Problems with School

Updated on May 28, 2010
J.M. asks from Harrisburg, PA
20 answers

my 6 year old daughter is in first grade, she is ADD, has problems paying attention, and an auditory processing disorder. she does not qualify for an iep because her IQ is high average to superior. i have her in therapy. her kindergarten teacher was wonderful, her first grade teacher was not. everything this woman told me about her all year was all negative, i never herd anything positive. my daughter is a very bright sweet girl she is not a behavior problem. i went to this school when i was young and had the same problems as her and back then their anwser was to put me in the back of the room and pretend i wasn there and also label me as a behavior problem. the school has improved a little bit but they still label kids and treat certain children different than others. i would really like a teacher next year who is a little more understanding and will give me some positive feedback, and also give her positive feedback when she is doing well. the school says they have already chosen teachers for next year but could not tell me who hers is. what should i do.

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answers from Allentown on

My son was the same way and you can have an IEP you need on for both the gifted and for the ADD. It was a fight, but we did it and it was the best thing for him.I heard things like he is just lazy as he has a high IQ but if you read most people with a high IQ have some sort of learning problem but learn to cope and "hide" them as they are intellegent. Good luck.

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answers from Columbus on

The question of an IEP is related to having a disablity that qualifies (ADHD is qualified under Other Health Impairment-OHI) AND Educational need for special educatin services because of the disablity. They must have both, or they do not qualify for serivces.

I can probably give you some good advice about what to do, but you don't give enough information about her difficulty. What are the educational concerns? How does she do in her classes, does she make good grades, is she keeping up with the class, is her behavior as good at school as it is at home? Is the teacher complaining because she has to work to hard to teach your daughter and she would like for her to not need extra work from her to make progress?

IQ is not what qualifies kids, her needs are what qualifies her. Does she need special education modifications (does she need WHAT they learn changed to suit her needs.) Does she need educational accomodations? (HOW learning tasks adjusted or changed to meet her needs.) Does she need supplementary or related services like speech or OT? Does she need small group instruction or an alternative reading program (like an orton gillingham based reading program.)

For kids with minor issues that do not adversely affect her academic progress, but instead meet a lower standard and effect the learning process, she can have something called a 504 plan, which will give her some accomodation for her disablity. Extra time, word banks, no scantrons, breaking down assignments into manageble peices)

You can request another evaluation of her academic skills in reading, spelling, math, etc, and see if you can identify an educational need. Or, you can write to the school and request a 504 plan, but you need to know what it is she needs first.


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answers from San Francisco on

I also have an ADHD daughter, but she was not diagnosed until 5th grade. However, her IEP has nothing to do with her IQ/intellegence (which is average to high average) it has to do with her learning disability.
Who diagnosed your daughter? Does the school district not accept this diagnosis as a valid one? If she truly is ADD, get the district to recognize it because then they will have to accomodate her, it's the law. Good luck :)

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answers from Washington DC on

I have a friend that has four children, all of them special needs (if I can remember correctly....two bi-polar/ADHD, one severe anxiety disorder and one ADHD with some specific learning disabilities)

She is a single mother following her divorce and gets no help from her ex-husband (who left because he couldn't handle the kids' problems). However, she moved into a single wide with her kids and only works jobs where she can take them with her (mostly for Parks and Rec running daytime play group programs and teaching gymnastics at night). She and her four kids survive (happily I might add) on about 17,000 a year. She does all of this so she can homeschool her special needs children. She figures that the school system is not properly equipped to handle their needs, so she takes care of it herself. She has them all learning from a Chrisitian curriculum and they are all very smart and well educated. They also always seem happy and they're fantastic with other kids. She is truly a wonder mom and I think of her every time I need the gumption to force my son to do his school work (we homeschool too).

At any rate, the point of my story is that if you feel the public school system isn't going to be able to give your daughter the consistent help that she needs and that you are too dependent on the winds of fate to get her a good teacher that can understand her needs, then maybe you can think about homeschooling. I don't know if you work or not, but that wouldn't automatically disqualify you from HSing. I know a lot of couples that manage to work their schedules so that someone is always home with the kids and they homeschool very successfully. Just something to think about and maybe a little bit of inspiration.

If you're interested in learning more about HSing and your State's requirements, you can check out the HSLDA website, or you can contact your local school board, or you can find your State's legislative website and look for the laws yourself. Every state is different. I love homeschooling in Virginia, it's so easy, but I know a lot of states are much more rigid about it, so do your homework even if you're just toying with the idea.

Hope everything works out well for you and your daughter whatever you decide.

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answers from Philadelphia on

My 8yr old daughter is in 2nd grade & I suspect she has ADD - because I also have ADD (increasing her chances of being ADD by like 75%) & because her K, 1st & 2nd grade teachers have all said she struggles with finishing her work on time & being distracted. But because she is bright, it is not affecting her learning or grades. I have not yet started the process to have her evaluated to pursue an IEP but am strongly considering it for 3rd grade.

Fortunately though, her teachers have been great! This year, her 2nd grade teacher has told her that when she feels she's being too distracted by other students, she can feel free to move to another table to complete her work in solitude. She also lets her use a timer to keep track of her time.

Unfortunately, it's the bright, intelligent girls that often are misdiagnosed & overlooked because there little or no hyperactivity & because their intelligence helps them learn the material despite their struggles. You should look to join a local CHADD group for support & ideas from other local parents who know your school system. You should also be in close contact with her teachers & work together to find tactics that will help her overcome her struggles. One would hope that teachers can be flexible enough to allow some adjustments without needing an IEP to force them to do it. Good luck!

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answers from Kansas City on

Double check the FEDERAL regulations for getting help.

I was told when our son was about that age (he's now almost 20 years!) that he too didn't qualify for an IEP or a 504 plan because he didn't have any learning disabilities. Which was NOT TRUE. Just by having a diagnosis such as ADD/ADHD and the fact that he was on meds did qualify him, but I didn't know it at the time and didn't fight it.

Email me privately if you are interested and I'll try to find the resources I used at the time. Bu things may have changed.
Bottom line is that YOU are your child's biggest advocate so fight for her!

In good health,

Lori K

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answers from Philadelphia on

I will tell you what I would do in your situation. I would schedule an appointment with the principal and explain to her exactly what is happening. I have 1 child with ADD and without the support with her teacher she would not be successful in her academics. I feel awful that you are going through what you are going through because I have been very fortunate to have had excellent teachers for my child. My daughter was diagnosed in First grade and now she is in 7th making the honor roll. I was told at the end of first that she didn't learn as much as she could because her ADD got in the way. Well, maybe if it the teacher should have stepped up more. Kids are not made to fit in a box. I don't know if you know this but your child does qualify for a 504 which does help your child in situations like this. Now I am not sure when the 504 starts~ my child got one for 6th grade. Good luck. If you don't stick up for your child and ask for a better teacher no one else will. Blessings.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I'm from Minnesota, so I don't know if it's different here, but I have several friends with children with ADD and they have IEPs. I would suggest checking into that again. An IEP, as I understand from my friends, can be as simple as: she sits in the front of the room, she gets instructions repeated, etc. An IEP (in MN) also means you get more say in the choice of teachers.

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answers from Harrisburg on

First off, most ADD/ADHD have higher intelligence. They don't know why but that's the statistics.

Second, what does her intelligence have to do with her disorder? It's like the school is telling you that your child is intelligent enough to overcome her disorder herself, when that's obviously not the case. If that were the case then there'd be no ADD/ADHD. It's a medical condition and should be treated as such. If it's affecting her school work then it should be addressed as such and I wouldn't allow the school to not put her in an IEP because she's intelligent. If her ADD is mild and isn't really bothering her school work that bad then I could see them feeling like they don't need an IEP. But, if the teacher isn't working with you, then an IEP is needed because it then becomes a legal document that has to be followed.

You're going to find that most schools don't allow you much room for choosing teachers. If you get a letter before school starts with the teachers name, contact her immediately to set up a phone chat or to visit her at her classroom so you can discuss some of your concerns. Be blunt and let her know that all you got from last year's teacher is negative reports. (just went through the same thing with preschool, but found he was well loved by the student teachers, but I never knew!) Ask the teacher when he hear a negative comment that you need to hear a positive one as well. No parent wants to think the worst is going on when you're only getting half the picture when you're only hearing the bas side of things.

Be sure you let the teacher know that your ADD child needs to be in the front of the class so she can stay focused. Demand your needs and if that doesn't work then ask for a meeting between the teacher, school counselor and principal, and bring in her medical information and discuss it as it is, a medical condition to help your child do well with her education.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
events and chat within 2 hour radius

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answers from Washington DC on

Before having my son, I was a high school teacher who taught inclusion classes with many special ed students. Coming from the teacher's standpoint, it is a very difficult situation these days--you have 20-30 students in a class, usually with several students who have ADD, learning disabilities, and many students who are not receiving services but probably should be. All this while you are supposed to be getting everyone to pass all sorts of state tests. I taught 10th grade and I was surprised by how many students had fallen through the cracks for so many years (should have had an IEP but didn't). I personally loved the challenge of teaching kids who learned differently, but many teachers feel like they don't have the time to deal with it. As a parent, you need to be your child's advocate. Push hard for more special ed testing...yes your child should qualify for a 504, which is better than nothing, but in my opinion they don't do much (preferential seating and extended time on tests usually--sadly, many teachers ignore this). Get to know as many special ed teachers at the school, they are the ones who can give you the best advice for your situation, and they have quite a bit of power at most schools. Call the school and schedule a meeting with one. Bring cookies and be really nice! Sped teachers are way underpaid and overworked. Remember, this is a legal issue--your child has the right to learn, even if she has been diagnosed with ADD etc. But, you need a 504 or IEP with accommodations for the teacher to follow. If the teacher doesn't follow these, then he or she is not following the law. I'm proud of you for doing something about this so early, many parents wait until their children are in high school and have already been labeled "problem students" and hate school. Keep fighting!!

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Harrisburg on

Our kids have a GIEP (gifted iep). Yours should be able to get one if he's in the superior range. Our son has ADD as well...and ADD things can be addressed in the just have to push for it.

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answers from Allentown on

Hi, J.:

I see the conflict between you and the teacher. The teacher says your child is a behavior problem, you say your child is not.

Conflict is about power, identity, and emotion. Where are you in these 3 domains.

I read that you were labled as a behavior problem. The trauma of your childhood is now passing to the next generation.

Your child has strengths and your child has challenges. What are her challenges at school? What are her challenges at home. Are they the same or different?

What is the solution? What does the teacher suggest? Thanks for asking. It takes alot of courage to ask for feedback on such a situation as this.
You are a good mother, be proud of yourself.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Ask about a 504 plan. Perhaps she would benefit from ST services to address the APD and perhaps the ADD is in part to SPD so OT services would help? Read Out of Sync Child. Also, this series might help shine some light:

Educate the teacher and every new teacher each year. Research APD and SPD and provide tips and tools that will help your daughter in the classroom. Perhaps something as simple as a fidget bag in her desk, or letting her chew on gum or something crunchy when she needs to focus.

Good luck!

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answers from Cleveland on

My son is in fourth grade. He is also not a behavior problem but a major focusing problem. No shocker there I always knew it since he was about one year old. Last year his Ped put him on Ritalin now he is on a similar medicine. I was not open at first to putting him on Ritalin but its given him confidence in his own abilty.
Last year before we started him on the med he routinely forgot his homework either at home or leaving it at school. He has not forgotten his homework at all this school year. He receives excellent grades he is polite and well spoken. He still has the focusing issue. Its very apparent during the weekend when we don't give him the med. He knows he is capable and smart. Everyone has something to overcome in one way or another.
Ask a dr soon don't wait until she is in third grade like we did.
Give her tools to succeed she will do brillant school work.

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answers from Portland on

She probably is eligible for an IEP because of ADD and auditory sensory processing disorder. IQ has nothing to do with an IEP. An IEP is to help children who have difficulty learning because of a learning disability. My granddaughter has an IEP because she is ADHD.

Could you be predisposed to think that the school is unwilling to help her because of your experience as a student there? Could your approach be somewhat negative which feeds into the teacher's negativity? Do you think that the "chip" on your shoulder which is apparent here might be apparent to her teacher?

Have you talked with the school counselor or principal? When you're unable to feel that you've communicated with one person, try a different one.

I may be reading your message all wrong but it feels to me that you've already made up your mind about the school staff hearing you and helping you find what will best help your daughter within their system. I suggest that you work on having an open mind and start over.

As far as an IEP is concerned contact your school district's Intermediate Education Service District. My granddaughter's school counselor helped my daughter to do that. My granddaughter has had help from a special teacher with her reading as a result. She is also attending a homework club to help her complete her work. At the counselor's urging my daughter took her daughter to the pediatrician who initiated an assessment for ADHD and when the assessment indicated a high probability of having ADHD prescribed medication.

My daughter is ambivalent about using medication. Her son has also been diagnosed with ADHD and someone in his pediatrician's office recommended trying the Feingold program which includes dietary changes. She is learning more about it with the idea to give it a try.

I understand why the school cannot give your her next year's teachers name. There may be changes over the summer and to start telling parents about assignments that may be changed is not good policy. My granddaughter's school asked for input from parents a couple of months ago just before they began to consider next years schedule. Perhaps yours did to but you missed the notice.

I suggest that you approach the school principal or vice-principal with a well thought out description of your child's needs. Make an appointment and discuss your concerns with them. Keep an open mind. State as many positive things about the teacher and the school as you can. Remember that they are people who are in this position because they want to help children. Just like most of us they will respond much better to someone who has an open mind and is willing to also listen to their ideas.

Education is a collaboration between parents and educators. When we approach them in a professional manner they will most likely be able to listen to you and share their thoughts with you.

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answers from Scranton on

Personally since you know your child best, consider pulling her out and homeschooling her. There are lot's of things out there that you can do. There are tons of resources available online etc... She is probably not getting stimulated. Most public schools are set up for the visual and auditory learners. Find out where she she is whether it's visual, kinestic, or auditory. Determining her learning style will help you to teach her in the best way possible.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I had an IEP as a gifted child... might want to recheck that, though of course it probably varies school district to school district.

I don't have much advice except to be as present as possible in the classroom, and try to keep it in perspective for your kid. My experience (as a graduate of public school-- my son's still to young) is that the parents who are known as being "present" (in a good way) mostly get what they want. Get to know the teachers and the principal-- if that doesn't work, get to know the superintendent's staff. These are the years kids decide if they like school or not, and if they decide they don't, you (and they) are in for a long haul. Be her advocate, but try to do so in a positive way. Schools and teachers are under tremendous pressure, so go with solutions, not just problems.

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answers from Norfolk on

When you have a teacher who is negative, you stay on that teacher like glue. Have weekly face to face conferences. Include the principal. Document it all. My son's 1st grade teacher was HORRIBLE. She taught 1st grade exactly 1 year (before she went back to teaching kindergarten), she didn't have a clue what she was doing, and when the whole class had trouble understanding a given topic, she'd repeat the same lesson only LOUDER. It was a nightmare working with that woman. She could not teach my son how to alphabetize. Her instructions were obscure and bizzare. Finally after weeks of this, I told her I'd show him how I'd go about alphabetizing words. I went through it with him twice, and he was an alphabetizing pro in no time at all. It was like this all year long. He did alright in spite of her. His 2nd grade teacher was a God send and we loved her so much. If you go through kindergarten, 12 years of school and maybe collage and you experience only 1 teacher you can not stand and do not get along with, consider yourself lucky. I had an English teacher in high school who almost jumped out a third floor window during our class. There are some crazy people out there, and a few of them are teachers. Thank goodness most teachers are wonderful.

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answers from Scranton on

Consider homeschooling..or online schooling.

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