Wednesday, August 12, 2009

just can't go there again...

Do you ever feel like... you just can't go there again. You have been there before and you know you don't want to go back there... all the pain and heartache... all the fighting for what is right... feeling like you have no control, but yet desparately seeking someone who understands... someone who can make a difference.

Every new school year, there is a new teacher for your ADHD kid and you sit on pins and needles waiting to see how things will turn out. Will there ever be a year when the teacher actually understands? Will there ever be a year when your kid actually enjoys going to school? Will there ever be a year you don't have to fight to get your child what they need?

You think this year is going to be different... only to have your hopes dashed within the first week of school. You want to scream and yell - "You just don't understand!" "He is different and you can't treat him like all the other kids!" "Haven't you read his IEP?"

I recently read an article that talked about the reason that teachers resist... and it all boils down to behavioral vs. academics models of disability. Source = CHADD Parent to Parent Workbook - Article "Why Teachers Resist - Understanding Teacher Attitudes about ADHD"

In the behavior model, the teacher observes the student to have a behavior problem and that it is linked to their motivation. They believe that the behavior is deliberate which leads the teacher to try and eliminate the bad behavior with consequences - sometimes severe. It suggests that the student is the one that must do the changing. The focus is on stopping the behavior instead of teaching them new skills. They feel there is no need to make special accommodations for a kid with ADHD.

In the academic model, the student is observed to have a learning problem and the teacher understands that it is related to a neurological issue. They believe the student would do better if they could and thus the circumstances are beyond their control. The teacher works to help the child fix their learning problem. In this model, the educational system accepts responsibility for the student's change and the focus is on building new skills and positive reinforcement will be used to reinforce their progress.

I know that as a parent of a kid with ADHD, I even find myself applying the behavioral model with my son and get upset with him for things that are beyond his control. I can completely understand how a teacher might come to the conclusion that it is a behavior problem that needs to be dealt with... because I fall into that trap as well.

I just pray that God will give me the right words and that the teacher will be open when we finally get to meet so that we can work together as a team to help my child be successful.

I am the parent of an ADHD kid... and it is my job to advocate for him. It's just life with boys... and ADHD.


Anonymous said...

Praying for a sweet new year. May God bles you all and give him a teach er with a servants heart! Blessing to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your heart with us :-)

KLS said...

This was an absolutely beautifully written plea! I understand. I hope this school year and every one after it bring joy and a good education!

kg said...

Becky you put into words the thoughts and emotions I have been fighting the past couple of weeks. Here's to hope!

Gina said...

I hope you have a fabulous year!! Your post was so well written and moving. I'd love to steal it and share it with some teachers I work with!!

sara said...

Yes!! See, this is why God has given you a VOICE!