By Angel Swemmer, a mom to a teenage-almost-adult ADHDer who says that what she writes is purely her opinion on things she feels strongly about, based on my experience as an ADHDer parent. Author of the blog Angelsmind
Make no mistake- I think most teachers are superheroes- but they can make bad calls when it comes to treating ADHDers! Here’s an example of a mistake a lot of teachers make.
At the end of the last school year, one of the ADHDer moms I “mentor” (lets call her Jane) gave me a call. Jane’s son’s teacher had asked her if she could please return the unused Ritalin that Jane had sent to school.
Jane’s son (lets call him John) takes a Ritalin tablet in the morning and then another one later in the morning, which the teacher had agreed to give to him. All through the year Jane had been asking the teacher if she was giving John his second dose, because there were days when he came home more hyper than usual, and would then battle to get his homework done or get ready for bed and so on. The teacher swore that she was giving him his meds, even though John told his mom that some days she didn’t. The poor ADHDer almost always gets the short end of the stick because they have a tendency to tell stories the teacher is usually the one believed!
In this case, come year end, the teacher sent home almost 5 weeks’ worth of Ritalin tablets!
Jane was furious. When she confronted the teacher about all the extra medication, the teacher admitted that there had been days she felt he didn’t need it “that much” and decided not to give it to him.
Jane made an appointment with the school principal to discuss it with him and to ask him to follow up with John’s teachers in future, but it was the end of the school year so not much was going to come of Jane’s measures.
The implications of an ADHDer not having his correct medication dosage is huge- and it doesn’t only affect the school day. John’s teacher had no idea.
In the new school year, Jane was sure to give the teacher more information and explain why John needed his correct and complete dose every day- but the fact remains that South African schools do not have advanced ADHD “care” programs like the IEPs in the USA, and we have to rely on our children’s teachers’ willingness and good will to help in our ADHDers care, rather than be assured that their schools will follow up on a properly formalised plan.
Follow up with your ADHDers’ teachers and with the headmaster and division heads on a regular basis. Provide them with reading material and books as and when you can.
Talk to her every time you take new meds to school and remind her why your ADHDer has meds.
With a class full of children, she will forget!
And good luck to you.