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Does anyone have advice on dealing with ADHD/Learning Disabilities with an Elementary school-aged child?

My 11 yo son has ADHD and severe struggles in school. He is in the 4th grade, should be in 5th, and is probably going to have to repeat 4th grade again next year. He is on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) in school, and does have some time outside of the classroom each day with a Special Education teacher. Does anyone have any suggestions that have helped with your child who is in this/similar situation?

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Asked by papayaprincess at 10:28 PM on Mar. 22, 2011 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 5 (72 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • Is he medicated? If he isn't I would look into something along those lines. I am not a fan of medicating children if there really isn't a TRUE need for it but some kids do MUCH MUCH better when they are on them. If he is already on the medications then you need to talk to his teachers and counselors and locate some tutors that specialize with these types of children to get him on track to be in 5th grade next year. BTW I wish you luck b/c I live with a severe ADHD adult and I don't think it gets any easier as they get older.

    Answer by coala at 10:37 PM on Mar. 22, 2011

  • Thanks for the reply! He has been on medication since he was 4, and we have tried every kind :( until recently when I took him off. He is MISERABLE on the meds, always has been, and it doesn't seem to help in school. The teachers complain that he is "spaced out" when he is on the meds and "unable to focus" when he is off of them. I think he is just SO frustrated at this point it's hard to know how to best help him. I will look into the tutor situation. He definetely could benefit from someone specializing in helping kids with his disorder.

    Comment by papayaprincess (original poster) at 10:41 PM on Mar. 22, 2011

  • My son used to take Ritilin. He was really struggling. We switched his meds to Vyvanse. It really helped. He made the honor roll this year! Socially he fit in much more. I suggest changing his meds.

    Answer by mompam at 10:42 PM on Mar. 22, 2011

  • Question about the Vyvanse... how long has your son been on it? And have you had any severe side effects? We tried it briefly but my son started having what the doctor referred to as motor tics (twitching of his facial muscles mainly, and his stomach "jumping" if that makes sense? The only med he has been on that didn't have any physical side effects was Adderall and he just gets so moody and angry on that. Do you think maybe the dosage on the Vyvanse might have been too high?

    Comment by papayaprincess (original poster) at 10:45 PM on Mar. 22, 2011

  • Ask them to up his time outside of the classroom in the special ed. room. My oldest son is on the autism spetrum and in 4th grade. He is only at the 2nd grade level with reading and the 3rd grade with math. He is in a classroom but we have him receiving about 70% of his academics in the Learning Center in either small group or one on one instruction. It was always this way but we found that he just needed more than the 30% that he was previously receiving. It has been amazing the progress that he has made since we upped his time in special ed. Your son might just do better with less distraction. Does your school have a behavioral therapist that could work with him on strategies to help keep him focused-if that's an issue for him-or coping skills for when he feels overwhelmed?

    Answer by Alynn74 at 10:47 PM on Mar. 22, 2011

  • Thanks Alynn74! He only has 30 minutes a day outside the classroom, his teacher, special education teacher and I are working to get him placed in the special education classroom more. I am hopeful that less distraction and more one on one will help him! I will check with the school about a behavioral specialist. He could definetely use help with dealing with his frustrations at school.

    Comment by papayaprincess (original poster) at 10:54 PM on Mar. 22, 2011

  • Another thing you might ask for that could really help would be what's called "adult assistance" during certain times that are really hard for him. It would be an aide to come in to give him individual attention during something like math; to help keep him focused, to answer his questions and make sure he understands directions given to the class. Good Luck :)

    Answer by Alynn74 at 11:18 PM on Mar. 22, 2011

  • I would definitely push to get his IEP changed. Can you ask for a re-evaluation of his IEP? We just did that for my dd. Her SpEd teacher thought she should spend more time with her, and less time with the school psychologist (because she didn't need it any more). However, I think your son might benefit from some one-on-one time with a behavioral specialist or school psychologist. They can put that in the IEP and have him see that person a certain number of hours per week. We also discovered that when she is in the regular classroom, using noise-blocking headphones while the class is doing independent work has helped a great deal.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 11:19 PM on Mar. 22, 2011

  • THE ADHD BOOK OF LISTS is EXCELLENT!!! You should definitely read that--it will give TONS of advice!

    Also, help him to organize his work, backpack, study station at home. Maybe also see if the teacher would print his handouts/assignments on colored paper (that you provide). That may help to keep his attention.

    Behavior modification is also supposed to be GREAT. My SD has severe ADHD, and my DH is working on getting her mom to let him get her all set up for that.

    Answer by laird6372 at 3:27 AM on Mar. 23, 2011

  • Thanks for all of the comments! You are all so helpful! It's reassuring to know that there are other people dealing with similar struggles, and helps a lot to hear different suggestions, just gives me a fresh perspective on things! Thanks again and I will definetely check in to some of the things you all have suggested! :)

    Comment by papayaprincess (original poster) at 9:03 AM on Mar. 23, 2011

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