Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Open Letter to My Son's School

Help me.

Help me help my son.

I have experience with exactly one ADHD child.  Really, just one child, period, neuroatypical or otherwise.  I have no nieces or nephews, and I don't personally know more than one or two people who have kids with ADHD.  Actually, I'm sure that I know more; but I only know of one or two.

You know about 450 kids in any given year.  Over the years the school has been in existence, you've known thousands of kids.  According to the November 12 edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (a happy sounding publication if there ever was one), our state is in the highest tier for incidence of ADHD.  Surely, surely you have come across more than a few kids with ADHD over the years and have gleaned some hint of how to teach a child with ADHD.  And if you haven't, surely, surely there is someone in the school system in this city or at least the state who has.

Exams begin on Friday and I do not feel my child is ready.  Despite the fact that I know he is bright, his tests over the past quarter do not demonstrate that fact.  And our efforts at studying this evening do not give me hope that this quarterly exam will turn everything around.  I know he can do it; but I don't know that he will be able to.

And while we are on the subject, why is there regular homework during exam week?  I know some of it is test prep, but at this point, I'd like to be focusing only on Friday's test, not worrying about 20 minutes of reading and not watching him work in a workbook in preparation for the preliminary state assessment coming up in a month and a half.  Let him/us just focus on exams right now. 

Of course, the reality is that I cannot teach a quarter's worth of math in two nights.  I can't teach good study skills when we spend so much of our time just getting through it. 

I feel as though you - the whole school, not just the teacher - look to me for the answers.  But I don't have a degree in education, much less special education.  I support my son, I sit with him while he does homework, I try to engage him and show him tricks to get through it.  I really do try.  But by the time I pick him up after my day at work, we are both tired, and I still need to try to put a decent meal on the table and get him in bed at a reasonable time.  I need more support from you.  By 5:30pm, I feel as though we should just be icing the cake, not stirring the batter.

Help me.  If you can help me, I promise you the results will be worth it.

--Dylan's mom


  1. You need a 504. Then you can modify his homework and set up some accommodations for testing, etc.

    Anyway - it's Tuesday now. I hope the exam went well and y'all had a great weekend!

  2. He actually does have a 504, and his teacher goes above and beyond it. But it's really not about accommodations. It's about schools viewing the bigger picture. He has the accommodations, but is he learning? It seems that with their seeming experience with ADHD kids, they should have a better grasp on how to do it. The teacher wants this, too. He didn't deal with this in France (where there is much more of a focus on learning than on tests). Here in the US, he *wants* additional skills to better teach Dylan, but their answer is for me to get bigger, better drugs.

    They are a good school, but they want an easy answer like so many.