Sarah was a concerned mother who had noticed that her son, Jack, was struggling in school. He was easily distracted, forgetful, and had a hard time completing assignments. After speaking with Jack's teacher, she learned that he had been exhibiting similar behaviors in class. Sarah was worried that Jack's struggles would hold him back academically and wanted to get him the help he needed to succeed.
She decided to explore the option of a 504 accommodation plan to provide Jack with the necessary support for his ADHD. If you were in a similar situation as Sarah, please read on to learn how to develop a 504 accommodation plan for your ADHD child.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is the federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including public schools. This law ensures that students with ADHD and other learning disabilities have the right to receive appropriate accommodations and services through a 504 plan to enable them to fully participate in their education.
For students with ADHD, a 504 plan can provide valuable accommodations to help them succeed in school. A 504 plan is a formal plan that outlines accommodations and modifications that will be provided to a student who has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. In the case of ADHD students, a 504 plan can help ensure that they receive the support they need to complete their school day successfully.
What are the Most Common ADHD Symptoms 504 Addresses?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can present a variety of challenges for students in the classroom. Difficulty focusing or paying attention, forgetfulness, impulsivity, and emotional dysregulation are just a few of the symptoms that can make it challenging for students with ADHD to succeed academically.
These symptoms can impact a child's ability to complete assignments, follow instructions, and manage their time effectively, leading to poor academic performance and frustration for both the student and their family.
However, with the appropriate accommodations and support through a 504 plan, students with ADHD can overcome these challenges and thrive in the classroom.
Parents seek a 504 plan for their children or teens with ADHD when they exhibit symptoms that affect their academic performance and ability to learn. Some common symptoms of ADHD that may lead to a 504 plan include:
- Difficulty focusing or paying attention in class
- Inability to complete assignments or homework on time
- Forgetting or losing materials needed for class
- Difficulty following instructions or staying on task
- Excessive talking or fidgeting during class
- Impulsive behavior, such as blurting out answers or interrupting others
- Difficulty with time management and organization
- Short-term and working memory
- Poor performance on tests or exams due to distractibility or forgetfulness
- Social difficulties, such as interrupting or not taking turns in conversation
- Emotional dysregulation, such as frequent outbursts or difficulty managing frustration or anger.
When someone has ADHD, their executive functioning is always impacted and that means getting tasks done is a challenge. Attention and executive functioning are two different systems that interact and rely on each other. Attention is the brain’s ability to alert and executive functioning is the brain's ability to plan and prioritize for a future event.
It can also impact a person’s memory system, especially short-term and working memory. If you aren’t paying attention, then you can’t memorize information, so when you improve attention, then retention increases.
These symptoms can make it challenging for students with ADHD to succeed academically, but with the appropriate accommodations and support through a 504 plan, they can overcome these difficulties and thrive in the classroom.
What Do You Put on a 504 Plan for ADHD?
A 504 plan can be an essential tool for students with ADHD to receive the accommodations they need in the general education classroom to succeed academically. But what should you put on a 504 plan for ADHD? The answer is that the accommodations included in the plan should be tailored to meet your child's specific needs.
6 Steps for Developing a 504 Accommodation Plan for ADHD
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, you may be wondering how to develop a 504 accommodation plan to help them succeed in school. ADHD behaviors at school can be hard on a child because every student wants to do well at school no matter what they say or if their behavior reflects something else. They just may not have the ability or know-how to shift their behavior.
Here are some steps to help you through the process:
- Request an evaluation: Contact your child's school to request an evaluation for a 504 plan. The evaluation may include observations, tests, and other assessments to determine the level of support your child needs.
- Meet with the school: Meet with the school's 504 coordinator or other designated person to discuss the evaluation results and develop a plan for accommodations. Be prepared to discuss your child's strengths, challenges, and any previous accommodations that have been successful.
- Identify specific needs: Work with the school to identify the specific needs your child has related to their ADHD. This could include accommodations such as extended time on assignments, preferential seating, or a quiet workspace.
- Determine appropriate accommodations: Based on your child's needs, work with the school to determine the appropriate accommodations that will help them succeed. Make sure to prioritize accommodations that will have the greatest impact on your child's academic performance.
- Put the plan in writing: Once you and the school have agreed on the accommodations, the plan should be put in writing. The plan should include a list of accommodations, how they will be implemented, and who will be responsible for ensuring that they are carried out.
- Review and update the plan: Your child's 504 plan should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it continues to meet their needs. Work closely with your child's teachers to monitor their progress and make any necessary adjustments to the plan.
Developing a 504 accommodation plan for ADHD can be a complex process, but it is worth the effort to help your child succeed in school. By working closely with the school and advocating for your child's needs, you can help ensure that they have the tools and accommodations they need to thrive academically and beyond.
Common 504 Accommodations for ADHD
There are many accommodations that can be included in a 504 plan for a student with ADHD. The specific accommodations included in the plan should be based on the student's individual needs and designed to help them succeed academically. Some common accommodations for ADHD may include:
Extended time on assignments and tests
This can help students with ADHD who need more time to complete tasks due to difficulties with attention and focus.
Frequent breaks during class or testing
Short breaks can help students with ADHD manage their attention and energy levels.
Use of a quiet, distraction-free workspace for testing or work completion:
This can help students with ADHD minimize distractions and maintain focus.
Preferential seating in the classroom
Sitting in a location that is less distracting or closer to the teacher can help students with ADHD stay focused.
Modified homework assignments
Breaking down large assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks can help students with ADHD better manage their time and stay on task.
Use of a task initiation and completion checklist
This can help students with ADHD stay on task and complete assignments within a set time frame especially when they have no sense of what the end product looks like.
Use of a planner or digital calendar
This can help students with ADHD manage their time and stay organized.
Assistive technology such as speech-to-text software or a calculator for math tests
These tools can help students with ADHD complete assignments and tests more efficiently.
Access to a resource room or study hall
This can provide students with a quiet space to complete work or receive extra help.
Small group instruction or one-on-one support
This can provide students with the individualized attention and support they need to succeed academically.
Each state is required to provide a minimum amount of accommodations or support under federal laws but some states go above and beyond.
In addition to these accommodations, a 504 plan can also provide related services such as counseling or assistive technology. For example, a guidance counselor or mental health professional can work with ADHD students to develop positive behavior strategies and executive function skills, which can improve their overall academic performance.
ADHD often co-occurs with other issues so multiple supports may be needed. There is a lot a parent can do to help their child flourish besides getting school help but wrap around support at school and home is always a good idea.
Under the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), public schools are required to provide appropriate public education to students with disabilities. This includes the provision of special education services and the development of an individualized education plan (IEP) or an individual accommodation plan (IAP) for students who require additional support. Your child with ADHD may or may not require an 504 Plan or an IEP and just having a disability doesn’t guarantee you one. There must be an impact on their learning.
Remember, every student with ADHD is unique and their plan should be tailored to meet their specific needs. By working closely with your child's school and teachers, you can develop a 504 plan that provides the necessary accommodations for your child to succeed academically and beyond.
Examples – 504 Accommodations for ADHD Inattentive Type
504 Accommodations are designed to help students with disabilities, including ADHD Inattentive Type, have equal access to education. Here are some examples of accommodations that can be included in a 504 Plan for a student with ADHD Inattentive Type:
Extended time on tests and assignments
Students with ADHD Inattentive Type may need more time to complete assignments and tests due to difficulties with focus and attention.
Students with ADHD Inattentive Type may benefit from sitting in the front of the classroom or in a quiet area to reduce distractions.
Breaks during class
Students with ADHD Inattentive Type may benefit from periodic breaks during class to help them refocus.
Teachers can provide simplified and clear instructions to help students with ADHD Inattentive Type better understand what is expected of them.
Use of a planner
Students with ADHD Inattentive Type may benefit from using a planner to keep track of assignments and due dates.
Teachers can use visual aids, such as diagrams or pictures, to help students with ADHD Inattentive Type better understand the material.
Students with ADHD Inattentive Type may struggle with taking notes during class. Providing them with a copy of notes or recording lectures can help them better retain information.
Technology such as text-to-speech, voice-to-text, or a calculator may be helpful for students with ADHD Inattentive Type.
Teachers can provide positive reinforcements, such as praise and recognition, to help motivate and engage students with ADHD Inattentive Type.
Extra support outside of class
Students with ADHD Inattentive Type may benefit from tutoring, study groups, or counseling services to help them better manage their condition and academic workload.
Example of Accommodations for ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
Here are some examples of accommodations that can be included in a 504 Plan for a student with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type:
Students with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type may benefit from taking short breaks throughout the day to move and release energy.
Fidget tools such as stress balls, putty, or chewable necklaces can help students with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type release excess energy and improve focus.
Providing students with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type with alternative seating options such as an exercise ball or a standing desk can help them burn energy and improve focus.
Students with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type may benefit from having shorter and more frequent assignments to break up the workload and reduce frustration.
Teachers can modify assignments to better suit the needs of students with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type. For example, providing more hands-on or visual projects may be helpful.
Establishing structured routines and consistent schedules can help students with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type stay organized and reduce stress.
Time management strategies
Teaching students with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type time management strategies such as breaking tasks into smaller steps or using a timer can help them stay on track.
Providing positive feedback and rewards can help students with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type stay motivated and engaged in their learning.
Teaching students with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type self-monitoring strategies such as checking their work or taking breaks when needed can help them develop better self-regulation skills.
Working with parents, teachers, and support staff can help students with ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type receive consistent and appropriate accommodations across different settings.
Example of Accommodations for 504 Plan for ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits
Here are some examples of accommodations that can be included in a 504 Plan for a student with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits:
Breaking tasks into smaller steps
Providing a step-by-step breakdown of tasks can help students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits better manage their workload and reduce overwhelm.
Use of organizers and planners
Providing students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits with organizers, planners, or calendars can help them stay organized and manage their time effectively.
Providing reminders and prompts
Reminding students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits of upcoming deadlines or important events can help them better manage their time and stay on task.
Providing frequent feedback and check-ins
Providing frequent feedback and check-ins can help students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits stay on track and adjust their approach as needed.
Teaching study and organizational skills
Teaching students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits study and organizational skills such as note-taking, time management, and goal-setting can help them better manage their workload and improve their academic performance.
Use of visual aids
Using visual aids such as charts, diagrams, or graphic organizers can help students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits better understand and remember information.
Providing flexible seating and workspace options
Providing flexible seating and workspace options can help students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits find a comfortable and productive work environment.
Allowing for extra time on assignments and tests
Allowing for extra time on assignments and tests can help students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits better manage their workload and reduce stress.
Providing accommodations for test-taking
Providing accommodations such as a quiet room, a scribe, or a computer can help students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits better demonstrate their knowledge and abilities.
Collaborating with parents and support staff
Collaborating with parents and support staff can help ensure that students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits receive consistent and appropriate accommodations across different settings.
What is the Best Advice for Parents of ADHD Children Who Need a 504 Accommodation Plan?
Navigating the educational system could be challenging for any parent, but it was especially difficult for Samantha, a parent of a bright teen named Brendon who had ADHD. Despite Samantha's best efforts to advocate for him, Brendon continued to struggle in the classroom. He was intelligent and capable, but he struggled with completing his work without help. After months of meetings and evaluations, they were finally able to secure a 504 plan for Brendon, which provided him with accommodations to help him succeed in school.
They coupled a 504 plan with neurofeedback in our BrainBehaviorReset™ program to help get Brendon’s ADHD brain regulated. This combination of natural ADHD solutions helped him become more alert and capable of starting and finishing tasks without ADHD medication, which is what his parents and Brendon wanted.
In terms of getting help at school for Brendon, Samantha's experience was not unique, and many parents of children with ADHD found themselves in similar situations. Learning how to advocate for your child and getting the right support at home really moved the dial for Brendon.
The best advice for parents who want a 504 plan for their child's ADHD is to educate themselves about the 504 process and the specific needs of their child. This includes:
- Understanding the difference between a 504 plan and an IEP, and knowing which one is appropriate for their child's needs.
- Consulting with their child's teacher(s) and school counselor to get input on their child's behavior and academic performance in the classroom.
- Requesting an evaluation from the school to determine if their child qualifies for a 504 plan.
- Advocating for their child's needs during the 504 plan development process, and working collaboratively with the school to develop appropriate accommodations.
- Keeping the lines of communication open with their child's school and monitoring their child's progress to ensure that the 504 plan is effective.
- Staying informed about their child's rights and the resources available to them through the school and other organizations.
- Encouraging their child to take an active role in their own education and self-advocacy, and providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed.
By being informed and proactive, parents can help ensure that their child receives the accommodations and support they need to thrive in school and beyond.
A 504 plan can be a valuable tool for helping ADHD students succeed in the classroom. By providing accommodations such as extra time, preferential seating, and related services, students with ADHD can receive the support they need to excel academically and reach their full potential.
If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, it is essential to speak with your local school district about developing a 504 plan or an IEP to ensure that your child receives the accommodations they need to succeed in school.
Sample 504 Plan for ADHD
The 504 Plan will be reviewed at least once per year to determine if accommodations are still needed or if additional accommodations are required. The student's progress will be monitored regularly, and the plan will be adjusted accordingly.
The school district will provide Sarah's parents with written notice of any changes to the 504 Plan. The parents have the right to request a review of the Plan or to file a complaint if they believe that the Plan is not appropriate or is not being implemented effectively.
The classroom teacher and other relevant school staff will be responsible for implementing the accommodations outlined in the 504 Plan. The school nurse and guidance counselor will also be informed of the Plan to provide additional support as needed.
Please note this is just an example, and each 504 Plan should be tailored to the individual student's needs.
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Natural ADHD Remedies
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can impact a child academically, socially and in everyday life. When you see your child struggle, you look for solutions and natural solutions is where every parent should start.
There are many evidenced-based natural ADHD solutions that can help your child get focused, be more alert, and have a calm brain. As with all methods, being consistent is important but especially more so when it comes to ADHD because of the amount of reinforcement needed for learning to occur.
Supporting the neurodivergent ADHD brain is important and it is equally important to help kids with ADHD to love themselves too!
U.S. Department of Education. (2016). Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/504-resource-guide-201612.pdf
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