Ask the Experts

Q: How Can I More Consistently Implement a Student’s IEP?

IEPs for students with ADHD can be extensive with more time for tests, shorter quizzes, and movement breaks, and difficult to implement. Here are some quick tips for teachers to work more efficiently.

Q: “My student Henry, age nine, has a pretty extensive IEP. More time for tests, shorter versions of quizzes, movement breaks three times a day. These accommodations are beneficial, but they are tough to implement every day. I sometimes forget an accommodation. Do you have any suggestions?”


As a classroom teacher, you manage a lot students and work hard to meet each child’s needs. This can be challenging. Here are some specific suggestions to help you work more efficiently with Henry.

Implementing Extended Time for Tests

It is beneficial to have another staff member in the classroom to help implement accommodations, but that is not always possible. However, it is likely that there are others in your school who can help you meet this student’s needs.

  • Ask a special education teacher if Henry can go to the resource room for extended time on tests.
  • Ask a classroom teacher from a different grade if Henry can complete tests in his or her classroom.

Make sure to discuss this with Henry in advance.

Shortening Quizzes

Students qualify for extended time because they have a slower processing speed. Reducing the number of questions on a quiz or test is another way to help a student with slow processing speed demonstrate his knowledge and competence.

  • One tip is to have your student do either the odd or even questions.
  • For a reading comprehension quiz that covers concepts in multiple ways, you may choose a few specific questions to cross off.

When possible, giving him a shorter quiz will help reduce his anxiety. You may need to start thinking about this during your lesson planning to determine the best way to provide this accommodation.

[Free Download: Easy Accommodations to Help Students with ADHD or LD]

Working In Movement Breaks

Children with ADHD need to move, but this need can vary based on what they are being expected to do and their ability to absorb the information. Spend time asking Henry for his input, concerns, and suggestions, and you’ll reduce the time you need to spend managing him.

Timing of breaks

  • Think about some times of day when Henry might need these breaks the most.
  • Talk to Henry privately regarding his thoughts on break times. At his age, he is probably more aware of his needs and challenges, but he might not yet have the skills to articulate and advocate for himself.
  • Set expectations about what you need him to do to minimize disrupting others during his breaks.

Options for breaks
Here are some suggestions for movement breaks. Ask Henry to come up with some ideas as well.

  • Jumping jacks or wall push-ups can easily be done in the hallway.
  • While at his desk, he can do hand presses (press both hands together in prayer position), or squeeze his fists for five sets of 10 repetitions.
  • For greater movement, allow Henry to take a few laps in a set area around the school. Create a Walking Pass (hang a small card from a lanyard). Establish guidelines regarding when, how long, and how often he can use the pass. Have a nonverbal cue so Henry can communicate that he needs to take a movement break. His pass communicates to other staff that Henry has permission to be walking around. Let your building staff know that the plan exists.

[FYI: This New IEP App Will Make Your Life a Lot Easier]

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