Special Education/ADHD accommodations

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Question
What, in your opinion, are reasonable ADHD accommodations?
I was told my son would be given movement breaks.
He's told to finish all his work before the movement break.
I think a periodic movement break would help him concentrate but he doesn't get that UNTIL he finishes work.
He tunes out at school because he needs to be doing something, he's not good at sitting.
I am not sure what accommodations I can ask for.
He becomes like such a zombie in school and they complain but they don't seem to want to help him.

Answer
JB,

I represent students with ADD/ADHD that have numerous types of accommodations in their IEPs. Here are some examples. Things to keep their hands busy such as fidgets, erasers, squeeze balls, rough tape under the edge of their desk (to rub). Things allowing some movement such as inflated cushions on their chairs, big balls to sit on at their desk, foam rubber under their desks to push their feet into. Studies have shown, and I have seen first hand, that these things can help students with ADHD to better pay attention and concentrate. Often IEPs include allowing the student to take a break by using a hand signal with teacher when concentrating becomes too challenging. The idea of making him finish his assignment before getting a break shows this teaching does not understand ADHD.

Breaks are critical, especially ones that involve movement. Keeping these kids in from recess as punishment is very counter productive. They need exertion and physical release.

Some of the common accommodations include preferential seating near teacher, duplicate set of books at home, review of their homework assignments at end of period or day, homework check when they first get to class to make sure it is turned in. I have had students allowed to take a cell phone picture of the assignments on the board. I even had one that was allowed to email his homework to teacher as soon as he completed it at night.

The bottom line is we want to enable these kids to receive meaningful education, and not punish them for their disability.

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Tim Runner

Expertise

Questions concerning special education: IEP, assessments, Due Process, mediation, resolution conference, federal law, state law, qualifying for services, residential treatment, special day classes, resource specialists, procedures, having your child assessed, adaptive PE, speech & language, non-public school, FAPE, and tuition reimbursement.

Experience

I have been an education advocate representing students and parents for six years. My experience includes: representing my clients in IEPs, SSTs, Due Process, review assessment results for my clients, and mediations. I have represented clients with learning disabilities, autism, Downs Syndrome, cognitively challenged, emotional problems, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and physical disabilities. I have also represented clients to County Mental Health Departments and Regional Centers. My clients range from pre-school to college students in many states.

Education/Credentials
I have a degree in Mathematics from the University of California with minors in Psychology and Physics. I also studied applied statistics in psychology at the graduate level. I have taught college classes, conducted seminars, written articles for various publications, and testified as an expert witness.

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