Ask the Experts

Q: “Could a 504 Plan Improve My Child’s Executive Dysfunction?”

Executive dysfunction is perhaps the most visible and debilitating symptom of ADHD for middle school students, many of whom would benefit from a 504 Plan with thoughtful accommodations. Here, learn how to pursue the most appropriate supports for your teen.

Q:My middle schooler has executive function deficits. She is back in school face-to-face and is having a hard time doing work in class. How can I support her from home when I can’t be near her to encourage accountability? She doesn’t have a 504 Plan and her teachers are overwhelmed, so they cannot monitor her consistently.”


I so appreciate that you want to support your child. And the best way for you to support your daughter from home is to make sure she gets the support she needs at school.

Since I don’t know any specifics, I’m going to start by suggesting that you request a 504 Plan, through which you can request special in-school accommodations if your daughter qualifies. For reference, this ADDitude article offers a step-by-step guide to securing accommodations at school.

You also mention that your daughter is having a hard time accomplishing work in class. Have you spoken directly to her teachers? Or is your daughter sharing this information with you alone? If that’s the case, it’s time to request a meeting with everyone on your child’s team – teachers, guidance counselor, etc. – so you can convey your daughter’s struggles at school and at home as well.

Take this opportunity to brainstorm effective solutions and strategies to support her during the school day. Her teachers may be able to institute some informal accommodations, like seating her near the front of the room, splitting assignments into smaller parts, or even monitoring her understanding of instructions and material.

[Get This Free Download: A Teachers’ Guide to Executive Dysfunction in Students with ADHD]

Prior to the meeting, I recommend sending a list of questions/concerns to each teacher to gather specifics beforehand. You want to know if your daughter is performing at grade level, what teaching methods are being used, and what specific struggles they’re seeing.

What I’m trying to discern is this: Checking your child’s work at night or providing her with accountability might be helping your daughter in the short term. However, in the long term, the school needs to know where your daughter is struggling so that it can provide strategies and support during the day to create a successful learning environment.

Good Luck.

Executive Dysfunction and ADHD: Next Steps

ADHD Family Coach Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

Submit your questions to the ADHD Family Coach here!

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