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Thread: Teacher feedback w/ ADD...

  1. #1
    ReneeNJ's Avatar
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    Default Teacher feedback w/ ADD...

    The jury is still out on Emma's third grade teacher. I've been very deliberate in not oversharing info w/ her and letting her form her own opinion w/r/t Emma. I did tell her that she has a new ADD diagnosis and started meds a few weeks before school started. I touched base w/ her a few weeks ago (only 2 weeks into school) but didn't get much feedback. It's time to touch base again (need to get new Rx for meds from ped) but I think I need a list of specific questions to ask her since she doesn't seem to offer up much info. Does anyone have suggestions on questions? I'm coming up blank except asking about focus/attention.

    I also wonder if the meds are doing anything. She is taking time-release Ritalin (Ritalin LA). This is relatively short-acting (6-7 hours) so we don't see the effects at home. We have missed meds a couple of days and I have asked Emma if she feels different. Her response "No, should I?". We have seen a significant decline in appetite (thus far no weight loss) and some difficulty w/ falling asleep but melatonin has helped that (w/ ped approval). The ped seems disinclined to go to a longer acting med like Concerta or even the patch. I don't want to go to something that requires mid-day dosing either. Any suggestions on how I can help Emma assess how she is doing?

    Sorry I've been scarce -- the school year doesn't seem to have settled down yet!

    Renee

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    Suzi is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default One thing I would do...

    can you go visit at lunchtime just so you can assess her demeanor? I was shocked once when I went to school and saw my dd on Concerta. She was a zombie! I asked the teacher if she was always that way and she said yes! Why didn't she tell me? If you can't go for a quick visit mid-day, I'd ask the teacher about it. Does she appear normal during the day, is she expressive or withdrawn, etc. What specific issues led you to have her dx? Was it grades or couldn't sit still in class, etc? I'd list those out too and have the teacher answer.

  3. #3
    Christine S Guest

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    Do you give it to her at home as well? I like Suzi's idea of checking up on her at school.

    I don't usually go in with specific questions, but will rather talk about the issues we've seen at home. ie: With Tobin he was melting down VERY easily once home (and often in the mornings as well) so I asked if he had been doing all right in that area. At first she said yes, then thought about it and told me of a few incidents. Nothing major, but I was able to point out the reason behind his behavior and give suggestions on working with him.

    With the meds, my dd is on concerta and we find if she misses one day the effect usually happens on day 3 AFTER she misses. Even if she's continued to take the meds, she will fall apart on day 3. Same with dh (he's on adderal). It's always 3 days later. Just something to watch for.

    We have not tried Ritalin because we wanted longer lasting. Our psych (and ped) both would have had her take a 2nd dose of Ritalin at school. Ame, with all her anxieties, did not want to have to go to the nurse's office to do this. So everyone agreed it was better to go with concerta for the longer lasting affect. (Keeping in mind we are dealing with some MAJOR anxiety issues here as well so that was a big factor)

    Now with Ame we know there are some very specific but subtle things you will see. So I'll ask specifically if she's participating, if they see that "deer in the headlights" look, if she seems to understand the lessons. I also make note with her teachers that she will NOT ask for help on her own so they have to make efforts to go to her and make sure she is doing all right.

    Hope this helps a little.

    C

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    ReneeNJ's Avatar
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    Lunchtime visits woud be good but are impossible b/c I work 35 minutes away. She does take the Ritalin LA every day but her issues are primarily w/ staying on task. On weekends we tend to be running and don't have the need to concentrate on a given task per se so we don't see the impact of the meds as much. We are definitely NOT seeing zombie behavior. Her grades were fine but she had a hard time getting her work done in class -- we would get a sheaf of papers home every few weeks to finish over a 4-5 day period.

    You have given me some ideas on how to illicit information from her teacher. She seems somewhat clueless even though she has been teaching for something like 13 years. There is another child in DDs class who is classified (she has a para in the room) and I asked her mom what the best way to communicate w/ Ms.M was and she said she hasn't figured out how to either. Kind of scary! Formal conferences are at the beginning of November.

    Renee

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    She is getting dosed at home but b/c she is not doing "seat work" we don't see the effects as much. About the biggest thing we see is a meltdown in behavior about 6-8 hours after dosing. This is a time release Ritalin that dumps half the dose when you take it and the other half about 3-4 hours later, thus eliminating the mid-day dosing. Emma definitely wouldn't like having to go to the nurse for midday dosing.

    So far Emma has only missed about two doses but it's hard to tell if the meds are even doing anything. It is also probably difficult for her teacher to assess since she hasn't seen her except on meds. I wish I could get her teacher from the last two years to assess her but that's doubtful.

    Thanks for the ideas -- they definitely will help and I can also give some more feedback to the ped.

    Renee

  6. #6
    Christine S Guest

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    My dh took ritalin for a while....

    I think it was an afternoon dose. He konked out at 6pm every night. Seriously...mid-sentence he'd start snoring. Seems that stuff really drops you off when it's done.

    FWIW, we notice a huge difference in Ame taking meds when she is just hanging around the house. She was formerly very *spacey*. She couldn't take ANY direction (think those Family Circle cartoons where the kid is heading from here to there but ends up going in circles all around the house). And she had that "deer in the headlights" look when you tried to talk with her. She couldn't focus enough on you to comprehend what you were saying.

    I would also wonder if the meds are having the desired affect on Emma.

    C

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    trek is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    I do not have experience with a child on medication, but just wanted to know that I hope you get some specific feedback.

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    JulieATL is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default New Member with my two cents....m

    Hi. The best way to elicit feedback from a teacher in my experience is written AND verbal, rather than only going in the room with some questions, possibly getting off-track and not getting the specific info you needed from the teacher, who sounds like parent/teacher communication is not her strong point anyway. Not sure if you got a pre-med baseline on dd's school performance before you started meds, sounds like you started them right when school began. The best protocol is to allow at least 3 weeks of non medicated school to go by, have the teacher fill out a checklist, start meds, then 4 weeks later, have the teacher fill out the same checklist and look for differences. But in any case, you can still use one going forward. There are many rating scales out there for measuring a child's performance at school, but the most common is the Connor Rating Scale for Teachers. There's a very long one used for evaluations and then there's a revised short version for monthly monitoring. I would hope your pediatrician has a copy of one and can give one to you to send to school. If your ped doesn't have one, you might be able to get one from the school counselor. If you're worried about the teacher being resistant to filling it out, have the secretary at your ped's office fax it to the school counselor, with a request that it gets faxed back, then the counselor will give it to the teacher, and she's more likely to fill it out.

    This leads me to another point I thought of when reading your post. Although lots of pediatricians prescribe stimulants for ADD/ADHD children, the ideal situation is for these types of medications to be administered by a child psychiatrist. They routinely give you teacher checklists, can discuss at greater length all the issues involved with the child and can refer for any additional counseling or therapies needed. In addition, they are accustomed to dealing with schools and usually have a counselor on staff who can stay on top of getting info to and from school. I strongly urge you to consider asking for a referral to a child psychiatrist to continue med management for your child. They are also going to be the most up to date on all the ADHD/ADD meds because they don't also have to become experts on all the physical health meds as well. That's all they do, prescribe psychotropic medications.

    I hope this information is helpful to you. It can be very frustrating when you're not getting the info you need from the teacher. If you can't get your hands on the Connor scale, I can type out a few of the key rating questions it has on it (I happen to have one at home my ds's teacher recently filled out). But it would be best to have it in writing on an official form.

    I wish you all the best. A new dx is very overwhelming, but you'll get into a groove and I'm sure your dd will have a much more successful school year.

    Regards,
    Julie

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