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Mellissa:  My 8 year old son has ADHD Autism OCD ODD and for the past several months he is refusing all work and is failing classes.  School says they can accomodate his needs but I feel like they have not done anything to help him.

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Jill G
02/03/2016 3:52 pm

Melissa –

How is the school working on these issues? Does your son have a behavior plan? Is he working with an interventionist?

I suggest you begin by asking the school to evaluate of his behavioral needs. It should include a functional behavioral assessment and observations of your son in different environments (i.e. home and school). They should use the results to build a comprehensive behavioral program for him. It should be revisited regularly, at least once a month, and revised if it’s not working.

Give this 6 months. If it’s successful, great! If not, arrange to have him evaluated privately – preferably by someone who specializes in his unique combination of diagnoses. Then, as Chuck suggested, you must advocate.

From Emotions to Advocacy is a great resource – it will provide you with a blueprint for advocacy. The books by Ross Greene are also great ( – they’ll give you (and the school) a new way for looking at your son.

02/01/2016 1:21 pm

On this homepage go to the topic Advocacy to find articles on dealing with this situation.

02/01/2016 11:52 am

What state do you reside in? If you are not receiving help from the teachers, try the head of ESE, then the principal. I would ask for a behavior or success plan, beginning with tracking of the behaviors over a period of time. This is called RTI or response to intervention. If they track what happens before a behavior, they can find what the student is getting from the behavior. for example, “get out of math” , get away from someone who picks on them, or just tired or hungry depending on the other things that happen at the same time. As a parent, you can help by creating a point system with rewards for good “on task behavior” . Some feel rewarding good behavior is not necessary. As adults we are paid for our behavior, such as a paycheck for going to work. I hope this helps. If the school does not work with you there is often a behavior specialist at district levels.

02/01/2016 2:02 pm
Reply to  Hope

We live in Maryland. His behavior really isn’t the issue. He just refuses to do work or participate. His doctor wants him to attend a more therapeutic day school, but school board says they can accommodate his needs. They would have to pay for him to attend that school.