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I taught 3rd and 4th grade for 5 years. Tell the teacher, meds or not it will be helpful to them. I had lots of strategies that would help kids with ADD focus even those with meds. I understand not wanting to label your kids, but in order for teachers to do their very best they need to know everything they can about the possible learning styles of the child.

I don't think of ADD as a negative thing, EVERY child has things they need to overcome to succeed. In my experience (not trying to generalize to all kids with ADD)the children I've worked with who had ADD were some of the most creative children I've met.

I will pop over and tell her....tell the teacher! I understand the reasons for possibly not wanting to tell, but my mother taught middle school and really needed to know which kids had ADD and which did not. it helps explain certain issues, and helps them tailor their teaching to the child's learning style (with a GOOD teacher, that is....) My sister has ADD and is brilliant, but it is useful for professors/teacher to know that about her--so they can understand why she can write a brilliant thesis and yet seems to be so forgetful, etc.

TELL HIM! Teachers generally get feedback about each child from the previous teacher just so that they are informed. It's always nice when parents are upfront and honest- imagine if "we" kept chunks of information from parents. Honestly is always best- all parents please read the article in this months Child magazine- What teachers wish they could tell you.

Tell the teachers. I feel it would be worse not to tell them. ADD and sensory issues are not the parent's fault, and no teacher would react as if it was. You want the teachers to know everything about your children to help them gain a better insight into how your children learn. If your nephew was diabetic, your sister wouldn't be embarrassed to medicate him. He needs his meds to function in the classroom and level the playing field. Tell the teachers so they can be more sympathetic when the children are having a bad day.

Chances are, if the teacher is good/experienced/intuitive, s/he will already know. I taught high school, and saw many true cases of ADD/ADHD (and some that were not-so-true), and it was always good to know that those kids that I saw as needing help were getting it. So, yeah, definitely tell the teacher. And ask if s/he has any suggestions or insight; the answer might be surprising.

For what it's worth, someone probably already told him. I had some very bad stuff happen to me when I was a kid (very little - age 8). When I was in 4th grade, I told my teacher, but she already knew. Apparently, when you have things that will affect your school time, they put it in a record and it gets passed around so teachers know what to expect.

tell the teacher. more information is always better, and they have shit jobs as it is (at least here in the states).

Don't know how things differ from the US to SA with school - here once it is made known that someone has ADD, it becomes part of the permanent record (so to speak) and the knowledge & any necessary accommodations are automatically made. Also - most good teachers can spot a true case of ADD within a weeks time; not telling them may leave the impression that as a parent you're clueless.

I know it's already been said a dozen times but I'll say it again because I know the fear all too well... tell the teacher. The reason I questioned whether or not to tell the teachers about my daughter was because I didn't want them to judge her. I didn't want them to make excuses for her or not push her to excel (don't tell) but at the same time I didn't want them to be harsh with her about something that was out of her control or to overlook educational strategies just because of a lack of information on their part (TELL). In the end I told them and it turned out wonderfully. They love her and accept her for who she is.
I understand that there are teachers/people in the world who will judge anyway... that's just how they are but it's my opinion that when we keep things secret it gives them power. There is nothing to be ashamed of when living with/being/advocating for someone who is neuro-atypical (ADD, Sensory, etc.). If a child were diabetic you/I/we would not hesitate to let a teacher know because society does not place blame or shame on diabetes (when it comes to children... adults, whole other story). If the teachers know ahead of time they will be better able to give the ADD child all the support he/she needs. As well, if they know ahead of time and still refuse to accommodate the childs learning needs there will be no question as the whether or not they are unaware of the childs needs.
And not that you asked but I'll suggest it anyway... fill Adam's teacher in on what his strengths are as well as what you hope he will improve on by being in school. It might be a good idea to give them a week or two to get their own idea of him but then after that just tell them matter-of-factly about the things that might set him off thereby decreasing his quality of life while at school (which we all know rolls over to life at home!)and what some of your strategies are for handling those situations. I'm sure that they will be grateful especially if they don't have experience with children like Adam. Some people have a "box" that they place children in during certain age ranges and by letting them know that your child doesn't fit that mold it will allow them to be more creative about how they deal with him as well as the other children. It's a great learning opportunity for them, for Adam and for the other children he will be interacting with.
Best of luck to you and your sister! I'm off to post this on her blog!

I'll be the lone dissenter (so far) and say no, I would not tell. If my child was being treated, pharmaceutically or otherwise, I'd let the treatment and my efforts stand for themselves, and not give the teacher or school a chance to label and therefore prejudge my child and possibly make things too easy, or too hard on him.

If a later conference with the teacher were to reveal problems that are out of control, I may choose to tell at that point. But why before? I cannot think of how that would serve my child's interests.

I think it is no one's business. I would want my child to at least have the chance of being considered normal, ordered, and functional, rather than automatically assumed to be abnormal, disordered, and dysfunctional.

Are there any lurkers out there who agree with me? Or am I leading a one-woman protest?

i say telling them is a good idea.
i tell the teachers as early in the year as possible so that they will understand damien's behaviour issues and be able to notice a difference if we forget his meds. officially diagnosed adhders are also entitled to concessions at schools in south africa, and to my mind it works in everyoe's best interests for teachers, friends and family to know an adhders diagnosis and treatment.
much like with any illness or disorder- i expect everyone who has direct dealings with my child to know how to "handle" him.

I say tell. As a special education assistant, I have seen teachers act much more patiently with kids who have trouble focusing if there is a documented reason for it. More careful consideration is given to seating placement, peer partnering, and extra help when that red flag is raised.

To Rainbow W -

Just because teachers aren't paid well doesn't mean they have "shit jobs". Teachers *choose* to be in their professions - they could just as well change to more lucrative careers if they considered money to be the one and only indicator of success.

My adult son has ADHD. The teachers were my allies and life line during those years. A good, honest, open relationship with your childs teacher is invaluable. Also, the teachers talk about last years students with this years teacher so I am sure he already knows.

I have ADD, and my son has ADD and Andrea is completely right. Do not tell, under ANY circumstances. The judgement, the prejudice, the discrimination are incredible and I would never risk my child's future by putting a label on their permanent record.
That permanent record btw, can be seen by future colleges, by any teacher, by any school employee. Notwithstanding all the nice teacher commenters you get Tertia, they can gossip, and do. Not every teacher is perfect.
Use medication, get your kids on an all-day time release, so they don't need to tell anyone at school and can focus. If they have other symptoms, just talk about mild possible LD issues. They can be explained and accommodated without dropping the neutron bomb of ADD. Lots of people understand LD. No-one gets accused of faking dyslexia, but ADD? Hah...everytime I've ever told someone, I'm accused of being a faker.

If my attitude seems extreme, please know that after years and years of facing Doctors who ridicule the existence of ADD, and teachers who are all over the map in their belief of ADD, I simply can't understand anyone who thinks it's a good idea to take on this fight.
I've had pharmacists call me a drug addict for trying to fill a perfectly legal prescription, and other parents viciously attack me and accuse me of harming my kids. This is a disease where no one cares about the medical evidence, just the media bullshit.

Recently, a survey of average parents found that if the parents knew a kid in the neighbourhood had ADD the majority would forbid their child to play with him. Nice, huh?

I am not ashamed of my disease, but my world is. Don't make your poor kids fight that battle. It's just cruel.

As a teacher, I appreciate any and all open dialogue with parents of my students. It hink you should not just tell the teacher, but sit down for a bit to discuss it. Discuss with him why you hesitated to tell him and that you don't want your child labeled or 'pushed to the back of the class'.

The reason we like to know is because a good teacher will tailor instruction to best fit the child. If he gets a good foundation now, it will make his higher education that much easier. I don't know the current style of education in SA, but if he was my student and I saw that he was having problems, I could try to figure out if he didn't take his medicine, was having some sort of reaction, maybe it's not working as well, or maybe I need to change the delivery of instruction to him. Maybe he needs to work on it in smaller chunks.

What you don't want is them to be labeled as disruptive or a behavior problem. Those labels are much harder to shake off. And then with Adam, if he pushes people away to avoid being touched and it's misinterpreted as him shoving someone. that could escalate easily. I know it is hard to accept, but as the begin schooling, teachers begin to know more and more about their students. They can observe their behavior changing over time, and how they interact with other students, sometimes even more so than the parent. (as they begin to spend more time at school and less at home.)

So be open with the teacher and keep open lines of communication. Let them know it's o.k. to call or email you at any time about anything.

I just read some of the other posts, and in answer to the people who say not to tell, I say that if you have open communication with the teacher. you call him/her to check in and he/she can call you at anytime, then you will also know how the teacher is treating your child, and will know eariler if there is a prejudice or personality conflict.

Any medical information or any information in their cumulative school files is by law, CONFIDENTIALl. So if you ever hear any information being passed around about your child, you need to talk to the school administrator immediately, because someone is breaking the law, and it's probably not the first, or last time. We don't need teachers like that making our job even harder.

And we do talk, everyone does. But, if we know a student has a medical condition or learning disability, that is not discussed - because we know it's confidential. If so-and-so is being a turd in class, won't sit down, won't pay attention, and freaks out when other kids touch him in PE, you'll probably hear about it in the lunchroom. However, if we know it's b/c of ADD/HD, or SID, you would just hear something like "Was so-and-so having problems in your class today? Do you think I should call his mom and let her know?"

Someone said previously that "accomodations are automatically made." That is not true. In order for a child to be placed in "special ed", the parents must give permission the entire time: to be tested and to be placed. The parents, who can even have a lawyer present at the meetings, have a LOT of input as to what type of instruction modifications are made for the student (they can say they don't want any), where the child sits in class, how they are assessed in class how misbehavior is managed - everything. If the parents don't approve at any stage, their word is the final one.

All of the above pertains to public schools. Private schools can make their own procedures, pretty much.

TELL THE TEACHER. I teach 2-yr-olds and have one who is being evaluated for SID. It is v hard to approach a parent and tell them that you think something is off w/ their kid. THEN to find out that they already know and are getting treatment???? EEEEEEEE. We have SO MANY parents in denile about their childrens problems, even severely autistic kids, that to have a parent come in and say, "Here is Johnnys deal: he has XYZ. Here is what we are doing about it," is like a teachers wet dream.

I am on both sides of this because I am a teacher and I have a special needs son. I see BOTH sides of this. As a teacher I would want to know so that I could help the child, develop strategies, work with the parents to develop skills that can help him later in life. As a parent I want the teacher to know so that he/she can help, not hinder. Many times teachers will hold ADD children to the same standards as the "regular" kids and not follow or offer modifications that are or need to be in place. If he has an IEP those modifications are there for a reason and should be followed. If he does not have an IEP a teacher can and will often still offer to develop strategies to help.

You guys should watch the video by Ken Robinson @ TEDTalks ("Do schools kill creativity?"). I love the part where he said: "ADD was not a sickness you could have at that time. It was not available." Something in that lines. Please, go watch:


This is a difficult one. But a big part of me agrees with Andrea. I would ride the tide for a while and just see how my son was coping. New teacher, new teaching style which might compliment the child. Otherwise, if the child was starting to experience problems, I would then approach the teacher and explain why I didn't tell in the first place and then have the necessary discussion with him.

My Mom's a Special Ed teacher and after all these years she can tell an ADD kid within the first 2 weeks of the school term. But not all teachers can.

If you're letting a teacher be a part of your child's life for a large amount of the day, and you're expecting her to do right by your child, then why would you withhold something so important? That line of communication can be the difference between a teacher thinking your child is spoiled/misbehaved and her changing the classroom atmosphere to make it easier for your child.

I cannot imagine how badly the relationship with the teacher could go if you were to not tell, or keep ones mouth shut now but then disclose latter on. It would make one look foolish at best to not disclose.

The teacher deserves a chance to have an honest relationship with the child and with the parent. If the parent witholds information that is quite likely critical in helping that child succeed in school, then the parent is sabotaging the process before it even begins.

Decent teachers are not jerks who will dismiss your child as broken or disordered because of a diagnosed disability. They will generally want to work with the parent to develop strategies to help the child cope better, and knowledge of pre-existing conditions that will make certain things more challenging is crucial. It could save them years and thousands of dollars trying to figure out what is going on and doing their own assesments.

If your child was deaf, would you send them into a classroom without mentioning it to the teacher on the premise that you don't want your child to be treated any differently?

I have dyslexia and growing up when ever I had a new teacher I would start my school year keeping the information to myself and then after a little while, after the teacher got to know me for me without the label my parents would share with them my learning disability and testing that they had done privately. (New Brunswick, Canadian school system was shit as far as I'm concerned then, but can't speak for it now).

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My son was recently diagnosed at age 5, however his teacher does not understand the issues at hand. I was divorced about a year ago and in our conversation she kept asking about his home life! He has a stable home environment and quite frankly is non of her business. I don't experience MAJOR difficulties with handling him at home and his issues started with his unwillingness to go to school. He started hiding in all places just so that he would not have to go to school. I'm going to move him to a different school next year and plan on NOT telling his teacher.

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