Opinion on Kindergarten problems
So I have a son that acts quite like many of the others I have read on here, but we are having escalating problems with him at school and I am currently having him change schools - so I'm interested in some other people's opinions of the situation.
My son is a young kindergartener (July birthday and 5). He may be ADHD but has not been properly diagnosed. I was diagnosed ADD when I was in junior high. We are very short on money so it has been difficult finding a way to have him see a psychiatrist. We are, however, in the process of doing so. more about this in a sec.
My wife and I have both worked very much and therefore our son did not have a lot of chances to socialize with other children at a young age. We feel somewhat responsible for his lack of social skills, but feel like we are not the only problem. We had him in a daycare program and his teacher said that he seemed to have some communication problems. We took him to a state sponsored preschool program and the professionals there agreed. An IEP was created and my son went through almost a full year in this pre-school program. Before the year was through though he had met all of the requirements in his IEP and was therefore exited. No behavior problems or anything the entire time he was in this environment.
This year he is in a regular kindergarten class. There are a lot of changes - more kids, older kids etc. We are in a district with wealthy parents who have been able to hold their kids back an extra year before entering school. Some are actually over a year older than my son.
The teacher began commenting on his attention problems early on in the school year. At our first teacher-parent conference, we said that it is possible that he is ADHD (as we have long had suspicions), and asked for a new IEP, 504 plan, or to see if maybe there was a speech/comprehension problem. Soon after we had another meeting with the principle, counselor, teacher etc., to talk about reevaluating him for a new IEP. They did not want to do so until another 3-4 months later and the teacher said that she had put in place some modifications that seemed to be working. One example of the modification was a chart that indicated whether he did great at an assignment, did ok, or had trouble.
(I took off from work to go to the teacher parent conference. The meeting didn't start until 30 minutes after our alloted time, the teacher's phone went off twice, and she rushed us along after about 20 minutes.)
About 3 weeks ago the teacher notified us that she was going to discontinue this chart because he did not comprehend what was going on. (I do not agree with her as he can articulate most of it to me.)
Also around this time, he began showing signs of lowered self esteem. He was comming home and telling us that he was getting recess taken away and having to go to time out often. Sometimes he was being mean to other kids - and he knew what he was doing was bad but cannot tell us why he did it. When we would pick him up, other students would say things like, "I dont know why he is so bad..." But he is really well liked in the class, hes kind of like a class clown.
We took my son to his pediatrition to ask about ADHD. The doctor said he definately thinks that he has it but could only offer him medication if he made the diagnosis. (He is a state doctor and therefore if we had his diagnosis and did not medicate him we could be in trouble with the state or CPS for not treating his illness.) He referred us to a psychiatrist and we are waiting until we can go there.
My wife returned him to class that day and his teacher caught her in the hall. My son was present for the entire conversation. The teacher said, "while you are here, we need to talk about (his) behavior problems. He is acting horrible in class. He is hurting other kids, he is lying to me, and he is not doing what the things I've asked etc." At this point my son starts crying. My wife brings up that we wonder if simply taking recess away is really a valid method of punishing a child like ours. He needs to be punished for acting up, but he also needs some way to release energy. The teacher became even more upset and began criticizing us for allowing him to go to the park after he has had discipline problems at school (how she knows this I am not sure - but I don't think its her business.) My wife asked again for an IEP evaluation and the teacher said that we could see about that after another meeting in the next couple of weeks etc.
I am in the process of having my child placed in another school now. I believe that if the teacher can belittle my son in such a way directly in front of us, then there is no telling what she is doing while we arent present. I think he is acting out in class because he can sense her frustration with him - and that he has become the "bad" kid in class. I realize we are all human, but when a 5 year old is labeled a deviant he doesn't have much room for change. Its like he's in a rut and I want to give him a new chance.
The principle offered to set up a 504 plan with this teacher, but I don't think she will be able to let go of her frustration with him. I hate to shake his world up and take him away from the things and friends he is used to - but I think its the lesser of the evils.
What do you guys think?