Dear Private School Admissions…
Dear Private School Admissions Person,
Thanks so much for your request for more information about Dylan. He’s a very bright boy, who had a wonderfully enthusiastic attitude about life for the first 12 years. He’s incredibly bouncy, which we attributed to boredom until 3rd grade. He had a teacher that year who refused to accommodate his inability to finish his work – and kept him out of recess, which he needed almost like he needed air. So we had him tested, and he was diagnosed with ADHD.
We started looking at private schools when we realized that he was going to struggle with sitting still – and with teachers like his 3rd grade teacher – but he was accepted into the Gifted & Talented program for 4th and 5th grades. He suddenly loved school, except for math and homework. He fell behind in math and was in four different math classes before finding one with a paraeducator who spent the entire class period saying, “Dylan, do your work. Dylan, do your work.” With her guidance, he was not only able to stay on task, but he could excel.
He still had a great deal of trouble staying focused. We tried all kinds of natural “cures” for him, eventually trying stimulants in 4th grade. They worked miracles, and we kept him on the same medication until the beginning of 7th grade. We never medicate him on weekends or over the summer because, quite frankly, he doesn’t need it if he’s not sitting still and trying to concentrate.
Classes that allow him to move – P.E., chorus and engineering – also allow him to succeed. When he’s interested in something – music and building particularly – he can focus for hours and hours and hours, and learn more about one subject than most people learn in a lifetime. He has an easy time in social studies and science, and is an excellent reader, and can be an excellent writer – as long as he has a computer. His handwriting is much like that of a kindergartener. He also struggles with capitalization and punctuation but is an excellent speller.
Dylan took algebra in 7th grade, but is required to repeat it because he didn’t get a B in the class. His grades suffered immensely because he was unable to complete and turn in his work on time. We tried every trick in the world – and he does have an IEP – but even when he would actually DO the work, he never seemed to know when it was due, or where it was in his binder, so that he could turn it in. He almost never turned in his homework – ever. We’re hoping he can learn in 8th grade how to study and be the brilliant guy we know he is.
Lately, we have also discovered that Dylan is being bullied by possibly every peer group in his school. He is an absolutely fantastic singer, and starred in the school musical. He also sang phenomenal solos in the school talent shows through the years. Among other interests, he has a deep love for the environment and once staged his own Save the Rainforest campaign.
But middle school has drained the life out of him. He is stunned by how heartless people can be, and even his friends from the GT program have deserted him. He has found a few friends from the school musical who are nice, but has also found some who have not been so nice. At this point, he is begging for anything other than 8th grade at that school – and is considering homeschooling, even though the thought of hanging with his mom all day makes him crazy.
ADHD is a real issue for him, but he is a great kid otherwise. It would be nice if he could learn how to manage his painful emotions without angry outbursts – although they are few and far between. Mostly, he sings ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY when he’s not on medication. Even in 2nd grade, I remember his teacher saying he was fine, except that his humming was a bit distracting to the other students. And he doesn’t know how/when to turn in his work.
He needs some loving, caring teachers to get him through what has become the worst time in his life. Please let me know if you think we are looking in the right direction.