Struggling at school

@rainbow (6763)
January 7, 2007 1:38pm CST
My 7 year old has been diagnosed autistic and adhd since he was 5. The past few weeks he seems to be more withdrawn. He is still awake far too many hours but seems to be in his own little world. He had told his Grandma that he cannot do his work at school and they push at him so he can't think? What do I do to get him some more help? He told her not to tell us.
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10 responses
@kittykatzz (1133)
• United States
9 Jan 07
first waht you want to do is find out EXACTLY what was said to grandma.. this is soo important (not to say he would lie, generally autistic kids dont understand the concept of a lie) but with such a lack of communication skills alot of the time what they say is not always what they mean.. it is very common for autistic kids to be described as "off in their own little world".. does he have an aide at school to focus on him alone?? if he doesnt his capabilities to learn outside a few short minutes here and there are greatly comprimised.. ESPECIALLY with your son also having ADHD.. he NEEDS an aide to constantly refocus him and keep him going, otherwise he will "drift off", its soo critically important .for safety as well!) a typical teacher that has a dozen plus students to teach is COMPLETELY incapable of focusing all of her attention on just one child.. my son is 9 (also autistic, and sleeps on "his own schedule ALOT of the time) but his shoolday is SO routine and SO focused with the help of 2 aides (1 morning and 1afternoon) that he is excelling beyond our expectations.. alot of the time the best way for him to learn something is to be present at assignment time from the teacher and then to have a type of "to do list" (wether its written by him or someone else) and then to work on it in a resource room of sorts, to be allowed a quieter environment with the help of an adult to keep him going and not allow "drift off" time.. I dont know if this tidbit will help but when my son was around 1st grade, i sat with his aide and discussed a "reward method" for such and sucha time of being focused.. at the time my son just LOVED orange tic tacs. and withthem being low in sugar and such.. we decided that whenever he was having a rough time working on something a sort of "bribery" was used with the mints as allocated for certain spans of working on something.. (~it also ended up helping him have a concept of time~!)
@rainbow (6763)
9 Jan 07
You are very clever, I wondered whether he is just agreeing with whatever Grandma has said but he doesn't seem to remember much. He doesn't have a help all to himself and his teacher thinks he may just be tired by the end of the day, although she is pleased with his progress,he is supported in the same was as the other children. I don't think he is far enough behind to be given a one-to-one person yet. Your son sounds very like Bong, I will mention drift off time when I get back in touch with his teacher. Thank-you so much for your help. Can we be friends please?
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@rainbow (6763)
10 Jan 07
I sent a massage back to his teacher to see how she felt about allowing him a little drift time. Grandma however misinterpreted or I think she did as last night when we talked he said "I like school but I don't like my work" "I can do it but I don't like writing on big bits of paper, only small bitys" "I am good at design" "It's boring (writing) makes my arm ache" If nothing else it has reminded his teacher who has done him a lot of good since september that he is there. I think as she says he is tired but is working well and to his best ability, but I think if he's awful when he gets home then he's trying too hard all day. I suggested some drift time so he can get his head sorted out when he needs to, we'll have to see what happens. I will try to support him as best I can, I think she is keeping an eye on him too. Sometimes I think it's al down to my parenting skliss but I did a course and used to childmind and everything, maybe I'm overprotective .
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• United States
10 Jan 07
theres a big difference between "drift" time and "free" time and im just because your son seems happy when he drifting doesnt mean he should.. the thing is he's gonna do it some of the time anyways.. dont set aside time for it, it will only increase the amount of time each day.. try to find something (maybe thats not even educational.. but healthy and productive, books, games, or toys some ideas) to allow him to use in lieu of drift time.. you gotta try to limit that as much as possible... though it would be nearly impossible to stop it altogether, it ultimately makes them worse, im not trying to upset you at all.. this is only what ive learned through drastic early intervention services with myson.. when he was almost 2 he stopped all social development (as well as many other "normal" developments for his age) and totally regressed, falling into "his own little world".. he would just sit there and stare at nothing or demonstrate strict repetetive behaviours such as standing things up on end and then "flapping" when they fell over,, he stopped "playing" with anytoys that didnt have a particular "cause and effect" motion (did mostly puzzles), and wouldnt make any eye contact unless you held his head in front of your face.. all of his therapists and specialists said the same thing to me.. whenever he starts doing one of "his things" (like opening and closing something over and over and over) to try to stop it and turn the bahaviour to something more healthy, similar if possible... to allow them to just keep doing it only makes it harder later to stop them.
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@snowflake5 (1580)
• United States
8 Jan 07
I think there are some autism charities that may be able to help - they may be able to point you towards schools especially designed for autism. I think the UK charity "MIND" may be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck.
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@rainbow (6763)
8 Jan 07
Thank-you so much. I have had contacts for these charities before but have always managed to cope with his behaviour etc, alone. Now I am going to have to deal with this kind of thing if he feels that he cannot deal with his schoolwork. He is on school action plus but does not seem to recieve any extra help, except encouragement and as he is not loud or naughty purposefully, he can be left alone to stare into space and then they wonder why his work isnt done and moan at him which is what upsets him. He does have kids to play with, usually the girls or the other boys that need a little extra help, although he doesn't socialise well, luckily he is not alone. I suppose it's time to attack the education and see if they cannot arrange some one-to-one help, wish he could just be happy.
@rainbow (6763)
8 Jan 07
Thank-you so much. I have had contacts for these charities before but have always managed to cope with his behaviour etc, alone. Now I am going to have to deal with this kind of thing if he feels that he cannot deal with his schoolwork. He is on school action plus but does not seem to recieve any extra help, except encouragement and as he is not loud or naughty purposefully, he can be left alone to stare into space and then they wonder why his work isnt done and moan at him which is what upsets him. He does have kids to play with, usually the girls or the other boys that need a little extra help, although he doesn't socialise well, luckily he is not alone. I suppose it's time to attack the education and see if they cannot arrange some one-to-one help, wish he could just be happy.
• United States
8 Jan 07
Does your government offer any help? If you were here in Britain, the state would pick up the tab for a special school (the principle is that indviduals who are ill or disabled can't help this, it's not their choice, and therefore society should do everything to help, including providing schooling which might make their adult lives more successful).
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@gabs8513 (48805)
• United Kingdom
7 Jan 07
Well I think your best bit there is ask the Doctor surely there has to be something you can do to help the poor Boy I just don't know what to suggest the only other thing you could consider is going to the School and telling them and see if they help but with Schools here lol I am not sure if they would bother I hope you can get the poor Boy help on this
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@rainbow (6763)
8 Jan 07
Those were all I could think of too, gonna put it in writing to the school this time, see if that makes more affect than having a word with staff. Sometimes Ithink he might be better in special school but its over an hours journey each way and I don't think I could afford to do it, it'd mean nearly 6 hours driving a day, but what do you do?
@suedarr (2382)
• Canada
10 Jan 07
I am not very well versed in this subject at all and have no experience with autistic children. I think there has been some really good advice already given here and just wanted to wish you all the best!!!!
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@rainbow (6763)
10 Jan 07
Thank-you so muuch for your support! I'm sure he'll be fine if I can just get him to communicate with people and say what he wants/means in a way that people can understand rather than attaching their own ideas and assumptions to his needs, as he doesn't always say what he means or agrees to keep people happy I think. I appreciate that you took the time to read all of this and offer your support
@blueskies (1186)
• United States
10 Jan 07
Rainbow, your son sounds very much like my 12yr old son. My son is not ADHD, but he does have a PDD-NOS diagnosis. We have had a lot of problems getting him to succeed in school. He only wants to do work that is enjoyable to him, he is easily stressed and upset and gets tired easily, just like your son. Until this year, when we finally got the school to give him a one-on-one aid, his progress was stunted and he was acting out in an increasingly alarming fashion. Having the aid gives him the freedom to go for a walk if he's getting stressed out. It also allows the teacher more flexibility for my son, since the aid can handle his specialized needs without taking the teacher away from the rest of the class. One other point I'd like to mention: When my son gets home from school each day, he absolutely needs time to decompress. I allow him to play video games because he really enjoys them and they take his mind off his worries. After he has played for a while, he will then turn off the game and be ready to interact with us at home, do his chores, eat dinner, etc. It's important to let your little guy relax at the end of a tough day in school. Think about it this way..he's been working overtime all day trying to keep it together for school, shouldn't he have a break when he gets home? I hope this helps. {{{hugs}}} to you.
@blueskies (1186)
• United States
10 Jan 07
I'm sorry, I forgot one thing: The teachers at my son's school and his aid have been advised to "back off" from him when he is having difficulty with an assignment. Even the most gentle encouragement from them feels like added pressure to him and leads to a meltdown. If left alone, he will usually shake off his anxiety and get the assignment completed---just maybe not on the teacher's timetable. The teachers have learned to accept that, and considering that the quality of his work is good, they are happy with it.
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@rainbow (6763)
10 Jan 07
They sound almost the same, what does the PDD-NOS diagnosis mean? Bong is like Stitch (Disney) he has a goodness level and once it is used up he enters a panic zone. I'm sure he finds the encouragement intrusive although it is hard to keep him on task especially if he doesn't want to do someting. I still think he's as bright as the others when he can be bothered. He works hard all day and then when he gets home feels he has to read both his reading books, tonight I am only letting him read one because he's been a whirlwind ever since he got home. I'm cooking dinner and he's wrecking the lounge every time I leave it , running around singing and screaming, throwing things and fighting, he doesn't do that at school, just for us. Makes me wonder sometimes, my youngest can be naughty but soon leaves what is expected of him. I never ask Bog to do much except put his toys away when he's finished and get himself into his PJ's for bed but I usually end up helping or it takes so long for him that he can get to stay p an extra hour or so. I try to do bedtime but he never stays in bed when he goes. Anyway enough whinging from me. I'm glad your son has a routine that works for him even if it took so long to get him the support he needs, bless him. I hope you are having a good day together. Thank-you for the hugs!!!
@clownfish (3278)
• United States
31 Jan 07
Hi, Rainbow! I don't really have any suggestions, except that maybe if his teachers could try to give him more time and make sure he understands what is being taught in case they are moving too fast for him. He does seem overwhelmed - poor little guy! I just wanted to say that I hope things get better for him soon! :-)
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@rainbow (6763)
31 Jan 07
Thank-you so much for your kind thoughts, they are much appreciated!
@cjsmom (1423)
• United States
31 Jan 07
I feel like such a lucky lady. I just found this discussion, rainbow but we've been friends for a bit now. It took me quite awhile but I read every response and comment. You will get there with your little one. CJ, with not being able to hold a regular conversation and not being able to write as he should is doing well otherwise. He has a personal aide all day at school and if it weren't for her I don't know where we'd be. He can basically take his time if he needs to with the work. He does so well in dressing himself, making his own dinner (which is usually Hot Pockets) and cleaning up when I get on him about the mess he's made. I read your Matilda post as you know and think that's so cool. Keep 'trucking' girl, you'll get there. You're a very smart mom.
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@rainbow (6763)
31 Jan 07
I am so pleased that CJ is gettin on Ok! It must make life a lot easier for you! I'm glad we are friends you always make me feel like I'm getting things a bit right, I reallly appreciate my pals here dragging me through the bad bits. Matilda Moo is still a star-cow, down to artound an hour getting ready in a morning instead of 3 and still getting other things done too. I'm feeling so muc hcalmer, if we could just sort scholl out I'd be in heaven, lol.
• India
19 Jan 07
trust me this is the best place to learn and learn and learn....any problems faced over here is also a learning.... one small suggestion from my side... give him tasks not just as a duty but as a challenge...!!!! see the difference
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@rainbow (6763)
19 Jan 07
thats a clever idea, thank you very much sort of "I bet you can't..." type of thing, reverse psychology.
• Canada
17 Jan 07
Your son sounds like my son, age 7, who is also ADHD and Autistic. I can tell you that for my guy, written work is the cause of huge anxiety at school. His psychologist did an assessment and said he has a written output disorder, as well as a significant processing delay. Writing becomes a huge obstacle to him, because he has to try to plan where to put things, when he is still trying to process the original instructions. He is in a special class, but does not get one on one support. He and his teacher brainstormed thigns he can do when writing really upsets him. He can take a small break - either to get a drink of water, or play with some playdough, or walk up and down thehall for two minutes - and this is often enough to break his anxiety. It's true - pushing them even in a gentle way when they are so upsret will do nother - you have to find a way to snap them out of the anxiety and withdrawal.
@rainbow (6763)
17 Jan 07
Wow, thanks it's like you read what's in my head right now. Bong hates written work because it takes him so long, his reading is very good and he loves art but that's about it for him really. He sees the pead 1 March so I'm going to try to get an appointment with his teacher betwwen now and then to see how he's getting on so I can pass any important information on which I hope will give her clues how to get them to help him. You sons teacher has worked hard to try and help his so you are lucky. I will pass her ideas on. Bong is not in a special class but he is so unhappy when he gets home because he gave his all for the full day that we have so much negativity to deal with that his teacher doesn't see. She says he is tired because he has worked hard but surely if we only ever get anger, paddys etc he is sdoing too much and needs help. I will be listing the points you have brought up for when I can go see her. Thank-you so much for your help
@rainbow (6763)
18 Jan 07
I asked that he be allowed a little drift time before the support (intimidating for him) is given, but did not get a reply, I thought this would help him be less tired. What adult would ome home so tired from a job they didn't like that is ruined the rest of their day? Billy's IEP targets for the last 2 years are:- 1. to put his hand up when wanting to speak during lass teaching 2. to finish a given piece of work in time allocated - use timer one a day 3. to respond to a situation straight away and act accordingly 4. not to be last hanged after PE 5. to begin to learn to share He did accomplish sitting on the mat without shuffling and touching other students, but that is the only one and they say he's doing well towards his targets. I will researh his rights on the IEP before I go see his teacher again, but it is like banging my head on the wall and far less satisfying. Obviously I don't want hims to need help but unless they are willing to sort his problems out as a team then how an they ever expect him to achieve anything? Wading the waters is a good phrase, you seem to be well on top of these things though, your ideas and suggestions at least give me a new starting point as a naggy mum. Thanks so much for your coontinued help! I really mean that.
• Canada
23 Jan 07
Oh wow. Those are some goald. If you don't mind, here are some thoughts...I hope I am not being harsh...I just feel frustrated for you and your child:( 1. Putting his hand up to speak is a good goal. 2. If your son simply can't finish a piece of work in the time allotted...it means they need to make acomodations to either the amount of work expected or the time allowed to him. This is not a neurologically typcial child, and he cannot be forced to do somethinn he simply cannot do. No amount of rewards will make him able all of a sudden. Asking him to keep trying for an unattainable goal is setting him up for failure and, ultimately, despair...and more behavioural problems. Ask that he can be allowed to do 1/2 the work for starters. 3. Many MANY kids cannot respond straight away - and if your son has any kind of processing delay, he will need more time. It is unrealisic to ask a child to respond straight away. And the 'respond in an appropriate manner' is far to vague...and open to interpretation. It's not even a measurable goal - one teacher may think hes being appropriate while another thinks he isn't. You need more specific, measurable goals...like 'will stop shouting when asked to stop' or 'will not grab toys from other children'. 4. Why is it a problem for him to be the last changed? I mean - really - does it matter to anyone other than an impatient teacher? I'd reject this goal completely if I were you. 5. Again - to begin to learn to share - it is not measurable at all. It needs to be somethign like 'will share when asked, s our of 4 times' or something like that. Otherwise - how canyou know if he's making progress or not? That he was able to learn to sit on a matt is very good! And it was also a measurable goal - which is probably why he was able to achieve it. Always remember - you are not nagging - you are advocating for your child. This is one of the most important thigns we can do for our children ... stand up for them when they aren't able to stand up for themselves. Good luck and hope I've helped some:) I added you as a friend but I'm such a newbie to mylot I have no idea what that means...
@ossie16d (11834)
• Australia
30 Jan 07
How difficult this must be for you, and in fact the whole family, rainbow. I have just read through all the responses and comments made by others who have experience with an autistic child and as I haven't personally I can only offer a few comments. You must really push the school for extra assistance for your son, because if you don't then it will never happen. The fact that he is already behind is enough reason for them to provide the support. Failing the school giving the assistance, approach your local member to see what he can do then if that fails write a letter to your local paper. There will be more than your family who are being affected and sometimes the combined pressure from many families can get what you need. You say that he is awake too many hours, but is also tired, so perhaps there would be some way that he could have a little nap in the afternoon, even at school. I am not saying long but half an hour might help him just a little bit. There is no point in waiting to get help, and I see that he has an appointment with the specialist in another month or so and you might like to ask if he/she can help in any way. If you do not press the point now, then in another year he will be further behind than he is now. Good luck with it all and keep us updated on what happens, as it might help others in the forum who also appear to have some problems. :)
@rainbow (6763)
30 Jan 07
Thank-you so much for your help and support, I always feel that maybe soemone else might not like to ask and perhaps will get a little help from the replies. I am hoping to be able to have a review with his teacher before the March appointment but will let you all know of any progress. Have you seen my Miranda Moo discussion, I posted it twice because it vanished first time before I finished, and then it reappeared later on. Matilas's my best breakthrough in ages and seems to be really helping him. I hoped she might give someone else an idea
@amby87 (322)
• India
12 Jan 07
thats sad
@rainbow (6763)
14 Jan 07
thank-you for your response.