Every 504 Plan Should Include These ADHD Accommodations

Impulsive behavior. Incomplete homework. Inconsistent focus. Whatever your child’s school challenges, these teacher-approved accommodations can put some real muscle behind his 504 Plan and put the attention back on learning.

Impulsive behaviors, such as flying paper planes in class, might be improved by 504 accomodations for adhd.
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Manage Impulsivity in the Classroom

Many children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) struggle with impulsivity and self-control. If your child speaks out of turn at school:

  • Seat him front and center, near the teacher, and away from distractions
  • Discuss the behavior in private rather than calling him out in front of the class
  • Have him sit next to a well-behaved role model
  • Increase the distance between desks, if possible
  •  For younger students, mark an area with tape around his desk in which he can move freely

[Free Download: Creating An IEP/504 Plan for Your ADHD Child]

Low grades on assignments can be improved by 504 accomodations for adhd.
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Help for Half-Done or Incomplete Assignments

ADHD also walks hand-in-hand with executive function deficits, which impact a student's ability to plan, execute, and complete his work. If your child's grades are suffering due to unfinished work:

  • Allow extra time to complete assigned work
  • Break long assignments into smaller segments, each with a deadline
  • Shorten assignments or work periods
  • Pair written instructions with oral instructions
  • Set a timer for 10-minute intervals and have the student get up and show the teacher her work
Two kids in a classroom focusing on their work aided by 504 accomodations for adhd.
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Help Classroom Focus

If your child doesn’t participate, drifts off when taking notes, or turns in work with mistakes:

  • Have a peer assist him in note taking
  • Have the teacher ask questions to encourage participation
  • Enlist him to help present the lesson
  • Cue him to stay on task with a private signal — a gentle tap on the shoulder
  • Schedule a five-minute period for him to check over work before turning in assignments

[Free Template: A Sample 504 Plan]

A student causing a distruption in class which might be alleviated by 504 accomodations for adhd.
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End Disruptive Classroom Behavior

If your child is disrupting other students' learning:

  • Ask the teacher to ignore minor inappropriate behavior
  • Allow the student to play with paper clips or doodle
  • Designate a place in advance where he or she can let off steam
  • Adjust assignments so that they are not too long or too hard
  • Develop a behavior contract with the student and parents (share info about what works at home or vice versa)
A student daydreaming in class which 504 accomodations for adhd could improve by encouraging focus and engagement.
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Help a Daydreamer Focus

If your child is inattentive:

  • Have the teacher use clear verbal signals, such as “Freeze,” "This is important,” or “One, two, three…eyes on me”
  • Allow the student to earn the right to daydream for 5-10 minutes after completing her assignment
  • Use a flashlight or a laser pointer to illuminate objects or words to pay attention to
  • Illustrate vocabulary words and science concepts with small drawings or stick figures

[Free Resource: A Sample Accommodations Request Letter]

A student fidgeting during a test which 504 accomodations for adhd can help ease and mitigate.
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Settle Fidgety, Restless Behaviors

If your child taps his foot or pencil nervously in class or gets up out of his seat a lot:

  • Allow him to run errands, to hand out papers to students, clean off bookshelves, or to stand at times while working
  • Give him a fidget toy in class to increase concentration
  • Slot in short exercise breaks between assignments
  • Give him a standing desk or an air-filled rubber disk to sit on so he can wiggle around
A teacher assigning homework on the blackboard, which 504 accomodations for adhd can help your child to complete by improving communication.
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Keep Track of Homework and Books

If your child forgets to bring home homework assignments or books, return papers to school, or to put his name on his paper:

  • Use an assignment notebook/student planner
  • Allow students to dictate assignments into a Memo Minder, a small three-minute tape recorder, or their phone
  • Staple the teacher’s weekly lesson plan in the student’s planner
  • Reduce the number of papers that are sent home to be signed
  • Appoint monitors to make sure that students write down homework assignments
  • Allow student to keep a second set of books at home
A teacher spending extra time explaining a concept to a student in accordance with 504 accomodations for adhd.
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Put Time on His Side

If your child has trouble with due dates and deadlines:

  • Give advanced notice about upcoming projects and report
  • Stand next to the student to make sure that the assigned task is begun quickly
  • Present all assignments and due dates verbally and visually
  • Use timers to mark transitions — putting materials away before starting a new subject or project
A student is isolated and gossiped about in class, which 504 plan accomodations can assist in by allowing her to expand her social network.
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Expand Her Social Network

If your child is clueless about social cues, doesn’t work well with others, or isn’t respected by peers:

  • Set up social-behavior goals with her and implement a reward program
  • Request that the school establish a social skills group
  • Encourage cooperative learning tasks
  • Assign her special responsibilities or a leadership role
  • Compliment positive behavior and work
  • Acknowledge appropriate behavior and good work frequently
An apprehensive student contemplating his writing assignment, which 504 accomodations for adhd can help manage.
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Take the Fear Out of Writing

If your child is challenged by written assignments:

  • Allow more time for written assignments and essay questions
  • Shorten reports or assignments
  • Allow students to print; don’t require cursive writing
  • Allow the option of a recorded or oral report in lieu of writing
  • Encourage students to use a computer for written work
  • Allow the use of spell check and grammar check software
Student with ADHD writing out math problem on blackboard with teacher looking on
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Reduce Math Anxiety

If your child does not finish math tests, is slow to finish homework, or has problems with multi-step problems:

  • Photocopy pages for students so they do not have to rewrite math problems
  • Keep sample math problems on the board
  • Allow use of a calculator for class and homework
  • Give review summaries for math exams
  • Give extended time on tests

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  1. All of your articles are encouraging and help explain concepts. This article sets itself apart that it answers the question “how?” I will be able to use several suggestions here with our school 504 plan discussions. Thank you and keep up the great work.

  2. How can we ask teachers to ignore even small amounts of inappropriate behavior? Should we really be teaching them that it’s okay and they can get away with it instead of helping them self-manage and giving them a firm “no” once in a while? Also, why is the answer less work, fewer problems, or shorter assignments? Don’t you think we are setting them up for failure in life if we reinforce to them that they don’t have to do the same amount of work the other kids have to do? Not only that, when we shorten assignments, lower the standard, or require less work of him than the other kids, what does that teach him? Don’t you think he wonders WHY the teacher doesn’t think he can do it? When he loses or forgets or doesn’t feel like finishing a multi-part assignment, like a research paper, what does he learn if he doesn’t have to do it? He learns that if he just waits long enough, the work will go away. Sooner or later, they give up on themselves and don’t even care if they get an F. What if another of his teachers isn’t so understanding? What if next year’s teachers expect him to know that material that he was exempted from having to learn?

    1. It’s not about reducing what they learn, it’s about evening the playing field so kids with disabilities that impact learning and academic performance have an equal opportunity. Reduced assignments are only appropriate when a student needs them. For instance, your child is spending 3 hours on math homework every time, but peers are spending 30 minutes or less, and the teacher expects 30 minutes or less. Requiring your child to spend those three hours so he or she is doing exactly the same volume as everyone else is really punishing them for having a disability.

      It’s not at all about lowering standards, but about teaching the child to work with and around weaknesses and struggles to still be able to succeed. It’s about being sure that your child isn’t doing schoolwork every moment of every day, greatly reducing their quality of life (as well as the family’s). When you discuss things like this with your child, you frame it in a way that doesn’t point out that they don’t have to “do as much as everyone else.” They’re putting in the same effort and hard work, they’re just not being punished for have a neuro atypical brain.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  3. My son was diagnosed more than a year ago. I have worked with the school on interventions etc, until they finally decided that 504 should be in place. I’m struggling with what I have requested to be inserted in his 504 and told that is “best practice” and does not need to be included. Examples: My son be given an outline /study guide prior to tests, my son being allowed to submit a draft of his written work for feedback from teacher to make sure he’s on right track, written directions broken into steps if complex, etc….all of this was told that this is best practice and teacher already should be doing that. My son always forgets things in school, and I requested that copies of his assignments be uploaded to the google classroom that some of the teachers are using for every class, and was told this can not be “forced” on teachers if that is not their teaching style. They are entitled to academic freedom. One of his teachers uploads all assignments, notes, outlines etc,and he isn’t as stressed in this class, and is successful So i asked for his other teachers to do the same thing, but was denied. My son always turns in assignments late, I asked that he not be penalized if I communicated with the teacher that the assignment was done if they can que him in class to turn in…NOpe can’t do that either…..I’m at a lost right now for words….

    1. Do not accept this. As a student with a diagnosed disability that negatively impacts his learning, he has a right to accommodations and assistance to access the same education as his neurotypical peers. A 504 plan and an IEP are both instructional documents for teachers, by their very nature. First, I would contact the Director of Special Education/Services for your district’s governing Board of Education. Share this story with them and ask them how you should proceed to get your child the disability services he has a legal right to. If that individual doesn’t immediately act to rectify this situation, then go to your state’s Department of Ed, Disability Services Department. File a state complaint if you have to. Of course, if you can, hire an advocate to help you navigate this and affect change. Sometimes, seeing that there’s a professional advocate involved is enough to make school personnel shape up and do what they must.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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