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The Forum > General Discussion > What's A Parent With An ADHD Child To Do?

What's A Parent With An ADHD Child To Do?

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As a parent of a child with ADHD, I am at a loss to understand the thought processes of the Education System. My child has more problems than just ADHD, he has Bipolar Disorder, Impulse Control Disorder and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. My son has been suspended from school to the point that expulsion proceedings are looming.

The school has tried very hard to handle my son, they have worked with us to try solutions, but this has all proven ineffective. The teachers spend all their time trying to rein my son in, the other students are missing out on vital teaching time and their parents are unaware of this situation.

I have asked to be allowed to take the pressure off the teachers, the students and the whole school environment by being present at school to oversee his behaviour, a simple solution. The school has come out in opposition to this, saying that it would be burdensome for both my son and the school in general.

Don't they see that the situation as it stands is far more burdensome for the whole school community? Don't they understand that every child in that school deserves equal time and attention from the staff, not just my son? Don't the teachers understand that I want to do this from a position of easing their load, relieving them of the task of constantly monitoring this child?

Doesn't anyone seem to understand that this child with so many problems will be tossed into the too hard basket, that there are other children with ADHD and similar, that are also being treated with the same attitude: not normal is not acceptable.

I'm trying my hardest to make everybody's time at school and my son's life more comfortable by taking responsibility for my son's behaviour. Or is it just that parents have spent so much time handing off their problems that when one parent stands up and wants to help the system has no place for this?

He's my kid, my responsibility - why can't they let me help him?
Posted by katheedavis, Sunday, 17 September 2006 4:37:23 PM
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Congratulation Kathee I think what you are suggesting is very reasonable. You are taking responsibility for your child to the benefit of the entire school community and you should be applauded for doing so.

This subject really needs some solutions and you are trying to provide one for the benefit of all. Why would any school object to help from a parent? Is tuckshop duty the only worthwhile thing parents can do?

How many parents have had their children expelled because their child has one or several of these illnesses? If the illness is a medically diagnosed one then it is exactly that - A medical illness!

So is it right to expel a child because they are ill? Or is this prejudicial conduct towards disabled children and illegal under anti-discrimination laws? How do education departments get away with this?

I would love to see a law firm like Slater & Gordon, who do class actions, commence a class action for parents of these kids who have had their kids expelled for a known and diagnosed medical condition. Surely it must be illegal?

From my perspective I would like to thank all parents who have kids with these disabilities for their commitment, ongoing support and love to their kids. My kids don't have these problems - so on behalf of a caring parent - THANKYOU for doing your best in what I can only imagine are very very trying circumstances.
Posted by Opinionated2, Sunday, 17 September 2006 5:09:26 PM
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Hi Kathee, gee you must be having a hard time with your son. I feel for you, but at the end of the day I can kind of understand the schools point, where would it end. I dont know that it is really that practical to have every parent of a child with special needs in the class room. I would imagine that these kids also have to learn discipline from other sources other than their parents and that being in a learning environment with rules etc would be part of their learning.

You must have a hard time at home with him. Do you get home help or perhaps some help with school work at home.

I can understand what you are saying about children with special needs taking up most of the time of the teachers. But you should just use this time to put your trust in the school and time for yourself to refuel before he comes home. By the sounds of it you really are a strong female and you need to keep up that strength for him.

I hope I havent said anything wrong here and if I have I apologise. Good luck and I really do hope things work out for you.
Posted by Deborah58, Sunday, 17 September 2006 5:13:30 PM
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kathee, first you have my sympathy for the place you are in.

I've been doing some research into options lately and can ask some questions and give ideas on what I've discovered - it may help you ask the right questions in your area. The stuff I've found is in Brisbane, other capital cities probably have similar (under different names) but regional areas may not.
- Does your childs school have a behaviour room (RTC - Responsible Thinking Classroom or BAR - Behaviour Adjustment room)? Not all schools have them and they can be an immense help. If not is there a nearby school that does have one. If it has one will the school let you help in there with your child rather than in the classroom?
- Is there a behaviour school within a practical distance? In Brisbane there is one at Tennison which services a fairly wide area. Before a child can be sent there the school and GO need to show that they have done everything they can do. Those schools are set up to deal with significant behavioural issues.
- Are you dealing with the Child Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS prounounced KIMS by some in the field)? Thats a Queensland Health service for kids with significant issues and it sounds like yours would fit their criteria. If your not in Queensland does your state health dept have a similar body?
- In Queensland CentaCare (a Catholic counselling service) do some programs with kids facing expulsion. I don't know how good they are. They are a fee paying service (not expensive) who don't seem to push their religion.
- Is your child being seen by a pediatrician?
- Have you had a meeting with the schools Guidance Officer, teacher, principle or deputy and set up a management plan and explored other options?

Part 1 of 2

Posted by R0bert, Sunday, 17 September 2006 7:18:55 PM
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Part 2 of 2

I asked a very good friend about parental involvement in the classroom and her response was that the schools can only allow it in very specific circumstances (reading groups etc). It raises a whole bunch of legal risks for the schools if not very carefully managed and also creates the situation where parents who could cause chaos in the classroom might have to be allowed in if other parents were. Imagine the grief if an overprotective parent was excluded from the classroom for being a pest while other parents were allowed in.

On a general note in response to Opinionated2's comments it is my impression that the schools try very hard to help kids rather than expell them. Expulsion seems to be an acknowledgement that they can't have a reasonable level of confidence in ensuring the safety of the child and or the safety of others. In one sense expulsion is no more discrimination that not allowing a seriously vision impared person to drive on the roads. If it it occurs because of a medical condition it is an unfortunate consequence of the condition, not an attempt to discriminate.

Best of luck getting through this.

Posted by R0bert, Sunday, 17 September 2006 7:19:47 PM
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Please don't think I am criticising the schools, teachers or parents. I am outlining a system fault in possibly all education departments and questioning whether it discriminates against disabled children and the families of those children on the basis of illness. If it does - is that discrimination illegal?

This is an illness diagnosed by Drs where often medication is given. The kids are being suspended and expelled for an illness! To compare it with a vision impaired driver is just wrong. It begs the question - How many kids in Qld have been expelled or suspended for the effects of an illness?

The fact is that Schools have a duty of care to educate children, and, education departments and Govt have the duty of care to provide the necessary resources for all kids in those educational institutions to be safe, irrespective of disability. It is not the schools that are at fault it is the financing from the departments.

Here is a lady who is taking the personal responsibilty to assist her school, at no cost to the system or other parents, and yet the system says no. Why? Parents help kids with reading difficulties at schools, they assist teachers on excursions, they work in tuck shops, why can't a mother work within the school and with the school for the best interests of ALL the children.

Sometimes it takes a court case to get bureaucrats to understand that they are obligated under "Duty of Care" rules and that discrimination in any form is probably a breach of those rules.

It seems people bandy around words like mutual obligation, and bad parenting, and yet when someone steps up to take what she sees as her obligation and responsibilty, she is prevented from doing it by the education department. Once again congratulations and all power to you Kathee!
Posted by Opinionated2, Sunday, 17 September 2006 8:17:03 PM
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