Parents And Teachers Unite To Support Your Children With ADHD
Posted Mar 15 2012 12:29pm
Yesterday on the Help Your ADHD Child Facebook page, a very frustrated mother posted that the teacher’s at her daughter’s school were suggesting a medication evaluation.
I don’t know if I read into things too much, but it came across that the school was politely trying to hint that this child needs an increase in her ADHD medications.
Perhaps it was the tone I gave to the e-mail, and my natural instinct to respond with compassion and support.
Any way you cut it, I re-posted her question so all of our “fans” would see this question and have a chance to offer their thoughts.
Mind you, I’m married to a teacher, so of course I asked for her thoughts on the matter as well. It seemed a little out of sorts, and beyond the scope of practice, for a teacher to suggest a medication re-evaluation.
It’s of course certainly okay…even harmless…to inquisitvely ask how the ADHD medications are working at home…
But it’s certainly NOT acceptable or allowed (by any means) for a teacher to imply a child needs a higher dose of medications.
Responses quickly poured in. Many, if not all, were very supportive and compassionate to how this Mom was feeling. Some even offered suggestions about how to interact with the schools to facilitate a productive discussion to help this child.
All in all I thought it was a very productive and supportive discussion. You could feel the passion in the posts, and it was no surprise (to me) at just how polarizing this topic was, pitting teachers against parents.
Having asked a good friend of mine (who happens to be a teacher) to review the discussion and add some thoughts, I soon after called it a night feeling good that there were balanced perspectives.
I woke up this morning to an incredible e-mail from one of our fans. She indicated that she was a little concerned about the tone in the discussion, and the underlying negative message being sent.
She was right…
It was negative to the degree that teachers were being marked as the enemy.
And believe me…I didn’t pick up on it myself…because even I have been known to engage in some friendly teacher bashing and banter.
After all, one of the most common frustrations I hear from parents of children with ADHD is about teachers who constantly (allegedly) refuse to follow 504 plans and IEPs.
I hear about (and have personally experienced) teachers who seem unwilling to cooperate or work with students who learn differently.
BUT…I do feel it is necessary to balance these feelings about teachers, not only because I am married to a teacher, but because I honetly believe teachers are an important (invaluable) part of building a support team for any child, especially a child with ADHD.
Teachers are in a position to see our kids in a particular environment. They watch how our children learn, interact with others, and make sense of material that is presented to them.
In addition to instruction, teachers must also be skilled in managing a classroom of kids.
Where most of us have 2-3 kids, a teacher is often responsible for classes upwards of 20-30 students. Imagine being in that classroom with 2-3 students who have different learning styles and challenges.
No…I am not defending them or letting them off the hook. Part of this job, as teacher, is to learn how to support and reach children with different learning styles. After all, we don’t all learn the same.
Parents are charged with the duty of raising their children…and by definition, we parents typically get pretty emotional and protective of our children.
We want the best for them. It is often hard to accept differences, and sometimes…maybe sometimes…there is a bit of taking responsibility for these differences.
As a parent of a child with ADHD, it’s NOT uncommon to feel alone…and up against a battle with everyone you meet. After all, most people don’t understand ADD / ADHD. It’s a fact. We just have to accept it.
No matter the situation, this fan who wrote me made a good point. She remarked, “Do you think people take the time to put themselves in the other person’s shoes (i.e., the teacher) to see what they are up against?
I couldn’t help but nod along as I read this question.
She’s right. To fully understand a person’s individual situation, and struggles, we have to put our differences (and biases) aside, and see things in their shoes.
The best advice I can offer is to build a large support staff or network with as many people in your child’s corner as possible. Turn frustrated teachers into allies, by nurturing relationships and letting them know just how far you will go to get your child the help he (or she) NEEDS to succeed.
NOT DESERVES, BUT NEEDS!
Now, as I mentioned earlier, I am no stranger to come down pretty hard on teachers, doctors, therapists, and other professionals working with these children. I do so because I am pretty fed up and frustrated with all the ignorance of how these kids get treated. But, please know, the best and most direct path to supporting your childis to find a way to work with these individuals and not against them.