I often hear that districts will discuss the use of ADHD medication with parents, which is when ADHD advocacy is strongly advised. Many times, ADHD in the classroom equates to disruption when behavior is an impairment of this disability. A discussion to ensure that parents know that medication is a viable choice of treatment is certainly acceptable. But unfortunately, sometimes districts go beyond their area of expertise by suggesting and even demanding the use of meds to better control this behavior.
What is missing here is the need for the school to follow the “Dear Colleague” Letter that was distributed to all public schools in the country in July 2016. (See my article titled: “Do You Know the Civil Rights of Students with ADHD?”) The school has the responsibility of evaluating and supporting children with ADHD. And what does that mean? A behavior that results from a disability must be dealt with by a positive behavioral plan. A functional behavioral assessment must be done initially to determine triggers for unwanted behaviors.
I often hear about suspensions as a result of this unwanted ADHD behavior in the classroom. The school is responsible to hold a manifestation meeting after ten suspensions to determine if behavior is related to the disability. If so, the behavior plan must be put in place. Even without the presence of ten suspensions, if there seems to be a pattern developing, the school should not wait until that number ten before accommodations for ADHD are in place.
If medication is being used, the time of dispensing the drug can be critical and again up to the parent and prescribing physician. My client’s child with combined ADHD with significant impulsivity in the classroom was a major source of disruption. Because of that, the mom chose to have him medicated once at school so that the medication effects could start later and cover more of the academic day. But this then required ADHD accommodations on the bus like music and headphones for distraction. Again, a behavior plan is needed that is a continuation outside of the school but positively affecting academic outcome and teacher/peer attitudes that directly affect self-esteem.
It is your decision together with your physician to medicate. It is the school who also must understand this concept of behavior, related to a medical disability that can be improved with positive incentives, structure, and home/school communication. Yelling, punishments, and suspension only serve to increase the child’s negativity and decrease self-esteem. Neither serve to provide a positive academic environment that all of our children deserve and are guaranteed by law.
If you’re not getting the cooperation from your child’s school that he/she deserves, then ADHD advocacy is something that you must strongly consider. To understand more about what ADHD advocacy is, and how it can dramatically help your child, please contact me directly for a free consultancy session. On our call, you will have the opportunity to share the challenges that your child is facing, and get instant feedback on critical next steps to help both you and your child. You can contact me directly by clicking here!
A little about the author and founder of ADD Advocate, Karen Lowry: I am a certified ADHD Coach. ADHD advocacy is my passion. There are so many school support challenges facing our children, that knowing your rights as a parent have never been more crucial. Effective ADHD coaching depends on effective advocacy for our kids. Remember, if you should ever have any questions about anything regarding school support, or just understanding about ADHD, IEP programs, 504 plans, etc….