View Full Version : Why would a possible ADHD (2e) kid not be a good candidate for HS?

03-14-2012, 09:51 PM
Hi! So im really new here, and haven't really posted much. I've been lurking and reading and reading old threads, trying to find the answers to most of my questions. Anyways, last week my ds, who is 5, met with his psychologist, who made sure to tell me that he didn't think we should continue homeschooling. (he didn't elaborate, so I'd like your speculations, if you have any.)

Here's the background:
DS turned 5 in November. We had his iq tested when he turned 4 for admission to a gifted charter school, and he tests highly gifted overall, and profoundly gifted in some areas. He is also very quirky, has trouble focusing, some fine motor issues, and possibly some sensory issues. We are not even close to working out what is going on in his little head, IMO.

He had a rough first year of preschool in Montessori, and we decided to keep him home this year because he is a Nov. birthday, and according to our state, should start K this fall, 2012. We did get him enrolled in the gifted charter school early for K last year, but it was a 35 min commute, and all day every day K. DS also suffers from multiple food allergies, so that was another big reason we decided to HS for K. I had originally planned on him skipping K and going to first, (well not really skipping it, but we arent "officially" HS since our state doesnt require notification until 6.) but it doesn't look like that is an option right now, there are no spots at the school in 1st. Also, a case has been made, and I see their point, that k is important for "learning how to do school."

When I learned that DS would need to start in K, I had all but decided that we would just keep him home and home school him for the foreseeable future.

On Thurs, DS had an appt with the psychologist, who told me that homeschooling would not be good for him and that we should consider medicating his ADHD before even starting kindergarten to "save his reputation."

Let me stop right here and explain that DS does not have a formal ADHD diagnosis. His Montessori teacher felt he had some attention issues, and we see them at home as well. He is not hyperactive, he is he inattentive type. Our families and friends don't see it, because it's not severe, but thats not to say that there isn't an issue. However, this is all just going off a checklist, no formal evaluations by a psychiatrist.

I didn't ask why he thought homeschooling would be bad, I was too focused on the medication discussion.

I'm guessing its a "socialization" argument, which to be honest doesn't really hold water with me. DS would be in different grades for reading and math ideally, and he would have to sit alone at lunch because of his food allergies. And lets not forget all the parties and activities he will be either left out of, or feel left out of.

We've been working on at least a 1st grade level already, I have this horrible feeling that he will go, be bored and act out, and then I will hear that he needs medication. But, the psych has me second guessing myself and my "mommy gut" feeling of homeschooling him.

Okay, if you read all that, and it makes sense, I will be amazed. :)

I have nothing against medication, I was just surprised that the dr would suggest starting it before school. DS's problems don't seem to be that limiting, but I guess I'm no expert.

What I'm strongly considering is getting him a neuropsych eval. The psych we see now kind of dismissed the accuracy of testing for ADHD, but I'm pretty nervous about medicating on just a checklist.

Any tips or advice?

03-14-2012, 10:03 PM
My dd has been diagnosed with Asperger's, is a mix of highly/profoundly gifted, is inattentive and has a host of other issues. We've always hs'd, and only recently have we tried medications (she's 10). We've had teachers/therapists/psychologists all voice their opinions on homeschooling, some positive, some not so much. I listen, gather information, and make my own decisions. I've fired a few of the "pros" who insisted on pushing their own agendas, and I've found a group of excellent doctors and therapists who listen to us and work with us.

Listen to your gut. You know your son better than anyone. I'd be especially leery of someone who is worried about a 5 yo's reputation enough to think it justifies medicating him for an undiagnosed condition! Something is just off there. If this guy cannot put his personal opinions aside, you might need to shop around for another therapist. It's worth it.

There are lots of us here hs'ing our 2E kids, many because schools just cannot accommodate their special mix of needs. You CAN successfully do this! :)

03-14-2012, 10:06 PM
I've found myself (and heard from many others here) that many medical professionals have a bias against homeschooling simply out of ignorance and (incorrect) preconceived notions. My son has combined type ADHD (and other issues) and a year of kindergarten was enough to show us that the classroom wasn't the place for him. But the first thing his pediatrician said when I discussed neuropsych concerns with her was, "First, we have to figure out how to get him back in school!" She viewed homeschooling as a panic response--as if he were some kind of elementary school dropout-- and not a solution. She has since admitted that she doesn't know anything about homeschooling and has been asking questions about it when we see her for check ups.

How much have you noticed the inattention while homeschooling? He'll never get such one-on-one attention at school and there will be high expectations for completing work with time limits (I heard that the teacher my son would have had in first grade set a timer for everything).

You know your child best, it's that simple. Go with your Mommy instinct!

03-14-2012, 10:06 PM
some specialists just dont like homeschooling and i swear they will pull their expert card just to convince you they are right. some specialists truly believe that the schools do a good job with 'special' kids, but they dont.

there is NO reason for your son to be in school, unless there is a school that he really likes and you are sure can meet all his needs, including food . . . . hahahaha

03-14-2012, 10:13 PM
My son has many of the same issues and we finally decided to homeschool halfway through this year, which was 4th grade. It has been hands down the best thing I have ever done for him. Even though this week seems to have marked the end of the honeymoon period, he is still doing so much better than he was in school. We medicated starting in 2nd grade, and while I was very hesitant to do it, it really helps. We are lucky in that he really only needs the medicine for things that require intense sustained focus so I only medicate on school days.

We have also been able to cut his dose back since starting to homeschool. He isn't having to focus through so much distraction, or for as long, so we bumped back down to 30 mg of Vyvanse. Just enough to get through the morning while it is at its peak effectiveness, but he is still eating and sleeping normally. The school had been suggesting we up his dose and maybe look into anti anxiety or an antidepressant. My response was to try to remove the biggest source of his anxiety and it worked beautifully.

I am able to meet him where he is, while gently challenging him to move forward in the subjects he struggles with. I am also able to better guide his social interactions so he can still be the social butterfly he is without being bullied, or causing the rest of the class to be distracted.

03-14-2012, 10:14 PM
I agree with what has been said. I think if homeschooling is working out and you feel it's what's best then you should go for. Also if you don't see a need to medicate your child because you can handle the inattentiveness I don't think you should have to medicate him just to send him somewhere you are not sure would be best for him anyway.

03-14-2012, 10:26 PM
Thank you for your replies! I was really caught off guard by the comment, because in my opinion, he's a poster boy for the kind of kid that would benefit from HS. Lol.

I'm grateful for the encouragement, truly. :)

03-14-2012, 10:41 PM
My ds is 'on the spectrum'. He did JK/SK and part of grade one. I can tell you it was a disaster for him. I can't imagine anything better than homeschooling for a child with attention issues. I was a teacher and later a tech trainer for kids with IEP's. From my experience in the schools, and what I saw as a parent, these kids are treated as problems. The focus is on what they CAN'T do rather than their strengths. The focus is on how to make them fit in to the classroom model. I can also say that these kids are not 'learning disabled'. The learn differently and they develop on a different timeline than do more neurotypical kids. However, I've seen them shine in other areas at an earlier age than their peers. For example, my son didn't read until he was almost 8 and, at 11, is still struggling to write, but his knowledge of history and his ability to form theories based on his knoweldge and articulate them is way ahead of his peers.
A lot of these kids have sensory issues -- imagine being ADD in room with 25-30 kids, with buzzing, flickering lights, footsteps in the hallway, rattling pipes, wierd smells, constant tranistions and without the ability to tune any of that out. I wouldn't be able to thrive either.
BTW, a really great forum of parents who hs their neuro-atypical (or right-brained) kids is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeschoolingcreatively/.
Oh.....and 'save his reputation'?!!!! Really?!!!!

03-14-2012, 10:52 PM
For several years we tried to talk to my son about how he was bothering the other kids in class, and he would burst into tears and tell us over and over again that it wasn't him, they were the ones bothering him, and they just wouldn't be quite and leave him alone. Despite his high IQ he was constantly behind, utterly confused, had no idea why he kept getting in trouble, and was just miserable.

He had one good year, with an amazing teacher who understood him, loved him, and allowed him to thrive. It was little things like letting him sit under his desk during work time without saying anything to him about it. She fully understood that he was creating a boundary around himself without the humiliation of those desk partitions.

Now at home if he wants to do his silent reading upside down, or draw a picture while watching a documentary, or pace while he thinks, or do his out loud reading while bouncing on his toes it is perfectly fine.
I can tailor the amount of sensory input to the moment and subject. For math the dogs must be put away, the light should be on low, but the curtains open, and we can't have music on. But for science we could be doing it in the middle of Walmart the day before Christmas and he would be totally fine. He doesn't have to wear itchy polo shirts, or eat only when they tell him to even though his head is starting to pound. And no one will ever tell him he is stupid, or lazy, or will be stuck in 4th grade forever if he doesn't get his act together.

03-14-2012, 11:07 PM
I would say that your son's therapist has issues of his own. And can't deal with it. Has nothing to do with your child's dx. IMO. of course.

03-14-2012, 11:19 PM
I'm with Lakshmi. "Reputation" my ... grrr. It sounds like you and your son would be perfect for homeschooling and kudos for you for second guessing that "professional."

03-14-2012, 11:30 PM
I would say that your son's therapist has issues of his own. And can't deal with it. Has nothing to do with your child's dx. IMO. of course.

Ezakly. My son has severe ADHD and Asperger's and is quite intelligent. I *do* have to medicate his ADHD because he can't retain diddlysquat when he's unmedicated, but I chose to do that after he'd been home a while. Oh, and I tried school for him. Epic fail. He's much happier at home.

Accidental Homeschooler
03-14-2012, 11:44 PM
When we were thinking about taking our dd out of kindergarten I took her to a psychologist. When I told her that I was thinking of taking dd out and hsing she said, "I think that would be good." I would maybe talk to someone else before trying medication under those circumstances. It almost sounds like medicating for prevention rather than treatment. I think that is sort of scary.

03-15-2012, 12:48 AM
My son has multiple food allergies too and when he gets the tiniest trace of one of his problem foods - he is a totally different kid. Can't sit still, can't focus, can't control his emotions. He is textbook ADHD with a splash of conduct disorder. It is a nightmare and lasts for days until he clears all the toxins out again - it sucks, but it is part of the food allergy thing. He has a VERY VERY sensitive system. And he is super active - but that is his age and his temperment and is how he learns. My son is a sponge and quite advanced, but he needs to learn hands-on and actively. When i took him for speech therapy at the school - the start of our second (yes second!) session, the teacher wanted to talk to me about having him evaluated for gifted, but also for ADHD and "anything else." The schools are quick to label and medicate - cuz it makes their jobs easier to have a room full of quiet, obedient little children. Precocious, active kids are picked out quickly for evals. While parents who are begging to have their kids tested are made to jump thru hoops. Just not right.

Now we do see some "hyper" behaviors at home - but he is 6 and all boy and a very hands on learner. He is smart and gets bored easily (leading to fidgeting - which I do as a grown adult when I am bored!) but HSing is PERFECT for that!! It is ridiculous to think that a school could give him a better education than you could HSing him. You can teach him how he learns best, at whatever pace and level he is at. Public and private schools can't do that. So what that my son wants to stand at the table doing tap steps while doing math? Who cares that he is in 1st grade and doing 3-5th grade work? What does it matter that he has been reading chapter books since he was 4 and hates "baby" work to the point of refusing to do it? No biggie for me. But man, a school would freak out over him and his learning style and learning needs. They can not accommodate or challenge him the way I can at home. You'll probably find the same.

The fact that the doc wants to medicate him without a real diagnosis is crazy. It is unethical. I would get myself a new doctor to be perfectly honest.

Have you looked into food intolerances in addition to the IgE allergies? DS's list is HUGE when it comes to intolerances and they cause major behavior issues. When he is on his special diet and taking his supplements, he is amazing. We do kinesiology, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and oriental meds with him. It is helping him to be more calm and more centered and more focus, helping him to reign in and control his emotions and impulses, AND it is helping his allergies to the point that we have been successfully reintroducing foods! It is healing the liver damage and gut damage and immune system deficiencies that caused the allergies to begin with. It is also healing his nervous system and decreasing the ADHD like issues. Truly life altering for us.

03-15-2012, 12:57 AM
some specialists truly believe that the schools do a good job with 'special' kids, but they dont.

Bingo. My parents both taught at the elementary school level, and my wife has worked as an occupational therapist in schools, and frankly, often they were appalled at the lack of help that special needs kids got. (Not across the board, as some were good, but many more than should be expected were inadequate.) There's no guarantee at all that your son would benefit from the school. Maybe, maybe not. But as for me, I wouldn't want to take that chance.

Our older son went to PS through the first quarter of 2nd grade. He's mildly ADD, possibly high-functioning autism spectrum, food-allergic (milk and peanut), and by the time we pulled him, was miserable at lunch and recess because nobody would talk to him or play with him. The ostracism of the "different" was finally starting to occur, and we decided no more of that. He wasn't being bullied per se, but it was going to get there pretty quickly, in our opinion. Since your son seems to share some of the same traits, I wonder if the same thing might happen with him. In cases like our son's, "socialization" as a PS provides it is mostly negative. Why put them through that when there are so many other opportunities to be around other kids -- sports, clubs, library groups, etc.?

Parental instincts are usually right. Stick with them, if you ask me. Good luck!

03-15-2012, 01:23 AM
I believe that many medical professionals are asked for their advice so often, about so many things, by so many people, that they really start to believe their own bullsh*t.

03-15-2012, 02:06 PM
Thank you again everyone for your replies! I truly appreciate them all! It's very timely that I came across this article today, about add medication. I'm not against it, I am against it as a first option in a kid who isn't even formally diagnosed. I think I will look into this book, not sure if it is "secular" or not. :) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-john-payne/why-the-ritalin-debate-is_b_1335059.html

03-15-2012, 02:35 PM
I agree - trust your gut.

While I'm not against medication when truly helpful, the "medicate your brilliant child pre-emptively so he fits in" thing makes me sick to my stomach. That's shoving a square peg into a round hole, not helping him reach his potential.

03-15-2012, 03:27 PM
I brought my son home after a semester of PS and THEN he was diagnosed with ADHD, and the medication has made a tremendous difference. It took a year of adjusting and trying to find the right combo for right now, but we use a non-stimulant at night that keeps him from bouncing off the walls during the day, and a quick release (i.e., not XR) stimulant during the day so he can maintain enough focus to do his work. We've tried not medicating on weekends, vacations, etc, but HE asks for it because hates not being able to follow a conversation.

He's also highly gifted, asynchronous, on the spectrum... and NO school in a day's drive could handle him, as far as I know. But I can. And I'm happy to!

As far as the therapist, Matthew's councilor asked him one day if he was ready to go back to "real school". He was so funny in his answer - "I'm in REAL school. It's just at home!" I talked to the councilor, and she said he was doing so well that maybe it was time to try PS again. She worried that he didn't have enough contact with other kids. I laid it out for her - the preschool years, the kindergarten trial, the extracurricular activities. He had NEVER made a friend in any of those. He likes his cousin and my best friend's son, both of whom live out of state. And he misses them, but he doesn't lament his lack of friends. Those two kids get him. And that's all he needs. After almost a full session with the councilor myself, she got it, and she has never mentioned it again, and in fact supports our homeschooling now. But somebody had to tell her. Fortunately, she was willing to listen. I can't imagine breaking in a new one! We got lucky though that she "saw the error of her ways". I imagine many would not be so swayed.

Keep up the great work. You are giving your son what no PS ever could. Feel good about that!

03-15-2012, 04:05 PM
Jess, those are the exact words I used when I pulled my son out of school. They wanted to know why. I said, "he's a square peg in a round hole." and they all just nodded their heads. They couldn't deny that he just wasn't going to fit in, no matter how much they wanted me to medicate him into oblivion. At home he only needs the lowest dosage of short acting medicine to concentrate enough for his school day and the rest he is free to be his crazy self if he wants to. It is so much better for him at home now, there is no comparison.

03-15-2012, 06:10 PM
Speaking of medication....

are there any parents who still use or have used or wish they could use ADHD medication. I've been considering it and would like here from you.

You can message or we can start a new thread...


03-16-2012, 12:55 PM
Just thought I would share this other little tid bit from yesterday. DS used to go to OT for fine motor delay, and my twins to to thhe same facility for speech therapy. His old OT ran into us and said, (among other things) "get him in school."

I'm starting to think that maybe people just don't trust me to do a good job. :confused:

03-16-2012, 01:08 PM
That would definitely give me question-mark-head, modmom. I think it has less to do with you, though, and more to do with the fact that most people just trust the system. They really think that it works and that it will work for you. It doesn't work for us and for our kids, which is why we aren't a part of it, but others have their way of looking at the world and offer us advice that is sometimes inappropriate.

03-16-2012, 03:24 PM
Agreed raesrose.... agreed..

I mean I might tell a family whose kid had inexplicable bruises or dirty hair to the point of being disgusting or wore the same clothes for weeks... yeah, I might tell that family that school could be a good choice. BUT... because they had ADHD or some other thing. School imo doesn't really want to deal with those problems and only seem to do it because it is mandated...

But then there are kids in school whose mothers let them get tattoos. And whose parents do lots of meth. (I know I talk about meth a lot. it is just such a huge drug that it nearly impossible to ignore.)

03-16-2012, 03:50 PM
Yes, I think I need a question mark on my head in real life. Lol.

Youguysareright, I think it's mostly the fear of the unknown that makes people say these things. That or just plain stereotypes and assumptions.

03-16-2012, 04:05 PM
Question-mark head. *giggles* Sorry I had nothing to contribute. That just made me laugh.

03-17-2012, 10:41 PM
I want to thank you all again. I had a long talk with some of my close friends, and they all said the same thing, "go with your gut." I just have to trust that I know what's best. My DH is on board with my decision too, which makes it that much easier.

So, we are sticking with HS. :)