Reasons Why I Homeschool: ADHD

The question mark after the diagnosis of ADHD is really how I feel about my oldest son Wing Nut’s situation. When it comes down it, I am really not sure I believe that is what he has. He has many of the classic symptoms of ADHD, but on top of that he has also been diagnosed with Failure to Thrive. He has been on meds for ADHD for over 2 years and while he does seem to have a positive response to them, there are still so many things that stand out in my mind as not quite right. He still has trouble focusing, staying on task, making transitions from one activity to another, highly emotional arguing, and sleeping. The biggest thing that worries me is his weight and the fact that he has been diagnosed Failure to Thrive. He is about 10-15 pounds underweight. That is a lot for a 9 year old boy!

We have been trying to get him to gain weight for as long as he has been on meds for ADHD and no matter what we do, he barely gains any weight. He has a prescription for Boost and I buy more Boost. I make him high calorie meals and snacks and spend all day trying to get him to eat more. His appetite is very low and can go all day long without even thinking about eating and still not be hungry. He goes to a GI specialist and has had several tests run by both his regular pediatrician and the specialist.

I feel that many of he ADHD symptoms will go away if we can get his weight up to a healthy weight for his age. He will be going back to see the GI specialist again soon and we will probably be running more tests and I want to see what other options we have.

The last year that Wing Nut spent in public school was the year that he went through months of appointments with evaluations and testing at the behavior clinic. I spent that entire year talking to his teacher and the principal about things that he was doing and the trouble that he was having. He had a terrible time that year with his school work, with other kids at school, with teachers, teachers aids and anything else the came in contact with. I never knew what to expect when I went to pick the kids up from school.

I spent many days trying to make sure that he was eating his lunch and that he was allowed to eat snacks. He was in 2nd grade at the time and snacks were not a part of the day. His pediatrician wanted to make sure that he had several snacks throughout the day. As long as I was going into his classroom and calling his teacher he was allowed to have extra snacks, but as soon as I stopped making the calls, no one even mentioned a snack to him throughout the day. I couldn’t depend on the school to help me with his weight, even with his pediatricians request.

There were days I was told that he spent hours sitting in the office because he didn’t finish his classwork on time or because he lashed out at another student in a physically way. Wing Nut has a terrible time focusing and little things get to him, and I know exactly how he feels, I am very much the same way. I remember one time picking up Wing Nut and being told that he had to sit out from recess because he hit another student. I know what he did was wrong, and so does he, but when we looked at what happened, he lashed out at the kid sitting next to him because he was tapping his pencil and wouldn’t stop. It was extremely distracting for my son and he asked the kid next to him to stop several times, eventually he couldn’t handle it any more and lashed out. The part that upset me was that by this time I was at the school several times a week on a regular basis talking to his teachers and principal about everything that was going on, how we were having him tested and was constantly giving tips on how to work with him.

Wing Nut is very sensitive to sounds and I was surprised when the behavior clinic didn’t think that he had any sensory processing disorder. Lights, sounds and random things touching his skin can set him off and send him into an emotional breakdown that can go on for hours escalating into hysterical crying.

I know that when he lashes out and hits others it is wrong, and so does he.

I spoke to so many different people at the school and gave them so much advice on how to interact with him and what he needed to make it through the day. When it comes down to it, public schools are not prepared to deal with students with these types of special needs. Wing Nut is very hard to work with, I struggle with him every single day. We argue, I say things that I shouldn’t, his feelings are hurt and my feelings are hurt. It is hard. But in the end, at the end of the day, I am madly in love with him. I do everything I can for him.

The public school system works to just get through the day, sending him home at the end, and just to get through the year sending him to another classroom at the end.

As long as I was going into his school, things would level off and calm down, but every time I thought that every one was on board, it would all fall apart again. His issues were only addressed as long as I was there to speak for him. But I couldn’t be there every day. I just couldn’t. And I couldn’t leave him in a school system that did not have the ability to work with him the way he needs to be.

There was no way that I could send my son back into a school system that could not relate to him and was failing him and our family. I have to homeschool him, if I don’t I see year after year of trouble and no one listening to me.

I homeschool him because I love him, he is my first born and I will do anything I can to make sure that he has the best life I can provide.

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10 Responses to Reasons Why I Homeschool: ADHD

  1. Hazel Nut on May 16, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks Jackelyn. I have a gluten free cookbook & there are some great recipes in there 🙂

  2. Jackelyn on May 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    My husband had many symptoms of celiac and they kept telling him he was not. We chose to go gluten free and he is so much better. Your son’s inability to gain weight and many symptoms of adhd can be signs of gluten intolerance. Maybe you should research that a little, it is fairly easy to implement just a major mindset change from SAD (standardamerican diet).
    Prayers for your son and Owain’s procedure today.

  3. Hazel Nut on November 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks for your encouraging words Adrienne. I have thought about putting him on a gluten free diet for about a month just like you mentioned. I didn’t know that Duncan Hines made gluten free brownies! My mother got me a gluten free cookbook and there are some great recipes in it. I just need to really cut the gluten for much longer than I have been able too.

    My son’s school never even mentioned an IEP and I always wondered why. By the time I really thought about it, I already made the decision to homeschool him the following year, so we just played the waiting game until we could walk away.

    I think you will love homeschool. Our family is so much happier and I see improvements every day. I am curious about PDD, I am going to have to do some research on that too.

  4. Adrienne on November 30, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I found this post when searching “ADHD and homeschool” – a topic I find myself searching with more and more frequency!
    My younger son has been dx’d with ADHD and PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) and has a hard time in school. I am *this close* to pulling him out. The only thing that’s keeping me from doing it right now is that a)his teacher is wonderful, and b)I’ve been given the advice to see if I can get him an IEP before pulling him in case he ever goes back.
    Oh, it’s frustrating!
    I will probably join you in homeschooling soon.
    I wanted to say something about the celiac – I am gluten intolerant myself and I know how debilitating it can be – and I’ve also done a lot of research on it. While I was reading your post about your son I immediately thought: gluten intolerant, even before I got to the comments. Many people are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive but don’t test positive for celiac disease. The very best way to find out if he is sensitive to it is to do a couple of weeks to a month without gluten and see what happens. It took me about a week to start feeling better, but then MAN did I feel better.
    So – just something to think about. There are plenty of gluten free mixes so you can be sure to have snacks around that are appropriate if you decide to do the test. I had some Duncan Hines brand gf brownies last night that were fantastic (and no, I don’t work for Duncan Hines!)
    Good luck.

  5. Hazel Nut on November 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Thanks Steph! We had tons of blood tests and he came back as a Carrier of the celiac gene (or something like that) and I was told that the next step would be endoscopy. When I called to schedule it I was told that all the other tests combined ruled out celiac. He is due for a follow up for some meds that he is on now. They really haven’t changed anything, and I am still unclear about why they told me once that endoscopy was the only way and then they tell me that the blood work showed he doesn’t have it. I just hope we can figure it out soon.

  6. Steph on November 22, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Did he just have the blood test for celiac? I had issues with weight as a kid and always had negative blood tests for celiac, but had the biopsy done as an adult and it was positive. My oldest daughter showed many of the symptoms but she also had a negative blood test. We put her on a gluten free diet and it made a world of difference. I am not recommending you submit your son to a biopsy, but it might be worth a try just to go gluten free for a while and see if it helps! Good luck!

  7. Hazel Nut on November 7, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks Patti. I am so glad I decided to homeschool him and the rest of the kids. They are so excited to sit down to their lessons and it makes me feel so good 🙂

  8. Patti Hanan on November 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    This breaks my heart. I also am a Special Education teacher, but on the high school level. I love the kids I work with, but I know, due to budget cuts, things aren’t always the best they can be. Your son is fortunate to have you as his mom. A loving mom makes all the difference in the world. I agree with your decision to homeschool him. Your son and you are both in my prayers. God bless you.

  9. Hazel Nut on November 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you so much Rachel, I wish there were more teachers like you who understand children like my son. My son’s old school really didn’t get it and nothing I said got through to them. It was very frustrating, but in the end we are happy homeschooling and we should have done it long before things go bad at school.

    He has been tested for Celiac Disease, and while it seems to fit all of his symptoms his tests came back negative for it.

  10. Rachel on November 6, 2010 at 10:15 am

    As I read your post, I am shocked, saddeneded and absolutely angered. I am a special education teacher and what you wrote shows the struggle that special education kids have gone through for year and what No Child Left Behind and other laws were supposed to stop (even though those laws have their flaws. The least your child should’ve had was a 504 plan so it was legally mandated that he be allowed to have snack (this protects you as if they don’t let your son eat, it breaks civil rights laws). I am so sorry that your school system failed your son. It is disgusting and disheartening to me that this still goes on in modern day America. We know what kids with Sensory Processing Issues and kids with ADHD go through everyday and yet there are still general education teachers that think these kids are full of baloney. Its just not right and its disgusting to those of us who know how great a public school can be if the faculty and staff are sensitive to the fact that every child is different and every child (even the typical kids) have special needs because they are all special!
    Now, has your GI specialist looked into Celiac Disease? Failure to thrive, loss of appetitie and irritability are both signs of it. Sometimes it is hard to notice because it is often misdiagnosed as something else and sometimes there are no digestive symptoms. If you haven’t looked into it, it may be worth a check. (They have a blood test that is the first step)
    Good luck and you and your biggest boy will be in my prayers!

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