As you know if you've been following this particular thread on my blog, 2012 has been – if nothing else – extremely tumultuous with J. and his ADHD and recent diagnosis of ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder).
February 7th J. returned to school, a few hours later landed himself on in-school suspension (ISS). He managed to muddle through until the 16th of February after getting off his ISS when his impulsivity got the best of him once again. He was given ten (10) days of OSS (out-of-school suspension) for fighting in the cafeteria. Long story short – in the lunch line, another student (the one he punched, aka student #1) was picking at him, messing with his hair and poking him ... he asks student #1 to stop (which he does). They all are instructed to back away from a hot counter, student #2 pushes student #1 into J., which makes J. believe that he did it on purpose, so he turns around and punches student #1 in the mouth and then again in the stomach.
Those of you with children with ADHD know that every day is a battle to make good choices, to control the impulsivity, to integrate into the "main stream" if you will – and no matter how much you talk, how much you teach, how much you pray – there are going to be days where things just DO NOT GO ACCORDING TO PLAN – and the challenge lies within to review, exam, and learn from the events of the day.
While there is no "one" thing that we can put our fingers on with regards to a 'trigger' that sets J. off into meltdown mode, we have noticed that he seems to have more issues arise in highly populated classrooms (although there have been instances where he's had issues as well with just one or two other students in the room). So one alternative available to us is the Georgetown School here in Hanover County. An alternative education center, the classrooms are much smaller, the school is much smaller, and we are hoping that J. will be able to turn his academics and his behavior around in this smaller setting, and learn some coping mechanisms as well while he is there which will enable him to be able to return to his home school and be able to integrate with the main stream once again and excel as we know that he can.
It is extremely disheartening to know that your bright, funny, talented child is failing just about every single class and not know how else to help him turn things around and succeed. At first you want to blame the teachers (whom can only do so much) and then you blame your child for not "buckling down" and "doing the required work" but, when you are dealing with an ADHD child – its just not that simple sometimes. The fact that their attention is non-existent with regards to subjects or lessons they have no interest in is an understatement. The challenge lies, in my opinion, in finding a method that does make it interesting – not in placing blame elsewhere. Dealing with an ADHD child is a combined and united effort between physicians, counselors, teachers, parents and the child.
So, for today, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon for my particular bright, funny, talented child. His primary care physician has increased his dosage of Vyvanse which we will begin within the next week, and with the change of environment at school into something less "busy" I am hoping that the two will be a winning combination for J.
As always, I'll keep you posted!