For children with ADHD, school can be challenging. Here’s how to secure accommodations to help them feel confident and supported.
If your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), school may be a more challenging experience than other activities.
Children with ADHD might struggle to focus on lessons, sit in class for long periods, and complete assignments on time.
Children with ADHD are protected under Section 504, a federal law ensuring children with disabilities are eligible for accommodations under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is a specialized plan created for students with disabilities that guarantees them classroom accommodations.
This experience may affect their confidence and comfort in school. Still, there are ways to help your child succeed by getting accommodations to help them feel supported in school.
With an IEP, there are many ways caregivers and teachers can work together to support students with ADHD. Here are six ways to help your child with ADHD succeed in school.
With ADHD, many students may find completing timed exams very difficult. Being easily distracted, trouble sitting still, and other common ADHD symptoms can contribute to extra pressures during test-taking times.
Having extra time to finish tests can be helpful and allowing students to take breaks as needed. Providing choices in tests, such as choosing between a written essay, oral report, online quiz, or hands-on project, can also be useful in helping students with ADHD succeed.
Allowing a student to take tests in a different room that is quiet, has few distractions, and lets them move around without interrupting other students can also help ensure a child with ADHD’s success during test times.
Trouble with focus is a common experience for people experiencing ADHD. Students with ADHD can get easily distracted during class time, missing key information or not completing assignments.
It can be helpful to seat students with ADHD in a classroom that has minimal distractions. Seating students with few windows, near the teacher’s desk, or in another place with fewer distractions can help students with ADHD maintain focus.
It’s helpful to pair the student with a peer who’s a good role model and help model appropriate behavior and keep a child with ADHD on task and focused.
For students with ADHD, engaging assignments can help improve a child’s ability to focus. Checking in with the student ahead of time to ensure they understand clearly what they need to do is an important strategy in helping children with ADHD complete assignments.
Breaking down larger assignments can help students with ADHD feel less overwhelmed, increasing focus and attention.
Providing students with tasks that are somewhat challenging but still doable can be a great way to keep a student’s interest. Similarly, working on a computer or a tablet can also be visually interesting.
It’s important that students with ADHD receive help managing their time, in and out of the classroom. Many students with ADHD can struggle with time management and staying organized. Forgetting to do homework, trouble staying on task, and other challenges are common for children with ADHD.
Providing extra warnings before transitions and changes in routines throughout the day can help children with ADHD stay on task and flow through their schedules more easily. Setting a timer for in-class work can help students know how much time they have to complete their work.
It’s common for children with ADHD to become deeply absorbed in activities they find interesting, and they may need extra assistance and time to shift their attention to their next task.
Using organizational tools, such as a homework folder or personal planner, helps limit the number of things the child has to track. Assisting a child with ADHD in using these tools can help them organize assignments and remember when they need to turn them in.
For children with ADHD, paying attention for long periods of time takes extra effort and can become very tiring. Allowing students with ADHD to take breaks during class time can greatly improve their focus and enthusiasm.
Taking breaks as needed can help students with ADHD reset after sitting for long periods. Also, allowing students to exercise lightly, like walking around the classroom, can help increase their concentration.
Providing extra warnings before transitions and changes in routines can also help children with ADHD maintain focus.
Many students with ADHD struggle with feeling confident in the classroom. Being sensitive to the influence of ADHD on emotions, such as self-esteem issues or difficulty regulating feelings, can help children with ADHD feel seen and supported by teachers as well as caregivers and parents.
Providing praise or incentives for good classroom behavior can help keep a student with ADHD motivated. Because many students with ADHD can have issues in school, it’s important to provide frequent feedback and consistent encouragement as positive reinforcement when they meet goals.
For teachers, communicating daily with parents about progress through a daily report card can help students with ADHD stay on track.
If your child has ADHD, it’s important to get them needed accommodations to help them succeed in school. Most children with ADHD are not enrolled in special education classes but do need extra assistance daily.
Getting an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for your child is an essential first step to ensure they receive support. Alternatively, a 504 Plan provides services and changes to the learning environment at school to meet the needs of a child with ADHD as adequately as other students.
IEPs provide individualizedspecial education services to meet the unique needs of the child. Usually, the first place to start to get an IEP for your child is the school counselor. The guidance counselor can walk you through the process of getting your child accommodations.
If you’d like to find accommodations for your child but aren’t sure where to start, you can visit the
Due to common ADHD symptoms like forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, and a short attention span, school can be a challenging experience for a child with ADHD. However, special accommodations can give students with ADHD the tools to be successful.
This article provides some common classroom adjustments with an IEP or a 504 Plan, but there are many more accommodations that you can request for your child.
Requesting accommodations for your child can give them the support they need to succeed in school and feel more confident in their academics.