Group For ADHD
Q: Our child
is 12 years old and has been experiencing behavior and
academic problems at home and at school since her academic
career began. The public school recommended a special education
program for her, which we declined. We were worried that
by associating with other children in the special education
class, she might adopt behaviors that were even more extreme
than the ones she was already exhibiting. We felt that
keeping our child in the main- stream education was important
for her positive social development. We enrolled her in
a private school. However,
her issues were so severe that two different private schools
have asked us not to re-enroll her. We are now re-considering
our options in the public education system. Do you think
that special education will minimize or exacerbate negative
behaviors? What can you suggest?
A: It sounds like
your child does indeed need some support in order to be
successful in school. It is important to keep in mind that
Special Education doesn’t
have to be completely segregated. It is possible to utilize
the inclusion programs that public schools offer. Many schools
may offer resource rooms or small special education classes
for academics, but inclusion with the rest of the grade for
enrichment programs (art, gym…). The IEP (Individual
Education Plan) that is created for your child will determine
what accommodations would best fit your child’s needs.
Although it is disconcerting to watch your
child socialize with others who exhibit equally negative
or even worse behaviors, keep in mind that teachers in the
Special Education track are specifically trained to manage
and modify such behaviors. This is not true of mainstream
education teachers, who have different expertise.
The law requires
all personnel dealing with children identified with special
needs to be trained to work with this population. This
is especially true for teachers in Special Education. Unfortunately,
due to lack of resources, not every school has implemented
this to the same standard. In order to ensure that your
child receives the best services that she is entitled to,
it is important for you as a parent to remain involved
and to advocate on behalf of your child. For
example parents can request periodic conferences with teachers
to discuss strategies to manage the child’s behavior
and learning style in the classroom. Sometimes it is necessary
for parents to bring in outside experts to advocate on behalf
of the child on a consulting basis.
Q: My child’s school insisted we
test our child for ADHD. The results of the school’s
testing indicated that my child does have ADHD. I am aware
that schools receive increased funding for ADHD children
and am suspicious of their findings, as I do not observe
anything wrong with my child. What options do I have?
A: First, it is
important to realize that no parent is obligated to accept
the school’s recommendations.
All families are entitled to a second opinion. If you are
not satisfied with the school’s testing then you can
appear before an impartial hearing committee requesting the
Department of Education to either re-test or to provide an
outside tester. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances,
an outside tester will be paid for by the Department of Education.
As for your concerns regarding the school
taking advantage of your child for financial gain; it is
not in the schools best interest to commit fraud by falsifying
testing records of a student for the purpose of acquiring
increased funding. This is a Federal offense with serious
consequences. Although you do not observe difficulties with
your child at home he/she may be experiencing them at school.
Home life has different demands and structure than school
life. Viewing the school as your partner instead of an adversary
will have a positive impact on your child. It is important
to keep communications open with the school and to work together
to give your child a successful academic experience.
Group for ADHD is a private mental
health clinic in Manhattan, founded by Lenore Ruben, LMSW,
CHT, EMDR, and Orly Calderon, Psy.D., a NYS licensed psychologist.
of Group For ADHD is to create effective methods of coping
with ADHD and LD by focusing on the individual’s
Please email your questions to:
subject line: Ask the clinician