Should I retain a child with possible ADHD?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by minnie, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Jan 22, 2014

    I had the school psychologist and spec ed teacher screen and evaluate this student. They say he has ADHD. I am going to talk to talk to the parents about talking to his doctor. He is very low and I think he is going to have a VERY hard time next year. Would you retain this student? I don't want to make the wrong decision whatever I decide.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If the student is going to be retained, kindergarten is the year to do it. The way that I see retention... what will change between the first year in kindergarten to the second that will allow him to be successful, where he wasn't the first time?
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jan 22, 2014

    gr3teacher asks a great question. One issue is medication - if he'll be on meds and possibly more attentive to the curricula a second time around I could see the rationale. As a standalone factor, I wouldn't consider ADHD a rule in/out factor.
     
  5. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I was going to say this almost exactly.
     
  6. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    As was I.
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Would you retain otherwise?
     
  8. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Jan 22, 2014

    I would also point out what can appear to be ADHD in the younger grades can just be developmental and not even be noticable in the next few years. Many doctors will not do the diagnosis until the child is seven or older. I would ask do you believe the retention would be beneficial whether the child has attention issues or not. I also would say if the child is to be retained now is the time to do it.
     
  9. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    To be honest, I don't know if retaining him would be beneficial or not. He is a young kindergartner and immature which is the main reason why I'm considering it. However I have a very small class and he is very close to them. I'm afraid it would devastate him. I know that is something that I shouldn't think about, I just need to think of what's best for him. In fact, our whole school is very small.

    He scored extremely low on DIBELS today. Each test was a minute long and he could not focus. There was stuff he knew but he just didn't want to do it. He gets discouraged very easily and if something is not easy foe him, he gives up. He doesn't test well. However, if I give an activity that required him to use manipulatives, he does great. He is very impulsive and blurts out loud. He CAN learn, he just cannot slow down. I know he is young and a boy, but I've had plenty of boys like that and they do not have the behavior like this little boy.

    I'm also worried about what I should say to mom. Maybe "I've had some concerns about Johnny's ability to focus in class so I had the spec Ed teacher and school psychologist come and observe and give me some feedback. They both agree that he has signs of ADHD. I recommend that you talk to Johnny's doctor." Something along those lines...:unsure:
     
  10. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Jan 23, 2014

    Unfortunately, my down fall as a teacher is doubting every decision I make.
     
  11. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jan 23, 2014

    I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 4, but only because my neurologist knew that it was comorbid with dysgraphia, and I displayed moderate symptoms of ADHD with severe hyperactivity.

    "I've been noticing since the beginning of the year that Johnny has had some difficulty focusing in class, which is affecting his performance, which you might've noticed on the report card. Perhaps you should talk to Johnny's doctor about this?"

    Don't mention ADHD.
     
  12. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Jan 23, 2014

    Social development should certainly be considered, as it is part of the student's well being. Like bros said, you should not mention ADHD specifically. At the schools I've worked at (in SoCal), you're also not allowed to tell the parent to take the child to the doctor either, because they can end up requiring the school to pay for it. Stupid, I know. I'd just check with your school's general (even if unofficial) policies on how to word this appropriately or ask the school psych to sit in on a meeting.
     
  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jan 23, 2014

    Yes, I would definitely bring in the 'team' on this one. I am not allowed to just decide to retain a child. There would have to be a lot of very specific steps taken before that could happen. Look into your school's policies on this.
     
  14. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    minnie, I would say if in doubt don't retain. The research is fairly clear that it's generally a bad idea, and unless you could clearly articulate a strong reason why retention would be beneficial, I would work on addressing the behavioral issues and providing more differentiated learning experiences in the next grade along with a stronger dose of remediation. If focus is really his issue, he may likely pick up those basic skills fairly quickly, especially if the next grade level still teaches reading. Moving from 2nd to 3rd, for example, might be more problematic as many 3rd grade teachers no longer do guided reading groups focused on basic skills acquisition.
     
  15. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Jan 23, 2014

    I'm going to try really hard to get him ready for next year! Next year, he will be in a 1/2 combo class where he will have to work quietly while the teacher is teaching the other grade AND he will will have to focus with another grade in the classroom. Also, the teacher next year expects a lot which is good for you "average" student, but I'm really worried that he will drown. He has a hard time getting just letter sounds and putting them together. Next year, they will be learning how to read more complex words. He also has been in RTI since the second week of school. Thirty minutes a day, one on one. I'm just afraid that he will not be able to do what the teacher next year expects. Also, I know I will get blamed for his behavior next year if he moves on.

    BUT, I know he will be devastated if he has to stay in K. Our class is small and close.

    See!? I'm going back and forth with this! I need to figure this out, though!

    I'm going to meet with his mom and explain to her my concerns this year. I will tell her he is at RISK for retention. I will NOT mention ADHD, but recommend she talk to his doctor about any medical issues that may keep him from working to his potential. I will meet with her again in two months (during this time, we really get into reading decodable words so I will have clearer picture) and I will make a final decision. There also might be a chance where she will not want to have him retain if I choose to do so. In kindergarten, the parents have the final say.
     
  16. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Why would he be in a 1/2 combo? Is that the only option your school has? This child seems like the exact opposite of an ideal 1/2 combo kiddo.
     
  17. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Jan 23, 2014

    Exactly, gr3teacher. But, yes, that's all we have. Our school is a very small country school. Every class is combo except mine. The good thing is that our class sizes are small.
     
  18. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    You have answered your own question - present the objective facts to the parents so they can make an informed decision. If the grade 1 teacher has high expectations it is HER job to support this student. Do not fixate on how the child will feel about being retained. The adults in his life need to make the best possible decision for him, and they cannot focus on his feelings. He will adapt and thrive.

    Talk to your resource team / admin for support in this.
     
  19. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Jan 23, 2014

    This is exactly compatible with my views. Next year he'll still have ADHD. I would consider retention for a kindergartener, but not because he has ADHD.
     
  20. racm

    racm Rookie

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    Jan 24, 2014

    I faced this same decision recently as a Kindergarten teacher. I have a very young male student that is not socially ready for school. At the beginning of the year, I recommended that he should be pulled and have another year of preschool. His mother did not want to do that though. He has made progress now, but is nowhere near ready for 1st grade. My principal made a good point though. Our state mandatory retention in upper Elementary if the state test is not passed. If I retain the student now and he does not pass the test in the future, he will be held back 2 grade levels. She recommended that I send him to 1st and if he does not do well, they will then consider retention.

    I did retain a kinder student last year and it has made a world of difference.
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    That is interesting, racm. Don't retain a student that is behind and socially not ready because he might have to be retained later.

    What I wonder about is with retention AND extra supports for the child will he then progress to the point where he won't need to be retained. Is passing him along almost guaranteeing a self-fulfilling prophecy where he will end up being retained because he didn't get the extra year and the extra help early and up through the year of the test that would stop him from going on.

    It sounds like a why deal with today what we can put off for a few years while he gains more and more baggage making it harder and harder for him to be successful.

    I'm really not for typical retention which is just doing the same grade again with or without the same teacher, but in very early grades such as K and 1 I'm all for a student that behind repeating with many added supports. I've known several successful K repeaters. Some did so because the student went to K not-ready to get services they needed that would be cut off if they didn't go to K by the birthday cut-off. But most of these kids were retained when we had 1/2 day K and they received extra services in the other part of the day.
     
  22. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Personally, I think your principal made a mistake. All of my strugglers the past few years had retention recommended for them and parents refused. It's always amazing that these same parents seem shocked their kids are struggling in third.

    I've also been shocked that some kids were retained in early grades because they are star students.

    I don't think retention is something you automatically do, but it can be beneficial if done early and with supports in place.
     

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