Category Archives: For Teachers

Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD

By Mary Fowler

 

Whenever I present a workshop for teachers, I ask audience members to describe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in their own, non-clinical words. It’s been compared to a remote that never stops switching channels, the Energizer® bunny, loose papers in a strong wind, being lost in the fog, and electricity without a cord. Their similes capture the essence of the core symptoms of ADHD: inattention and /or impulsivity and hyperactivity. They also help us imagine what it must be like to have ADHD. They foster empathy and a desire to help.

Still, in the day-to-day grind of teaching, when problems emerge, our best intentions and sensitivities are tested. Wiggling, fidgety, loud, disorganized, disruptive, hurried, careless and off-task behavior coupled with messy, incomplete, or missing work are tough challenges in the classroom, even on a good day.

The chronic nature of ADHD school-related issues has been known to frustrate more than a few teachers (and parents). This frustration may have to do with the expectation that interventions can cure ADHD. They don’t and they can’t.

Here’s the real deal: the manifestations of ADHD are seldom (if ever) fixed once and for all because these problems often arise from environmental expectations, conditions, and triggers. Thus, these students are highly susceptible to the world around them and the world within them.

Most ADHD problems can be called “POP” or “point of performance” problems where students have difficulty being on point or on task.

What is on-task performance?
• Doing what you are supposed to be doing.
• When you are supposed to be doing it.
• In the way you are supposed to be doing it.

The “what” or “it” can be following a rule, working on a task, using a social skill, etc.

Some students lack the necessary skills to perform appropriately. Generally students with ADHD know what they are supposed to be doing. It’s just that where the rubber meets the road—at the point of performance—they lose traction and don’t do what they know. Distractibility, hating to wait, restlessness, losing materials, or missing pieces of the whole interfere with their best intentions to do what is expected and to do it well.

Typically, the off-task or off-rule behavior of students with ADHD is not a matter of choice. It’s a symptom of ADHD and an indicator that an intervention is needed. Here’s the good news: ADHD point of performance problems can be managed effectively (not to perfection). Most ADHD management is not a problem of knowing what to do. It’s a matter of doing what we know.

Here’s what you need to know and accept about ADHD interventions and strategies:

  • They have to happen in the here and now on an as needed basis.
    • They work when they are used.
    • Their use often requires coaxing and coaching from an external source (teachers, parents, peers, visual cues, and/or technology).
    • They may be needed throughout the school day, month, year, or lifespan.

Teachers often ask, “Shouldn’t these students learn to use these interventions on their own?” The point is this, if they didn’t have ADHD, they would be doing what they know! We can provide self-awareness and self-management strategies. Still, these students (and adults) will require coaching to do what they know.

In students with ADHD, “think first” or “wait” do not enter into the self-control picture. So what can you do?

A POP intervention wouldn’t try to curb the need and impulse to call or blurt out. Instead, the teacher would direct the student to write down the thought. Or, if the student has difficulty writing or is a young learner, you might anticipate and call on this student frequently (or immediately). Or, use a silent signal as a cue to wait. Silent signals work because they are visual and thus don’t compete with the words the student is trying to keep in mind the way your verbalization does.

For the case where the student is unsure or anxious about what to do, you may assure the student that individual attention will always be given as soon as everyone else is on track.

You might also try a technique known as the two-response answer method. Let students know ahead of time that you will be asking every question twice—even if the first answer given is correct. This method encourages students to listen to one another, signals students to wait, and allows students who might not volunteer to participate. It also allows you to call on reluctant students and gives them an opportunity to shine.

Raising a hand before speaking is a behavioral expectation. Behavioral expectations are but one type of POP problem. Off-task behavior is another. The first type of problem may be a nuisance, but it doesn’t generally have a significant impact on academic performance. Off-task behavior, however, is a significant academic issue. It affects all aspects of the learner’s performance, especially the quality and quantity of task output.

The GPS (global positioning system) is a navigational system that works in the here and now. It is goal-oriented. It is problem-driven and solution-focused. When a driver needs to know how to get somewhere, the receiver calls upon every positioning satellite in the sky to devise a meta-strategy—a plan. The GPS then monitors the course as the car moves along. The “voice” gives corrective feedback whenever necessary.

Let’s say you want to drive across the swamp. The GPS doesn’t wrestle with alligators it meets along the way. It doesn’t get hung up in the past and the future. The GPS lives entirely in present time and its aim is to get you to your destination (across the swamp) even if that means charting a new course.

Though I sometimes worry that one day my GPS will go “bonkers” because I’ve gotten so far off track, to date my receiver hasn’t lost its cool or showed any irritation. No yelling, no blaming, no shaming, no name calling, no idle threats, no long diatribes. When I miss a turn or get off track—it simply says, “Recalculating.”

Students with ADHD go “bonkers” when improving off-task performance requires teacher-driven “recalculations.” If you find yourself wrestling with alligators and drowning in the swamp, there’s an easy solution. Let go of the alligator: be goal oriented, problem-driven, solution focused and flexible. Be prepared to go back to the drawing board.

Remember, students with ADHD either lose sight of the goal (they fail to focus and sustain), or they’re not sure what the goal is (they have difficulty selecting the most important versus the most interesting information). These behaviors are not a matter of choice but rather an outcome of the neurological underpinnings of ADHD. Most students with ADHD don’t require different teachers. They require cool, calm, “recalculating” teachers who use effective and hands-on approaches.

There are three essential GPS components for all ADHD interventions:

  1. The scaffold—these are the structures, strategies, supports and skills you put into place that enable the student to improve performance. ADHD strategies are not so much an issue of knowing what to do but of doing what you know. ADHD scaffolds work when you use them. They belong in the here and now. Teachers often say to me, “If I do this for a student, then next year…” Or, “If I make this accommodation, what will happen when she gets to elementary school and beyond?”

Sadly, I have to report that when scaffolds are not used, student outcomes become predictably grimmer as time goes by. Furthermore, most adults with ADHD continue to need interventions and accommodations and some will seek the services of ADHD coaches.

  1. Ongoing monitoring—sometimes we select the wrong intervention. In general, ADHD interventions fail because their use isn’t monitored or adjustments are not made along the way. That approach is akin to fixing a leaky faucet valve without adding a washer or using plumber’s thread as a sealant. Monitoring behavior guides and directs the performance along the path. Be sure that you don’t confuse monitoring with “gotcha” or “see—nothing ever works with this student!
  2. Positive feedback—I once asked a student, “What does ADD mean?” He replied, “It’s just another way to call a kid ‘bad.’ I think ADD should stand for Adult Deficit Disorder.”

It’s no wonder that he came up with this answer. Recent research as reported by Dr. Sydney Zentall notes that 75 percent of the daily feedback received by students with ADHD is negative. Positive feedback helps them stay on the appropriate behavioral path and serves as a key performance motivator. Feedback encourages, appreciates, and supports the person.

In addition to using the global meta-strategy described above, here are some specific strategies you might try for some of the typical behaviors that interfere with performance.

For stimulation seeking—a lot of “off task” ADHD behavior has to do with stimulation seeking and the way stimulation affects the brain’s ability to focus and sustain performance.

The general principle of ADHD intervention for stimulation seeking is not to restrict it. Instead, allow stimulation seeking on terms that work for the classroom situation.

What do these students need to do?

  • ADHD expert Roland Rotz suggests “fidget to focus,” or allow movement through stability balls, treadmills, or frequent breaks. You can also provide manipulatives, such as stress balls, toy animals, or plastic tangles. (AKA as fidget toys or tools)
    • Add or allow arousal ingredients to tasks. (Reduce arousal if it’s too high with quieting activities.)
    Use color (e.g., overlays for the last third of a reading page).
    • Use manipulatives (or fidgets) for tasks—Legos®, Wikki Stix, or colored markers.
    • Switch between high interest/low interest tasks.
    Create interactive lessons with games.
    • Eliminate rushing by removing all external incentives to finish quickly.

For getting and keeping their attention—students with ADHD, like all living beings, are always paying attention. The question is what’s getting their attention? The attentional problems of these students tend to rotate around three concerns: figuring out what to pay attention to, determining what’s important versus what’s interesting, and staying the course until completion of the goal. These learners will find it difficult to set goals, prioritize, and say “No” to distractions. Once their minds wander, they often can’t find their way “home”—home being where they are supposed to be focusing their attention. Home may be obvious to you, but it is not to them.

What can you do to get and hold attention?

  • Add interest and novelty to all tasks.
    • Talk less and do more.
    • Use silent signals to redirect attention.
    • Use specific directives
    Simplify visual presentations.
    • Make task structures clear.
    • Highlight directions and give them one at a time.
    • Microsize—break all tasks down into manageable parts, monitor each phase, and provide positive feedback.
    • Use self-monitoring strategies—tracking time on task, timers, graphing daily performance.

For working memory and executive function issues, imagine if you had trouble saying “No” to distractions but still had to keep certain information in your mind so you could complete a task. For instance, you’re silently reciting a new phone number you want to program into your phone and the phone rings. If you’re at all like many people, if you haven’t written that number down, you know where it goes—somewhere far and away probably never to return again.

Now imagine that you have ADHD and your attention constantly gets pulled to an internal or external distraction and needs to be redirected. Like these students, you’d probably lose a lot of information from your mental desktop—that place known as working memory. You can tell working memory (or working with memory) has been disrupted when you catch yourself saying, “Now, where was I?”

Working memory allows us to hold information in mind while we work with bits and pieces of it or with something else entirely until we are ready to come back to the info on the mental desktop and use that information to complete a task. This can be tough enough for many of us. Now, add some impulsivity—the hate to wait and rush through without thinking through—part of ADHD. Couple that with some hyperactivity and shifts in attention and focus. The effect is not surprising. Working memory affects many aspects of task performance for students with ADHD.

To my mind, working memory issues certainly make a compelling case for having a “GPS system” in the day-to-day management of ADHD issues.

What can you do?

  • Externalize. If it can be held in mind, it can be written down to hold it in place—dry erase boards, cue cards, posted formulas, rules, etc.
    Use models, rubrics, timelines, planners, graphic organizers, checklists, daily action plans, and step-by-step guides.
  • Use color—it attracts attention, categorizes, distinguishes objects, and helps with organization.
    • Design and monitor organizational routines—and make time for them to be used.
    Post the daily schedule.
    • Provide note-taking assistance to the degree necessary.
    Use peer support when appropriate.
    • Train mnemonic strategies, e.g. POW—plan, organize, write.
    • Make and use flash cards.

ADHD is not easy to manage. Yet, it is a highly manageable condition. We can’t cure it, but we can enable students to reduce any disabling effects of this condition. We simply have to do what we know. “Doing what we know” may seem like a Herculean task. In practice, it’s using an ounce of prevention rather than a pound of cure.

In all my workshops, I invite teachers to commit to this simple intention:

I will act as though what I do makes a difference.

When we are not making the difference we want to make, we don’t change the people around us. If we change what we do, the people around us change as a result.

 

Share what you did with me and I’ll pay your experience forward. Write mary@maryfowler.com

 

By Mary Fowler http://www.maryfowler.com – Mary trains educators and parents on ADHD, emotional challenges, and classroom management practices. An internationally recognized expert on ADHD, she is the author of four books, including the bestseller, Maybe You Know My Kid (3rd edition), Maybe you Know my Teen, the original CHADD Educators Manual,  and my favorite introductory book for parents 20 Questions to Ask If Your Child has ADHD.

 

Reprinted with permission. Original source: How to Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD?  Originally published in the New Jersey Education Association’s Review in March, 2010 www.njea.org/njea-review

 

 

20 Questions to Ask If Your Child has ADHD  – “Think of this book as facts with personality. Answers are written in an easy-to-read, conversational style from a parent who’s been there”. Organized into four easily manageable categories:• General/Medical Information • Social/Emotional Well-being • Home Issues • School Issues. ($10 on Kindle – $13 for paperback)

 

 

 

(Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freeDigitalPhoto) Modified on Canva – http://canva.com

 

 

 

 

Children with ADHD… What Teachers Need to Know

“Why doesn’t my child’s teacher ‘get it?’ ” “Why doesn’t she understand how ADHD really impacts my child?"Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC

 

Why doesn’t my child’s teacher ‘get it?’ ”  “Why doesn’t she understand how ADHD really impacts my child  – that he is not lazy, unmotivated, nor intentionally manipulative?”   I know this opens up a whole set of emotions for many parents out there, so before I go any further, I must clarify two important issues.

First, teachers are individuals, each with their own background, knowledge, and experience.  Unfortunately, many parents and children have had negative experiences with some teachers, but there are also many teachers who have, through their compassion, knowledge and methods, opened the door to learning and personal growth in ways that have been life changing.  Most teachers go into their profession with the intention of enlightening the lives of the children they touch.

Which leads me to the second issue-   Most teachers, especially general education teachers, are not specifically taught about how to recognize ADHD, or how to teach and support children with ADHD.  They may receive a general overview of the symptoms, but they are not given extensive education about the many issues involved in supporting a child with ADHD.

It is this second issue that creates the greatest concern and potentially devastating impact on children.  Here are some of the concerns it raises:

  • ADHD involves a great deal more than impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness.   It impacts many areas of learning, including their ability to manage their materials, time, emotions, and productivity.  Without a full understanding of how ADHD is impacting the specific child in the classroom, a teacher might, unknowingly or unintentionally, make assumptions that are false about that child.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 9.5% or 5.4 million children 4-17 years of age have ADHD.  By and large, these children are in the regular education classes.  That means that each regular education class probably has at least one child with ADHD in the classroom.
  • Along with ADHD, there are often co-existing conditions which can complicate the learning in ways that a teacher may not realize.  For example, depression and anxiety may be playing a role in the child’s life and this may not appear evident in the classroom.
  • Many parents look to their children’s teachers for advice and guidance regarding their children’s development and education.  In fact, a recent survey conducted by Parents Magazine and The Child Mind Institute found that a staggering 83% of parents said that they would want their child’s teacher to tell them if he thought their child should be evaluated for a psychiatric or learning disorder.  (Parents Magazine, May 2012, “Attitudes About Children’s Mental Health”).  While experienced teachers may be in a position to notice atypical behavior or performance in a child, without the proper knowledge or training, they must tread very lightly in what and how they communicate to a parent.  Their observations are helpful, in fact, they are a valuable component to the diagnostic process.  However, they must make it clear to any parent that they are NOT qualified to diagnose, and that their observations are within the limited scope of the classroom.

I propose two specific remedies.  The first involves you, the parents of these magnificent children.  As you approach your teacher to discuss your child, keep in mind the following:  This is the person who is with your child each and every school day.  Empathize with the fact that they are responsible for managing and supporting not just your child, but also a whole classroom of children.  Even if you suspect otherwise, approach them with the attitude that they want to help and that you value their insights.  However, although they may have the best intentions, they may not yet understand how to help your child, and in fact, may be unknowingly frustrating, alienating and perhaps even harming your child.   If repeated experience with this teacher leads you to conclude that they are not supportive of your efforts to collaborate, then you may want to involve the guidance counselor or school principal.

The second remedy involves educating the teacher.  For many parents, this is a real awakening – the recognition and acceptance that, for better or worse, your child’s teacher does not really know how to best help your child.  So much of what we know about ADHD and how to treat it effectively we learned within the last decade.  You as the parent have had to become an expert in ADHD and your child.  With due respect, and without judgment, request to share with the teacher some of the knowledge, tools and strategies you have learned.  There are wonderful written resources available that you can share with your teacher, but no one besides you can create the shift and reframing necessary for your teacher to see your child through the lens of compassion and insight about the challenges your child faces like you, the parent, can.

Invite them to ask you for insights about behavior that may seem frustrating or illogical.  You must help the teacher understand why certain accommodations and modifications are truly beneficial.  For example, having “note taking” as a goal may be more frustrating than helpful at certain stages of development.   Providing a set of class notes for your child allows him to focus on the teacher since his working memory makes the act of writing while listening too challenging.  If appropriate, you can explain the impact medication has on your child (for example, that perhaps your child isn’t ready to eat during lunch but may really benefit from a power snack around 2 pm as the meds wear off, or the fact that the end of the day might be particularly challenging for your child to learn new material or remember to pack up properly).

For a true, systemic change to take place in the education of children with ADHD, we will need our teaching colleges to mandate a more in depth training of new general education teachers regarding the latest research on ADHD and the best practices for teaching and supporting these children.  We also need our current teachers to be provided with in-service training regarding the same.  (Note from author: I personally welcome the opportunity to speak to any group of current or future teachers who will have me. Located near New York, NY)

ADHD is a neurobiological disorder.  It is not an excuse for poor behavior, and it is not the result of poor parenting.  Yet, unfortunately, I still hear many stories from children and parents that their teachers do not “believe” or “understand” that the challenges the children face in the classroom and with homework are not fully under the child’s control.  If they could… they would

Keep in mind – kids do well IF THEY CAN.  If not, it’s up to the adults in their world to help them figure out why and to help them succeed – either by helping the children develop the skills, or modifying the expectations or environment until they can.  Teachers are on the frontline of education – we must ensure that they are well equipped with knowledge, skills and strategies to support all children.

Here is a list a list of things you may want to help your teacher know.

 

12 Things Teens with ADHD would like their Teachers to know

by Eileen Bailey

1) I forget things, even important things.

2) I am not stupid

3) Please be patient

4) I really do want to do well.

5) I do complete my homework.

6) ADHD is not an excuse

7) I need help to succeed.

8) If you notice me acting in inappropriate ways, please talk with me in private. Please do not talk to me in front of the class.

9) I don’t like having “special accommodations” in the classroom. Sometimes they are needed to help me succeed and do well. But that doesn’t mean that I like it. Please don’t call attention to any special treatment in front of other students. Please do not draw attention to my ADHD.

10) Detailed explanations of your expectations will help me. I work best when I know exactly what you expect from me.

11) Learning about ADHD is one of the best ways to help me.

12) Although I have ADHD, I am not ADHD. I am a person; I have feelings, hopes, and expectations. I have needs. I want to be liked and accepted. I want to feel good about myself. All of this is important to me. Sometimes I act out to hide my embarrassment or shame. This does not mean that something is not important; on the contrary, it means that it is very important and I am hiding my disappointment that I failed.

 

Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC        © 2012 PTS Coaching.  All rights reserved.  Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to PTS Coaching is maintained. (Link works)  http://www.ptscoaching.com

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Encouraging Self Advocacy in Teens

Tools to help students with ADHD discover their strengths and learn to ask for help to overcome their difficulties.
During their younger years, it is the parents responsibility to speak up for his or her child to get their needs met at school. However, as  therapist Louise Levine writes,

Doing everything for your children may make you feel like a successful parent but it may not let your child be a successful person.”

“Before children leave the protective shelter of home and zealous parenting, we need to help them practice basic techniques and instill competencies that will enable them to:

Feel comfortable conversing about their disability,…

Identify their warning signs,…

Advocate for themselves,…

(Have systems in place that)… will help them…manage their lives, and

Have a sense of humor about ADHD….and their own particular foibles.” (1)

For all children, the ability to view the future with hope is central to their future success. According to the Gallup Student Poll, hope, engagement and well-being are all factors that have been shown to drive students’ grades, achievement scores, retention, and future employment. (2) For students with ADHD, knowing that they have areas of competence and strengths that can help them overcome their difficulties gives them hope.

Realizing that many of your weaknesses are not personal but symptomatic of the disorder and exploring strategies to address specific problem areas provides a sense of power and competence they may not have felt before. Knowing that asking for help is often met positively builds social trust. Being skilled in requesting options to standard requirements at school can also help students to re-engage with learning. The ability to affect their environment and how people react to them increases self-esteem and, in turn, affects their sense of well-being.

For those with ADHD, knowing there are ways around your difficulties that don’t involve constant struggle is truly liberating.

We have found a few strength assessments and self-advocacy programs that can help your teen through this process.

Evaluate Strengths

FREE – VIA Strength Survey for Children (VIA stands for Values in Action) Measures 24 Character Strengths for Children – Well researched

FREE – Interest Profiler – Discover what your interests are and how they relate to the world of work. The Interest Profiler helps you decide what kinds of occupations and jobs you might want to explore based on your interests.

strengths explorer $ – The Strengths Explorer For Ages 10 – 14 – Package includes: Youth workbook, a parent guide, and one online access code. ($29)

Self-advocacy

Going to College.org– Designed for high school students, their My Place section offers a good selection of activities and on-line resources for identifying learning styles and personal strengths as well as exploring interests. They present basic information about why knowing your personal style is important and recommend self-evaluation as well as talking with friends,  parents, and teachers about what they perceive as your strong points.

 

EBook

BUILDING A BRIDGE From School To Adult Life – A Handbook for Students and Family Members to Help with Preparation for Life After High School (92 page Workbook – Includes strengths and interests survey as well as self-advocacy tips)

 

1) Kids with ADHD are Natural Born Leaders by Louise Levin, Marriage and Family therapist – SmartKidswithLD.org – http://www.smartkidswithld.org/getting-help/adhd/kids-adhd-natural-born-leaders/ – Harvested March 19, 2015 (Copy and paste URL to link to article)

2) Gallup Student Poll – Hope, Engagement, and Wellbeing http://www.gallupstudentpoll.com/home.aspx – Harvested March 19, 2015

 

“Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com

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ADD freeSources: ADHD Kids Page

Kids have questions too. Things to read, do and watch for the younger crowd.Things to read
Things to do
Things to Watch
More Reading
Pinterest Boards for Kids

What is ADHD? – An illustrated article for kids  by Peter Jaksa, PhD

Kids Like Me with ADD – Illustrated articles: School and Me, Friends and Me, Cool stuff about ADHD, and Medicine and Me and ADHD –  by Peter Jaksa, PhD

Things to do

Kids Health- Kids Section– Start off with interactive games (well, mostly quizzes)- Move on to access to help and/or information about most health concerns, both emotional and physical.  Search for ADHD and/or look at Feelings – then Emotions and Behaviors

Professor Garfield focuses on educating kids about learning, helping them recognize their strengths and showcasing their creativity. Founded by Jim Davis, the creator of the Garfield comic strip. Always remember: no two brains spark alike! Focus on your strengths and reach for the stars!

Fin, Fur and Feather Bureau of Investigation – Set of internet-based games ideal for kids with ADHD. Each game is designed to teach useful skills and strategies while continually encouraging players to complete increasingly difficult tasks. To increase interest, the FFFBI Academy uses a humorous spy theme and frequent reinforcements for successful game play. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Self Esteem Games – Designed to help you practice certain habits of thought, and they may be difficult at first. These games are offered here for educational, demonstration, and entertainment purposes only. Have fun trying them out!

VIA Youth Survey – Ages 10 to 17  – Explore your strengths. Measures 24 Character Strengths for Children

Things to Watch 

Flynn Pharma ADHD Explainer – For children ages 6 to 12. (3 1/2-minute video) Metaphors, such as a postman delivering letters as messages between brain cells, can help this age group better understand the condition.

From adhd1.net – Dr. C and Friends – Psychologist/puppeteer Dr. Candelwood –

The ADHD Song – Dr. C and Elwood – 1-minute

ADHD and “Avatar” – Not a fidgety kid in the theater! – 1-minute

Dr. Fox News- ADHD and Impairment – 1-minute poem from Dr. C

ADHD and Me” brings research interviews with children to (animated) life. The ADHD VOICES study investigated children’s experiences with ADHD; about how ADHD feels, problems understanding the diagnosis, different treatments, stigma and the kinds of support that can help. – This 18-minute video is ideal for talking to your children about ADHD and involving them in treatment discussions. Watch it in shorter clips on their YouTube channel.

HARRY POTTER has ADHD? (2-minute parody)

What are Learning Disabilities? – 4-minute animated explanation for 5 to 8-year-olds

The Learning Brain – 7-minute video on how the brain works. Ages 10 and up

More Reading 

Zebra Stripes for ADHD- an e-zine – Follow the adventures of Joey, the zebra without stripes, and learn how to live with ADHD –  How-to tips, the latest news from the ADD – ADHD world, and stories to understand the complex world of Attention Deficit and/or Hyperactivity Disorder. From  ADD Coach, Sara Jane Keyser. 

Kids Pages  for kids and teens on a number of mental health issues. Includes ‘A Kid in my Class has ADD,’ ‘When your Mom or Dad have ADD,’ and ‘I am different, but you may not know.’ For and about children from 6 to 16. Northern County Psychiatric Associates
Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board For and about Kids with ADHD on Pinterest.

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Casting a Wider Net: Section 504 Revisions

Casting a Wider Net:  Section 504 Under the 2008 ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA)

©  Lisa M. LaVardera, Esq.

In 2008, Congress amended the Americans with Disabilities Act, significantly broadening the definition of disability, beginning in 2009.  That change impacted the definition of disability under Section 504, one of two statutes from which children  receive special education services in school, (the other being The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA.).  The major changes as they pertain to students with disabilities, including children with ADHD, 2e children, and other bright children who may not have qualified for special education services or accommodations are significant, and are summarized herein.

What’s Section 504 got to do with the ADA?

Both are civil rights laws that protect individuals with disabilities from being discriminated against in our public schools.   Section 504 was enacted in 1973 and applies to all programs and activities that receive federal money.  This includes public schools, colleges, and universities as well as certain employers, state and local government programs, and places of public accommodation, such as a public library, courthouse or Federal office building.  (It’s hard to find any school, including private school that does not receive some financial assistance from the government.)   The ADAAA includes a “conforming amendment” to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; meaning that the newly expanded coverage under ADAAA also applies to Section 504.  Since both statutes are interpreted in parallel, the ADA impacts Section 504. While the wording of Section 504 did not change, because of the ADAAA, it’s interpretation has.  The main key to understanding Section 504 is that it is essentially a civil rights anti-discrimination statute, designed to level the playing field between a person with a disability and his non-disabled peers, when it comes to equal access to governmental sponsored activities, venues and rights.   It confers no federal funding upon the states, it is an unfunded mandate.

Today, the key difference between Section 504 and IDEA is that under 504, the level of restriction is the determining factor, not the severity of the impairment, or adverse educational impact.   Further, a substantial limitation in one major life activity need not be limiting in other major life activities in order to be considered a disability, and consideration must be made on a case-by-case basis, according to the “reasonable person” standard.  (If a reasonable person/ average person would consider that disability to be materially restricting.)

These changes are especially important if your child:

  1. Was previously evaluated under IDEA and was found ineligible.
  2. Was previously evaluated under Section 504 and was found ineligible.
  3. Already has a 504 plan.
  4. Is already receiving informal accommodations.
  5. Needs accommodations from the College Boards.
  6. Is applying to college.

 

Why The Change?:

Previously, the definition of disability was described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Under Section 504, a person was considered to be a person with a disability if he: (1) had a physical or mental impairment which substantially limited a major life activity and; 2) had a record of such impairment; or (3) was regarded as having such an impairment. Once a person met that standard, they could receive a “reasonable accommodation.” Over the years a few landmark employment law cases made it to the Supreme Court, which decisions tightened the requirements by which a person could be considered disabled for purposes of employment and disability law. Congress thought that those Supreme Court decisions contradicted their congressional intent of protecting people with disabilities, and so Congress revised the Americans with Disabilities Act (The ADAAA), to re- clarify and broaden the interpretation of disability and realign it with the original Congressional intent (which was whether the school, entity or facility met its obligations under the law, not whether the claimant met the definition of disability.)

What’s New?:

The Definition of Major Life Activity:

The definition of “major life activities” was expanded to include learning, reading, concentrating, thinking and even sleeping.  And the definition of “major bodily functions” was expanded to include neurological, digestive, reproductive and brain functions.

The Definition of Disability:

The definition of “disability” is to be broadly, rather than narrowly interpreted. And a limitation in one major life activity need not impact other major life activities.  Eg., a reading disability need not impact all subject areas to be considered a “disability.”

The Definition of Substantial Limitation:

The ADA as revised by Congress has now clarified “substantially limits” with a lower standard of “materially restricts.” While the wording of Section 504 did not change, because of the ADAAA, it’s interpretation has.  Today, the level of restriction is the determining factor, not the severity of the impairment.  Further, a substantial limitation in one major life activity need not be limiting in other major life activities in order to be considered a disability, and must be made on a case-by-case basis.  This change significantly broadened the definition of what constitutes a “disability.”

No Requirement of Educational Need:

Accordingly, the threshold for “educational need” is now more flexible under 504 than it is under IDEA.  Under 504, educational need or adverse educational impact is not the threshold for evaluation; the disability is. (Think disability plus some level of restriction in some area regarding learning, thinking, communicating, and so on, versus the requirement of “adverse educational impact” under IDEA.)  The threshold is not the same.

No Requirement to Fail:

As for twice exceptional children, or bright children who did not previously qualify for special education services; under the new interpretation under 504, a district may not use a child’s superior or adequate grades as a reason to refuse to evaluate him.  A 504 plan may still be appropriate even in cases where the disability does not impact learning. Nothing in the ADA or Section 504, or IDEA for that matter, limits eligibility to students who suffer academically.  Therefore a district may not refuse to evaluate a child whose disability has no educational impact if the child meets the new definition of disability under the ADAAA and thus 504.  Thus, schools can no longer tell parents that their child doesn’t qualify for an evaluation or a 504 plan solely because he is “doing okay without any intervention.” To say this is now a violation, says the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Other information about the disability must still be considered. The child may, after a full evaluation, still not qualify for a particular accommodation or service, but he must still be evaluated, if he has a physical or mental impairment that materially restricts one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment, regardless of good grades.

 

Definition of Reasonable Accommodation:

A “reasonable accommodation” has no definition in educational law and no limit at the moment, other than undue hardship on the part of the district.  And, the accommodation requested does not need to be directly related to the specific disability. (That does not mean however, that the sky is the limit in requesting accommodations from the school district.  The accommodation request can still be denied if the school district feels it is unreasonable, and then it is up to the hearing officer, or judge to decide.)

No Consideration of Mitigating Measures:

Mitigating measures cannot be considered in determining substantial limitation (except for contacts and eyeglasses), and if mitigating measures create an additional impact, there must also be an accommodation for that issue caused by the mitigating measure. A student must be able to use a mitigating measure independently; if the school personnel has to do something, then the disability is not mitigated. When determining whether the disability materially restricts a major life function, school districts must do a “look back” evaluation to determine what the child is like when off medication or without the mitigating measure. That is a very difficult task, but good news for kids with ADHD who take medications to help them focus.  They must be evaluated based on what their behavior would be when un-medicated.

No Penalty for Self-Accommodations:

And perhaps the most important change: kids who have learned to “self-accommodate,”  adapt—or compensate, as we like to call it—now cannot be penalized for learning to manage the disability on their own. Learned adaptive skills are a mitigation that may not be taken into consideration when determining substantial limitation. A child with a reading disability who can still learn in other ways is still disabled for the purposes of the new interpretation under Section 504, perhaps even if he is an honor roll student.  This change significantly benefits children with ADHD, and other children who were bright enough, or had enough compensatory skills to slip under the classification radar.

What Conditions Are Covered?:

In addition to disorders of learning, reading, concentrating, thinking and sleeping, other biological conditions are now covered. Diseases in remission are now considered as if they were active.  (Yes, you can get a 504 plan for cancer in remission, if it materially restricts you in some way.)  Alcohol problems are covered, although drug addiction is not. Other biological conditions such as gastro disease, neurological, brain, and reproductive disorders also fall under 504 protection.  Medical needs, if they trigger 504 services are now a burden that the district must bear.  And service dogs are now covered and may be allowed in schools.

Children Who Are Bullied:

Another interesting wrinkle, children who are bullied may fall under the “regarded as” prong if they are bullied as a result of their perceived disability.  And, according to Congress in revising the ADA, that discrimination provides them protection under 504, whether the disability is “substantially limiting” or not. This is a very interesting new wrinkle. Conceivably, a child may be entitled to an accommodation for being bullied if he is discriminated against (bullied because he had a disability), whether or not his disability is materially restricting enough to otherwise qualify for Section 504 protections or accommodations.

Evaluations Under Section 504:

Evaluations under the new interpretation of Section 504 must be comprehensive and look at all areas of learning: thinking, concentration, communicating, and so on.  School Districts must meet 504’s evaluation and placement procedural requirements when developing the plan.  For children with medical conditions who previously had an IHP (health response plan), the IHP may no longer be sufficient to meet 504 procedural requirements and they may need to be upgraded to a 504 plan.

Clinicians who do private evaluations and recommend a 504 plan should be aware that their evaluations:  must clearly show how the disability materially restricts a major life activityhow it impacts learning; (thinking, concentrating, communicating, and so on); also address any deficits masked by mitigating or self-accommodation measures, (what the child looks like off medications); and list any accommodation required for any effect of a mitigating measure.  This is especially important for children who are high functioning and have no adverse educational impact.

What Is The New Standard of Education under Section 504?

That’s a really good question.  The standard of FAPE, (Free Appropriate Public Education) is not the same as under IDEA.  Section 504 regulations define appropriate education as “the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services that (i) are designed to meet individual educational needs of handicapped persons as adequately as the needs of non-handicapped persons are met and (ii) are based upon adherence to procedures that satisfy the requirements” of the additional regulations governing educational setting, evaluation and placement, and procedural safeguards.

Two notable cases, Lyons and Mark H., establish that the 504 “appropriate education” standard is enforceable, and that the standard it imposes on public schools is different from the IDEA appropriate education standard, maybe lower, maybe higher, depending on the circumstances of your particular school district.  For example, a wealthy district that offers multiple programs and activities for nondisabled children, would be held to a higher standard of education for children covered by 504, a standard well above what IDEA calls for.  Poorer school districts that offer a barely decent level of services and instruction to children without disabilities, might be able to get away with providing lesser services to their children with disabilities, which may fall far below the expectations of IDEA.   How this will play out especially in wealthier districts whose kids have more positive outcomes, remains to be seen.  At this point in time, remember there is no definitive limit to 504 services, as long as they provide an equal opportunity for FAPE as that enjoyed by the non-disabled peers.

Remember, under IDEA, the IEP compares the child to his own best capacities, (more person-centered) while Section 504, when looking at the impact of the disability, compares him to his same age peers across the nation.  But, the obligations of school districts and other entities are measured by how equally they provide access and services to the disabled versus non-disabled, and that is a local standard.  And, when assessing violations of the ADA and 504, the focus is on the school or entity, not the disability, or the person with the disability.  This is an entirely different paradigm than under IDEA.

All services, accommodations and modifications must level the playing field in order to be 504 compliant.  Not all actually do what they are intended to do.  A level playing field means an equal opportunity to succeed in school.  It does not mean maximization of your child’s potential.

By now all school districts must have updated their 504 evaluation criteria, procedural requirements, manuals, materials, parent letters, prior written notice letters, etc., and trained personnel not to make statements or policy that violates Section 504.  The Office of Civil Rights has said it will enforce Section 504 in a manner consistent with the ADA Amendments Act. Because school districts must create their own evaluation procedures under Section 504, this is particularly challenging.    Also, Section 504 does and has always included the provision of services, as well as accommodations and modifications.  There is nothing in the statute that limits 504 in that regard, but for some reason school districts forget that.  But, perhaps the most challenging issue facing school districts is understanding that even children who are doing adequately in school may still qualify for Section 504 accommodations and services, if they have a disability that materially restricts a major life activity.

What Should Parents Do?:

Clearly, these changes suggest that any child previously refused services under the old interpretation of Section 504 should promptly request an evaluation under the new interpretation of Section 504.  This is especially important for children who did not meet threshold criteria before or who may have had a discipline involvement (or both) and who are now otherwise protected under the “regarded as” prong of 504 (for example, already receiving informal accommodations).  It is also important for college-bound teens and those seeking accommodations on college boards to be promptly re-evaluated under Section 504. (However, the college board makes it’s own decisions under Section 504, independent of the school.)

Do not expect your school district to fully understand the ramifications of these changes.  Parents must be proactive and vigilant in protecting their children’s Section 504 rights, even if their school is not.

Ask, ask, ask for a new evaluation.  Be prepared with data and information about your child’s disability, and include examples of how your child functions without their medications or self-accommodations in ALL areas of learning, thinking, communicating, etc.  If your child has another type of disease or disability that is now covered, including gastro-intestinal, immunological, or cancer remission, remember to ask for a 504 plan for any issues arising out of that disease or it’s treatment.  Use your knowledge about your child to paint a picture for the committee.

Be specific about what services and/or accommodations you think they need to level the playing field in school.  Services are included under 504, do not be afraid to ask for “504 Services” by name.  Services that your child may have been denied under IDEA may be appropriate and more easily accessible under the new interpretation of Section 504.

Be a very attentive listener.  If you hear a comment from your school district that violates Section 504, as indicated above, report it to OCR, you can file an OCR complaint online.

Conclusion:

For many years the focus was on IDEA and the IEP and obtaining IEP services.  Children who had a 504 plan in school rarely got the same level of services or procedural protections as those given to children under IDEA.  In fact, the 504 plan was regarded as the “ugly stepchild” of special education.  Today, the ADA Amendments Act has created a paradigm shift in the way we look at children with disabilities, assess them and service them.  There seems to be no end in sight to the possibilities and potential ramifications of the new interpretation of Section 504.  But more importantly, it has opened a world of new possibilities for more students, and especially higher achieving students with disabilities to receive appropriate services and accommodations for disabilities that went un-noticed, un-validated, and un-serviced under IDEA.

 

Disclaimer: Please be advised that this information is not intended to take the place of legal advice.  For specific legal questions seek the advice of a licensed attorney.

©  Lisa M. LaVardera, Esq. – All rights reserved.  Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to Lisa M. LaVardera, Esq. is maintained.

Find the original article at: PTS Coaching –  Casting a Wider Net 

 

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Become an Effective Advocate for your Child with ADHD

Successfully advocating for your child can be a daunting task. This is an area where finding local resources, organizations or parents who have already gone through the process and will “teach you the ropes” can be invaluable.Articles           Discover Strengths          Advocacy Training        Downloadable e-Books         Support and Websites

Does your ADHD child qualify for an IEP plan or section 504? Maybe yes, but the school must agree. The law has left a large gray area open for interpretation. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) covers students who qualify for special education. Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Generally, IDEA plans are more restrictive and more apt to apply to students with Learning Disabilities than those with ADHD.

Section 504 covers students who don’t meet the criteria for special education but who still require some accommodations in the regular classroom. According to attorney Lisa M. LaVardera, Esq., “Section  504 is essentially a civil rights anti-discrimination statute, designed to level the playing field between a person with a disability and his non-disabled peers.”  Another major difference is that Section 504, as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act is, not funded. (1)

In either case, eligibility for accommodations and/or modifications is based on an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. These life activities include, among a variety of other things, concentrating, learning, sitting, working, thinking, and interacting/cooperating with others. Since many of these are often affected by ADHD, your child may be included. A diagnosis alone, however, is not enough. AD/HD symptoms must be documented as significantly impacting learning or behavior through a specific evaluation process. The school may provide the service at no cost, but it is more likely that you will have to pay for it yourself. Plans ar currently underway to curtail Medicaid funding that has help pay for evaluations in the past.

Your goal is to advocate for the needs of your child – to speak up and to ensure they have the help they need to learn.  Remember this: Know your child – his strengths as well as weaknesses.  Build a good relationship with the teacher and other staff members.  Help them identify possible accommodations and put them into practice. Examples of possible accommodations are seating students closer to the teacher, providing note taker, allowing more time on tests, requiring less homework, using daily report cards to monitor behavior or weekly planners to keep school work on schedule.  A few simple changes may make a huge difference. Beyond that, know your rights, bring someone with you to official meetings and document everything!

Successfully advocating for your child can be a daunting task. This is an area where finding local resources, organizations or parents who have already gone through the process and will “teach you the ropes” can be invaluable. Find a parent who has “gone before you”, locate a support group or parent advocacy organization and get ready to work. Although, you may ultimately decide you need to hire a professional advocate to negotiate for the help your child needs, there are a number of resources available to help you learn to navigate the system.

Articles:

Chart of the difference between IEP and 504 Plans – Understood.org

Individualized Education Plans Quick and easy article, but covers most of the bases- from Nemour’s Kids Health

Guidance on 504 Plans: Know your Rights  2 page overview  (Updated in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Education)

Accommodating your child’s needs through a 504 Plan by Terry Illes, Ph.D. – Attention Magazine, published by CHADD – August 2007 – Restricted screen makes the article difficult to read but it includes a number of recommended accommodations.

Casting a Wider Net: Section 504 Revisions – An extensive article by Lisa M. LaVardera, Esq.

FREE Guide to Education Law for Students with ADHD from ADDitude Magazine

Are you ready to retain a lawyer to settle an IEP issue with your child’s school district? If so, this article and the attached worksheet will walk you through the process.

 
Coffee Klatch Special Needs Radio – Choose from a number of interviews on a wide variety of topics. See: Jen Laviano – Special Education Attorney  – Dec 21, 2010

Explore your Child’s Strengths

VIA Strength Survey for Children for Youth ages 10 to 17 
Measures 24 Character Strengths for Children

For more on Character Strengths, see this article from Hands on Scotland: How to help children recognize and develop their strengths.

Parent Advocacy Training

Exceptional Children Assistance Center – Technical Assistance for Parent Centers
Information about the approximately 100 government funded parent centers in the U.S. that teach parents of children with ADHD (or any other disabling condition) how to advocate for the services their children require. Every state has at least one center.

Find a Parent Center near you.

Request for an Independent Evaluation at public expense – Sample letter (Only applies to IEPs)

More Sample letters from The Parent Information Center of New Hampshire

Note: A school psychologist once contacted our non-profit when I was manning the phones. She trying to find affordable treatment for a low-income student who was struggling in class. When asked why the school wasn’t stepping forward to provide the funding, she replied, “…Regarding the school district paying for an evaluation, I can see the smoke going up from our administrators—at even the suggestion. We are instructed to be ever-so-careful when we “encourage” that a child be evaluated. If we sound like we are recommending or insisting, the school district could be held liable to pay for it. In other words, that is an absolute no-no.”  

eBooks to Download

Guidance on 504 Plans Issued by U.S. Department of Education (2016 )- Clarifying the rights of students with ADHD in our nation’s schools. – “Regardless of how well he or she performs in school, a student who has trouble concentrating, reading, thinking, organizing or prioritizing projects, among other important tasks because of ADHD may have a
disability and be protected under Section 504.” 42 page document Know your Rights 2 page overview

An easy to read, step by step Guide to the Individualized Education Program. Provided by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services. 2000. Now in the Archives, but available as a PDF as well as in audio.

Bringing Knowledge to the Table – How to be an Effective Advocate for your Child –   42-page e-book complete with active links on the Special Education process. From IEPs to 504 accommodations it covers both the law and practical application. Includes valuable links.

Websites

CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD) specializes in in-depth information about ADHD and Educational Services in Public Schools – Basic articles are from the National Resources Center for ADHD and available for all, but many articles, especially those about advocacy, are reserved for members. (Families- $53 a year)

National Center for Learning Disabilities – For more than 35 years, NCLD has committed itself to empowering parents, transforming public schools and advocating for families and children challenged by learning and attention issues.

 Understood – For learning and Attention issues – 15 nonprofit organizations have joined forces to support parents of the one in five children with learning and attention issues throughout their journey. Help children unlock their strengths and reach their full potential. Includes a secure online community, practical tips and more.

LD Online has a great introduction to LD/ADHD symptoms and accommodations. Copy and paste this URL: http://www.ldonline.org/educators – The official site of the National Joint Committees on Learning Disabilities, LD online provides pertinent information for parents, educators, even kids. the basics, expert advice, and personal stories.

Wrightslaw.com Complete and accurate, Wright’s Law offers a wealth of information about disability law and how it may pertain to school – Applies to all disabilities, but ADHD has its own section.

Also see Wrightslaw’s Yellow Pages for Kids.com – Directory – Find Disability Specialists and the Organizations that may help your family (Free Listings). Not specific to ADHD concerns, but a great resource!They list a wide variety of service: educational consultants, psychologists, educational diagnosticians,  academic therapists, tutors, coaches, advocates, and attorneys for children with disabilities. You will also find special education schools, learning centers, parent groups, community centers, grassroots organizations, and government programs for children with disabilities

Smart Kids with LD   A great little site offering targeted information with a gentle touch.

Understanding Special Education provides help navigating the special education system as well as how to work collaboratively within your school district.  The site provides parent-friendly information on all aspects of the process as well as a Q & A section and a parent-to-parent forum. (Host: Michele Hancock, M.A., P.P.S)

1) Casting a Wider Net: Section 504 Under the 2008 ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) © Lisa M. LaVardera, Esq. http://addfreesources.net/casting-a-wider-net-section-504-revisions/

Resources compiled by Joan Jager – All sources link as of March 17, 2015

“Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com

 

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Organization for Children: Supporting Executive Functions

Help your child feel successful

Help your child feel successful

by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC

Have you ever noticed that staying organized — or getting started on a project and seeing it through to completion — are all in a day’s work for some people, but for others, they don’t know where to begin?

Well, that might be due to executive functions and how well they are working — or not working. Executive functions are the cognitive skills that give us the ability to focus, plan, and act in a goal-directed manner — and current research shows that these functions are responsible for how effective we are at managing ourselves. Basically, these functions are the CEOs of our brains.

For the most part, we don’t need to consciously access these skills for day-to-day habits or routines. However, when we face new challenges or stressors that is when the CEO must take charge. And when it is not managing effectively, that’s when we forget things, can’t get organized, can’t get started, lose track of time, and lose our stream of thought. It’s behavior that makes some children look unmotivated, uncaring, and, well, unintelligent — while nothing could be further from the truth. By and large, these children are really suffering from a neurologically based difficulty, which results from incomplete or immature development of their frontal/prefrontal cortex of their brains. It’s not that these kids won’t perform, it’s that they can’t on their own … yet.

So how can we help? There are two distinct approaches. First, modify the environment. Help structure your child’s work- space, modify his work, and provide more prompts. Second, model actions and behaviors and join in with him as he works on his skills. Don’t be concerned that you may enable your child. Before he is ready to be independent, he needs to develop the necessary skills. Once the skills are developed, you will be able to gradually lessen your active involvement with your child.
It is important to recognize that weaknesses in executive functions are real and neurologically based. There is no shortage of strategies and devices to help children — and adults — improve their executive functioning. Children need modeling. The skills they need to be organized and manage their time effectively are not difficult, but they are not necessarily intuitive. Providing support and guidance, either directly or with outside support, will go a long way in helping your child be and feel successful. Here are some tips for your child to organize school materials and remember important information:

Day planner

Mike Rohde\'s Custom Moleskine Planner

Think of an agenda book or day planner as your calendar for your whole life, not just school.
• Write all of your school assignments, after-school activities, and social plans here.
• Use a large paper clip to mark the page you need to be on for quicker entry.
Binders and notebooks
Use different colors for each subject binder and notebook.
• For each subject, you will have two three-ring binders. One will be the everyday binder, and the second will be the reserve binder, where all of your papers will be moved to after tests. This allows you to straighten out and empty excess papers so you can focus on the current work. (Note: Check with each subject teacher before removing papers from your binder.)
• Both binders for each subject should be the same color (blue for math, green for science, etc.) and have the same labeled dividers.
• Keep one master reference binder with dividers for each subject. Here, you can keep any material that you might need to use in years to come, such as math formulas, social studies facts or periodic tables.
• Perhaps two of your subjects can be combined into one larger binder or notebook for less to carry.
Be sure to label everything! Big bumper stickers work great. Have fun, and be creative!

Master folder
Consider a multi-pocket folder to keep with you all day. It can hold the day’s hand- outs, work to be turned in, and your agenda book. This is an excellent tool for the overall organization of papers to go to and from school. It should be cleaned out each week, by transferring the appropriate papers to either binders or the recycle bin. (An excellent sturdy folder can be found at Nick’s Folders for $3.50. Not an affiliate.)

Locker
Clean out your locker and/or workspace every week, to lessen the chance of losing papers.
• Consider small trays to keep extra pens, pencils, tissues, erasers, etc.
• Keep a dry-erase board or small notepad for writing reminders.
• Try to keep your backpack on the hook, so there is more room to store items.
Backpack
• Keep an extra pen and pencil inside at all times.
• Look in your assignment book and check your locker’s dry-erase board before packing up for the day.
• When you get home, empty the entire bag near your workspace and sort the contents for homework and notes for parents. • Pack it up before you go to sleep at night, which will decrease the odds of forgetting things.

Alarms
A kitchen timer is great for keeping you on task and allowing for time-limited breaks. Set it for various intervals to see if you are on task and on track. What works for you? Set a start time or break time on your computer or cellphone alarm for a discreet nudge. Set an alarm for the time you want to go to sleep as a reminder to pack up, brush teeth, etc.

to do list

Lists
• Keep a dry-erase board or a small pad of paper by your workspace and use it to jot down things on your mind, so they can be done later and not distract you now. Write out your homework plan for the day — what you will do and in what order? It’s a great feeling to cross items off! Use it to plan out long-term projects or for math problems and other quick temporary notes.

Structures
A structure is any device that reminds you, visually, of something important. They work because they interrupt your ordinary mind flow and grab your attention. Some of the best structures come from your intuition and may not seem to make sense at first. Be creative — experiment with different ways to jolt your memory! Here are some examples:
• Wear a rubber band on your wrist when you want to remember to do something, such as breathe deeply, speak powerfully, sit up straight, or take home your violin.
• Put a chair by your door to remind yourself to take along important items tomorrow.
• Send yourself an e-mail, text or voice mail to request that a certain task be done.
Have some friends over once a month. This can be a structure for cleaning your room or keeping up relationships with friends.
• Devise an intentionally fabricated deadline on the day you start a project — such as scheduling a time to show a friend or family member your completed project.
• Schedule study time with one friend a week for two months to get you to study a particular subject.
• Counting is helpful to make you aware of your behavior. For instance, count how often you participate in class and work on increasing the number each day. Counting does not require you to do anything other than notice, but noting every time you do something heightens your awareness.
• A special slogan on your key chain can be a structure to remember to smile or be positive.

roary lion

A toy lion on your desk can remind you to be ferocious in pursuit of a goal.
• Put your keys in the refrigerator so you remember your lunch.
• Make a sign around your work area: “Don’t give in to the impulse!”
• Create a screen saver with one-line, motivational statements.
• A coach is one of the best structures. Text or e-mail your coach every day when a certain task is done.
“To do” lists are not meant as nag lists — just a place to hold important things. Be creative where you put your notes; try to have it somewhere in your field of vision on a regular basis: the refrigerator, your desk, next to your bed. Try to develop a consistent habit of where you write and keep important notes.

 

Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC © 2013 www.PTSCoaching.com All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to PTS Coaching is maintained. Note: This article originally appeared as Get it Together! Tips to conquer your child’s organizational problems in LONG ISLAND SPECIAL CHILD, Fall/Winter 2010/11 and was retitled Just What are Executive Functions?  Link works

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Bill of Rights for Children with ADHD

HELP ME TO FOCUS …Bill of Rights

Please teach me through my sense of touch.
I need “hands-on” and body movement.

I NEED TO KNOW WHAT COMES NEXT …

Please give me a structured environment where
there is a dependable routine. Give me an
advance warning if there will be changes.

WAIT FOR ME, I’M STILL THINKING …

Please allow me to go at my own pace.
If I’m rushed, I get confused and upset.

I’M STUCK, I CAN’T DO IT! …

Please offer me options for problem-solving.
If the road is blocked, I need to know the detours.

IS IT RIGHT? I NEED TO KNOW NOW …

Please give me rich and immediate feedback
on how I’m doing.

I DIDN’T KNOW I WASN’T IN MY SEAT! …

Please remind me to stop, think, and act.

AM I ALMOST DONE? …

Please give me short work periods with short-term goals.

WHAT? …

Please don’t say “I already told you that.”
Tell me again, in different words.
Give me a signal. Draw me a symbol.

I KNOW IT’S ALL WRONG, ISN’T IT? …

Please give me praise for partial success.
Reward me for self-improvement, not just for perfection.

BUT WHY DO I ALWAYS GET YELLED AT? …

Please catch me doing something right and
praise me for the specific positive behavior.
Remind me—and yourself—about my good points
when I’m having a bad day.

 

(Reprinted from Newsletter of The Delaware Association For The Education of Young Children, Winter 1993-94) © 1991, Ruth Harris, Northwest Reading Clinic – Harvested 3-1-2015 – https://www.kidsenabled.org/articles/diagnosis/reality-adhd – Sorry, Link is broken

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ADHD Video Presentations: 3 Minutes to 1 Hour

0 Video Presentations by ADHD Experts

 

ADHD Experts Speak.

Watch and learn. 

 

 

 

Dr. Russell Barkley on ADHD Meds and how they all work differently (7-minutes)

This is How you Treat ADHD based on Science – Russell Barkley, Ph.D. – 13-minute clip with powerpoint plus access to the entire 2 1/2-hour lecture for the 2012 Burnett Lecture series at Chapel Hill University

Understanding Emotions & Motivations in High School and College Students with ADHD/LDWith Dr. Thomas E. Brown for the 13th Annual Timothy B. and Jane A Burnett Seminar for Academic Achievement (2014) Parts 1, 2 and 3 with Q&A

CADDAC Conference ina BoxCan’t attend an ADHD conference? You can still learn about ADHD from experts in the field. Best of all, you can view them on your own time and for no charge.

*Best of the Web –CADDAC 2009 ADHD Conference videos – A wonderful gift from – The Centre for ADD/ADHD Advocacy of Canada- (CADDAC) Choose from a number of presentations filmed over both days. You’ll find the list at this link.

The 30 Essential Ideas Every Parent Needs to Know (about ADHD),  by Dr. Russell Barkley
This is the 3-hour video presentation from the CADDAC conference (found above), broken up into 27 manageable parts with an average length of 6 to 7 minutes.  It’s  far easier to watch.  To take a saying from Barkley, “Small Chunks, Frequent Breaks.”

A New Look at the Origins & Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder: A Biopsychosocial View of ADD and its Origins Alternative view of the root causes of ADHD by Dr. Gabor Maté (1-hour) – Note: You’ll find a few good educational presentations here.

ADHD Neurology and Genetic Research 6 short videos with Professor Philip Shaw from NIH (National Institute of Health) DNA Learning center series – Makes difficult concepts more readily understandable.

You, Me and Adult ADD with Gina Pera – 3 clips containing Gina’s talk for CADDRA’s 2009 Conference. Find on Mungo’s Vimeo Channel

Classroom Interventions for ADHD Video with Russell Barkley (3 ½ minutes)

TedTalks on ADHD

ADHD: Undiagnosed in Millions, Do You Have it? (4 minutes) Alan Brown gives us a call to action to be advocates to bring awareness and attention to ADHD so individuals do not fall through the cracks and have the safety net they need to succeed.


ADHD Multimedia – From DNA Learning Center

Over a hundred short videos with transcripts, ranging from straight-forward to obtuse, depending on the complexity of the topic.

Dr. Russell Barkley’s Continuing Education Courses and Videos 35 hours of lectures on ADHD at ADHDLectures.coms. Available for Free viewing in Spanish.

Dr. Charles Parker’s ADHD Medication Tutorials 8 short videos by Dr. Charles Parker – about ½ hour in total – Matching Article: Finding the Therapeutic Window *TOP tips – Open a regular dialogue with your patients and measure the effectiveness of the medications. See example below. (Acess Dr. Parker’s 2nd edition of Special Report For Predictable Solutions.>>>> Click on it to download it and 7 other complimentary, useful information resources – some audio, some PowerPoint.)

ADHD Medications Don’t Work?

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