Managing ADHD and PTSD in the classroom

My son has ADHD. Not the sort of ADHD where people shake their heads and ask why you medicate your child at such a young age. The sort of ADHD where your son is in time out all day, weeping because he has a ¨bad heart and cannot be good¨, where he catapults over the couch repeatedly because he is trying to listen to you, but cannot sit still. The sort of ADHD where other children get hurt. Because ADHD and PTSD together make for NO IMPULSE CONTROL plus anger.

He has a good heart.  A great heart, the sort that loves small children and bugs. But he is so triggered, all the time. His ADHD makes him a walking textbook case of PTSD.

Which is why he is on medication.

But the meds are always being tuned, nothing works and keeps working as his body grows and as he acclimates to it. We have to keep tweaking the meds. To make sure they do not wear him out, or dumb him down. He needs to be himself, just under control.

His meds have been tweaked, because he was so tired a few months ago that it scared me. Now he is on time release twice daily. Clonidine. Which helps with his PTSD, a lot.

But it did not stop him from helpfully blurting out answers in class, talking out of turn, and other issues with verbal self control.

So I made him a bracelet after the med change.

It is stretchy, for comfort and fidgeting. It has little cheap plastic beads on it, in his favorite color.

When he wants to blurt something out of turn, he is supposed to move a bead over, instead.

It works like magic. But he has been using it backwards. He moves a bead over after he blurts something, instead, so his whole day is a sort of contest with himself not to move his beads over. The first day he moved three beads over. The second, two. The third day of his new bracelet no beads were moved.

His teacher has thanked me.

Other teachers in the school have been talking about it. I hope someone stumbles across this and finds that it works for them, too.

For his autistic brother I made another bracelet in the hopes it would bring good results. It is alternating dark and white beads.

The first bead is dark, for the things he wants to say but should not, like ¨I hate you¨ or ¨You’re a liar¨ which are true statements for him, but not very socially acceptable. Saying such things makes him a bully.

The second bead is white, for the appropriate thing to say. So instead of replying to a friendly ¨Hello¨ from his classmate, he will not say ¨I hate you¨ any longer (I hope!) but rather ¨Hi¨. He will still have said the wrong thing, the honest thing, in his head. To his bracelet. Then he gets to move the white bead with the appropriate response, which I hope he will say instead. Reprogramming, see? I hope this gets him thinking more about what to say. He said his first day went well. Next week will be the real test.

I wonder what the psychologist will think of my solutions.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Managing ADHD and PTSD in the classroom

  1. Wow. I’m glad the bracelets are working.

  2. Reblogged this on Listen Through My Heart and commented:
    Empowering kids to be in control of themselves is a lesson that is so often overlooked. It is as important as all the rigorous, standardized lessons in the world!

  3. I love this! I will try it with some of “my kids”!

  4. artisticmilestones

    Not sure how i stumbled upon your blog but i wish you the best in raising your kids with ADHD.

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