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Trishb

School taking child on class trip

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I am writing to get your opinion. My child just went on a 6th grade class trip to New York City. There are only 8 kids total with 2 chaperones. From the first day of school I was contacted almost weekly about my child's OCD issues and they were concerned about all his food allergies for this trip. My child worked very hard to get a good handle on his OCD issues and by the trip I wasn't even cocerned anymore. The school had several meetings with me about these issues. My issue is when my son returned from his 5 day trip the only day of medication taken was on the first day. All of his pills were left in his pill box. I am obviously not happy with the school. I wrote an email stating I took his pill box out and all the pills were left in it. This was the Principal's response who was one of the chaperone's. 

 

First, overall, DS12 had a great week. Both K and I saw DS12 taking his medication-sorter out at the appropriate times during the day. He had it with him at all times. K asked him if he was taking his medication and he said yes. I cannot say we watched him take the medication. We assumed because he said he was taking the medication and he had the sorter out at the appropriate times that he was taking it. Again, he had a great week.

 

If you have any thoughts please share. 

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My first thought is, did you ask your DS why his medication was still in the pill box?  What did he say?

I don't know what the principal means by "appropriate times," but I would wonder if your DS didn't want to take the pills on a regular basis in front of his friends/classmates; if, like my kid, he wanted to be "normal" and "like everybody else" for those 6 days, maybe?

It's hard to know what the group dynamics were, what the housing/rooming situation was, etc., but I guess I could understand that, at this age, the chaperones didn't feel as though it was appropriate for them to hover over your DS to ensure he took his medication.  You trusted him with the pill box, rather than a chaperone, so perhaps they took that as an indication that you more or less trusted him to take his medication as appropriate, and they took a similar path?

I would talk with your DS about it and perhaps brainstorm some strategies for the next trip, either so that he doesn't forget (whether or not there's an adult present to remind him), or so that he feels like he can take whatever he needs to take without "making a spectacle" of himself.  When my DS was a little older (9th grade) and out of town on a school robotics competition trip, we talked about how he would take his meds first thing in the morning, with a glass of water from the hotel room tap, before he even left the room for breakfast or whatever was on the schedule.  That way, he had at least a little privacy and didn't have to haul the meds around with him, or run the risk of forgetting.  Another idea might be to set up reminders on his phone so that he gets beeped or whatever to remind him, if he's the forgetful type.

Otherwise, for the next trip, you might request a one-on-one conversation with the head chaperone and ask, specifically, that they find a moment to pull your DS aside, outside the hearing and/or eyes of his peers, and ensure that he's on schedule with whatever he's supposed to be taking.

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I'm a teacher.  I've gone on class trips with different schools.  I have never worked where the medication policy was anything other than the teacher administering medication to the child.  We always had to watch the child take the medication, initial each time medication was given- this included vitamins.  Your school must have a more relaxed policy. Personally, I wouldn't like it.  Not all children make good choices, or are able to handle the responsibility.  Let them be responsible for getting their homework assignments, asking the teacher for help, and working on relationships with peers.  Medication? I don't really think that's something that should be taken so lightly by the principal.

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My DS has Lyme and coinfections so he is on a lot of medication and supplements.  He is used to taking them directly from the bottle and not the pill box.  I organized everything to not make it complicated for the staff.  The last time he missed doses of his medication his OCD increased and his health was set back.  It has been a long year because the school has been so focused on my son and this trip.  I just couldn't believe that they did not make sure his medication wasn't taken and the Principal's attitude was extremely disappointing.  My son is typically great about taking his medication, but not from a pill box.  

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