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.

Middle School IEP

Organization Accommodations

“My 8th grader has a set of books at home. He writes his assignments in his assignment book, which his teacher initials each day as being correct. I am contacted after two missing assignments and he receives a lunch detention to make up missed work. Gum is allowed during tests. He sits near the teacher, and receives physical and verbal prompts for refocusing. He uses one folder for all homework assignments. And he writes on graph paper to assist with poor handwriting."
- posted by Sher

"My sons were so tired of forgetting to bring the right books home that they were carrying all their books around, resulting in 40-plus pound backpacks. The accommodation is that their textbooks now stay in the classroom and there are extra copies at home. That lightens the load in their backpacks and saves them the fear of forgetting."
- posted by GinaK

"My daughter is entering sixth grade and is just receiving her first IEP. In addition to ADHD, she has dyscalculia and a perception disorder. She has a very difficult time with place values, and struggles to write numbers in an order that is easy to read. To help her with this, she will use her lined notebook paper landscape."
- posted by ski

Working with Teachers

"When my ADD and ADHD twins get medication changes or stressful events, I contact their teachers and tell them to do a daily check-in sheet. The teachers check a box if all is well. If not, they write comments and let me know where we need to work. We do daily check-ins before report card time so there are no surprises. The IEP is the place to obligate teachers to fill out the form. Also, all long-term projects have to be broken into manageable tasks with weekly deadlines, rather than being a two-month project that overwhelms them. They get extra time for all tests if they need it."
- posted by GinaK

"My sons are involved in meetings with their teachers. It surprised their teachers at first, but now they are used to it. We always start the meeting by telling my sons, 'This is the team that wants to see you do well at school. They want to know what will help you. Can you tell them what you think will help you do your best and why you think it will help?' The kids tell them how windows distract them, or which students distract them, or how a hand on their shoulder with gentle pressure reminds them to focus again without embarrassing them. The kids know the teachers are on their 'team' and the teachers understand why the accommodations are important. Also, I take my ADDitude magazines to the staff lounge for them when I'm done. I have also been known to make copies (shame, shame) and send them to the teachers with notes on them."
- posted by GinaK

Scheduling Accommodation

"My son entered middle school this year, and I was thrilled at how the guidance office was willing to work with our family. They scheduled the classes he needs to concentrate on (and often struggles with) early in the morning when he is able to really focus, and the more active classes toward the end of the day. This last class is gym -- which is great because he comes home and is ready to focus on homework."
- posted by dianeshale

Homework Accommodations

"My 8th grade son is very overwhelmed with the homework load. In the past, he did only the even or odd numbered problems, which helped, at times. This year, we are trying a time limit. For example, he works on math for a half-hour and what gets done gets done. The time limit helps because he can see the end, whereas before all he could think about was how long it would take to complete all his work."
- posted by Kelly

"My son has had an IEP since fifth grade. He is now entering eighth grade and one effective part of the IEP is reduced classwork and homework, as needed. This way it does not become a crutch. For example, if math homework has similar problems, then he can do every other one. Sometimes, he forgets he has this accommodation, and ends up doing them all. That has happened over time as his attention improved. But there are some nights where he struggles and he uses that accommodation. Another important part is dictating long writing assignments, as writing is a painful process for him."
- posted by KatieS

Next: High School IEP

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