Strategies for devising academic accommodations, studying smarter, building focus, keeping on top of homework, and thriving at school with ADHD or learning disabilities.

posted: Friday May 27th - 11:06am

Dear ADDitude: What New Behavioral Strategies Can We Try?

"The behavior chart my 12-year-old uses at school never makes it home, so we're lacking consistency in routines, rewards, and discipline. How can we better structure her day to prevent the behavior problems she's having?"

ADDitude Answers My son is also in 7th grade and really struggling. His teachers don’t have a clue either, despite my constant attempts to educate them. Request a Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) and a resulting Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). The FBA will be a meeting facilitated by a Behavior Specialist and all teachers should be in attendance. The specialist will walk them through the behaviors and figuring out...
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posted: Thursday May 26th - 6:23pm

Dear ADDitude: Is it Dysgraphia or Another Condition?

"My 10 year old has a hard time writing legibly and composing his thoughts on paper. He often says his hand hurts, but the school's occupational therapist has not noticed any problems with his fine motor skills, so the school has ruled out dysgraphia. Could this be something else?"

Sign up to receive our new Dear ADDitude newsletter. ADDitude Answers My son has severe dysgraphia. I was astonished when the occupational therapist's (OT) evaluation report showed NO fine motor deficits. You can most definitely have dysgraphia and written expression disorder and also have average or above average fine motor. I would suggest going to a private OT for an evaluation. The school OT here is a joke. Read...
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posted: Thursday May 26th - 12:35pm

Ask ADDitude: Am I Asking for Too Much From My Child's Teachers?

"What’s the line between normal kid behavior and ADHD forgetfulness? Is it appropriate to ask the teachers to remind my son to turn in his completed work? Or to email me when he doesn't? I know the world won't be accommodating when he grows up, but he's still learning."

ADDitude Answers It sounds like he is struggling with executive functions (planning, organization, and memory). Many with ADHD do. Since the behaviors (not turning in assignments and signed communications) are a direct result of a disability, punishment is unacceptable. My son is also in 7th grade. His teachers got tired of my constant reminding that they need to help him with planning and organization (even though it's in...
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posted: Wednesday May 25th - 10:13am

Dear ADDitude: How Do I Get Teachers to Follow Accommodations?

"My son's teachers complain almost daily about missing or incomplete work. It's written into his IEP that they need to confirm he is writing down assignments correctly and prompt him to submit his work, but I am told 'he is responsible for his assignments,' or 'he started off the year doing well' — so now they think he just doesn't want to do the work."

ADDitude Answers This is something I have battled for years, and continue to do so. My son has a gifted IQ, so teachers always assume he’s capable of getting work written down, completed, and turned in — yet, he isn’t, and it has nothing to do with intelligence. I’m always told “he needs to learn to be responsible.” The only way he can do that is to...
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posted: Tuesday May 24th - 4:36pm

Dear ADDitude: Why Does the School Keep Rejecting My Accommodations?

"The accommodations I suggest for my daughter's 504 Plan keep getting shot down. Meanwhile, her school counselor says she isn't trying hard enough and uses the words 'I can't' too much. How can I stop this cycle and actually get some useful accommodations in place?"

ADDitude Answers I am in the exact same place. My son is a 7th grader, twice-exceptional, with significant organizational deficits. His teachers think lectures and punishments are what he needs — but they're only doing more damage. I have been pushing all year about his executive functioning deficits, reminding them over and over that planning and organization is in his IEP and they must help him. Their idea...
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posted: Tuesday May 24th - 1:40pm

Dear ADDitude: What Does 'Emotional Disturbance' on an IEP Mean?

"My son was recently granted an IEP. The district's head of special education has classified his disability as 'emotional disturbance,' feeling that would get him more help and resources. Is that normal? Should I be worried?"

Sign up to receive our new Dear ADDitude newsletter. ADDitude Answers If this is the only way to get him the additional help he needs, I’d let them classify how they’d like to. You’ve cleared the first hurdle of getting the school to grant special education and an IEP. As you said, there’s still lots more work to do. Here’s how to write an effective IEP. Making sure the IEP is...
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posted: Tuesday May 24th - 12:15pm

Enter to Win a Forbrain!

Enter to win a Forbrain -- the revolutionary auditory-processing tool (a $359 value) that helps anyone with ADHD improve their learning, attention, and retention.

Auditory Processing Disorder Studies suggest that 50 percent of people diagnosed with ADHD may also have an auditory processing disorder (APD). It's unclear whether APD is a manifestation of ADHD, or if they are separate disorders. But the fact remains that their outward signs -- hypersensitivity, distractibility, poor memory -- often overlap and can seriously impact learning and retention. Meet Forbrain The revolutionary Forbrain (a $359 value) is...
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posted: Tuesday May 24th - 12:07pm

Forbrain Contest Rules

Rules for ADDitude magazine's Forbrain contest from May 25 - June 25, 2016.

Enter the Forbrain contest here! Void outside the 50 United States and where prohibited. Do not proceed to enter if you are not at least 21 years of age and a legal resident of, and located within, one of the 50 United States, or the District of Columbia, at the time of entry. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF...
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posted: Monday May 23rd - 3:20pm

Dear ADDitude: What Are Good Accommodations for My Hyperactive and Sensory-Seeking Child?

"At least once a week, my son gets in trouble for intentionally pinching, pushing, or pestering another child. What accommodations could we introduce to stem this type of impulsive, sensory-seeking behavior?"

ADDitude Answers There are lots of ideas for accommodating sensory seekers: The importance of a "sensory diet" for your child. How to give your child a sensory break after school. 40 winning accommodations to address common ADHD behaviors. It sounds like taking him to Occupational Therapy could be a great benefit too (it helped my son tremendously). Your school should be able to write this into his IEP or 504 plan. Some...
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posted: Friday May 20th - 4:17pm

Dear ADDitude: How Long Should an IEP Take?

"A full month after our IEP meeting, I still don't have an updated version of the IEP reflecting changes we discussed. With only 50 days of school left, I want the corrected version in my hands ASAP. Am I wrong in demanding this turn-around?"

ADDitude Answers You should get a copy of the IEP, with signatures from all attendees, before leaving the meeting. For years, my son’s schools would say they’d send it home with him the next day and then I often didn’t see it until I asked about it a couple days later. And, more often than not, it wasn’t signed by attendees. His school this year does it right...
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