Supporting ADHD Kids in the Classroom - Zane's Story

Wendy Communications Coordinator

My 11-year-old son, Zane, was diagnosed with ADHD in gr. 2. After having a very difficult year, he was assessed through the school.

Grade 3 was like night and day. He still struggled with his emotions but he was given a very dynamic teacher and a very dynamic classroom. I cannot say enough about this teacher she is truly great at what she does.

The following year in grade 4 he was given a teacher who had a more structured class but she was fully prepared for him and created an area in her class that he could use fidget toys and get up and move around when he needed to. She created an amazing bond between her and my son.

During both gr. 3 and gr. 4 Zane was given tools to use at school. He was given a rocking chair, thera bands, a standing desk, a trampoline etc. I didn’t have to ask for anything for him because everyone seemed to bend over backwards to get what they thought he needed. I had constant communication from the school, resource teachers etc.

There were still struggles but I knew he had the tools he needed.

I always felt though that a number of teachers who worked with Zane did not understand what ADHD really is and that communication between teachers was lacking. There wasn’t a consistency between his main teacher and a teacher he would see once a day for example. It was difficult for him to understand why what was allowed from one teacher was not allowed from another.

Grade 5 has been a disaster since September. He was not given many of the tools he had last year. I've had to fight for almost everything for him this year. I've had tell his teacher she shouldn't be laughing while I describing my son’s challenges in the classroom. I have had to listen to her tell me that we needed to push him academically because he was able to do the work and we didn’t want him to be a drop out. I have had to let her know that he needs fidget items to better function in the classroom and they cannot be held as a reward for getting his work done. I also had to listen to the vice principal tell me that his behaviour would not be tolerated this year because while some of it had to do with ADHD a lot of it was learned behaviour. I asked his teacher for help many times to figure out what was triggering him this year given that he finished grade 4 very well and had an amazing summer. All of this resulted in us putting Zane into a new classroom so he could change teachers.

We feel as though the school believes he should have outgrown his ADHD and he is simply a "bad kid."

We tried medication in gr. 4 and the beginning of gr. 5 but it made him very angry so we took a break because I didn't trust that his school would be supportive. Recently we started trying a new medication and we're hoping that it is the right fit.

The move to a new classroom has been better for him. His new teacher is kind, but is not set up in any way to support his needs. I find they do not use his IEP recommendations and do not communicate with us or seem to be very positive about him or his success. EVERY time I bring a concern to the teacher or principal about something that happened in Zane’s day I am told it didn’t happen the way he described. They tell me the goal for this year is to have Zane advocate for himself and every time he does or he asks questions he is either told no or not to be rude.

Earlier in the year I reached out to the superintendent of education for our school and he was great. Things seemed to have changed for a bit but, I feel as though they just tell me what I want to hear and then don’t make any changes.

To say this is a frustrating year doesn’t even begin to describe it but we will keep advocating for him and for ADHD awareness every day.

Thanks for listening

- Joanne

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