I Facebooked back and forth a couple of weeks ago with a mom. She told me a story that is so textbook ADHD-Inattentive, that I asked her if I could share it with you.
Tonight, I sit here feeling like I am failing as a parent of an ADHD child. My daughter is such a good kid, but her forgetfulness, impulsiveness and disorganization has become an all time high. She has just received her 3rd after school detention for the same thing-not turning in her homework. She is in middle school and they are teaching them about being more responsible to get them ready for high school next year.
They get a check every time it happens and when they reach 4 they get an hour after school. It is wiped clean every 9 weeks so the checks do not carry over. It is also per teacher as well. So now, if she receives another detention before the end of the year, she will get a Saturday detention AND lose going on their field trip to the water park.
I went through her backpack and binder tonight to find a STACK of papers that she didn’t need anymore. I haven’t done that in a while, thinking that she was getting better being organized. Boy, was I wrong! She has so much potential and is so smart. I don’t want her to lose out on any opportunities because of something as stupid as forgetting her homework…
She does it-I see her do it. But somewhere and for some reason between here and school-poof-it’s gone. I am going to be calling her homeroom teacher tomorrow to discuss it further. She called me Friday to let me know about some assignments and projects that have not been completed. I just don’t know what to do. I’m feeling lost and want to help her.
A few days later, I received “The Rest of the Story”…
On Monday, my daughter did not complete her Accelerated Reader points for the 9 nine weeks, so she received her 4th detention to be served on a Saturday. This means that she also lost her field trip. When she came home, I lost it all over again and this time she saw me break down. I was sad for her, heartbroken for her and at the same time disappointed in her and myself. It was an all time low for me as a parent.
She worked hard Monday evening at her homework and I talked to her before she went to bed. I told her that I knew she was SO smart and had every ability to do what needed to be done, but that I was disappointed that this had happened and that she needed to do better-we both did.
On Tuesday her homeroom teacher called me to tell me she didn’t know what I did Monday evening, but that Carla was a different kid that day! She was working harder and asking what else she needed to do! Tuesday after school she served her 3rd detention and I talked to 2 of her teachers when I picked her up. We spoke about what we could do to get her ready for the high school next year in terms of organization and such. I had also called the student affairs principal and set up a meeting for Thursday to speak to him about that.
On Wednesday, her math teacher called and said all 5 of her teachers were trying to come up with things to help her for next year and then went on about a 504 and how to go about that. As I listened, I though “we already have one!”. So I returned her call and left a message to that effect.
She called me back after a thorough search of files to tell me that Carla did NOT have a 504, but there was note of a meeting (fall ’07) and the recommendation of a 504. I was livid!! In the beginning of 5th grade, we had that meeting with everyone and the 504 should have been put in place then.
I went straight to the school after leaving “nice” messages for the school psychologist and the student affairs principal. After waiting 10 minutes after they knew I was there, I was led into a conference room where they were all going over notes from that meeting and trying to figure out why it was not put into place for her back in ’07. SO, in the 10 minutes I was waiting, they put one together and we sat for 1/2 hour talking and adding to the provisions.
Her math teacher was at the conference and asked if we couldn’t give Carla another shot at the field trip. Giving her 5 detentions instead of 4. They decided that was fine, but I and her teachers are telling her she has to “earn” it back with working hard and turning in what needs to be turned in.
Before the conference, I asked her math teacher if this 504 was already put into place, would things have gone any different this year. It was an emphatic yes! Because there are other things they could have done for her if it was in writing. Someone dropped the ball. All we can do now is go forward and work on organization and working on projects when they are given instead of waiting til the last minute to finish them up!
We all have stories like these – stories of our frustration and failures, but also of recoveries. Let this mom’s experience encourage you – that even when the school drops the ball, when our kids don’t try quite hard enough, and when we as parents just didn’t have any more to give – there are still more days. We can turn things around.
What stories do you have? Please share them in the comments below.