Elementary School recs for 8 y.o. with ADHD/Anxiety/Gifted
I'm unfortunately searching for "last minute" recommendations for an appropriate East Bay (preferably Oakland/Berkeley) school for my 8 y.o. son who has ADHD, Anxiety and likely a gifted learner. He's very creative/artistic. He's currently in a private school, but it's turning out to not be supportive of his social/emotional needs so I'm scrambling to find something for 3rd grade this fall. Any recommendations for schools that might be a good fit -- and possibly have openings this late in the game? That also has afterschool options? Thanks so much.
Jun 7, 2019
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I have a 10 yo with anxiety, ADHD, and more - and he got a letter from the district saying he's gifted because his test scores are really high. So welcome to the 2E family! We have been relatively happy with the public school (Fairmont, in the WCCUSD) handling of his 2E needs. Once you have a diagnosis letter from an MD, you can (re)convene an IEP team and discuss how to adapt. We have gotten everything we asked for him, over 2.5 years as his needs changed, he got new diagnoses, etc. Fairmont is good for special needs because they have both a full inclusion policy AND two classrooms for special ed so overall the education professionals aren't rattled by someone who has a lot of complexities. I would look for a school that is big because the staff will have institutional experience with children with differences. In our experience the anxiety is always the #1 concern when it's at a high mark, because that is detrimental to meeting daily needs, and in IEP meetings we spend time telling the group how that presents at home and impacts the student. (Often it is masked at school.) Once we explain, I have never felt like we weren't believed or taken seriously. In terms of the advanced learning, we have found it very difficult for the teacher to differentiate in a really meaningful way, and while it would be nice, we appreciate their attempts and just supplement at home through a variety of sources. At this point in his scholastic career, we feel like we have to prioritize the other issues. Time enough for hardcore academics in high school. Finally, the other thing we do for his social/emotional needs is that we have made the decision for one parent to stay at home so that he doesn't have to go to aftercare. It's just too much time having to regulate himself and pay attention and all that, plus it doesn't leave enough time for homework/reading/quality time at home.
I was in the same boat two years ago. I highly recommend you take a look at Berkwood Hedge in Berkeley. They are small and truly supportive of learning differences. They even have learning specialist on staff and incorporate educational therapists from the outside if needed.
My two sensitive, gifted, anxious and possibly ADHD boys are thriving there! Affordable, too.
How about checking out Glenview, Chabot, Kaiser, Sequoia in Oakland? All of these schools are well rated and Studio One picks up for after school program which is a wonderful arts program. I have no idea about availability but around 4th grade, some students start changing school to private school, so you might get lucky.