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Dear ADDitude: What Are Smart Middle School Accommodations?

“Now that my son is in 7th grade, his IEP needs to shift from a focus on behavior to academic and organizational skills. (For example, he struggles to listen and take good notes simultaneously.) What skill-building goals should I work into his 8th-grade IEP?”

ADDitude Answers

Each child’s list of accommodations is different, tailored to their specific struggles. Here is a list of potential accommodations you might request – I printed this out and highlighted the ones I thought would address my son’s school problems. At his IEP meeting, I was able to refer back to it and ask for the accommodations I had noted.

If your son is specifically struggling to listen in class, ask that notes be provided for him. Many people with ADHD cannot efficiently and successfully take notes during a lecture. Assistive technology can help with this — there’s an app called inClass that records the lecture while the student is taking notes on the device, and then syncs the notes and audio. This way, the student can go back and easily tap her notes where they are unclear and listen to the accompanying part of the lecture.

Here are some more accommodation ideas for high school students with ADHD:
11 Tips for High School Success
IEP Accommodations: What Works for Us

Posted by Penny
community moderator, author on ADHD parenting, mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

A Reader Answers

Requesting an aide for my son has been very helpful – she helps him stay on track in the classroom. Some of the skills we focus on improving are:
– Listening comprehension: to really understand what the teacher is saying, not just blindly copy it down
– Asking for clarification: to ask questions when he doesn’t understand the material
– Note-taking skills
– Taking ownership of his work: to make sure he hands in work he is proud of

Posted by SuzanLivingstone

A Reader Answers

Make sure that the accommodations you request address the specific skills that your son needs to work on. You need to analyze the root causes of his issues in the classroom to find the correct fix. Try asking his teacher questions like:

– Does he understand the material?
– Does he rush through his work?
– Does he have poor time management?
– Does he have trouble following instructions?
These all would merit a different response, so try focusing on his greatest problem areas.

Posted by Dr. Eric

A Reader Answers

I can only speak for my family’s experience, but we’ve successfully incorporated the following academic and organizational accommodations into my daughter’s IEP:

– Modifying her schedule so she can have the same teacher and aide for as many subjects as possible
– Establishing a place where she writes down all her assignments, which the teacher reviews at the end of the day
– Reducing her amount of homework, when needed (e.g. only even or odd-numbered problems)
– Moving her to an alternate setting for tests and giving her extended time

Posted by MomOf2

A Reader Answers

Striking a balance is key; we want our children to have the support needed to stay organized, but also to feel a sense of responsibility. Technology was very useful in helping my child get organized. One of his accommodations allowed him to take photos of his assignments with his phone so that he could refer to them at home. Many school districts are going paperless; to take advantage of the digital systems they have in place, ask for direct instruction on how to use their program (whether Google, Edmodo, Schoolology, etc.).

Posted by NovoRussianMom

A Reader Answers

It’s important to match problems with solutions. Is he taking forever to finish writing work? Then reduce the load, split it up in smaller assignments, and give rewards for completion. Does he have problems with writing physically, but performs better verbally? Ask for a word-recognition computer program as an accommodation, which is cheaper than hiring a teaching assistant/scribe. My family got the Dragonspeak program at home to help our child write his homework, and we found it to be a massive help.

Posted by vowedmom