Aug 28, 2005

Letter to Teacher

I wrote this letter and sent it with my son the first day of school. I did it discreetly as not to embarrass him. I slipped it in a manila envelope with other papers that had been sent to me prior to the start of school. I wanted her to know from day one about my son's "special needs." I searched the internet for examples first. Then, after reading three or four other mom's letters, I drafted my own. The following was the result. You're more than welcome to adapt it to your child's personal needs and forward it on to his/her teacher.

Dear Mrs. _______,

I know as a teacher you are an extremely busy woman. You have many daily demands placed on you and I do not mean to add yet another. This letter is simply to introduce my son, Garrett, to you and hopefully help you to understand him better. You see, Garrett was diagnosed with ADHD in July 2003. Since that time he has been on several kinds of medication. The latest one his doctor is trying is Focalin. He has only been on this medication for about one month. It seems to be working better than the others. However, we're hoping you can be a better judge of this since you will be the one observing him in the daily classroom environment. He also has several learning disabilities which contributed to his being retained in the second grade this year.

Now, a little background about ADHD and Garrett. One thing the majority of people do not understand about ADHD is the "2/3rds rule." As a general rule of thumb a child with ADHD will act about 2/3rds their actual age. It tends to throw people because an ADHD child typically has average or above intelligence (as Garret does), but they are prone to displaying immature behavior. Other physical behaviors you may see are fidgeting, squirming and clumsiness. Classroom behaviors that you may see include:

  • May begin work without waiting to hear or read instructions
  • Trouble staying on task
  • Popenmanshiphip
  • Will lose or misplace papers, pencils and other materials
  • Will have to be reminded to clean up work areas after use
  • Will probably be at your desk more often than most students
  • Will often ask questions which may or may not relate to what you are discussing
  • May turn in class work & tests before other children but with lower quality than possible
  • May hyper focus on a topic to the point of fixation

Also, due to his ADHD, he has inadequate social skills. This sometimes can make it difficult for him to form lasting friendships with his peers. Garrett has problems distinguishing whether someone's actions are intentional or accidental. He is a literal thinker who doesn't understand sarcasm. He cannot read non-verbal messages or cues. Due to this, he often overreacts to situations or comments and his feeling are easily hurt. We are working with him on this.

All of this being said, he has numerous good qualities as well. He is a great kid who has a natural curiosity about life and how things work. He is very creative through art and building with Legos. He is caring towards others and is very sensitive. Even though he has a lot to offer the world, he doesn't always believe in himself and questions his academic ability. He's also anxious about school and unfortunately doesn't always find it a very safe place to be. This is due to bullying last year by a fifth grader both at school and on the bus. He greatly desires to please his teachers. He will be more than willing to help you in any way possible. He loves to make people laugh and will often tell jokes or act silly. He has a strong interest in water fountains, dolphins and Sponge Bob Square Pants. His hobbies are swimming, bike riding and jumping on his trampoline.
Things that helped him last year include:

  • Structured environment and consistent routine
  • Sitting near the teacher's desk to minimize distractions
  • Touchmath and number lines
  • Positive re-enforcement
  • Being allowed to stretch, run an errand, go to the water fountain or bathroom will all help with his fidgeting
  • Decreased homework assignments and spelling words

A few of the above are mentioned in his IEP as well. He will be going to Resource one hour a day as opposed to two hours like he did last year. He truly enjoys this and really likes Mrs. ______. His biggest challenges are math and reading. He goes to a private tutor for 1 -2 hours a week. She helps him in these areas as well. Also, if you find there is a specific area you'd like her to focus on more, just let me know and I'll tell her. She's great and will be more than willing to comply.

Mrs. ______, I know Garrett will require extra time and effort on your part so please let me thank you in advance. I greatly appreciate the many helpful professionals I have found at ____ Elementary. Please let me know how I can help support you and Garrett. I do not work outside of our home and am almost always available to help in any capacity, discuss important matters, etc. I believe Garrett has been dealt a very difficult hand in life and there is nothing I wouldn't do for this very precious child of mine.



1 comment:

  1. This letter helped me a lot. My son's teacher thought that my 8 year old son probably had ADHD because he had problems focusing in class. After consulting with the doctor and evaluation it was found that he used to be nervous at school because of bullying and no one believed him even though he kept complaining about it. As per doctor's recommendation, I moved to a different place and put him in a better private school. Your letter helped me a lot to explain the situation to his new teacher in writing. Thanks again. This was very helpful.


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