Elementary school recommendations for kids with ADHD

Hi Parents,

Our 5 year old is currently in the public school system. He was recently diagnosed with ADHD (which we werent tremendously surprised by..). Because of ADHD he has always had a very hard time being seated in one place, focusing for extended period of time (for unpreferred task/acads or task he already knows about), keep full control of his impulses. He is also a sensory seeker so tends to get overwhelmed with everything thats going on in classroom and gets into personal space. He is also extremely bright, in the sense that he can grab concepts pretty quickly, he has a VERY  imaginative brain, excellent communication skills, he has outstanding memory (which helps because he needs to learn something only one or two times and doesnt forget). But because of these reasons his brain is always ON! When we started getting calls from the school regularly for his lack of presence in class and impulse control we begged the principal to help us out. So for now temporarily he has an aide who helps him out for couple hours in class. We have been through IEP process before but did not get anything because the one day the district psycologist went to observe him in his pre school (an year back) he was having the best day ever!

We are back in the IEP process and just started assesment, but based on what i am reading on adhd forums its highly unlikely that we will get an aide for him and i know that without one he is basically not going to be learning in school and adjust to the class and he is going to start hating it (he LOVES school as of now). 

We live in south bay and are really wanting to also start looking at private school options as well that can help him flourish. From this forum i have mostly seen school recommendations for East bay or SFO but none for San Jose/Santa Clara area. 

Would love to hear any recommendations so that we set our child up for success. Any insights/experiences will be really helpful!

Thanks so much!!

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I can't speak to South Bay schools in particular, but based on your description of your child, I would strongly encourage you to check out a Montessori school. It sounds like he may be gifted, as evidenced by his being very bright, very sensitive, and bored with tasks he has already mastered (which is, from my totally non-expert point of view, a possible reason why he has a hard time focusing or sitting still - maybe seek a second opinion on that ADHD diagnosis?). The Montessori approach frees up kids to work on what interests them, to go at their own pace, and to physically move around the classroom, which is really ideal for bright and/or sensitive kids and helps ensure they keep that love of learning going! Good luck to you. 

-Been there

Just a thought...have you had your child tested to see if he's gifted?  Sometimes the symptoms of ADHD and giftedness are similar. What you describe could be a bored gifted child.

Just went through this but with an ADHD primarily inattentive type.  The school should do a Connors III assessment which incorporates the feedback of both teacher and parents (in addition to observations by school psychologist). Then take that information to a child psychiatrist as you need a medical diagnosis of ADHD to provide to the school system. Once you get a medical diagnosis, it should be possible to get an IEP.  Regarding an aide -- are there other children who require an aide (in the same grade)?  If so, then perhaps your son could be placed in the same classroom and the aide could assist both kiddos.

We used an advocate to help us navigate this process (after not getting very far on our own) and her help was invaluable. Her name is Teresa Baro, and she is located in Pleasanton (http://my.php.com/resource/teresa-baro-advocacy-0).  And (my two cents) while many parents fear using ADHD medication, I would encourage you to try them (they are short acting) and see if it helps your son be able to concentrate during school.  A friend after many years of trying alternative therapies, put her tween son on ADHD medication and after two weeks he asked her "If you knew this medicine could help me, why didn't you try it earlier?"

Good luck!

Your child sounds a lot like my kid--very bright, great memory, takes more than his fair share of teacher attention.  My son was diagnosed with ADHD in 2nd grade (age7) but had classroom behavior challenges as early as preschool.  If you have Kaiser, I recommend going through their ADHD assessment process.  It was very helpful.  We also went to a class they offered about medication.  While initially hesitant about medication, I can say that it was life changing for my child and has definitely been the right decision--he is in middle school now and doing very well academically and socially.  We have a 504, not an IEP, though now in middle school he hasn't needed much accommodation.  We know several other kids with ADHD and none have a classroom aide.  If your son needs an aide then I wonder if the school is a good fit and/or if the diagnosis needs review--maybe there is more going on.   My son had amazing teachers at Sequoia elementary in Oakland.