IEP Accommodations: What Works for Us

ADDitude readers share the IEP tips and tricks that help their ADHD children stay focused, happy, and successful at school.

IEP Tips for Grade Schoolers with ADHD

Grade School IEP

Distractibility Accommodations

"When my son was in second grade, his teacher created fidget diversions and used velcro to attach them under my son's desk. They included a piece of cloth with something sewn inside that made a crackly noise, and a squishy ball. He also had something that hung over the backrest of his chair that was just 'bumpy' enough to focus him. These items are all included in his IEP for this year, in third grade. Also, he had a large folding board that he could put on his desk (a three-part presentation board) when he felt distracted by the activity in class."
- posted by ChrisRD

"I have two kids with IEPs, and a third grader who does not. (Yet!) Here are our favorite accommodations:
1. Both have extra sets of textbooks for home. (Can't say 'I forgot my social studies book!')
2. Both sit up front.
3. My fifth grader still needs fidgets (rubber ball, squeezy things etc.).
4. My fifth grader gets to run "errands" for the teacher.
5. My seventh grader has math and language arts in the morning.
6. They both know they have advocates because the teachers, counselors, and mom/dad are all in sync and on their side!
- posted by Karen W. Bass

Organization Accommodation

"My son's school uses lockers starting in fourth grade. It only took a few months for his locker to be a jumbled mess where nothing could be found (leaving him chronically unprepared for class and homework). I was able to have the school assign him an additional locker -- one for school materials, one for "take home" items (jacket, backpack, lunch box, and any materials he would need to take home..."depositing" them in this locker after class). It took some time and a lot of modeling, but has ultimately been an invaluable tool in helping him with his disorganization."
- posted by Mochabelle

Excess Energy Accommodation

"My second grade son does not have an IEP but has a 504 Plan. The basic accommodations are:
1. A taped area around his desk where he can move freely and be counted as "in his seat."
2. Proprioceptive input/heavy work activities to combat sensory issues.
3. Special paper and pencil grips to help with his poor handwriting.
I would say the most important is the accommodation that lets him move freely when he just can't be still. He would be punished constantly without it.”
- posted by adhdmomma

Test Accommodations

"My son is starting fourth grade, and has received services since he was an infant. He has ADHD, sensory processing disorder, PANDAS (a tic disorder), OCD and anxiety. He's taking Vyvanse and Tenex and he's doing great. His accommodations include using an Alphasmart for all extended writing tasks in the classroom and on standardized tests, and he has a ton of testing accommodations.

"I drafted my requests based on our state education department's testing accommodations manual and proposed them at my son's IEP review. They are: double time on tests longer than 20 minutes, with a 5 minute break per 20 minutes of testing; use of a visual timer set for 20-minute intervals; separate location for standardized tests; answers recorded in test booklets instead of answer sheets; use of on-task focusing prompts; use of word processors for extended writing tasks on tests; test directions and questions read aloud...and there are a few more. Best of all, he feels comfortable when he takes these tests, and he is doing very well, meeting grade level standards! His accommodations help him succeed in an inclusion class and we're hoping he will be able to mainstream to a general ed. class in the next few weeks -- with accommodations!”
- posted by gummie22

"My daughter and her class started preparing for the FCAT in first grade, though it did not count until third grade. (The FCAT is a Florida test that rates schools on how well they prepare students in reading and math.) I had my daughter's IEP include accommodations for a separate testing room with a proctor (and a few other students), along with extra time so she wasn't hurried. She scored one of the highest scores in third grade!"
- posted by chb123

"My son, who is entering fourth grade, has sensory integration dysfunction, ADHD symptoms, and high anxiety. He receives extended testing time with the option to take tests outside the normal classroom setting, and some tests are read to him. Tracking from the board is difficult, so his teachers must provide his board-work in written form. He has had an IEP since preschool, and this year we are adding the option for him to learn typing, since his motor delays make writing difficult.
- posted by vanstac

"My third grade daughter was diagnosed with ADHD last year. Spelling is a huge struggle for her, and she always feels rushed during spelling tests. For her IEP, she takes her spelling test in a separate classroom with an FM system, so she is not rushed and can focus."
- posted by JLHoover

"My second grade son has ADHD with distractibility. He is not normally hyper, so his case sometimes confuses teachers. He also has dyslexia. In his IEP, they have provided him with special assistance. If they are having a math test, they will cut the paper in half and allow him to do only half and get them correct, rather than being overwhelmed at the whole page and just writing down any number and getting them all wrong. They are also reading his tests and papers to him so he will be able to keep up with learning to read."
- posted by overitnow5

Homework Accommodation

"Homework is a stressful time for our family. My fourth grade son takes medication during the school day. We are working with his doctor to add an afternoon dose to help during homework time, when my son is tired and distracted. He often knows the answers, but can't focus to write them down. I write his answers down for him. I had this added to his IEP. After all, we're trying to see if he knows the material, not if he knows how to write."
- posted by Brando88

Other At-Home Solution

"I am just getting started. My son will be in first grade and I am waiting for a meeting date with his teacher and school psychologist to set up accommodations. I will also be requesting an IEP evaluation. I am hoping the teacher will agree to a daily behavior sheet -- it's best for me to know what's going on, on a daily basis. My tip for living well: I have made laminated morning and bedtime routine charts that can be checked off with a dry erase marker. The morning routine is on the kitchen fridge and the bedtime routine is in the hall between the bathroom and my son's bedroom."
- posted by jenmouse

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