT or speech (if he has these issues) and behavioral interventions at school and home will work very well with mediction. A pill alone is not the answer, it is a tool to help him access all the other interventions he needs to learn to control impulses, activity, organizational and attentional skills so that he is functioning to his highest potential.

I would suggest a few resources for you. Get on line, contact CHADD, see if there is a group in your area. Subscribe to Additudes magizine. Go to he library and check out anything by Dr. Russel Barkely or Dr. Mel Levine, they have great books about ADHD and the medical and theraputic interventions, and also give great strategies to help you. is your bible for navigating the school system, start reading about advocacy, and start with "Understanding Tests and Measurements for Parents and Advocates" to understand your evaluation data, and if you read this, and find that you do not have any of the evaluations that they are talking about, get them! You will need both private, and school based evaluations. You never want to know less about your son than the school does. You should always write to the school and personel, instead of talking to them. Anything they say is worth the paper it is printed on, so start emailing and writing letters with your requests for evaluations and plans, if you talk, they can ignore you, and if you write, they can't. If you do have a converstation, always follow up with an email that sums up the conversation, then says "please correct me in writing within ten school days if I do not represent our convestation correctly..." or something to that effect. You want to document everything in writing and keep a copy.

Good luck. If you find that you are feeling overwhemed at school, contact an educational advocate in your area. You can find them on the wrightslaw site on their yellow pages for Illinois.


Love the blind medication trial idea! Never heard of that one, what a great idea. Just a couple of details to clarify. Having qualifying disablity does not mean that children will get special education services automatically. They must also have an educational need for special education, it is a two pronged test. However, children who do not have a need for special education, can have a 504 plan, and that can be applied to behaivor. My guess is, behavior issues should be enough to qualify a child with ADHD for an IEP and a BIP (behavior improvement plan.) Also, if a child is admitted to special education and is given an IEP or a BIP, it is true that the plan expieres after one year; however, the school has the obligation to hold a meeting prior to the exiriation and make a decision that the child continues to qualify, or no longer qualifies for services. The child must be dismissed from special education in a meeting that includes the childs parents and the whole team, based on evaluation data and progress reports. That is the goal of special education, to eventually dismiss the student, and then...nobody ever knows that the child was ever in special education to begin with.

One more detail that is important. While the Conners is a good tool, it is not all that a child needs for a diagnosis. It troubles me that so many kids are giving a Conners in the pediatricians office, and a prescription and nothing else. This is just not the way it should be done. Jeannie's description of the process is exactly what these kids need to be sure that they are not just diagnosed well, but that all the aspects of their theraputic needs are spelled out with data in oodles and oodles of standardized tests in a multifactored evaluation.

That is one reason why I post on keep putting out this message again, and again...telling parents to get multifactoral, full, comprehensive, exhaustive evaluation data about their child and thier child's functioning and processing skills when ever they suspect that something is going on with their neurodevelopment. Understand the test data (; "Understanding Tests and Measurments for Parents and Advocats" article) is a place to start so that you can learn what your child needs, and how to advocate. MR

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

The teacher should not be making your son feel bad.

I have ADD, but did not know till I was in highschool, because the teachers at that time had to give the go ahead to be tested for it and they just thought I was LAZY. Yup that made me hate school, but loved making friends school (the main reason I went to school, that and art).

Anyway this NEEDS to be brought up to the teacher, if she doe snot care go to the next level and tell them. Also if there is more then one classroom per grade maybe ask to switch your child, or go to another school.

Be up front that these are your son's feelings. Let any teacher know what has worked and what seems to not work, that way they know what to try or not try. If you feel the teacher dose not want to deal with it then it needs to be brought out to the principal. Of course the teacher is not perfect but they should want to get the best out of every child and should know that not everything works for every child so willing to listen and try something different.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I think the teacher should be made very aware of how hopeless and helpless your son feels.
No teacher should be "too busy" to help a child.
This almost seems like teacher-bullying to me.
I'm sorry--I'm sure it's hard.
I would talk to the teacher again right away. And keep trying to get the principal!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Ditto Martha R's comments. I would add, too, that if he's still having trouble at school, the medication isn't quite right. Either the dosage is too low or it's not the right fit for him. I would let your son's doctor know the situation at school so appropriate adjustments can be made. In our son's case, when the medication is just right, he's on task at school and receives positive reports from his teacher both behaviorally and academically.

ETA: I think anyone dealing with ADHD has reached their wit's end at some point, so you're not alone. There's a great quote from Howie Mandel that if ADHD is a gift, he wants to return it!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

my step son has add and i dont know why but he was told to draw lines repeatedly to learn to focus he says it help. also sodukus help him. and he does some really long form of division i dont know how he does it but one problem takes up a whole page to learn to focus. something to check into. he says it works but i dont understand it but as long as it works i will buy him soduku puzzles all day and blank notebooks he has to do what works for him

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We had to try different meds before we found one that works. My son is now on task his with his school work but still has the same personality.

If he doesn't have one already I suggest you have him evaluated to see if he meets the criteria for an iep or look into a 504.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

Ah elementary and ADD a song I know well. We have issue with numbers every number you get sent home is the number of the rule you broke 1-4 my son would come home with between 2 and 6 numbers every day. I dont know if this will work with your boy but I had tried everything so I had this talk with him.
I told him to try for less numbers then no numbers, I know this is not going to be easy but I want you to prove to your teacher what I know you can do. I know you are smarter and stronger than this all you have to do is show them. For every good day there is rewards- you get to play after school- for bad days there are consequences- no playing after school- but we wont have to worry about that because I KNOW you can do it.
I give him a version of this pep talk every morning at breakfast and his OMEGA3 vitamin.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with all those who had questions about how your son was diagnosed. My son was diagnosed w/ADHD this past year, after almost a full year of the most thorough evaluation I have ever seen: piles of forms for us and his teachers; psychological testing (including IQ, etc); auditory and opthamology evals; and a full occupational therapy eval. In the end, we felt really confident in the diagnosis. We also did a three-week "blind trial" of stimulant meds - one week placebo, one week high-dose, one week low-dose - and we nor his teacher nor his doctor knew what he was on when (only the pharmacist knew.) We all evaluated him at the end of every week (more forms) - and it was completely clear both that meds helped him and which dose was appropriate. We've also found occupational therapy to be really useful - he's learning how his body works and what it needs, and developing tools that give his body what it needs in appropriate ways. He's doing really well now - still boisterous and enthusiastic and physical and joyful and warm and friendly, but able to complete tasks - homework, schoolwork, tidying his room, etc - and any behavior issues at school have all but disappeared.

If your diagnosis was only through your pediatrician, I suggest you contact OSF St. Mary's for a psychological eval (it looks like they have a behavioral health dept) - or just go to Children's in Peoria. (I went to Knox college many years ago, so I'm sort of familiar with your area.)

I would also suggest that if he's still have behavior issues, you might want to try a different med or a different dose.

I also second everyone who has suggested that you initiate an IEP (Individual Education Plan) or a 504. With this diagnosis, your son qualifies for "special ed" services, and the school is required by law to make "reasonable accommodations" for him. If you can't get in touch with the principal, call your district's special ed office. They will be able to guide you through the process. I understand if you feel hesitant to label him for the school, but an IEP is only good for a school year, it doesn't follow him into his next year of school, so if you get him on a good track this year, teachers he has later won't ever need to know.

We have also found our chapter of CHADD to be really useful.

Best of luck to you - there are resources available to you, you are not alone, and your son will find his way in the world - not to change who he is, but to help the person that he is be successful in the world.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

big hugs!!! we had this problem last year with a teacher.. and I went to our peditrican..and she helped us find a school and teacher that was a powsitive place for my DD.. we switched schools best thing we ever did.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I am an educator-trainer, which means I work with teachers and schools to try to improve the way teachers work with kids.

Please read "Boys Adrift" by Dr. Leonard Sax. Read it cover to cover. A lot of boys are being diagnosed with ADD when really its the school's SYSTEM that doesn't work.

I love teachers, but many truly are are too busy to help. Others are overwhelmed and unwilling to keep up with the research on ADD.

The problem with ADD meds in developing brains is that the meds hinder development of the part of the brain that deals with motivation. Long-term studies are finally emerging: Kids who take ADD meds in childhood often become strong contenders for the "Failure to Launch" syndrome when they reach adulthood.

Here's a short book review:

There are cases when kids really do need the meds, but I would get 2nd and 3rd opinions. But true cases should be rare! Make sure the physician is rating your child with the "Connors Scale" and none other. Meds are serious and have long-term effects.

The poster who advised you to find an educational advocate is spot-on.



answers from Madison on

Have you thought about trying to spend a few hours a week to volunteer with your son's class? Perhaps being involved for a bit would allow you to see how your son and the teacher interact.



answers from Appleton on

Has he been tested for other learning disabilities? He may be dsylexic it doesn't always show up in reading. My son and I are dyslexic in math, spelling and directions (go left instead of right), my daughter is a more typical dyslexic. If he can't process the information he will get bored and seem to be unfocused. He is probably very smart but can't process the info coming in to his brain so he acts out. If he is ADD watch his diet, make sure he doesn't get any MSG and see if his behavior changes.
I have a friend who is a Vet and she says ADD has become the discription of little boy.



answers from Milwaukee on

With your son having ADD and what are considered behavior issues in school. He should be able to qualify for an IEP. Once that is put n place his teachers would have to abide by it. The process does take a while. The best thing I can say is keep pushing the teachers to do what you believe your son needs. You are his advocate. Godd luck,



answers from Minneapolis on

The only other answer I didn't see here, was to try homeschooling him for a year. Get things on track with his meds and then see if he wants to go back or continue homeschooling. He will get one on one attention and no color changes to make him feel bad. There are some really great curriculums out there and then get involved with a homeschool co-op for some socialization time and to see how he does in a school room setting, but on a much smaller scale.
If you want any more info on how to get started please feel free to email me, I 'd be happy to help you.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions