Kindergarten progress reports - wwyd

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by ckreh, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. ckreh

    ckreh Well-Known Member

    So yesterday DD and DS brought home their progressive reports for kindergarten (similar to a report card).  DD was marked above satisfactory in all areas with a note to spend more time at home on practicing the sounds letters make to help sound out words even though she is reading at a 1st grade level and they are giving her extra reading homework to challenge her.
    However, DS got one area unchecked meaning unsatisfactory along with a note stating when they are in centers (round tables focusing on reading, writing, shapes, numbers, etc.) that he is easily distracted.  We have known this since preschool and at home.  Unless he is "totally into" what he is working on he loses focus on what he should be doing.  When he is working on puzzles, playing puppets, etc. he is totally focused on doing it until he has mastered the task.  The teacher wrote a note that this had been mentioned prior and this NEEDS to be worked on at home more intensely.
    Aside, from stressing the point of paying attention when doing homework or his weekly reading logs how to we work on this?  I tried to talk to him about paying attention so he can keep learning so he can go to 1st grade with all his friends, but he immediately started telling me how the teacher tells "XX" if he doesn't stop screaming at teachers and classmates he will stay in kindergarten next year.  So that discuss was a total loss as I could not get my point across to him. 
    My DH is an adult ed teacher and even he is stumped other than turning off all music or TV's while doing school/learning work.  Does anyone have any ideas on how to handle this?  P/T conferences are not for two more months and when I emailed the teacher she just basically restated her note on the progress report.
    DH is freaked they will push us to put him on RX meds since he was borderline ADHD as a child and he does not want to go that route.  We watched our step-nephew turn into a zombie on those meds when they tried them for 6-months.  I just keep thinking this is kindergarten and I know times have changed since I was in elementary school, but this seems almost harsh to me. 
    Any thoughts or ideas?
  2. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    OK, first of all, only a doctor can diagnose ADD/ADHD and place a child on meds--the school cannot do this.  The most they can do is suggest an evaluation, which if this is an ongoing issue, wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing.  My son was diagnosed with ADD, the result is that he has a 504 plan with adaptations, which allow for strategies to help him be successful.  A diagnosis does not mean medication, it means that you know what you are working with.
    On the other hand, there are many types of medications, and the one that is correct for the child will not make him into a "zombie", unfortunately, sometimes it does take some trial and error to find the right one.  I worked with one kid who found that for the first time in his life, he could actually concentrate on his classwork and schoolwork.
    One strategy that seems to work for us, is to give warning before a transition.  For example, 5 minutes before center time is up, he gets a warning that he has 5 minutes to finish up.  The warning seems to help get ready for a transition, and then it was easier for him to move on.
    It is difficult to work on distractability in a classroom during center time when there is a lot going on--this is something that will wane as he moves up in school, and here is an area where something like a 504 can help, like he gets more time to finish a task, or he goes to an area of the classroom the is more quiet than other areas.
    Good luck.
    Edited to add: my son who has ADD, and has always been boarderline for it, is not medicated, and the doctor who diagnosed him hasn't even considered it for him at this time.  Just because a child has ADD/ADHD, it doesn't automatically mean medication.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I would also push for evaluation. If you know what's going on you can deal with it, and either way they'll have strategies for dealing with behavior in the classroom. We are having issues with one of our boys at daycare and having him evaluated was actually quite reassuring for us, and the behavioural people gave us a ton of good strategies to help alleviate some of the issues we were having. We also learned that the classroom was doing some things that were reinforcing some of his negative behaviours, and it helped them to strategize for him too. All around, having an independent expert look at the situation has been positive! And I agree that diagnosis doesn't always lead to medication.  
  4. ckreh

    ckreh Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the info ladies.  Since these are our only children when DS teacher made these comments I assumed the school made the designation.  We will definitely need to speak with his doctor.  My DH is a secondary/adult ed teacher, so he never dealt with this except his own issues in childhood. 
    My sister and BIL had problems with his one son (step-nephew), but after the first medication turned him into a "zombie" or shell of himself per BIL the child's mom refused to try any other medications.  I guess there was another assumption they would put DS on medications first.  At least now we have some more understanding.
  5. mama_dragon

    mama_dragon Well-Known Member

    You don't have to wait for teacher conferences to set up a conference with the teacher to discuss concerns face to face.  I'd probably start with talking in person with the teacher not just via email.  Ask for examples, what interventions have been tried in the classroom, any other behaviors noted, is he disruptive to other students, suggestions for how to work with him at home. 
    Also it is not uncommon for kids in K to have trouble focusing in centers or to still have a shorter attention span.  Especially and I hate to say it for boys.  I am not saying there might not be something more going on but I would start with the teacher and get more information.
  6. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    I agree with previous posters.
    1. Schedule a one on one with the teacher to get more details on specifics. When does she see him struggle? time of day or activity affected? Vary by day? Vary by subject? Vary by other students he is with? Am or Pm better? Compared to other AGE peers- make sure comparing to age not grade peers….in K there can be a 12 or so month difference and that is big when you are  5-). When he is successful- what does that look like? Is he alone? in the AM/PM? Certain subjects? After gym/recess?
    2. Contact your pediatrician. Ask about ADD/ADHD evaluation. He/She should possibly send you to a specialist for a best evaluation. It will likely look at behaviors at home and school. Evaluations are great because they can give you a great idea of how your DS learn, areas of strength, and good behavior techniques to see what works/doesnt. 
    3. If  you do get an ADD/HD diagnosis from a medical professional (not school!), ask for a 504. It can allow for accommodations that you can see if they help your DS be more successful. Depending on his needs, they could include extra time, transition warnings, specific seating, use of a timer, use of 'signals'(visual or verbal) to assist with attention, a 'wiggle' seat (often a sensory seat), extra movement time, etc.
    4. ADD/HD does not mean meds. But please, dont rule them out if you try other avenues and do not see improvement. Kids with unsuccessfully accommodated ADD/HD ( accommodated does NOT mean meds, but can include them-- but it means adaptations to help improve functional skills) often develop low self-esteem and self-medicating habits. So if it is ADD/HD, please look at a whole wide net of tools to assist him. Dont rule anything out based on old (DH age) methods and methods that did not work for other people (your nephew). Each child will respond differently to different techniques.  I have seen kids respond to diet changes, activity changes, classroom accommodations, and/or medication. Sometimes you just need little changes and sometimes you need bigger ones. Medications also widely vary--- much like blood pressure, pain , and other medications: each person responds differently and sometimes it take a while to find what works. A medication should not make a kiddo a zombie.
    I have worked with a lot of kiddos with ADD/HD and each had different things in place to help them be more successful in school. ADD/HD that is approached proactively often results in kids that learn social skills, coping skills, study skills, and positive self-image.
    On a side note: I would be concerned that a teacher is telling kids they may not go to 1st grade. YIKES!! That is awful and a negative image. I would also try not to mention that to your DS. So in the off chance, he (or anyone he knows) does  repeat a grade- it is not a negative connotation. The approach we use at school is that a child gets a chance to keep learning, and/or keep practicing skills: not their fault for the littlest ones like K & 1st. Older kids often will have discussions with parents on why (grades, homework,etc), but rather a chance to keep learning. Repetition is usually for different reasons above 1st grade than in K/1st. Though, honestly except for a few exceptions, it is not a very good tool for  increasing success in school.
    As for ways to practice at home:
    1. Use a timer to do things like homework. Explain what will happen during and after it goes off.
    2. Use a "If_____ then_____" If we get homework done then we can play.or If we dont finish then then we will have to do it tomorrow.
    3.See if music helps or hinders. Some kids focus better with classical (no words!!) music and some do better in silence. I would avoid the TV at all costs since it is is a visual distraction for almost everyone!
    4. Allow different ways to do things. Stand at table (vs sitting) to do homework. Or lay on floor with clipboard.
    5. Do something physical before focused work.
    6. Social Acting- act out things at home. Pretend you are at centers, pretend you are listening to a story. Act it out and talk about why and what you should do.
    2 people like this.
  7. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

  8. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    I wanted to add:
    Make sure you get a full hearing and vision exam. Sometimes those will show up in K/1st surprisingly---- and low vision/hearing can lead to the inability to focus, distruptive behaviors, and/or frustrational outbursts.
    Make sure that vision includes not only accuity (usually what is checked), but also tracking, convergence, and color-blindness. For hearing make sure they check for a whole range of sounds, but also for auditory processing and functional language.
    Vision & hearing can change quickly-- so even a recheck if it has been more than 6 months is useful.
    Sometimes visual or hearing can look like ADHD. Same with sensory stuff--- sometimes sensory concerns are hand-in-hand with ADHD and sometimes they are totally separate concern that just look similar. A GOOD professional evaluation can differentiate it all.
    1 person likes this.
  9. ckreh

    ckreh Well-Known Member

    After sending his teacher an email for clarification and she replied with "school is different than home, so it should not be compared" yet she told us we needed to work on things at home to improve school performance I scheduled a meeting with her.  Obviously something is getting lost in our communications and I need to figure out what she is seeing or not seeing so we can address any potential issues.
  10. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    One of the key factors of ADHD is that is has to be present in more than one environment (home and school….and likely classes or clubs- scouts, religious classes, etc).
    Yes, kids can behave differently at school than at home. But also a good teacher will be more specific on WHAT and HOW you can work on it at home. And is it just behavioral or academics and behavior?
    Hope you meeting goes well!
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