Sometimes, to the parent of a child who has ADHD inattentive along with multiple processing issues and an executive functioning deficit, it seems that one must forever educate some educators who truly do not understand HOW this constellation of neurological deficits affects classroom performance. While some educators are interested in helping their students, there are some who do not believe that ADHD is a disability. Instead they see their students as lazy, unmotivated, defiant etc.
For one parent Sally, her 7th grader Janie was falling behind even though she was on an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan). It was the near the end of the third quarter and parent teacher conference week. There was no notice to schedule a parent teacher conference even though several of the computer generated grades were D’s and F’s. Sally has been reassured by the schools resource teacher that the computer generated grades are not always accurate. This has been borne out by previous experience. The teachers do not have an obligation to update on-line grades. It is voluntary only.
Sally was still uneasy and wrote and email to the RSP and to the teachers of the classes that were generating Fs. The RSP said Sally would have to talk to the teachers directly.
Finally the math teacher responded offering to meet Sally during hours set aside for parents teacher conferences. (Ironically the school policy stated that conferences would only be scheduled if the student was having problems.) However no one pro-actively contacted Sally about Jane’s academic performance. Sally met with the Math teacher and found out the F was indeed accurate. The social science teacher learned Sally was coming in and came to join the meeting. Unfortunately the F in social Science is also accurate. There was no appearance from the Science teacher who was giving Janie a D.
When Sally got home, she found a voicemail from the Science teacher. The science teacher Ms Jones stated that Janie had repeatedly failed to show up for a 15 minute “reflection time” during recess. Evidently Janie’s name was up in a corner of the blackboard with others for some behavioral infraction. As a result, the “chosen names” were supposed to spend a 15 minute detention aka “reflection time”. Janie has no record of behavioral issues.
Sally asked Janie about the “reflection time” issue. Janie said she never even saw her name on the blackboard because she always tried to behave in school. It did not even occur to Janie to look.
Frustrated, Sally writes the science teacher Ms Jones an email.
This is what she wrote.
Hi Ms. Jones,
I just got your voice mail message that said that Janie did not show up for a lunch detention and that there was 8 times she could have come in.
I am disappointed you waited this long to let me know. This is the week of parent teacher conferences and I don't understand why I am not asked to come in to meet with you if there is an issue. I was at the campus today to meet with both the Math and the Science teachers at MY request because Janie is getting F's. I would have been happy to stay longer to meet with you.
I asked Janie about it and she said she forgot.
Please remember that Janie has an extremely poor short term memory. If you do not remind her to do a task at the time it actually NEEDS to happen, then she will forget in a matter of a minute. Kids with ADHD have the memory that equates to about 1 foot of kitchen counter space while you are trying to prepare a gourmet dinner. They can ONLY focus on one thing at one time. When the next item is set down, the last one is dropped out of sight.
If you were expecting her to just remember to show up at other times on her own, that would be very unrealistic.
Keep in mind that Janie is already being kept in at lunch time to work on language arts with the English teacher on occasion.
Janie already comes home tired and frequently falls asleep from mental exhaustion. She needs her breaks.
If you want her to have lunch time detention, then you have to come get her at the time she needs to be there. I will not allow any after school detention as she has tutoring or needs to travel with her companions. I do not allow her to take the public bus alone.
Parent to Janie.
Stay tuned.. The teacher responds.