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PepeKaliwete
PepeKaliwete asks:
Q:

My 11 year old ADHD son has an IQ of 128. Should I keep him in the Special Ed Program or get him out?

We knew something wasn't right when he was 4 yrs old. He kept getting in trouble at the daycare with the other kids and the caregivers. By the 2nd grade, he was falling behind academically and was diagnosed with ADHD. He was then put on the Special Education Program. The school psychologist gave him the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children - version IV (WISC-IV) in which he scored 126 so we knew he had the mental capacity to learn. (In the 5th grade, he was given the same test and scored 128). Initially, we were hesistant to put him on meds. I've read so many horror stories about the side effects so we started with natural remedies and supplements. A couple of months of it and still no noticeable improvements so we started him on meds. After several months of trial and error, it was Focalin that saved the day. All the benefits of the others meds without the side effects. My question is this. Should I keep him in the Special Ed Program or get him out? We're afraid that the stigma tied with being a "Special Ed" kid might hurt him in the future, not to mention the social and emotional implications he'd have to deal with. He's more than caught up academically as he finished the 5th grade on the A/B Honor Roll. He was in all regular classes and did not have the need to use any of the special accomodations put in place for him. Will it be better for him at this point to get him out of the Special Ed Program and put him in the 504 Plan instead or just let him be mainstream? Thnx
In Topics: ADHD & attention issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Jun 15, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

good for you for following through with your son.  he will be the better for it.  By law, he is entitled to a 504 designation and most boys with ADHD find it helpful at some time. It is there for him but he does not have to use the acommodations if he doesn't need them.  Going mainstream could place him out of the IEP which he may need for middle school. Ask your principal about what is best in the system for him to succeed and what have other families done and succeeded.  good luck and stay and advocate.

Wayne Yankus, MD,FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics

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Additional Answers (15)

PepeKaliwete
PepeKaliwete writes:
Dr. Yankus - does his score of 128 mean anything significant? I was told that that's higher than average.
> 60 days ago

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SMPTUE
SMPTUE writes:
The average IQ in the U.S. is around 98.  130 is Genius.  I have ADD and took the test through a psychologist a few years ago.  I scored 129 and then learned quite a bit about the score and ADD.  I would suggest you take your son to another psychologist (not the school psychologist), have your son retested and ask what his recommendation is regarding Special Ed. I'm not saying the school psychologist isn't credible, but I would highly suggest going to an unbiased third party in this situation.  

I am confused about this statement: "He's more than caught up academically as he finished the 5th grade on the A/B Honor Roll. He was in all regular classes and did not have the need to use any of the special accomodations put in place for him."

If he's doing so well in regular classes, why would you think you may have to keep him in the Spec. Ed program?  

Bottom line: He's your son and you decide where he goes.  If he's doing so well in regular classes, I don't see why he should be forced in that program.  

Maybe I'm misunderstanding or missing something here, but I don't understand where being treated for ADHD means a child automatically has to be enrolled in a Spec. Ed program. I've never heard of this and I've lived in a few states, my brother is a teacher, and I have young relatives, including my daughter, with ADHD.  If this is some new law, I'm definitely going to keep home schooling!  If it's just a law where you live, I would write your state lawmakers if I were you.  It doesn't make any sense.
> 60 days ago

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PepeKaliwete
PepeKaliwete writes:
I don't understand your confusion. I thought I was clear but maybe I wasn't. He was put in Special Education because he was falling behind academically in the 2nd grade before any ADHD medication was adminstered. He was also lagging in social skills and interactions with kids in his age group. He simply could not concentrate long enough to learn the material and was disruptive in class. He wasn't put in there just because he had ADHD. Being in Special Ed gave him access to all the tools he needed (IDP, modifications, tutorials, special accomodations, extra time to complete his work, etc..). He was always in normal classes but needed those services until he was caught up. By the 5th grade, he was surpassing (academically) most of the students in his class. The reason we're not in a real hurry to get him out of Special Ed or 504 is to have some sort of a safety net for him just in case he needs it in the near future. As kids with ADHD get older and grow bigger, they may require new meds or higher dosage. I'm expecting to see lots of changes during his puberty years. It's during these years we're concerned about.

I'm not so big on taking him to another psychologist for further IQ testing. It's not that we're againts it but really, what for? What additional value can it possibly bring us? We know he's smart. We know he's capable. He's been tested 2x, though by the same psychologist. We believe he's not biased. He has no vested interest in the results regardless. Besides, it will cost a couple of hundred dollars or more to get one of these tests done privately.

We're leaning towards putting him on the 504 plan and out of Special Ed rather than getting him out altogether and letting him go mainstream. As the good doctor above suggested, we'll talk to the school administrators and try to find out what other kids and parents in similar situation do and take it from there.
> 60 days ago

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SMPTUE
SMPTUE writes:
My question was a genuine one as I home school and was unsure what a "504" plan and so forth meant. I was trying to let you know I didn't understand this part of it and see if I was seeing it from the correct point of view.  No need to get snippy.  I stand by my suggestion for another opinion only because you seemed to doubt what the school psych. told you. If you're so confident in his assessment, you wouldn't be here asking strangers to second guess him.  You asked, I was caring enough to answer from my personal knowledge. Have a nice day.
> 60 days ago

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PepeKaliwete
PepeKaliwete writes:
My answer was genuine as well. If you would re-read your first answer, you tell me who's being snippy. We are confident with our plan of action but as in most plans, there's always room for improvement. I came here seeking suggestions - positive, constructive suggestions that would benefit my child. I wasn't trying to counter your suggestion negatively. If I came across that way, it wasn't my intention and I do apologise. Sometimes it's hard to read someone's tone of voice by just reading their response.
> 60 days ago

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LouiseSattler
LouiseSattler , Child Professional writes:
This is actually a harder question than others may note.  As a School Psychologist and the parent of a wonderful (albeit ADHD) 17 year old I can honestly say that you are going to have to proceed slowly and with caution.  I have in many aspects, walked in your shoes.

First, special education provides many educational safeguards that he won't have if there are no formal documentations of his behaviors, needs and learning styles in place.  Also, these documents will be there to ensure that staff follows protocols with your son to help him with accomodations when they are needed.  As he becomes of middle school age more independent work will be expected and the work itself will become harder.  Thus, having and IEP or even a 504 plan will be helpful if he needs help.  Also note that having a high IQ does not mean that difficulties may not lie ahead.  Our son also tested well above average and it was not until 8th grade when he started to need to use many accomodations again.  Writing was never his strength and he was able to use a computer for classwork, homework and testing due to his having an IEP.

I have added websites below for you.  I also recommend that your son start to read about ADHD.  There can be great comfort in knowing you are not alone.  Also support groups such as CHADD can be very helpful.
> 60 days ago

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LDSolutions
LDSolutions , Child Professional writes:
The best learning environment for a student with ADD/ADHD is always one-on-one.  This allows each student to focus clearly on information being presented without distractions.  Students with ADHD need to be taught or tutored one-to-one in a patient and nurturing environment.  A structured, systematic and sequential program will help children with ADHD develop a routine and consistency in their learning.  Children who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD are bright, creative and multitalented children.

I work with many children that have been diagnosed with ADHD.  They do very well in the regular classroom as long as they are given accomodations and modifications in the program they attend.  They also get outside tutoring with specialists trained in tutoring students with ADHD.  Small class size, lots of time to move around and very hands on learning - is the ideal classroom situation for your child.  Oh, and an understanding, kind, patient teacher will also make a huge difference.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Hello,
ADHD children are often very intelligent. The attention issue is what really cause some problems. Your child is busy trying to soak up everything and often fails at the one task given to him because of this illness. The hyperactive part can sometimes cause children to get into trouble more than their peers. IQ is interesting as well and so are the responses regarding it. The score that determines what the schools call is "gifted" is around 130. A true genius may fall anywhere from 150 and up. Your child is above average. I would definately encourage him to be included in the regular school program. Dealing with the ADHD is often a trial but it is not one that can't be conquered. Good luck :)
> 60 days ago

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PepeKaliwete
PepeKaliwete writes:
I want to thank you all for your input. I want to let you guys know that I take all your suggestions to heart and will try to implement those that will help my son succeed. We are learning so much everyday about ADHD from professionals, parents, and children with this condition and are more encouraged now more than ever that of our son's future. I have another question that I've asked several people including his doctors and I'd like to know what you guys think about it. The great majority of the people I've asked said that ADHD is a lifetime condition. Does anyone here know of any case where a child has outgrown this condition and no longer needed medication when they became adults? Is it possible that maturity eventually catches up and they develop enough coping skills that medication was no longer needed?  Thanks again everyone.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
To answer your last question regarding the progression of ADHD into adulthood, I would try not to look into the future as much. I know it makes you speculate on possible issues in the future, but only God knows what each one of our fates truly is. In addition, I would like to add that diet plays a major role in ADHD and its symptoms.

I would try small changes in his diet when you can. Try using gluten free products as much as possible. Stay away from red food dies ( often used in pizza sauce, candy, etc.) and control his sugar. Try more whole foods and less refines. Whole foods ( apple, celery, squash, etc) and Refined/Processed ( white bread, cheese, milk, candy, little debbie snacks, etc.)

Concentration on one given task is very important for the child to master. So try at home giving him simple tasks to complete. For example, folding a basket of clothes, taking the trash out, etc. When he completes the task, then always give him praise and maybe even an award of some kind. Using a positive approach always helps because these children can be often frustrated. Which leads me into yoga classes. These classes will benefit any form of frustration. I call it the "frustrated mind". Here we have an art that challenges us to focus and use inner discipline. As we do more yoga, we can control ourselves more. I hope this helps and take it one day at a time :)

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kathyb
kathyb writes:
when you say he is in "Special Education" do you mean he has been identified as a gifted student? In our district/state, students who score at or above 128 are deemed "gifted" and receive services which are intended to address his intelligence. If that is what you mean, I would keep him identified. You will find in middle and high school, if your gifted student has an ESE label, he will still receive accommodations. Sometimes, gifted students, although very capable to perform and even excel in academics, require some specific strategies in place to ensure they are successful in school.
If, on the other hand, you mean he is in a classroom w/students who require special instruction because of learning disabilities, I would definately move him from the class. Quick, find a teacher/school/administrator who values the many facets of gifted children, and get him in a challenging, yet socially enhancing, school.
You are doing the right thing to be your son's advocate. I would follow this through...and insist my child receive adequate services!
I am a teacher of 5th grade gifted and have a 20 year old who was identified gifted in second grade. He benefitted from having those plans in place all the way through high school. Hope this helps! :)
> 60 days ago

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PepeKaliwete
PepeKaliwete writes:
Kathyb - No, he is not in the gifted program. He was in Special Ed because of his learning disability. At his school, his IQ score alone does not qualify him. There were other criterias and he didn't meet them back when he was first tested in the 2nd grade. It has never been brought up again. We're ok with it. We've been in "catch up" mode" just trying to get him on par with everyone else and this past school year, he really turned it around finishing in the AB Honor Roll. I'm not so sure anymore if he still has a learning disability. His reading and math are above most kids in his grade, his teachers told us.

He still has some social and behavioral issues that we feel (hoping) with a couple of more years of maturity, will work itself out. Most times, he doesn't know how to read other people's body language or tone of voice correctly. Example: He would tell a joke and if people laugh, he will tell that same joke again to the same people just shortly after or later on in the day. Naturally, the other kids found that annoying. It took him a while to realize that a joke is not funny the 2nd time around. He's got other quirks that I think are harmless but of course, other kids find very strange. Then there are kids who thinks he's weird and nerdy so they tend to pick on him. We've had to deal with a couple of bullying incidents at school. If there's one thing that gets my blood boiling, it's when someone picks on my kid for no reason. That's something I will not tolerate one bit. I made sure the school staff knows about it as well as the other kid's parents and appropriate actions are taken.

Other than those things, he's doing great! We're extremely pleased with his progress.
> 60 days ago

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kansasmom
kansasmom writes:
Funny, my 11 year old son was recently diagnosed with ADD. His teacher knew he was so bright but his inattention was beyond extreme. His State Standardized tests were so high he wouldn't qualify for special education but it was clear he needed some type of intervention. She asked he be evaluated for the gifted education program. An IEP evaluation was done and they found his IQ to be 128 and he is now in Gifted. The IEP allows special services be available sucha s the occupational therapist who helps him with organization, a laptop like word processor to do most of his work on and more. He is given quarterly goals and is given projects that are just for them. One of his projects is going to be something to do with the comic book character he has been developing! We finally got him started on Vyvanse at the end of this school year and he responded great. I know states fund these programs differently but it is maybe something you can ask about that may suit him better. Good Luck!
> 60 days ago

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badmommy
badmommy , Parent writes:
That bit about your son getting picked on for being "quirky" and re-telling the same jokes sounds exactly like my 9-year-old!  Maybe we're related!  He also can't read people's non-verbal cues very well and keeps trying to be friends with those who shun him.  I'd say he's a couple of years behind his peers in the social skills category.  I'm wondering if you also experience this problem:  before my son was taking Focalin he was all over the place and could have out-of-control days.  He's much better now after the medication, but has earned the label of "troublemaker" so much so that now if there's any altercation (I'm talking verbal- we don't have an issue with physical) between kids and my son is involved, all fingers point to him and the bully often gets off scott free.  I tell my son that life isn't always fair.  He earned the reputation, and only time will shed him of it.  I defend him when I can, but his teacher is one of those people who thinks that ADHD isn't real and is just caused by bad parenting.
> 60 days ago

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adhdcommando
adhdcommando writes:
you should put him on concerda i am 11 and have severe adhd i am on concerda it helps a lot and has no side affects
> 60 days ago

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