My DS and School

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Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244
My DS and School

Okay, I am going to try to post a positive post after this one. I hate feeling like I am posting negatives a lot. Sad

My DS is struggling with school. Sad It is not academic, at least I don't think so, but I am keeping an eye on that. He is really struggling with staying on task and finishing work. I am trying my best to be objective and work with his teacher. I think she is a good teacher and she cares a lot. However, I also worry that he and his teacher are in a really negative cycle and he is basically giving up. He seems to be struggling a lot with writing. This is an area where kids with attention problems tend to really struggle because it is something that requires a lot of sustained attention and effort. We are not sure if Isaiah really has ADHD, but we are trying to really look at the big picture and make some decisions on where to go from here. I have had several e-mails and notes home from his teacher about her struggle to get him to write. She has moved his desk next to hers in an attempt to get him to focus. Sad

I have asked that someone come in and do an observation in the classroom. I want to know how often he is off-task and what is going on during that time. I am also trying to figure out if he is experiencing anxiety about school. He told me that when he writes, his brain doesn't work. He has ideas, but he doesn't know how to write them down.

So, I am feeling really heartsick right now. I have been in tears off and on for the last week because I am really worried. Isaiah has to loop to third grade with this teacher, so we have to get this figured out now. He also has to figure out writing because next year he starts high stakes testing. He has always been well above average in academics, but I worry that if we cannot get all of this straightened out, how he performs will be affected. I cannot even get him to stay on task with me at home while writing. He drifts off, he sings or hums, he puts his head down, and does whatever he can to avoid it. Wish me luck in figuring out what is going on.

Lavender444's picture
Joined: 03/27/03
Posts: 1944

I'm sorry, Melanie. That has to be reall difficult for all of you. Expecially Isaiah. I think observing his class sounds like a good idea.

I hope you're all able to find a way to help him focus.:bigarmhug:

AshnBill's picture
Joined: 11/06/06
Posts: 5333

I'm sorry Mel! I don't even know what to say. I think it's a great idea to have some body come in to observe him. Hopefully they'll have some suggestions on ways to help him in that area.

Kayla1981's picture
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529

Do you have any friends who are teachers? Or anyone involved in education or diagnostics? I really think it would be helpful to get some help from someone who is familiar with the school system and what resources are available to you. I wonder if your state offers any type of intervention? I understand that you are concerned and I think it's really good that you are wanting to get to the bottom of it. The good news is that the earlier you are able to address the issue, the better for Isaiah. I'm sure it's discouraging but I think there are a lot of resources out there for parents and teachers and so it may just be a matter of finding out what will help him.

My sister and two of my good friends are teachers if you would like me to talk to them. I know it's not the same as someone who has interacted with Isaiah but they may at least have some suggestions as to what steps you should take. Or maybe an online resource or book to read.

Cali26's picture
Joined: 02/01/07
Posts: 1040

How is he doing overall academically? Is he acheiving grade level scores? Do you see the same concerns with writing at home? Does Isaiah seem to be motivated to do his writing? Does Isaiah have a positive rapport with his teacher? If he was working above grade level in previous years, I'd be curious as to what is causing the concern by the teacher and why he isn't maintaining attention. Is he talking to his peers during writing? Does he follow multi step directions? Is he interested in doing the work? Does he complete other tasks independently? These are the initial questions that come to mind....

I completely understand your concern and I imagine it is even more stressful for you when the teacher writes you about her concerns. And I know it is difficult to remain fully objective when it is your own child. I think your suggestion of having the school psych complete a time on task observation is very appropriate. Depending on the results of the observation, is there opportunity for Isaiah to work with a different teacher in the area of writing?

As a school psych and a great mom, you will figure this out. You describe Isaiah as such a wonderful kid. He sounds so sweet and he sounds very intelligent. Your hard work with him will pay off!!

Joined: 06/10/07
Posts: 1692

I'm sorry, Melanie. I don't know of anything to add but keep us posted and know you can write anytime. Let us know how the eval goes, too. Good idea to have someone come in to observe. Does he sound like he is nervous about being in this classroom when he talks to you about it?

Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244

"Kayla1981" wrote:

Do you have any friends who are teachers? Or anyone involved in education or diagnostics? I really think it would be helpful to get some help from someone who is familiar with the school system and what resources are available to you. I wonder if your state offers any type of intervention? I understand that you are concerned and I think it's really good that you are wanting to get to the bottom of it. The good news is that the earlier you are able to address the issue, the better for Isaiah. I'm sure it's discouraging but I think there are a lot of resources out there for parents and teachers and so it may just be a matter of finding out what will help him.

Thanks! I am actually the diagnostic resource. HA! It is just hard when you are the parent because you try really hard not to blur your ethical boundaries with your family. I have some ideas about what is going on.

"Cali26" wrote:

How is he doing overall academically? Is he acheiving grade level scores? Do you see the same concerns with writing at home? Does Isaiah seem to be motivated to do his writing? Does Isaiah have a positive rapport with his teacher? If he was working above grade level in previous years, I'd be curious as to what is causing the concern by the teacher and why he isn't maintaining attention. Is he talking to his peers during writing? Does he follow multi step directions? Is he interested in doing the work? Does he complete other tasks independently? These are the initial questions that come to mind....

Isaiah's scores have always been between the 66th to 85th percentile. I am going to guess that standard scores would equate to about 108ish in Math and 115-120 in Reading. So, his math is more average. This is the first year he has ever had to write so much. That is a change from first grade. I think there are a couple of things going on. I think Isaiah is highly motivated by social interaction and he struggles when he has to work on his own. He is constantly looking at what others are doing and not focusing on himself. He does that in other places as well. In addition, he gets nervous when he thinks other kids will be finished before him, so he scans the class to see what others are doing. He also does not like to try new things by himself. He has always been this way. Without some gentle pushing, I don't think he would have ever learned to button his pants or tie his shoes. He is content to have others help him, which I think he does in the classroom as well. I also believe there is a skill issue. I think he gets stuck on how to organize his writing. He can tell me his ideas out loud, but when I ask him to write it down, he gets blocked. I do think he has some mild attention issues and I am working to create some things for him at home to help out.

I think we are breaking down a little right now as a family because the girls take an overabundance of time, Unfortunately, this is to Isaiah's detriment. They are very demanding and he often is left to his own devices until we can get to him, which during most evenings is not until after the girsl are in bed. We are working to organize a school station for all of his school papers and such. I keep them organized for the most part, but it needs to be where he can get to it easier. We also had intentions of getting him a desk for his room, but have never found anything that we like, but we just need to buy it and get it in there. We also have a dry erase board that we have used as a chore chart, etc. but we have never put it up. It needs to go up somewhere and he needs to a reference to help with keeping him organized and on task.

I also need to work with DH in understanding that discipline needs to change. He yells more than I think is necessary and I think Isaiah is getting it at school and at home, which makes him feel negative about himself. Sad Being a school psych and a mom sucks. There are times that I wish I was oblivious to some things. I hope we get the results from the observation by next week sometime. I am not sure if it was done before break or not. I plan to ask for a meeting to discuss the observation, as I feel like all we are doing right now is communicating via e-mail. I believe that things get lost in electronic communication or the conversation appears more negative than intended.

Oh, and to answer some of your other questions, Isaiah does not talk as kindly about this teacher as he did about previous teachers. In my minimal interactions with her, she seems somewhat rigid. However, that could just be how she appears, but not how she functions with the kids. With that being said, I do not think Isaiah is highly motivated right now. It seems like they are doing a lot of writing. I mean, A LOT. The teacher talks about writing projects often in her blogs and tweets. They seem to write about everything they do in class. Biggrin So, if writing is hard and you have to do it in all subjects, it makes motivation decrease.

I forgot to say that they also extended the school day an extra hour. So, Isaiah goes to school from 8-3 everyday. This is a change. He does have gym everyday, which is a plus, but his afterschool care now has physical activity at the time that I pick him up. So, instead of 1.5 hours of physical activity per day, he is getting less than an hour. Why? Because his teacher is taking away recess to make him write. I plan to address this as well. I am pretty sure that will not make Isaiah's motivation to write increase, it just makes him hate school even more. Plus, if you have a child who is struggling to focus, removing a time where he receives sensory input from physical play is going to make it worse in the classroom. The teacher is punishing herself and Isaiah by doing this.

Isaiah can follow mutiple step directions. He has a great memory. If you break things down for him, he can get things done. They take a little bit of time, but it is not developmentally inappropriate. If I ask him to clean his room, he cannot do it. However, if I tell him to pick up his legos, then his stuffed animals, then his cars, then the rest of his toys, he does not even need a reminder. He can get it done in that order and do it well. If we just go in to clean without an agenda, he will just sit there. That is pretty developmental too though. Most kids need a plan of action because they need to know what is expected.

"Readyforbaby1" wrote:

I'm sorry, Melanie. I don't know of anything to add but keep us posted and know you can write anytime. Let us know how the eval goes, too. Good idea to have someone come in to observe. Does he sound like he is nervous about being in this classroom when he talks to you about it?

That is what we are trying to determine. A friend of mine, who is a director of special education and has known Isaiah since birth, thinks it is anxiety more than attention issues. She agrees that Isaiah can be active, but she doesn't think he is any different than other boys his age. Now, she has never observed him in class, so her perspective is a little different. I trust her though.