Need Advice on How to Deal with a School District!

Updated on February 05, 2008
E.N. asks from Dexter, NY
44 answers

My son's school is trying to force me to medicate him for ADHD. They are upset with me because I went outside their district and had an independent evaluation done. It came back that he was gifted in the asspect that some of his developmental/educational levels were of 5th to 6th graders versus his current grade (2). It was also found that he has MILD ADHD and the doc suggested we not medicate him because it is not affecting his daily life. The school has refused to accept the doc eval and wants to do their own. In short he has been pegged since pre-k and because i don't do everything they ask of me he is a labeled child. He is having reading problems...well in my opinion it's not a problem but an obstical. He can read but because he doesn't read how he talks they knock him down. They have pushed him to slow down and sound out words and now that he has they told him he needs to speed up! They need to make up their mind! There has been talk among teachers that there must be something wrong with him because he only weighed 1 lb 6 oz at birth. I have a girlfriend who has taught at the school for the last 5 years and she has overherd plenty of conversations regarding him and I. i am at the point of loosing control and telling them exactly what I think.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions on how to handle this nightmare? I have a meeting in the morning with the teacher and whatever school personnel she feels she needs present to help strong arm me. This has been a battle since day 1 and it needs to end! Help me Moms!!!

Your Mom In Need, E.

2 moms found this helpful

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A.J.

answers from Rochester on

E.,
I went through the same thing with Gates-Chili and they ended up putting my son in a 15 to 1 class. This putting him behind. When I got him retested it was not his ability to do it more so that he was smart enough and hated the teacher that I admit was hard to deal with. She had signaled him out and that was that. In the longer here is what happened I had to have be tested and retested and mainstreamed back in to a regular class this causing him to be 2 years behind (please understand that hte first 5 years of school are the foundation). Finally I had to put him in a catholic school and normally when one comes from public they fail the first year. He passed and they are helping to catch up on what he has missed. DO NOT LET ANYBODY BULLY YOU!!! Hope this helps :) A.

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P.M.

answers from Binghamton on

Hi when my son was little and first started school the school was trying to do the samething to me.The school kept telling me they wanted him tested for ADHD but i told the school no because they were full og it.My son was a preemie too when he was born he weighed 2LBS 14 ounces.The school is still tryiny to get him tested but the drs say that he doesnt have it.I wouldnt worry to much about it they cant force you and if they tell you they wont let him contuine to come to there school i will keep fighting.I think its the teachers now adays.Good luck

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B.D.

answers from New London on

I just wanted to say that I know what you're going through...I'm dealing with the same issue right now, but unlike your son's school, my son's school ignored my requests all last year to test him for various learning issues. It came out at my last teacher conference that my son's teacher this year has raised some concerns. I meet with her on a weekly basis and here they have an "intervention" group, made up of other teachers, aids, ect in the school. They monitor my child in class, see how the teacher is teaching and are working with us on a plan to address his learning issues. My son's teacher doesn't want to go the medication route with him as of yet. I say hold your ground, you were right in doing with you did...that is YOUR child NOT theirs. You have the final say on what you do or don't do with them. See if they have resource programs available for him. Worst case, you said that he's on a 5th/6th grade level, maybe they could advance him a grade if needed?

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L.C.

answers from New York on

Hi E....I have never been in a situation like this but I just wanted to send you some support and comend you on how strong you've been.This is your son and no one has the right to tell you what to do in this situation.I hope that its possible for you to switch him to another school that would be more understanding. I wish you all the best :)

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N.J.

answers from Buffalo on

HI E.,
I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a problem with his school! you are doing the right thing you got your own eval. and are sticking to your gut! you need to be strong and do what your doing. when you do go in and talk to them you should tell them what you think there job is to help not hinder your sons success and the the worst thing you could do is medicate him for the sake of making someone elses JOB easier. you have a long fight ahead of you but you can handle it stay strong and dont let them bully you. You are his mom and you know what is right. Good luck I hope everything settles down. He is lucky to have you.

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M.G.

answers from Elmira on

I HAVE A CHILD WITH DEVEOPMENTAL PROBLEMS..ADHD /ADD WERE ISSUES DURING HIS SCHOOL YEARS...HE IS NOW 19YRS. OLD I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING THRU. I WOULD GO AHEAD AND HAVE THE MEETING...ASK TO HAVE THE SCHOOL PSHYCOLOGIST EVALUATE HIM. YOU SHOULD ASK THAT YOU MEET WITH THE COMMITTEE ON SPECIAL EDUCATION SO THAT YOU CAN LINK INTO THE RIGHT PROCESS . ALL SCHOOLS HAVE THIS COMMIITEE. I WOULD ALSO HAVE YOUR SON SEEN BY HIS DOCTOR AND YOU DISCUSS THIS. HE WILL BE ABLE TO DIRECT YOU IN WHAT TO DO ..HOPEFULLY.MY SON WAS ON AND OFF MEDICATION FOR ADD ,IT HELPED AT TIMES BUT EVENTUALLY AFTER GETTING THE ISSUES TAKEN CARE OF HE EVENTUALLY DID NOT NEED IT. YES IT IS A TOUCHING THING. TEACHERS TEND TO THINK THIS MIGHT BE THE ANSWER TO MEDICATE...BUT OFTEN SOME JUST TAKING CARE OF SOME BEHAVIORAL ISSUES IS ALL THAT IS NEEDED. I WOULD DEFINITELY GET THE SCHOOL PSYHCHOLOGIST INVOLEVED.THERE ARE COUNSELORS OUT THERE TO HELP HIM IF NEEDED...BUT YOU NEED TO HAVE A PROFESSIONAL TO DIAGNOSE THE PROBLEM FIRST. ALSO I HAVE FOUND OUT TO ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCT. AFTER ALL YOU KNOW YOUR SON THE BEST.GOOD LUCK AND I HOPE THIS HELPS YOU SOME. M.

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K.J.

answers from Rochester on

i am sorry that this is happening to you. I would heed the advise of the other resonders - and contact a lawyer. I wish i could be of more help - but it took moving school districts to get my daughter in a good place at school. Her previous school kind of pegged her at not being "smart" and she would "act babyish". Her teacher kept teling me it was an attention problem and wanted her evuladed.. which i was ok with (can the evual. doesn't mean you have to do what they recommend). We moved and just before the end of their first quarter at school contacted them about doing an evual. - and after meeting with her teacher, the room assistant and her reading teacher and school pysch - found it it really wasnt needed and that her prevoius school and teacher were biais against her - even if only subconsciencely. I dont know if moving your son to another school would be a viable option - but ti did help my daughter shed this misconceptions about her that the school had from K through pre-first and first grade.

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K.G.

answers from New York on

Do not let the school district tell you to put your son on medication, just so their job can be easier. My nephew has ADHD since he was a child he is now 21 years old. He was put on medication at a young age because at that time his parents were told that's the right thing to do. I'll be the first one to say that I saw a big change in him, that to me was not normal. He was very with drawn to the point that he wasn't really interacting with others. My brother and Sister inlaw changed his medication numerous times and he stil was practically the same. My point is Medication is the easy way out to deal with this problem. My brother decided to take him off all medication and fight the school district he won. What he did was joined him in Karate and explained to the teacher his problem. Karate teaches them self discipline which worked. Today I speak to my nephew about alot of stuff. And the thing he remembers most was hating the medication he says he felt depressed all the time. Today my nephew learned to control himself he went from having problems in school to going to college and getting A's. My point is my son is slightly diagnosed with ADHD he is 9 years old I joined him in a sport that shows him discipline he has been doing great in the control area. The teacher said that what ever i'm doing keep it up. Not always medication is the answer to everything stick to your guns and do what your gut tells you. As long as you have your doctor to back you up don't let them win. To many schools today want to medicate the children just so they don't have to deal with them. Remember your his mother not them you do whats right for you child don't let people who have no medical experience tell you to medicate your child. Good Luck I hope everything works out for you.

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V.H.

answers from Albany on

The school has no legal right to demand you medicate your child. Check out Wrightslaw.com for information on special education laws and your rights as a parent.

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E.A.

answers from Elmira on

Well in my experince with the my kids school i went in there with what i thought about my kids education and i told them if they can't except it and kept fighting me i would go over there heads as high as i could i would go to the media if i had to. And i would transfer them to another school just stick to ure guns they can't make u medicate ure kid if ure doctor says he don't need it than don't give it to him.tell them if they can't treat ure kid like a decit person the next time ure told they are making comments or make it difficult u'll sue everyone of them they usually back off and do there jobs. two years in the school my daughter was going to i had problems with the teachers i told them how it was and now i no prob at all. sincerly liz i hope i helped

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L.Q.

answers from New York on

Hi E.,
I know what you are going through. You need to request an evaluation for Special Ed. I am not saying this because of the ADD. Let the school district have him evaluated. It won't cost anything. When they are through with all of the evals you will then sit fown for a meeting with the teacher and the special ed director.You need to ask for a Parent Representative to attend also. They are volunteer parents from the district that can help you decide and give their expert advise. They also know what to ask when you don't and will help you. At that meeting you can LEGALLY bring your Dr.or anyone else for representation. Most districts will not accept an outside eval. They will take it into consideration and keep it on file.Having these evals done won't hurt and if you choose not to have him Classified they have to follow your wishes. Classification actually may help him in the future. It gives an allowance for extra time and help when he needs it and federally mandates that the district provide whether it be in a different school at their cost or at the regular school. In my opinion it will protect him. I have 2 sons that are Classified and 1 that attends a specialized school. He is also still young. The teacher may see things in the classroom setting that you may not. The Psychologist should give both you and your teacher a questionaire to fill out about his actions and learning level. Once that is done the Psychologist will review and give his/her opinion but remeber it is only an opinion and he is your child.Don't panic and don't take it personally either. The conversations that your friend is hearing may also be taken out of context and it is possible although not likely that she may be jumping to the wrong conclusions. I hope this helps. Let me know what happens or if you need any other information.
L.

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K.E.

answers from New York on

E.,

I found out about fiengold.org. It is a website regarding foods we are all eating and the ingredients used in them.

I tried the diet and there is definitely less hyperactivity. If I keep him on a basically additive-free diet for the most part, he can have foods with additives and colorings occasionally without reaction. It's when he has additives every day that he becomes "wild", as they build up faster than his body can process them.

ALSO, School systems exercise a style of teaching that is not beneficial to boys. It has been proven that boys need more physical activity to turn on the learning part of their brains. Boys are more hands-on and tactile than girls and without the learning part of their brains turned on, they get bored and their bodies start moving. It is harder for some boys to control this movement. These boys tend to have a higher IQ than average. I have found that while my son is playing around and seems to not be listening, he is still hearing and learning.

It is easier and cheaper for school systems to control these boys via medication rather than adopting creative teaching programs that work for both genders.

After being kicked out of a Catholic Prek last year, my son goes to public Kindergarten this year, I'm a little worried about it, but hopeful since it is only 2 1/2 hrs. I will not let him be medicated...I will homeschool before that happens.

ALSO, I want to note that he has continued to outgrow alot of the spontaneous behavior. I have talked to other mothers with the same experiences and coincidently, they were all boys.

Please Let us know what happens. K.

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E.S.

answers from Buffalo on

E.,
I was a teacher for 10 years before becoming a SAHM. I have seen it all...good and bad sides of parents and teachers when it comes to dealing with children who learn differently. I want to first praise you for being an involved parent. Good job getting a doctors opinion. Now it is time to work WITH the school to make your child as successful as possible. Make them test him. They have to if you have concerns. If those results are shady...dothem again! I would also suggest taking your son to a program outside of the school...in TX we had Sylvan and Kumon. These programs can also evaluate and pull out your childs strengths and weaknesses. Another learning facility may be able to see what your son needs as they are out of the loop. They are a neutal third party.
As for the school, you heard many times that they CAN NOT tell you to medicate you child. That is against the law,. They can suggest that you take your child to a doctor, which you did. Now it is their job to test, and evaluate with the proper sources. If not happy with he meetig today...go higher up. You pay school taxes and EVERY child has a right to a PROPER education.
As for your son. Encourage him to shine, make reward charts and things so you can reward his strengths and overcoming those weaknesses. This is a perfect lesson on how he can overcome what people say and do. You are his biggest cheerleader. Make him realizee that even with some difficulies, HE can do it!
Good luck girl!

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S.F.

answers from Rochester on

Erika,
Hold strong. It seems to me that they should change the way they are teaching rather than medicate your kid, especially if you feel strongly against it. I can tell you that I have seen much improvement of ADHD symptoms through holistic diet. Eliminate artificial sugars like high fructose corn syrup and avoid all food dyes and colorings. Replace proccessed foods like deli meats and frozen stuff with whole foods like fruit and you may se an improvememnt in his performance.
You are smart for getting an outside opinion and if they don't like it then they are being kinda wierd. Seems they should encourage you to look into his care like that!
Don't drug your baby. You know what is right for him. You're him Mamma! Good luck

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J.H.

answers from Binghamton on

If it were me, I would either tell them what I think and bring the outside dr into the school to speak with them directly or still tell them what's on your mind and take your kid the heck out of that school and put him in a different one. It shouldn't matter what your son weighed at birth or what they think of you. It should matter that you did get a professional involved. It's not there child, he's yours. I say tell them what you think, but have someone to back you up when you go in. And if you still don't like what they have to say, If it were me I would take him right out of that school.I hope I helped.

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K.

answers from Burlington on

Hi E.,

I have not dealt with a school labeling my child ADHD but I have plenty experience with the public school system.

My first response is It's not your child's fault the system has a problem. I'd like to diagnose the public education system. It's full of good hearted people, the system is flawed. I'd recommend you read John Taylor Gatto's books; Dumbing Us Down and The Undergound History of American Education. John is a retired teacher of some 20 years or so in that system. He is informed.

Secondly, I have read many resources on the effects food allergies in children labeled with learning disablities. Once the food allergy is found and avoided the child's behaviour changes dramatically. Your not alone in this keep looking for support that is non prescription intensive. I have some books I could recommend but I don't have them in front of me I can forward those later if you like.

Thirdly, I have a friend who resorted to home schooling because the public school could not meet his needs. She has more peace of mind and the cild is learning at his own pace and they can focus more time in the areas he enjoys.

What's wrong with my child should become what's wrong with my child's school system?

Hang in there and let me know how things work out.

K.

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P.M.

answers from Albany on

Hey I was one of those people who faught the school as much as I could and then they started calling social services on me stating I was not getting the medical care he needed even though the doctors said he did not need medication at that time. Well several years later and his behaviors escalating we decided to homeschool him after he went threw several schools including special needs schools that could not handle him . A little side note to you this is my nine year old son who we have had since he was 14 months old. He is my biological sisters son who has nothing to do with him and she has mental problems along with a bio dad that sees him every two weeks for the weekend who suffers from several mental problems . I decided to home school my son after the doctor finally gave in to medicating him ( I am not saying he does not need to be medicated but I just wanted them to diagnose him properly first) , the last special needs school he was in resorted to calling the police everytime he did something wrong. Let me tell you he had several teachers in that class room and they let him not only break one window but three over a very short time the last with him cutting himself and other very severe out bursts that put staff and the other 3 kids in his room in danger ( or so they say) , we have had him out since just before Christmas as soon as they heard we wanted to home school him the calls to Social Services started up again and then that was it we just pulled him out faster. Well lets see it has been about a month now with us homeschooling and he is a much happier boy even the doctor saw the difference right away. His medications have stayed the same now and will not change until the doctors deem it the time to do it. I guess what I am saying is that the schools are not always right I have so many things I could tell you about what we went through and all the mental damage that they caused my son that he should not have had to go through that it would make you sick. Take caution and know that you know your child more then anyone and stand behind your child every day no matter what they do.

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C.A.

answers from New York on

WOW Erika that is horrible. I would bring it to the head of the board of your school district. Maybe they can handle this better then the school is doing. I don't see why you have to have him tested again by them. I also would not medicate your son if your Dr. said NO, sometimes they just want to make there job easier. I think sometimes they medicate to fast.

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A.P.

answers from New York on

Hi E.

I have some words for that school. Deal with it. I say take it to the Board of Eduation. How dare they say they can't take the note your doctor gave them. Take him out of that school and put him in a school that will help him not knock him down. This makes me mad. Because if your child was sick and not able to come back to school unless he has a doc notes that they need so he can come back to school. What you are doing is getting a second opinion. You can sue for that. How dare they label your child like that. I'm upset for you. When you go for this meeting bring all the papers the doc gave you when they eval him. If you are not happy with what they say you have the right as a parent to take it to the board of Ed. I hope this works. Good luck

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M.G.

answers from New York on

They cannot make you do anything you dont agree on. You must sign giving them permission. I am a school teacher in brooklyn and have had children diagnosed with adhd. I cannot diagnose it because I am not allowed since I am not a doctor. It is also illegal for teachers or administrators to allow your child to overhear conversations about her especially if they are negative. Does your child have an IEP? I would try to get one so she could move t her own speed instead of one size fits all speed. Good luck.

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J.L.

answers from New York on

Hi Erika --
If you are in CT it is against the law for schools to discuss bring up or even hint as to nedicate a child. They are not medical doctors and I would contact a lawyer. I would request a PPT where I would have my expert come or their rep and I would pay for the attorney to be there. There are also paid advocates out there (and depending on where you live) state agency for parents who need advocates in the school system.

I would not put up with this. If you doctor has recomended that you not medicate then don't medicate. The school will have to provide services for you child no matter what your choice is.

If you cannot aford an attorney (it is a little costly, but usually they only have ot come once before the school wqill fall into line) contact your local representative and ask for help, call the agency in that oversees education in the state and complain. What they are doing is wrong, and just might be illigal.
J.

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R.K.

answers from New York on

I also feel very sorry for the situation you are in. I feel that very few people in the world need medication in order to live a wonderful life.

I am also a teacher, and contrary to apparently popular belief, a classroom full or drugged up children does not "make our life easier" I suggest you follow through with letting the school test your son, it can only add more fuel to your case. If the doctor you went to found such potential, any school testing should support that. If it doesn't I would also suggest looking into another district because they must be working with a fixed system.

Do not let them classify him if you feel he is doing well at grade level. They can not force you to, unless you sign on, there is nothing they can do. I always tell my parents, even if you won't have him classified, just do the testing. The IQ and other tests are very insightful to you as a parent, and also free. I feel very strongly that each student needs their own individual education plan, and I hope that if this school fails you, you will be able to find a school that can give this to your son.

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M.J.

answers from New York on

Well I am new to this area, but I think the answer would be universal in any school district. He is YOUR child. They cannot refuse to educate him because they disagree with your doctor. As long as you have the evaluation that you recieved in writing, I would make sure that the school has a copy. Be sure to have the school counselor and principle at your meeting tomorrow if at all possible. I don't know if the school districts here offer gifted and talented classes, but ask about those. Or simply ask your son's teacher if she could provide him with some more challenging class work to keep him occupied while he is in class and expected to behave within class rules. I dealt with this with my now 11 year old. I was in constant contact with her teachers from Kindergarted on.. Ideas from me always helped with "circle time" or "reading time", such as having her sit BEHIND the other children in class so that she wouldn't be so distracted, or by sitting next to the teacher as a "helper".

I hope this helps. You know your son best and know what is best for him. Point out the inconsistancies from his teacher TO her, for example the confusion on how "fast" or slow he is supposed to be reading. Everyone learns at a different pace and it is unfair and unethical of any teacher to label any child for any reason, especially just because that child doesn't fit into what she may think is "normal".

God Bless

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M.R.

answers from Albany on

No one knows better than MOM! Stick to your guns!!

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J.B.

answers from Utica on

I agree with Lisa Q. Go to the special education office in the school district (Ours is located in the High school) and tell them your situation. They are a part of the school district but represent a different side to it. I wouldn't allow the school to tell me to medicate my child either. I am fighting that sord of thing now. I love my Son's teacher and she has been a great ali and advocate for my son but she still brings up that he "may" need to be medicated to "just take the edge off" also. I am going to stay open minded about this but a Dr. will have to tell me that this will be the best thing for him. You already have a Dr.saying no this isn't the best thing for your son. Your son isn't being challenged enough since he is on a higher grade lever mentally. He could be plain bored. I agree to let them do their evaluation. Mine was done through the ARC- Area Resource Center which helps all differently abled people and the people there was great. The school excepted that evaluation just fine. My son had a psychological evaluation which then lead to a OT and Speech evaluation. It is a shame that the teachers and staff are treating you and your son this way. If you have to I would go to the Board of Education. As a parent you just have to do all that you can do. I have taken my son for eye, hearing and orthopedic evaluations with Dr.'s. All came back that he is fine. Now I am taking my son to a psychologist to get an actual Diagnosis to give my son the help he needs. You are your son's best advocate. I agree that when you have what is called an CSE meeting then ask for the PArent Rep to be there. They will help guide you if you ask for help. I was asked to be one of those parents if needed because I have been through two of these meetings now and will have to go through another in MArch. My son will be going into K next year and I have no clue what will happen once he is in the school district. Right now he is in a program ran by the BOCES and isn't offically a part of the School itself. Just the program is located in our Elementary school which is the same school he will be in K. The Principal Mr. Rich is great and he knows how to handle the kids that need special help and attention. I wish you luck today. Please let us know how it goes. If you ever want to talk then e-mail me at [email protected]____.com. I can more or less know how you are feeling. I am here to lend you support. This is why I started a group on Myspace just for this reason. For parents that don;t have the support or understanding of what it is like to have a child with a different ability than others their age. Keep strong.

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N.M.

answers from Rochester on

i'm sorry, but you need to move him out of the school district. Something isn't right here, and it's not your son. And it's none of the schools business whether you medicate him or not. it's not their decision. And it's kind of funny that your school won't except the doctor's evaluation that you had done, most schools want you to have your child seen but someone other than a school official to see if there is something wrong. get the names of all the teacher and school counselor's and whoever, and if you can file some kind of report stating that they're not acting in your childs best interest, then do it! I'm sorry your going through this and i'm dreading the day that my son starts school just for the fact that i don't feel anyone can tell me how to raise my son or anything along that line. I wish i could afford a private school, becuz if i could, that's where he'd be. Public schools aren't what they used to be. And hopefully you'll resolve this. And don't doubt yourself. be strong, becuz they can sense that. Good luck.... :)

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M.B.

answers from New York on

I can't even imagine your frustration! My advice would be to listen to what the teachers have to say and explain where you stand without being defensive. All everyone wants is for your child to succeed and you will have to work together to find the right plan for that to happen. Ask if you can visit the classroom and observe the behaviors they are seeing. As mad as you are, remember you need to work together to solve the problem. :)

Good luck.
M.

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E.F.

answers from New York on

my suggestion is contact a lawyer asap. they CANNOT FORCE YOU TO EVALUATE OR MEDICATE YOUR CHILD. And you had it done by a licensed doctor, so who are they to refuse to acknowledge it? I would start keeping a log of every single thing they say to you, every phone call, every note home. advise them that you are seeking legal councel on this matter, and that they are not going to push you into a corner. If your son's current teacher will not help him, i would look into getting his teacher switched, and not into the slow class either. go to your meeting tomorrow, and let them know what you plan to do. Then come home and start calling lawyers (unless the meeting is later on, then call the lawyers first) I don't know your financial situation, but you should be able to find a lawyer who will wave the consultation fee for you, and who will not get paid unless you collect damages. It sounds to me like you have a pretty strong case here, and I would not take their harassment sitting down. good luck.

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L.P.

answers from Hartford on

I have seen schools strong arm parents into medicating children way too often. I understand that a classroom full of druged up children makes the teachers job much easier, but it isn't what is good for the teachers that we should be concerning ourselves with here. I agree that you should bring the doctor who did the evalutaion into the meetings with you and you should also contact an attorney. It sounds to me like the school district may be gearing up for a full fledged offensive against you and your family. Be ready, have your attorney available by phone for the next meeting. Stand your ground, tell them what you think and why. Support your claims with facts and documentation. Make sure that every shredd of paper you give them goes into the file and stays there. If need be, leave the meeting. Tell them you will have your attorney contact them so that you can all get together to discuss what will happen next.

As far as what you should do overall to help your son, I say pull him out of school all together. Homeschool him. You are interested in his educations and have the support system that you'd need to encourage his strengths and improve his weaknesses. Then later (maybe in a few years), if he wants and you feel it is appropriate, you can send him back to traditional school knowing that he has the skills he needs to be sucessful.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do!

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A.Q.

answers from Hartford on

Good for you. Stick to your guns!!! Too many teachers want to put children on meds because they don't know how to teach children. But I also believe that classrooms are over crowded and the teachers can not handle their classrooms. Don't put him on meds. Listen to your doctor. Tell them that your outside opinion is just fine, there is no oneed to do in-school evaluation. I mean we all know what they are going to say. But have you ever thought about homeschooling???? Is it an option? Not that you should have too, but maybe it would be best for your son. And how unprofessional of those teachers running their mouths. They should be ashamed of themselves!!! Just know that you are doing what is best for your child and that is all that matters. Don't give in to the school district!

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D.L.

answers from New York on

I was a teacher before becoming a SAHM. I had many students in the 7 years I taught that had different degrees of ADHD. There were a couple that I knew could use medication, but would NEVER had said that to the parents. We did a series of evalutations and then determined the best way to help the student. I also had a student that I felt was better off the medication than on. It is hard to hear that your child has any time of problem. Keep an open mind. Really sit and think what is best for your child and then fight for it. Sometimes medication does just take the "edge" off and they are better able to sit and learn. Sometimes the medication just turns the students into zombies. I guess I don't really have advice for you, but to say that I have seem both sides and if you want to discuss it I am here. However, I don't like that a school is TELLING you to put your child on meds. Good luck, best wishes!!

D.
Kayla 15 months

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D.O.

answers from New York on

why dont you look into switching schools. You have the doctor evaluation and I beleive that zone schooling is not the same way it was. I think that you can try another school and they will except your child if there is any room after the zone kids are accepted. If not - although I dont usually advocate lying - there is always the estabilishing your address in another district method.
Whatever you do - make sure you do document everything. My son did not have ADHD - but he does have severe alergies and the school was one step away from reporting me (4th grade) to BCW even though they had been dealing with him since kindergarden. It was the documentation (and a few angry well placed words) that saved me.
D.

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L.M.

answers from New York on

Hi E.,

Just stay strong and fight for what you believe Do not let them push you around or intimidate you in anyway. I have been butting heads with my daughters school for a year now. My situation is the opposite of yours though. My daughter needed more help then they were given her I too had an independent evaluation done and they did not listen to anything the doctor had stated. My advice to you is fight fight fight and dont give up. Good luck

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K.B.

answers from New York on

First and foremost, you are his mom. Always keep that in mind because you will always do what's best for your kids. I had similar issues with my oldest son, beginning in preschool. It was strongly suggested to me that I put him in a pre-k class, instead of kindergarten because he was "immature". I refused. He continued to have issues at school, ranging from not wanting to listen, to nasty outbursts. Everytime I was called in to school, I listened to what everyone had to tell me, but when I asked questions, was basically given the brush off. I was pushed into taking him to special doctors, therapy and made to feel that I wasn't doing my part as his mother, all at my expense. I finally lost my cool at the end of second grade when I was yelled at by his teacher for "making excuses for him". For the record, as his mom, I knew what triggered some of his outbursts and was giving her examples of what might have set him off. He was never purposely violent toward anyone, but he could throw a book or pencil, that sort of thing. By no means did I accept this behavior, but really felt like I was doing everything and the school was only pointing the finger. I wrote quite the letter - TO THE SCHOOL BOARD - not the school. That got lots of action...he was tested by both doctors on the board as well as a private doctor, at the expense of the school board. He was diagnosed with ADHD, but also found that he had an IQ of 122 at age 7. He was labeled for quite some time as the "bad kid" but he wasn't bad, he was bored!!! I did put him on medication, a choice I made after much discussion with his doctor and a lot of research. He is now in 6th grade, with straight A's and has been med free for two years. I know this seems a bit drawn out but, there are medications out there that can help, but don't use it as a cure all. It won't work that way. No one can make you medicate your child. But if you do think it could help, educate yourself and know that as his parent, you can make the same decision to take him off. And by all means,MAKE THE SCHOOL WORK FOR YOU, not the other way around...

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K.B.

answers from Jamestown on

I've been dealing with a school distric for three years now, and I believe they have no clue what they are doing. My 7 year old son was diagonosed with ADHD when he was in kindergarden. Mine is the opposite of yours, he can't learn as quick as the other students.
Sounds to me like you have a little "Dougie Hauser". I think you should go with what the doctors tells you instead of what the school district tells you. Remember the doctor is the one that has the degree and not the school district. By what the school says, it sounds to me that they don't want him to exceed in what he does best. I would find a way to fight the school districs discision some how. If not, see if there is another school in the area that you live in, such as a smaller school that is capable of dealing with children that are able to learn quicker than other students. If it was me I would find another school that was capable of helping the child learn at the level he is at. I wish you good luck.

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M.L.

answers from Burlington on

Whatever you do, DO NOT BACK DOWN! It sounds as if you have things under control with him and his doctor. What is it today with teachers not wanting to teach? They all act like they want medicated little robots so things (for them) go smoother. I, personally, do not think we should have to medicate our children (unless absolutely necessary) just so they don't have to do their jobs, which is teach our children we have entrusted them with for the school day! You let them know about their "law" of No Child Left Behind and tell them to NOT leave your son behind, in any way. Also, see if they have a program for gifted or accelerated learners and if not then ask them why? Let them know you demand they do something to encourage his learning (let him sit in class with a higher grade-providing he can keep up and let him learn!) All children learn at their own pace. Good luck and Good for You for sticking up for your child!!

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E.L.

answers from Rochester on

Erika, I went thru this years a go with a few of my five kids in the Brighton school system. My general impression is that schools today have little understanding of normal behavior or tolerance (in general) for those who do not fit to what they think the <<mold>> is. They want quiet, manageable kids (especially the boys) and they really don't have tolerance to wait for late bloomers or kids with indivuality who don't seem to fit into the system so they push some kind of medication.
When I subbed as a school nurse, it was hard to understand why so many kids came in everyday for their ritalin dose. I think in all my years growing up, I knew one kid that by
todays standards was probably ADD. The rest of us had rules and regulations and discipline in the school and there were maybe 40 in a class at that time. We all learned to read and write and we went on fine with our lives. I was a rather shy child. It was not easy for me in the least. But,If we were in school today, I bet a whole bunch of that generation would have been on medications. My son who is 30 now thinks we made a big mistake getting talked into putting him on Ritalin. We never saw much difference anyway. His personality was somewhat reticient by nature and school work did not come easy to him at all. He is prone to depression but doing better, and now he is getting a master degree in cell biology. Even my pediatritian felt he needed medication. He certainly was not the hyperactive type. I have another son that was in special classes because he could not march to the drummer's tune... he says today he was lazy, nothing else. The professionals felt he has some kind of learning disorder. It cost us $500 to get him tested. The doc said he had some kind of visual interpretation problem. Hard to believe... I think my son was right and it was mind over matter when he was ready to achieve. Now he has a master degree in mechanical engineer working for GM! My youngest was on ritalin for awhile. I can't say it helped and we stopped it after awhile. He is a great upbeat kid with his own personality that maybe was too individual for the school. I see that he takes after some of our family members that may not have fit into today's world either (what that is for sure, I'm NOT sure!) A lot of it is genetic, no matter what!! My son is not much of a scholar to say the least, but definitely a late bloomer. He is 21 now and living many miles from us, but he is working and has just started college again and I think he is now ready to do the work required. He is certainly very enthusiastic, more so than in the past. So my husband and I were very frustrated with the schools and society in general which has become more and more liberal and drug oriented when it comes to controlling children. I used to not believe in home schooling. Today, I would reconsider as long as I could get help in educating the kids. My advice to you is listen to your heart. Try to be as objective as possible in analizing your own kids. Most kids in my estimation do not need medication. Most kids need better guidelines, appropriate rules and consequences for breaking rules. Appropriate awards for achievement. They need more goals to achieve and less liberal thinking by schools, politicians, etc. They are kids, not puppets on a string. They need lots of love and a warm, loving, stable environment, which of course not everyone has, unfortunately. They need to learn to be independent and make good choices so they will be productive adults. No two kids are the same. It is not easy for everyone. Some do not fit into today's competative society, but there are places for anyone to fit in if they choose to do so. If you can change schools, I would do it. I'm sorry we did not put our kids in a smaller private school from the get go. We had a lot of kids and it would have been so expensive, but it might have well been worth it. Meanwhile, the kids do grow up and hopefully coming from a loving home, they will grow in to good adults. When something good happens, like a newspaper article, about one of my kids, I do email it to the high school. I want them to know that any of their former doom and gloom preconceptions about any of my kids were just not what they would have predicted. Don't let the school ruin your life. I have friends that really had to fight for the rights they felt their kid deserved. It takes a lot of energy, however, to fight the system. Do what you think is right for your child. Be his advocate. To tell you the truth, some of the kids who do not fit into the system grow up to be better adults. I had one kid who fit in to the school...cheerleading and all that stuff. You would think I would be delighted, but I was not. She got into stuff that I did not approve of; I didn't like her friends all that much, and she was influenced by them in a way that interfered with her life as well as mine. She was a better student than all my kids. She is now 23 and did graduate college. She lives on her own, and it has taken that for her to realize how tough it is to make a go of it independently. I finally feel that she is starting to see what it takes to be responsible and mature (although she is not quite there yet!!)
My thoughts will be with you!! PS. sometimes counseling with the right person (outside the school) is worthwhile for you and/or the child.

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D.B.

answers from Binghamton on

Hold the phones the school district can't tell you what to do to your son, sorry i went throught that at my son's old school and i mean i was livid but i moved and put him in to a diffrent school district and he is happy and doing alot better. but the school needs your permission to do any thing to your son testing wise- Good Luck

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D.R.

answers from New York on

Hi E., I want to say that I am so sorry that you and your son are dealing with this, I know how frustrating and intimidating it can be to feel like you are up against the "powers that be"... that said, I must say that I am incredibly offended and saddened by the number of people who responded to you who feel that the schools are the enemy, and that teachers just want to sit around all day with a roomfull of medicated children. I am (pre-kids) a special ed teacher, and I also served on the CSE committee which is the way that kids are evaluated, and if need be classified, and all their individual plans made, etc. First of all, there is nothing "easy" about going up against a parent - nobody wants to do it, it actually usually leads to an incredible amount of work and risk that you have no idea about. Teachers work their asses off, get paid little money and even less respect, it is often a very mentally and physically exhausting job that less and less people appreciate, and people teach their kids that we are the enemy, which makes our job that much harder and depressing, and the kids get less and less out of their education. For the most part, teachers are very idealistic and do the job because they love it and they desperately want to make a difference. BUT.. there certainly are lousy, lazy, tired-been-at-it-too-long teachers out there, and administrators too. I've worked with great ones, crappy ones, and many in between. I have also seen a few kids where medication absoultely saved them. (By the way, someone wrote about food allergies having a tremendous impact on their kids performance/behavior, and I have seen that too, it was nothing short of a miracle when certain foods were omitted) But for the most part, I agree with you and most of the people here about medication. It would be an absolute last resort for me. Please realize that while your child may be performing differently than you may think in the classroom, he is still your child and YOU KNOW HIM BETTER THAN ANYONE. Do not forget that, and do not be shaken in your belief. I would absolutely not medicate him, at least not yet. And I WOULD absolutely have the district evaluate him. They are not evil-doers out to get you and your son. It can only help, it's free, and it will help your child's education whether or not you decide to give him extra services (and YOU will be the one to decide in the end, do not let them make you believe otherwise...YOU must sign off on any classification). You would not believe the number of parents who try to manipulate the system. This is why they cannot go solely on the eval of your doc. Many parents are understandably upset and defensive when it is suggested that their child may need some extra help, and they go to a friend, family member, whatever, who happens to be a doc and will write whatever they want. So it's hard for the schools to go by an outside source alone, and they shouldn't. Just like they/you shouldn't let their evaluation be the only one. You did the right thing going to your doc, and your docs eval should be an equal part of the process. And when they do the eval, ask them who does what. If there is a teacher/evaluator in particular that you think is going into it with a bias against you or your son, ask that they have someone else do it. If you aren't sure about his teacher... I have had many students where the parents tortured me but I loved their kid and did everything I could for them.... just ask your son. Don't lead him, just openly ask him if he likes his teacher and if she/he like him. He knows. And absolutely keep every sliver of paper, keep a log of all calls/communications, be organized and be cool. Be sure you get copies of the evaluations, and bring a parent advocate to the meetings. Leave the threats out of it for now, it just makes you look emotional and unreasonable. And please try to have an open mind and know that it is of the most benefit to your son to have you and the school working together. There is nothing inherently wrong in getting extra services if that is what your son truly needs, it will give him more help, more individual attention, and more people involved in him and keeping an eye on things, which might be a great thing if you're not thrilled with his regular teacher. Special ed is not the "special ed" that it used to be, it can help so much, you wouldn't believe the number of kids who get one service or another. And if he doesn't need it, the evals really should show that, and at the very least will give the parent-school team more insight into your child's needs. These evals would help EVERY kid, it's the individual attention that they would all get in a perfect world. Hope that helps, and best of luck, D.

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M.D.

answers from New York on

I have had a very similar problem with my school district. When my daughter was in 1st grade, the teacher came to me and explained that Hannah was having problems learning to read and asked if I would have her tested. I agreed thinking it was what was best for my child. Not so, All the tests were slanted towards what they wanted to find. The tests that didn't fit thier conclusion were labeled "subjective" including the psycologist eval in the classroom. We were told she had ADHD and we should take her to our doctor to discuss medication and treatment. My husband and I were blown away. Hannah was not in any way hyperactive and according to thier own psycologist eval 85% on task during class. They insisted that she had the inattentive part of the disorder and this was why she could not read. (she had no behavior problems -she just couldn't read) They also tried to strong arm me into going the medication route. I had her tested on my own and found that she had very mild ADD, a very high IQ and Dyslexia. The doctor said her ADD was too mild to require medication. What she needed was more help reading. My suggestion is -PUT IT IN WRITING. Anything you want on the record. Any kind of testing you want done. Anthing you think should be in his file. Put it in a letter and submit it, they have to put it in his file and they have to abide by it. Have the doctor write a letter stating that he feels your son doesn't need medication and submit it. Also if you can, get an advocate. They can help you be less emotional and they know your rights.
A laywer is a last resort. I ended up getting after school tutoring for my daughers dyslexia, at our own expense. She is in 5th grade now and doing great. She needs extra time on tests etc..She has an IEP for math (when she did one of the school evals she mixed up all her signs and did the complete math test wrong , so she ended up with an IEP in math-how funny is that) The school still refuses to use the word Dyslexia or provide any special reading instruction to deal with "her reading problem". But she is doing well in regular classes after her extensive one on one tutoring she received. By the way, Hannah had and has great teachers. It's the school district that I believe is the problem. They want a quick CHEAP fix to the problem. They want to label the problem. Unfortunately thier problems are our children. I am still fighting for Hannah and I will probably have to keep fighting for her until she graduates. Keep fighting for your son, your the best advocate he's got.

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L.W.

answers from New York on

go to the superintendents of school. call your doctor in on it. make the biggest stink you can think of.. AND CALL A LAWYER. THE SCHOOL ARE NOT DOCTORS AND CANNOT FORCE YOU TO DRUG YOUR KID. LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTOR AND IF YOU HAVE TO WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR EDITOR.. MAKE THEM LISTEMN

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S.C.

answers from Elmira on

I live in Elmira and have a son with ADHD and Bipolar. Last year I have ALOT of trouble with the school district. I have been able to get help now though. I made a referral for my self to Children Intergrated, and they were able to help gain alot of support and help I needed. I have also gotten involved with a groups called FingerLakes Parent Network. They have also been a great support.My E-Mail is [email protected]____.com if you'd like to contact me. Good luck!

S.

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H.P.

answers from New York on

Hi E.,

I want to start by saying that I am sorry that you are going through this. It is hard enough to be dealing with health/educational issues with your child without the school system making it more difficult.

I am a school psychologist in a Connecticut School System. If your son was a student of mine, or in the system that I work in there are many interventions that come to mind. First of all, we would complete our own evaluation. Not that we don't trust an outside doctor, but we like to gather our own information as it pertains to our curriculum and our guidelines for eligibility. Second, I as the school psych, would sit in and observe your son in class to help the teacher come up with strategies to help your son stay on task, learn more effectively and challenge where needed. I am incredibily insulted by the fact that there are teachers and schools out there that are pushing you to medicate when we live in a society that OVER medicates. Definitely stand by your beliefs with that. As far as the advice to get an attorney, I would seek out a parent advocate first if you feel that you are not being listened to. The parent advocates know the school system and what your rights are and will get the appopriate services for your son. Many times when attorneys have come to PPT meetings, they are less competent than an advocate. It will save you time and money. Also by getting an attorney and taking such an aggressive stance from the start is only going to establish a more uncomfortable relationship between you and the school which in turn will make it harder to work with each other. An advocate will speak your concerns to the school in a way that will get attention, but will also clarify to you what the school is looking for.

On a slightly different note, I am also very disappointed in some of the mothers that have responded to your request. Many of them have lumped public schools together saying that we "only want to medicate", "teachers don't want to teach anymore", and other such comments... as someone who IS a mother and a woman who works in the trenches day after day with SPECIAL needs children I CAN tell you with certainty that there are still great teachers out there and great school systems who want to do right by the student and their families.

Please feel free to contact me if you have other questions that I may be able to help you with. Good Luck.

H.

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E.B.

answers from New York on

Get in touch with the Citizen's Commission for Human Rights at ww.cchr.org. They can help you deal with this o at least recommend the best course of action - you arent' the only one, unforunately this is a comon problem in the US.

No matter what, please don't give in, you are absolutely in the right!

Best of luck,

E.

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