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rebecca.farrant
rebecca.far... asks:
Q:

how can i help my 15 yr old son?

my son is in his last year at school,age 15,due to missing loads of school,he has now been told that he can only achieve half a g.c.s.e. so thinks its not worth going in to school.about a month ago he cut open his arm with a stanley blade and recieved 7 stitches,and now sees a psychologist,who is refering him to see if he has a.d.h.d.but it wont be until feb2011 what can i do?
In Topics: Teen issues, Anxiety, Cutting
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Sep 23, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds like it has been a long and difficult road with your son. I'm sorry to hear that you have both suffered so much. Your son is very lucky to have you on his side, supporting and fighting for him.

Is your son currently in a traditional public school? Has he ever been evaluated for special education? If he has not ever been evaluated, I recommend that you pursue this avenue. I have included a link to an article with a sample letter for requesting the evaluation below.

As you may know, your son is legally entitled to a public education, despite whatever difficulties he may have (academic or emotional) and the school is legally required to provide an education for him. I think that it is great that he is being evaluated for ADHD, but, unfortunately, an ADHD diagnosis does not typically qualify a child/teen for special education (he would, however, be eligible for a 504 Plan with some accommodations, but not as much support as an Individualized Education Plan - IEP would provide). I wonder if he might be eligible for a learning disability diagnosis or a diagnosis of emotionally disturbed (the cutting incident suggests he is suffering quite a bit). If he qualifies for special education, he may be eligible for special programs (like a therapeutic day school) if he is not able to "make it" in a traditional public school. For more on these types of options, I invite you check with your local Parent Training and Information Center (link to a site that can help you find your local center by using the state drop-down is below).

Basically, you shouldn't have to do this all on your own. You need the support of the school and your son's psychologist. For instance, once your son's psychologist has started to get a handle on him and who he is, ask her for help with parent training and developing a system for the home to better support him with. I'm not sure what the system would be exactly because I don't know your son exactly, but parents of children/teens with ADHD have found a great deal of benefit from parent training (see third link below).

Best wishes and keep fighting the good fight!

Warm regards,

Laura Kauffman, Ph.D.
Licensed Child Psychologist
Education.com JustAsk Expert
http://www.drlaurakauffman.com/
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