Special Education/504

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Question
Hi. I have a 504 for my son. It's so short as to be meaningless. Do you have recommendations for accommodations
For adhd very fidgety And Handwriting difficulty. Thanks!

Answer
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Leann,
I am not a fan of 504 Plans for a number of reasons:
1. They do not require the same follow up with mandated annual meetings and triennial assessments.
2. Enforcement is much more difficult. There are no Compliance Complaints and no Due Process.
3. They do not require that all of the professionals working with the student have to review it.

School districts like them for many of the same reasons. They require less administrating and the opportunity of doing things that do not comply with the law is much lower. I always ask that the student be assessed for special education in all areas of suspected disability. Federal law (IDEA) requires schools to conduct these assessments. They are required to present you with an Assessment Plan within 15 days of receiving your request in writing for an assessment (They are even required to assist you in preparing this letter -- never happens). Then once you sign and turn back in their Assessment Plan, they have 60 days to conduct the assessments and present their results in an IEP meeting.

Typical accommodations for students with ADHD include:
1) Making sure student turns in completed homework assignments in class.
2) Preferential Seating near teacher to minimize distractions.
3) Ability to take frequent breaks to move around.
4) The use of figits (such as squishy balls, rubber erasers, velcro tape to rub against). Studies have shown that doing something with your hands can actually increase the ability to focus. OTs are the ones to supply these.
5) Ability to take tests and quizzes in a quieter and less distracting environment.
6) Extra time for tests, quizzes, and homework assignments.
7) Making sure the student records all assignments correctly in a Planner.
8) Audio Books (most text books are available on a web site).
9) Dictating writing assignments to computer (free Google Docs has a very good capability to type out dictated information).
10) Seating that allows movement (desk chair pads, large balls to sit on instead of chairs).
11) Smaller special ed classes.
12) The most severe cases sometimes require a one-to-one aide (this usually requires a huge fight).

Not all students need all of these accommodations. But the ones needed to help a given student can be contained in either an IEP or a 504 Plan (even the special ed classes). But due to lack of enforceability, I prefer the IEP.

In the case of your son, you should ask for an assessment for special education listing his challenges as ADHD and writing. It is best that you have a medical diagnosis for ADHD to present to the school. Students I represent are usually qualified for an IEP in the category of OHI (Other Health Impaired). If your son's grades and/or behavior have suffered from his ADHD, this can really help you in getting the school to assess and qualify him for an IEP.  

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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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