Help! Problems with teacher/school.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-19-2003
Help! Problems with teacher/school.
Tue, 08-19-2003 - 11:57am
My ds has been battling adhd basically ever since he started school. He is in third grade now, and is taking Straterra. We tried other methods of controlling his symtoms before placing him on meds last year. He made a significant improvement in school last year after switching to Straterra in the middle of the year. He just started school about a week and a half ago and was to be placed in a class with a teacher that knows how to handle his disorder. Well, I am already getting calls from her and notes sent home about him not paying attention, distracting other students, and fidgeting in class. (Which are all of his symtoms of the ADHD) I am just so frustrated because I feel like she has already written him off, and does not know enough about ADHD to handle him. He is very smart, and when taught the way that he responds he has received marks at the top of his class. I don't mind giving her suggestions on how to help him stay on task, but when I tried she started acting like she didn't have time for it and ended our call. I am worried that if this isn't dealt with now, then he will struggle through whole year. I am considering calling the principal of the school to discuss my concerns with him, but am not sure if that is the right thing to do. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 08-19-2003 - 12:36pm
Here's what I would do in your position:

I would contact the principal and share my concern about how my son is doing in school so far. Without being negative about the teacher, I would ask for a meeting with the teacher, principal, and anyone else the principal thinks could be of assistance in determining a course of action for the year. If the teacher is not cooperative, I would request a change in teacher - it is not fair to your child (or even to the other children in his class) to have teacher who is not supportive. I have found that the people at my son's school are much more likely to give what is needed if I ask for help vs. making a complaint. (You know, that old honey vs. vinegar thing . . .)

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2003
Tue, 08-19-2003 - 1:10pm

My son is going to enter 1st grade and I'm very nervous about how it's going to work. Anyway, I will try to give you some input from the little experience I have in dealing with my ds's school. The last poster was correct, be nice, try to act as a team with the teacher, principal, special ed, guidance councelor, etc. Does he have an IEP or a 504 plan? If you are working on one, it should be written in there that some accomodations include, for example: frequent breaks, cueing to stay on task, sitting near the teacher, calling on him only when he is in a focused state, etc. You can also write in his plan that these accomodations are to be done so as not to be obvious to the other kids. (You don't want his self esteem to be damaged). If he does not have a 504 or IEP plan, you need to write a letter to Special Ed department and request an evaluation. If accomodations are not in his plan, work on getting them in there. I've been advised that the best way to get the schools to do what you want is not to march in there and say "this is what I want". But rather, pose questions and lead them down the path towards coming up with the conclusion that he needs: oh, by gosh - exactly what you intended to get for him!

Hope this makes sense to you.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 08-19-2003 - 3:28pm

I would meet with the principal and the teacher and express your concerns. A start of school meeting every year would be nice. I do that with my DD (who's not ADD or ADHD) just to make sure the tutor and I are on the same page with the teacher and for all of us to know DD's goals (this year it's red carpet) and we all know we need to help her obtain that goal.

It would be good for all of you to meet to go over your concerns, the teacher's expectations and the principals as well. By all of you meeting you show that you're concerned and want only the best for your child.

I'm sure they'll appreciate your effort.

Good luck.





iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2003
Fri, 08-22-2003 - 2:34pm
Third grade is a critical year, not only with the curriculum but socially. It's not something to "wait and see" on and you are right to be concerned. Your first step is call the principal and request a conference (do it in writing if you get no where with this person on the phone) and say that you have some concerns for the year. You want the principal, the teacher and perhaps the school counselor or social worker in there. (Dad should be there too unless he's uninvolved or a DiD - Dad in Denial) Keep all your notes and information about what the teacher has sent home and what she's said if you can. Keep it short and sweet. Don't get into personalities because it just backfires on you and your son. And let them know you're there to work as a team for your son's education. The teacher may be thinking she knows it all when it comes to ADHD kids, but let me tell you, they're all different! What works for this child won't work for that. And if you're trying to help her out and she's not taking the suggestion - you may have to find other means to get what he needs in class. For instance, I had to insist that my son keep his sketchbook with him and out at all times in class. We found when his hands were busy, his mouth was shut - and he still heard everything going on around him and got the information.

What I would suggest is after this conference that you do request an IEP, in writing, sent registered mail. That way they cannot ignore you and you have a legal date to specify the evaluation by, according to your state's rules. He should have one in place if things are starting to get rough. It will only help down the road. Don't worry about that "label" thing. Honestly, the label helps more than it hurts. It can be a simple behavior plan of action or as detailed as testing is done orally and outside the classroom. There's tons of things you can do.

The other suggestion I have is also talk to the prescribing doctor. It could be that his Strattera needs a boost or that it's just not the right med for him. Each child is different chemically too. My son has done wonderfully on a combination of meds including Adderall. But give the boy ritalin and all hell breaks loose.

But I do beg of you, please do something quickly. I could tell you horror stories about what my son endured in 3rd grade. We're still dealing with some of the backlash, 5 years later.