ADHD & Classroom Accommodations: What You Should Know

ADHD & Classroom Accommodations: What You Should Know

"If your child’s teacher knows that your child has ADHD, you can work with them to establish accommodations to provide extra assistance when they need it."
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If your child had extra time on tests, personalized instructions, and the freedom to get up and take breaks whenever they’re feeling restless, how do you think it would affect their day at school? 

Parents of kids with ADHD know all too well about the challenges presented in a traditional classroom setting. Sitting for long periods of time, finishing tasks on time, remembering due dates — these are big asks for most energetic kids, but especially kids with attention disorders. In fact, nearly one third of students with ADHD drop out or delay high school graduation.1

ADHD accommodations in school are designed to meet your child’s needs to support their learning and well-being. Whether your child has been officially diagnosed with ADHD or not, having a talk with your child’s teachers about their challenges can help them excel at school and maybe even enjoy their time there a little more.

Talking to Your Child’s Teachers: What to Know and What to Ask for

According to the CDC, there are two laws that govern special services and accommodations for children with disabilities or disorders like ADHD: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.2

If your child qualifies for one of the federal plans funded by IDEA or Section 504, they will receive support through what is known as a 504 Plan or individualized education program (IEP). While a 504 Plan provides changes to the learning environment to support your child, an IEP provides individualized special education services to meet your child’s unique needs directly. 

Ask your child’s teacher about how to obtain one of these plans or seek guidance from the school’s special education team. They should be able to point you to the correct forms that need to be submitted to receive this kind of support. But it’s also important to remember that many children with ADHD are not enrolled in special education classes. If your child’s teacher knows that your child has ADHD, you can work with them to establish some of the accommodations we’ll mention below to provide extra assistance when they need it.

Common Classroom Accommodations for Students with ADHD

Classroom accommodations for students with ADHD vary, and your child may not need every one. We’ll discuss some of these accommodations below, but there are many more to consider. 

Some examples of classroom accommodations include things like extra time on tests to help the child who has troubling finishing tasks on time or positive reinforcement to help the child motivated by feedback. Other accommodations to consider include minimal distractions in the classroom and extra warnings before transitions.

Learn more about some of the most common accommodations below and why they work.

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Extra Time on Tests 

In some cases, an unfinished test indicates that the student hasn’t studied and isn’t adequately prepared. But for a child with ADHD, an unfinished test can mean they had trouble focusing long enough to complete the test or they experienced test anxiety, which is incredibly common. Some kids with ADHD can also have trouble with the style of testing. Even when they know the material, they may not struggle with memory impairment, slow processing, or figuring out how to express themselves in writing.

Arranging extra time on tests may include taking the test before or after school, or even during lunchtime. The teacher can also modify your child’s schedule to include a block of time just for finishing incomplete assignments or tests.

Personalized Instruction & Assignments Tailored to the Child

It can be difficult for teachers to give personalized instruction to every kid in their classroom. It may take some extra effort, but once your child’s teacher learns your child’s strengths and challenges, they can help modify instructions and assignments to meet their needs. While instructions should always be clear and concise for an ADHD kid, taking some time to check in with the child to ensure they’ve grasped the instructions is an extra step that can be extremely valuable. 

Assignments can also be tailored to your child. If they have trouble completing longer papers, an accommodation might be to write a shorter paper. Or they can even be given the option to give an oral report instead of writing a paper. Dividing an assignment into multiple parts can also help the child stay organized and complete the assignment gradually instead of all at once. 

Consistent Positive Reinforcement

Praising a child frequently for positive behavior is an effective way to get more of that behavior while building a child’s self-esteem. Your child’s teacher can do this in the classroom by offering positive reinforcement ideally during the behavior and not afterward. For instance, if your child has trouble waiting their turn, the teacher can praise them for being patient before they’ve had a chance to cut in line or interrupt. Following directions, staying in their seat, completing an assignment — these are all actions that can be acknowledged and praised.

Allowing Breaks 

Taking an occasional break allows your child to stop what they’re doing for a few minutes and recharge before returning to the activity at hand. This can be helpful for hyperactive and/or inattentive kids who tend to get restless or lose focus when working too long on one activity. The break might include something as simple as getting up for a stretch, or it can be used as a time for a mindfulness activity like short breathing exercises.

Encouraging Physical Movement 

For the hyperactive, restless, or impulsive child, sitting still for long stretches at time can feel like torture. Your child can be given the option to incorporate physical movement into their day to stay attentive while releasing excess energy. This may include working while standing, moving between desks, or taking a short walk as a brain break. Kids with ADHD can also be allowed to use a fidget item as long as they do so in a non-distracting way.

Pairing with Another Student Who’s a Good Role Model 

Sometimes, a child with ADHD is not even sure how to behave in the classroom. Along with being clear about classroom expectations and rules, pairing your child with another student who is a good role model can give them a clear example of what good behavior looks like. This pairing can be as simple as putting their seats closer together.

Ignoring Minor Misbehavior 

While positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to encourage acceptable behavior in the classroom, ignoring minor misbehavior is another effective tactic. Ignoring minor misbehavior isn’t about letting your child off the hook, but about disempowering the behavior by not giving it attention. The less the teacher acknowledges bad behavior and the more they encourage positive behavior, the faster they’ll see progress. This works at home, too!

How to Help Your Child at Home 

Positive reinforcement, modeling good behavior, and encouraging physical movement are all tactics you can use at home to help your child succeed. Another way you can support them is to establish a daily routine. You can even hang a list that details this routine and incentivize with rewards to build solid habits. 

Following a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and minimizing screen time are other ways to keep their ADHD symptoms under control, and modeling these behaviors yourself is a great way to get the whole family on the same page. You might even consider practicing relaxation techniques together to promote a stress-free home.

If your child needs more support, a medication like Brillia can help. Free from harsh, synthetic chemicals and harmful side effects, Brillia is a non-prescription homeopathic medication clinically proven to reduce symptoms like anxiety, hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity in children aged 5-18. 

If your child is already taking prescription medication for ADHD, Brillia can be used in tandem with their medication to help reduce secondary side effects of these drugs (like anxiety) or to slow down having to increase the dosage of their current medication. There are no dangerous interactions between Brillia and any other medications or supplements, so you can add it to their regimen without worry. 

Brillia is part of a holistic approach, which combines antibody science with behavioral science. Our antibody ingredients target the receptors in the brain responsible for instigating symptoms associated with ADHD and anxiety without affecting any other systems in the body or causing drowsiness, upset stomach, or masking the personality. And our 5 Pillar methodology enforces healthy lifestyle habits like proper nutrition, adequate sleep, controlled screen time, and mindfulness, to maximize these effects while instilling habits your child will benefit from far into the future. 

Learn more about how Brillia works and find more resources on managing ADHD at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center. Together, with your child’s teacher, you and your child can work toward a more enriching academic experience for all. 

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References: 1https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100727142413.htm, 2https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/school-success.html
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