Sometimes children learn differently than the rest of their class, making it difficult to pick up and retain each lesson. Children with these learning differences are often eligible for classroom accommodations in order to promote their academic success. These accommodations can occur in many forms, but the most common are known as 504 plans and Individualized Education Plans or IEPs. Children with ADHD generally qualify for a 504 plan, which allows for changes to the classroom environment or other services.
How do we get accomodations?
Public schools are legally required to provide children with a free and adequate education. Therefore, many children with ADHD will qualify for accommodations through a 504 plan. Schools will often request certain documents prior to agreeing to accommodations for the children, However the process is not uniform for every district, or even for schools within the same district. Some of the information they may request include:
Psychoeducational testing, which provides information of the child's intellectual and academic functioning. This may be provided by the school district, or through a number of mental health providers in your community.
Evidence of educational impairment related to ADHD
Any relevant medical or psychological records
To inquire about accommodations for your child, there are a number of people you can contact for more information. In most school districts, your child's counselor will able to provide you with guidance, while others have dedicated special education
What type of services can we receive?
Provide scheduled “seat breaks” at times when the child seems to be having difficulty remaining seated.
Giving "preferential seating" or seating the child near the board and/or the teacher so that it will be easier for teachers to monitor and respond to the child’s behavior over the course of the school day. By sitting in the front row, it may also be easier for the child to attend to the lesson and reduce distractions.
Increasing the immediacy of consequences for both appropriate and inappropriate behavior in the classroom. Child with ADHD sbould be provided with frequent, specific feedback about their positive behaviors, and providing corrective feedback for problematic behaviors
Information should be provided to children with ADHD in multiple formats, as it may be too difficult to attend to the lesson, while also taking notes. For example, children may be provided the powerpoint on paper or allowed to take a tape recorder for later listening
Develop a “private signal” (i.e., tapping child’s desk twice) with the child to use to cue him or her to remain on task in the classroom.
Shorting classroom and homework assignments by reducing repetitive “busywork” as much as possible; this will give him or her a better chance of completing the assignment in the allotted time, and will also help reduce frustration.
For assignments that cannot be shortened, provide the child with extra time to complete the task. This also includes tests, quizzes, and exams.
Breaking down tasks into several smaller “sub-tasks” which are presented to him or her to complete sequentially with short breaks between each sub-task.
Give assignments to the child one at a time, simplifying instructions and be sure to have face-to-face contact with him or her when explaining oral instructions.
Monitoring the use of a planner or homework journal in which assignments are noted daily. To ensure this is being done, teacher should either prompt the completion or check that it has been completed at the end of each day.