Children who are persistently given detentions at school.

I have a very varied practice seeing both quite young children all the way through to adults.  I am also trained to assess adults for attention deficit disorder (ADD).  When assessing adults for ADD a very important part of the assessment is their history of difficulties with impulse control and attention during the early developmental period, that is to say before 12 years of age and then their difficulties with the same during secondary education.   Time and time again I see clients who are polite, responsible adults from good homes who describe having been in persistent trouble at school.  During their secondary school education, they describe being given frequent detentions and it is concerning that the school does not see this pattern as being of sufficient concern to warrant further investigation.   As it is passingly rare to see a client with a simple diagnostic profile as in just one diagnosis such dyslexia or ADD it is worrying that other comorbid conditions are also being missed. In essence, it is the complex mix of specific learning difficulties that are causing the child to present with inappropriate behaviors that then lead to detentions having to be regularly served.

I would suggest that all schools review the children who are being subject to sanctions and if a child is getting more than one detention per term then at least some form of assessment should take place. My preference would be to refer the child for an educational psychologist assessment. I understand that EP time is rare and limited and so priorities have to be identified but many parents will be confused by their child being in frequent trouble at school and be prepared to fund an EP assessment if so advised by the school.  Behaviour is a symptom, it is the job of the adults to try and figure out the cause.  Humans are group animals we do not act outside the heard behavior unless something is wrong.