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Old 29.06.2016, 11:01
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ADHD and Swiss schools

Hello,I am a new member,I am dyslexic,so please excuse any spelling mistakes I might make.
My 7 year old boy was diagnosed with adhd when he was in kindergarten,he is now in the first class and the school says it cannot offer him any help.
His teacher is fresh out of college and this is the her first teaching year and she finds him hard to manage ,since he cannot sit still in class,so the school hired an assistant( untrained),that went well for a while .the principle has been very supportive to the teacher .when we spoke to him a few months back he clearly told us without medication he won't be able to remain in the school.now we were asked to go to the school psychologist for an evaluation,she said that he is very bright ,too bright even,so the school can't hire a trained assistant for him,that's only for kids not very bright.
Now she has suggested he go to the sonderschule,because there is nothing the school can do for him.
I find this whole situation unfair,and my son has been put through the so much trauma,that he feels he is not like others.
My son is at the moment so stresses that he told the teacher he wants to die,the teacher promptly reported this to the psychologist ,who now thinks he might not have adhd at all but some other emotional problems.

I want to know what rights I have as a parent and if anyone else has had a similar experience to mine,thanks,Rama.
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Old 29.06.2016, 11:30
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

Why can't you work with the school psychologist? My friend's grand child (Canton Bern) was extremely intelligent and he was sent to a special school for 3 mornings each week. Other times he attended the normal school.
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Old 29.06.2016, 11:35
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

Hello,the school psychologist says he will have to go to the sonderschule,and that about all she can do here,it seems,there was no other option given to us.thanks for you reply,Rama.
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Old 29.06.2016, 11:45
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

Dear Rama. I'm sorry you find yourself in this situation. Could you tell the group what treatment options are being employed with your son? Did the original diagnosis come with either pharmacological or non pharmacological management options?
You mention that the school wont support him unless he is on medication, which I'm assuming means he isn't on medication? Is there a particular reason for this? (I'm not saying medication should always the 1st line of management, but it would be useful to have your experience in this)
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Old 29.06.2016, 11:49
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

Unfortunately, not many schools here seem to be set up to help with learning dificulties. It may be worth contacting this organisation:

http://allspecialkids.org/

As for what rights you have in what respect? To insist that the school continues to try and teach him? Good luck with that. If they have neither the staff nor knowledge to help him you'd just be wasting everyone's time. The special education school might be the best place for him to get the help and assistance he needs.

Switzerland is some way behind other countries in dealing with "special" people of all types, this is something you need to realise and adjust your expectations accordingly. There is help out there, but it may not be easy to find or free.
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Old 29.06.2016, 12:28
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

I will PM you some information as we have been through the same situation. In general terms the school/Germainde IS responsible for the education of your child and most of the responsibility for the cost lies with them. We are in Canton Zurich so rules vary from canton to canton. You do have rights but it is hard to find out what they are as there is not much freely available information, most of what we learnt along the way came from word of mouth and a couple of teachers we know.

Maintaining a good relationship with the school is critical but difficult depending on the teachers involved. Do not be afraid to get a second/third/fourth opinion, you need your own "team" who will work and fight for your son. School phycologists are a bit like HR departments, they can assist you but their loyalty is sometimes more with the school than the person with an issue, this is not a criticism as they need to work and work within the system. I strongly recommend finding an independent phycologist locally who specializes in kids with ADHA.

Our son (now 10) received extra help for the first and second class, after having multiple meetings starting at the end of second class he now has a dedicated teacher for one on one lessons five hours a week and a shared assistant in the class for the last year. This has seen a massive improvement in his learning and abilities, it has also lowered his frustration levels so his behavior has improved. The school has said it can no longer supply these services at the level he needs for the fourth class so he will now go to a small private school paid for by the local school, it is really late in the school year to get a place in one of these schools but do not let them rush you into making a choice or decision about moving schools until you are sure it is the correct one. Our son's phycologist was crucial in this process as he fought the first two recommendations from the school as it would not have been the environment where our son would develop. All ADHD kids are so individual on what they need to function in the school system so until this is identified you really can't make an informed decision on which school is best regardless of that school's reputation.

For the above reasons I would not accept changing schools at this stage but look if he can change teachers in the same to get a fresh start. It is easier and sometime cheaper for the school to send these kids away but you do not have to agree to this, polite but firm is the way to go.
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Old 29.06.2016, 12:56
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

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Unfortunately, not many schools here seem to be set up to help with learning dificulties. It may be worth contacting this organisation:

http://allspecialkids.org/

As for what rights you have in what respect? To insist that the school continues to try and teach him? Good luck with that. If they have neither the staff nor knowledge to help him you'd just be wasting everyone's time. The special education school might be the best place for him to get the help and assistance he needs.

Switzerland is some way behind other countries in dealing with "special" people of all types, this is something you need to realise and adjust your expectations accordingly. There is help out there, but it may not be easy to find or free.
This doesn`t apply to Basel-Stadt where the schools (and Kindergärten) go out of their way to give each child the care and attention that they need. Even to the extent of providing the "Migrants" supplementary classes in their original culture, language etc.
Bei der Integrativen Schulungsform werden die Schülerinnen und Schüler anstatt in einer Kleinklasse im Kindergarten, an der Primarschule und den Anforderungsniveaus A und E der Sekundarschule heilpädagogisch oder sozialpädagogisch gefördert.
"Kurse in Heimatlicher Sprache und Kultur HSK gibt es in Basel-Stadt in bereits 35 Sprachen."
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Old 29.06.2016, 13:07
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

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Unfortunately, not many schools here seem to be set up to help with learning dificulties. It may be worth contacting this organisation:

http://allspecialkids.org/

As for what rights you have in what respect? To insist that the school continues to try and teach him? Good luck with that. If they have neither the staff nor knowledge to help him you'd just be wasting everyone's time. The special education school might be the best place for him to get the help and assistance he needs.

Switzerland is some way behind other countries in dealing with "special" people of all types, this is something you need to realise and adjust your expectations accordingly. There is help out there, but it may not be easy to find or free.
I somewhat agree with you about different schools having different facilities/resources to deal with special kids. This varies from town to town and canton to canton but the responsibility lies with the school to find solutions you both agree with. You are best placed to exhaust those possibilities before being sent away, out of sight - out of mind, at the very least it gives you more negotiating power to get assistance while your child is still attending there.
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Old 29.06.2016, 14:14
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

Hello,we were not given the option of a psychologist by the school,.the main problem is,I think,the teacher is too inexperienced to handle a high energy child,she would always weite me little notes saying"what can the parents do to make sure Lucas behaves in class",and she would complain to the principle about every little thing he did.we tried with the smiley stickers at home,for about a month and a half he was totally amazing in school,he's be quiet ,listen,the teacher was very pleased,then he went back to his jumpy self,that's when her complaints got worse,.the principle is not a approachable man.

Lucas was diagnosed with adhd by a psychiatrist who said he would need medication ,without recommending any other therapy before that,since he was 6 at the time ,I thought he should try other things first ,the other reason I am not still convinced he should be medicated is that he is a happy kid,extremely social,self confident(most of the time),has lots of friends and can sit hours quietly when he draws,which he loves to do.
If feel just because the school pushes me to medicate him ,is no reason to do so.

He has been going to an occupational therapist for the past 2 years,that was our decision ,not recommended by the school.
Other than hiring a class assistant ( who is as clueless about adhd as the teacher is ,hence of no use) the school has done nothing,and even hiring an assistant is according to the school a huge favour that we have to be thankful about,.
My husband and I ,agreed to go and take a look at the sonderschule,if we think it not for our son,we thought we could put him in the Rudolph Steiner school,because remaining here is going to be a problem,since the teacher will be with him for 2 more years,and the principle ,for god knows how much longer.
Thanks all of you for helping me and hearing me out,Rama.
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Old 29.06.2016, 14:44
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

If you don't think the school and the teacher is competent, there is nothing that will make them competent just because you ask for it. Think alternative, really. I mean that nicely.

I don't know if you are right or not, but I assume that you have been putting a lot of thoughts into the situation as a parent, so go all the way: If the school is not a help, it's an obstacle. Jump it.
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Old 29.06.2016, 14:46
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

This almost mirrors what happened to us at the beginning. Good on you for pushing back and not accepting meds straight up.

I would not say teachers in general are lazy here but they have a lot of "get out of jail free" cards they can use, so they can delegate responsibility when it gets hard, a few do this and are supported by the principal who has a budget to meet. This is different to what we know (or have grown up with) as foreigners but it is what it is. You have to work to get the system to work for you, as I said having a good psychologist who knows your son and the system is of great help. Finding one who will consider alternative therapies (diet, behavior ect) as well as medication is not easy.
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Old 29.06.2016, 14:48
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

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If you don't think the school and the teacher is competent, there is nothing that will make them competent just because you ask for it. Think alternative, really. I mean that nicely.

I don't know if you are right or not, but I assume that you have been putting a lot of thoughts into the situation as a parent, so go all the way: If the school is not a help, it's an obstacle. Jump it.
Last resort should be moving to another village but is should also be considered.

ADHD in kids is kept secret here (no one wants to admit their kid has an issue) so not much sharing between suffering parents. So if you are moving here and you think it might be an issue talk to the school how they will manage it before agreeing on a place to live. 3kms can make a world of difference to how schools manage this. We are quite open about it and but with 'smile and wave' here not everyone is but once you do people open up and are very helpful.

Last edited by RTN; 29.06.2016 at 15:38. Reason: More info
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Old 29.06.2016, 15:31
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

OP, is there no other more experienced teacher within the school? They can't all be clueless with regards to special educational needs. Can they? I hope you get this resolved.

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Unfortunately, not many schools here seem to be set up to help with learning dificulties. It may be worth contacting this organisation:

http://allspecialkids.org/

As for what rights you have in what respect? To insist that the school continues to try and teach him? Good luck with that. If they have neither the staff nor knowledge to help him you'd just be wasting everyone's time. The special education school might be the best place for him to get the help and assistance he needs.

Switzerland is some way behind other countries in dealing with "special" people of all types, this is something you need to realise and adjust your expectations accordingly. There is help out there, but it may not be easy to find or free.
Medea, this micro rant is not aimed at you but the situation.

They should have the resources and the expertise, that's the problem. Picking and choosing should not be allowed. If parents have no say where their child is educated then the teachers should expect to teach,with the appropriate experience and support, every child in front of them.

Attempting to pass the buck in this way or to suggest medication as the only "good" option is outrageous.
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Old 29.06.2016, 15:44
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

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They can't all be clueless with regards to special educational needs. Can they?
It depends... there are children with whom strategies work for a while and then not anymore. It seems to be the case in the OP's description of the child's situation. Success can be non-linear. One can have success with some children and not with others. So yes, you might end up in some cases with teachers who are at the end of what they can do. It's frustrating for everybody, blaming the teachers for not getting it right with every child all the time does not help anybody.

Newer studies I've been given to read at school seem to show that ADHD is a big box with very unclear and varied behavioral and cognitive criteria so that hardly two ADHD cases are alike. The categorization will probably change and be refined in the near future, but in the meantime, it's a try and fail situation. Logically, there are cases where there is so much fail that there is nothing more to try without changing the learning environment all together.

Please remember that ADHD is only a vague descriptions of symptoms, is largely unexplained, unknown and unclearly defined. Teachers can do only that much. I don't know if the teachers of OP's child did all they could, but I do know that sometimes, nothing works and nobody knows why.
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Old 29.06.2016, 16:18
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

Sonderschule may just present a solution. I have seen a few ADHD as well as Asperger kids that simply cannot cope with the noise and bustle of the regular classroom. Integration into a regular classroom, even with assistance, is not the best solution for all children, it works for some, but not others. My sister's daughter has been going to a Kleinklasse (which is part of a Sonderschule) because she could not cope with the regular classroom for a few years, she is now returning to a regular class for Grade 7. Her issues are purely psychological, she is as bright as any kid, but the time away with extra attention has allowed her to really grow. So don't dismiss Sonderschule as a negative thing, it may just turn out to be a solution that works. Good Luck with your visit! Do contact your Family Dr. for a referral to a Psychologist, so you can get a 2nd opinion independent from the school system. I agree with you on the medication aspect, if at all possible I, as a mom, would also want to try to go without and explore every other alternative.
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Old 29.06.2016, 16:23
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

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OP, is there no other more experienced teacher within the school? They can't all be clueless with regards to special educational needs. Can they? I hope you get this resolved.



Medea, this micro rant is not aimed at you but the situation.

They should have the resources and the expertise, that's the problem. Picking and choosing should not be allowed. If parents have no say where their child is educated then the teachers should expect to teach,with the appropriate experience and support, every child in front of them.

Attempting to pass the buck in this way or to suggest medication as the only "good" option is outrageous.
I agree RufusB. But if you look around you'll see that in many ways Switzerland is still some 20-30 years behind how it deals with "special" people, be they those with learning difficulties, handicaps, etc. For example, many physically/mentally handicapped people live/work in their own enclaves - special housing and work areas all in one place - and don't live at home as would be the case for many in the UK for example. Segragation is still the norm in a lot of places here. We have such a home here in our village for physically and mentally disabled people to live in. It's recently been expanded and they have a new application in for another 7 room building. I suspect attitudes are similar for other disabilities that aren't so obvious. Rama needs to understand this and that they may have to fight harder than they would in other countries to get the help they need for their son.
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Old 29.06.2016, 17:42
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

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Lucas was diagnosed with adhd by a psychiatrist who said he would need medication ..... I thought he should try other things first
Hi Rama, I know medication is not preferred choice for such age children, but have you had any (2nd, 3rd) medical opinions to support your personal choice of not medicating?

This may affect other issues than just schooling if medical advice is not followed. Please seek independent professional opinions as self-diagnosis may be wrong course.
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Old 29.06.2016, 17:49
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

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I agree with you on the medication aspect, if at all possible I, as a mom, would also want to try to go without and explore every other alternative.
Dear Rama, Try BIOMED. It is not as easy as medication with Ritalin, but surely it could help a lot.
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Old 29.06.2016, 17:51
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

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It depends... there are children with whom strategies work for a while and then not anymore. It seems to be the case in the OP's description of the child's situation. Success can be non-linear. One can have success with some children and not with others. So yes, you might end up in some cases with teachers who are at the end of what they can do. It's frustrating for everybody, blaming the teachers for not getting it right with every child all the time does not help anybody.

Newer studies I've been given to read at school seem to show that ADHD is a big box with very unclear and varied behavioral and cognitive criteria so that hardly two ADHD cases are alike. The categorization will probably change and be refined in the near future, but in the meantime, it's a try and fail situation. Logically, there are cases where there is so much fail that there is nothing more to try without changing the learning environment all together.

Please remember that ADHD is only a vague descriptions of symptoms, is largely unexplained, unknown and unclearly defined. Teachers can do only that much. I don't know if the teachers of OP's child did all they could, but I do know that sometimes, nothing works and nobody knows why.



I understand how difficult it is to teach children with varied requirements - but if we take the SEN off the table, all kids have varied requirements. Yes, it's hard, yes it's frustrating, and absolutely there is not "one" handy strategy for each situation, be it ADHD, Aspergers, dyspraxia etc and I would agree that teacher's have a difficult time of it in these and many other situations, but throwing in the towel? It goes against the grain for me. Are there not SENCOs here (Special Educational Needs Coordinators)? Inclusion units where kids can still belong to "mainstream" education without feeling like pariahs?


What about the kids who need support because they're so bright they're bored? A one-size-fits-all approach may be "easier" from a pedagogical point of view but it's bloody badly done. OP said she was denied a TA because her son is "too bright". I just don't understand how this can be a justifiable position. If this, of all countries, cannot fund this level of support in its state schools then the rest of them are royally screwed.


Of course sometimes you can try everything you know, every tactic, strategy, trick in the book and it's still not working, but that doesn't happen very often.


I'm not blaming teachers, I'm blaming a system that lets this happen - and one that, variously and indiscriminately, seems to perpetuate it.




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I agree RufusB. But if you look around you'll see that in many ways Switzerland is still some 20-30 years behind how it deals with "special" people, be they those with learning difficulties, handicaps, etc. For example, many physically/mentally handicapped people live/work in their own enclaves - special housing and work areas all in one place - and don't live at home as would be the case for many in the UK for example. Segragation is still the norm in a lot of places here. We have such a home here in our village for physically and mentally disabled people to live in. It's recently been expanded and they have a new application in for another 7 room building. I suspect attitudes are similar for other disabilities that aren't so obvious. Rama needs to understand this and that they may have to fight harder than they would in other countries to get the help they need for their son.

I don't have the words.


Supported housing/assisted living is a good thing, but segregation from the age of 6 when, as Faltrad quite rightly says, his diagnosis may alter... it makes me uncomfortable. It's like saying you're not "right", therefore you can't participate in what everyone else has.


He's 7 years old and someone, who sounds like they basically think he's too much work, has washed their hands of him.


Rama, I'm writing this and I could weep tears of frustration for you, I really could.

Last edited by RufusB; 29.06.2016 at 18:02. Reason: detail
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Old 29.06.2016, 17:58
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

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A one-size-fits-all approach may be "easier" from a pedagogical point of view but it's bloody badly done.
No need to take the one extreme right away to make a point about the other extreme. I am just pointing out the limits of education in the real world. Sometimes, keeping trying means keeping failing and that doesn't make anybody happy.
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