student in free fall

I visited a second grade classroom, and a boy I remember from my visits to first grade last year was there.  I was shocked by his deterioration.

Last year he had an attitude, and sometimes didn’t pay attention, but he was clearly smart and he eventually did his work.  No big deal.  Yesterday was different — he had somehow lost control of himself and his body.  He couldn’t sit still, so I sat behind him and touched his back gently, and whispered his name.  With most kids that would work but it seemed to rile him up more.  Soon he was leaning on the kid next to him or flopping on the floor, instead of sitting up in the circle.  I eventually moved away as it seemed I might be making things worse.

The poor teacher was trying to give directions for the math activity but I never once saw this boy look at her or give any indication that he heard a word she said.  He made his hands into guns and “shot” the kids around him.  He was in his own world. 

Then an older woman I realized was his grandma stepped up, and she tried and tried to get him to pay attention.  She was whispering to him lovingly and even guided his head so he’d be facing the teacher, and she didn’t have any luck either.  It was almost like listening or focusing was beyond his abilities.

Later, she sat next to him to do the activity, and instead of listening, he built guns out of manipulatives.  It was like someone had shot him up with ADHD poison, and he was completely lost in his own hyperactive world.  I mean, it looked like he couldn’t even look at grandma and have a conversation with her.

It made me so sad for the rest of the day.

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3 thoughts on “student in free fall

  1. Please tell me you’ve talked to grandma and she’s taking him to a doctor. If I hear one more parent of a kid like that say, “I don’t believe in medicine” I’ll go nuts. Believe? What’s to believe? To me that’s like saying, “I know he can’t see, but I don’t believe in glasses.”

  2. Boys and Girls learn differently. They’re built differently! Have the teacher get that book!

    As far as medicine, the first offense with this type of behavior ought to be diet! Why do teachers want to push medicine so much? It’s clearly the easy way out, but it’s not always the solution.
    First, see a doctor for food allergies, rule out EVERYTHING BEFORE medicine is recommended!!!

  3. Ninja, grandma has finally admitted that the boys’ problems are not the fault of the other kids in the class, the teacher, or the fact that ours is not a parochial school. I guess being in class and observing him helped her figure that out. He is being evaluated by a doctor and a psychiatrist to see if he has ADHD. She was in denial before, but now I think she is willing to do what needs to be done to help him.

    Chrissy, he’s not my student, so I can’t get involved too much. I trust that his doctor will figure out what is going on. Please know that there is more to the story — a rough start in life, etc. — that are also affecting his behavior. Food allergies seem unlikely to be the source of his problems, but I would assume that grandma and the doctor will consider everything.

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