pawsjewl's picture

Can I refuse to get my son tested for ADD?

I come from a very small town. Everyone knows everyone. Well my son's father has ADD. He had alot of problems when he was in elementary school. Now my son goes to the same school, with many of the same teachers.

My son has a lot of behavior problems. He interrupts people when they are talking. Gets angry when he doesn't get his way.... Pretty much spoiled rotten. In my opinion he acts the way he does because he is spoiled, not because he has ADD. But because his teacher knows that his father has ADD, she is automatically assuming that my son has it also.

I refuse to have my son tested for this disability. But his grandmother is telling me that I cannot refuse the test. She says that if the school recommends the test and I refuse, then they can basically kick him out of school.

Does anyone know if this is true? Any help would be greatly, greatly appreciated. I have been searching on the web and can't find anything. I'm just not sure what to look for.

acitez's picture

If he is tested and diagnosed as having ADD then the school personnel have to provide appropriate education, and are allocated funding and resources to do so. If he isn't tested, then they will resent you because it will seem to them as if you were more worried about him being labeled than about him being helped.

Andibee's picture

(Here is my long comment--sorry it is so long, and I hope you can find something helpful in it.)
You don't say how old your son is, but I wonder about his "just being spoiled rotten." I cannot really imagine why you would want to do that to your son (spoil him so), when the behaviors you listed are not healthy ways to behave in school or other social situations AND they do match some of the signs of ADHD. IF he is just spoiled, THEN you could chose to change or continue your parenting to teach him manners, help him wait his turn more gracefully, etc. and see how successful you are. If you find, like some of the rest of us with ADD-diagnosed kids, that no matter how hard you try to do (what your friends do with their kids) and you just aren't getting the same results, then maybe you could allow yourself to think about the possibility that he might have inherited some ADHD/ADD from his Dad and he needs your love and help.
There is much information out there regarding the ADD/ADHD and much as you might resist his being diagnosed, it is out of love for him that he may need the diagnosis framework to help him learn to do well in school, which for a kid, IS his life, in many ways. And it is true that often there are resources available to you with a diagnosis that are not ahead of time, and much has been learned about this since his father was a child, and is available to you, especially with the internet. (You could also be in a stronger position to work with his teacher when you are armed with up-to-date information about how ADHD plays out in school rooms and what you two, as a team can do to help him. If she did used to have his Dad for a student and there were problems, I can see how she would like to have access to all the help she can get, because uncontrolled ADHD can wreak havoc in a school room.)
My son was diagnosed by the child psychologist we have been seeing, and to know what books to read (This author KNOWS my child! What a relief!) has been a tremendous help, especially the point of view that rewards for good behavior go farther toward positively influencing his behavior than discipline, which accomplished very little. (It worked for all my friends, why wasn't it working for me? ) It sounds as if there may be more unsolved issues left over from your relationship with his Dad that are influencing your not wanting to see your son's behavior this way, and only you can sift these things through.
I wish you the best for your son, he sounds like mine used to be. He may only be spoiled, --OK, then work on that, since regardless of the wording, poor behavior is poor behavior. But, if your discipline (i.e. teaching) doesn't yield the results you want then you may have to pursue the testing.
As for myself, I can tell you--it was such a relief to find out that I WASn't spoiling him, that I was and am a good mom, that just because my son is easily frustrated, sensitive but lacks empathy, gets easily over-stimulated in groups, gets INstantly frustrated, has lightning mood changes, does not hear me say NO or STOP, is incredibly stubborn and distractible, goes until he drops, and time outs just escalated his bad behavior --all these do not mean I am doing things wrong but that he needs some specific kinds of structure to learn the best, which we are hard at work on and are seeing some results with, and finally I know what it means to be proud of him and to feel good as a mom.
Hmm, sorry if I sound like I'm on a soapbox--I only wish I had found the ADHD framework sooner to help me with some of this, instead of feeling like a failure because nothing I did was working, and it used to hurt so much when people implied I was spoiling him when I was trying so hard to get him to behave.
This sounds like a situation full of hurt for you in many ways, I hope you find your best way through for you and your son.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

I think you shld get your son tested for ADD. May I suggest an outside evaluation? Many times the schools don't want to pay for services for children w/ disabilities, therefore outside evals are necessary. I'm not saying your son has ADD, but if it runs in the family, it's a possibility. I know from experience how difficult it is to accept that your child may have a problem, but think of it this way. It's not helping the child any if you do nothing about it. Research shows that the sooner you get help for your child, the better the outcome. Why take the chance and avoid knowing? We also live in a small town, so believe me, I know how that can be. Do yourself a favor, and get your child tested. It will give you peace of mind, if anything. I wish you all the best w/ your son.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

PS--To answer your question, yes, you can refuse having your son tested. However, if he's disrupting the classrm, the school will probably put a lot of pressure on you to do something. Another option may be for you to homeschool your son if that's doable. If you're worried about the small town gossip, you can always get outside therapy. However, in this case, you'd have to get your son evaluated in order to get the services he needs. You're the parent. Use your judgement. Who knows. Maybe this is just a phase that your son's going through or maybe not.

junieg's picture

ADHD is a physiological problem, not a psychological problem. That said, why not get him tested. If he needs help there is no point in sticking your head in the sand and ignoring it. Which label would you like on your son - a child who has a small disability, or a spolt child, or a 'bad boy'. What label would you like on yourself - a mother who is doing all she can to help her child or a mother who can't manage her child. Believe me, I have been through all that myself. My son was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's when he was seven, after a few years of me trying to get him tested. If he needs help, the earlier he starts getting it, the better.

TheMrs's picture

ADD must be diagnosed by a doctor. School systems are typically not able to do this. But yes, you are able to refuse this. You are his mother. However the school can take it to court if they wish...the chances of them actually doing this with a case of ADD is VERY VERY low. Typically this only happens if the child appears to have a severe disability and the parent refuses to have him tested (which also rarely happens).

However if this is a private school then they can pretty much do as they wish. The above is true for public though.