A lack of strategies for ADHD preventing success at school is one of the greatest challenges for kids with ADHD. As a parent, you may feel overwhelmed by how to help your child. You may feel that you do not have the expertise to help your child develop effective coping strategies for ADHD.
Qualifying for School Accommodations
In order to receive additional supports or accommodations at school, your child will need to qualify for a 504 Plan. A 504 Plan is a detailed description of how the school will aim to support your child. It is not part of special education (such as an IEP). Instead, 504 Plans help children with disabilities and health impairments have equal access to school. Remember, ADHD is considered a health impairment.
In order to qualify, the school may provide an assessment or require you to provide a diagnosis from a psychologist or physician. Check with your school to see what the requirements are for receiving a 504 Plan for your child.
Strategies for ADHD in the Classroom
504 Plans document accommodations that your child will receive. Some schools and teachers may be willing to provide these supports without a 504 Plan, such as in private school settings.
Here is a list of research-based accommodations that can prove helpful for children with ADHD:
- Reducing the number of homework problems without changing the level of content
- Preferential seating near front of classroom to reduce distractions
- Testing outside of classroom in a quieter environment
- Providing extra time on tests or assignments
- Increased positive reinforcements (e.g. rewards) and praise in the classroom
- Meeting with a school counselor to work on academic or behavioral goals
- Breaking long assignments into smaller parts
- Increased check-ins to make sure student understands instructions
- Allowing for more breaks
- Increased support for organization and communication with parents
There are many more options for accommodations based on your child’s needs and the school’s capacity to provide support. Meeting with the school as well as a mental health professional can help you identify which strategies will best meet your child’s specific needs.
ADHD Strategies for Homework
Whether or not your child has accommodations at school, you are still going to need some strategies at home for helping with homework. Some strategies will be the same as those used at school. If your child has a 504 plan it may include a few things that help with homework, like reduced repetitive tasks for homework or extended deadlines if needed.
Here are some strategies that will help at home whether or not your child has a 504 Plan:
- Removing distractions during homework (ex. Devices, TV in the background, etc.)
- Set a timer and provide breaks
- Have a specific time and place for homework
- Schedule agreed-on check-ins to make sure your child is staying on task
- Break down assignments into smaller tasks and goals
- Create a system for checking in with teacher regularly to increase communication about homework (ex. Assignment record that student completes and teacher signs daily)
- Provide rewards for completed homework
- Create a visual checklist of things that need to go to school every day
- Use an accordion folder and reward having no loose papers in backpack
- Discuss plan of what needs to get done and how long it is expected to take daily
Start small and choose a few strategies to implement at a time. After all, you do not want to overwhelm yourself or your child by attempting to tackle all of these strategies at once.
How Therapy Can Help
If you need more support, arrange a consultation with a psychologist who specializes in ADHD. They can help you select and implement personalized strategies. Find a psychologist who is willing to work with you and your child collaboratively to create a plan that will work for both you and your child.
For more information on ADHD assessment as well as strategies for ADHD, you can download my ADHD Field Guide for free. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation call to discuss therapy or an ADHD assessment for your child.