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LD student shutting down!


what to do?

I am a SPED para (with a teaching degree- who couldn't find a job!)I have one 2nd grade boy everyday for a half hour to take out and work with. He has always been a great, lively, energetic kid. He was recently diagnosed and medicated for ADHD and also has Dyslexia. However, his parents/doctors are being VERY honest with him and it seems to be consuming his every thought. He seems to have just shut down... Maybe he uses me as an outlet? But he just stopped talking to me and is cold and lifeless our entire time we work together. I bring in fun exciting and personally motivating manipulatives, candy and games for us to play. I have even tried to counsel him and talk things out and ask him about whats going on. Things that he once enjoyed (or enjoys with other teachers) are not working anymore! He is not like this to anyone else... I have tried to seek advice from fellow teachers and SPED directors but I am not getting the support. The SPED teacher wants to give up on me... and that is THE LAST thing I want to do.... HELP ME PLEASE?!!??! Any suggestions!?


But he just stopped talking to me and is cold and lifeless our entire time we work together.

Dear What to Do?:

The above quote from your posting suggests extreme anxiety and intense distress from this student. It sounds as if you are just "trying too hard". I might suggest that you relinquish the "fun exciting and personally motivating manipulatives, candy and games to play" (your words) as well as the counseling. Why not try a more mundane and relaxed approach - read simple stories, write short notes, calculate easy math questions (or whatever your curriculum mandate is). You cannot change how the parents and the medical personnel are dealing with this issue - but you can change your approach. It is not working.

Another very common problem of children first using medication is that the dose of the meds is too high, or the medication is not a good fit for this child - but again, you cannot control that aspect. If you suspect this might also be an issue, the only thing you can do is document behaviours of this child and inform the parents. However, in these situations, the behaviours will be noticed in all classes by all teachers (as well as the parents in the home), so I'm hesitant to mention this point.

Perhaps someone else will have another suggestion -



Senior Member
He may have the stated or unstated expectation that now that he is on medication, he shouldn't have to be pulled out anymore. (In their attempt to be honest, his parents may have even stated that outright.) Perhaps he is now noticing that he is being pulled, while other kids or not. Perhaps his classmates are making remarks about it that, now that he can focus, he is noticing for the first time.

I would, for one week, keep a short log of
1 - the time of day you pulled him
2 - his levels of alertness
3 - his responsiveness to your directions, attempts to interact, tasks, etc.
4 - anything else you notice, such as his facial expressions, comments, postures, etc. that communicate his mood and ability to attend

In my experience, kids generally start out on low doses of medication that get raised, but it is important to document the effects in case the medicine itself is inappropriate or the dose is not correct. This should be ruled out, along with any changes in sleeping or eating habits that could be affecting his mood and ability to participate. Many kids with ADHD have trouble regulating their sleep-wake cycles, and sometimes medications play with this as well.

Do you have opportunities to actually observe him with other teachers? They may be happy with him now that he is less disruptive to the group, but that doesn't mean he's any more lively and alert than he is with you. If he is, then I'd examine what he is being told about being pulled out and the reactions that that is getting from the class.

If all of that seems OK, then I would start to examine his reactions to your activities. Does he think it is babyish to play games or use manipulatives? Is he feeling stupid? Is he now able to focus so much better that his true abilities are coming out, and needs more challenging work? There are so many possibilities.

I'm glad you're not giving up. Good luck!

What to do?

Thank you both VERY much for such informative responses. I am so happy to have found a resource that is so reliable and knowledgeable!

I will definitely use many of the suggestions! Anythings worth a try!
I have done some journaling but I will make it more of a priority and with the log format. What great ideas!
I do agree with "dramacentral" in that someone has told him/he figured it out that he gets pulled out because he has these disabilities.
I am going to observe him with other teachers. I get the idea that he is TOTALLY different with them, but maybe you are right... maybe they think it is a "good thing!" and he is not disruptive ...
Like you said, "there are so many possiblities."

Thanks again! Suggestions are always welcome!