How Your Teen’s 504 Plan Can Help Them Manage ADD/ADHD at School

Is your teen struggling with significant learning challenges in school due to ADHD impairment? Reading, math, spelling, and written composition often pose many challenges for teens just like yours. Fortunately, they don’t have to go on suffering through long days of ineffective class time and grueling homework.

Your ADD/ADHD teen is eligible for services and support.  This support is available via an accommodation plan referred to as a Section 504 Plan.

This type of help often combines a written list of specific adaptations, supplemental aids, and any number of complementary in-school services. The primary goal of the plan is to meet your teen’s personal education needs as wholly and completely as another student at their school.

What Exactly is a Section 504 Plan?

Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law that addresses the educational needs of students with disabilities. The idea is that this law affords your teen and others with certain challenges access to “a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).” Again that education must be comparable to any other student’s. The 504 PLan is often implemented in a general education classroom and simply allows for supports,  modifications, and adjustments in the regular curriculum.

In most cases, a  504 Plan detailing reasonable services and accommodations can be accomplished relatively quickly for your student.

How Do We Develop a 504 Accommodation Plan for My Teen?

First, it is important to identify how ADD/ADHD impacts your teen’s academic achievement.

You’ll need to look at what is most challenging for your student. Are any of the following key issues?

  • Disorganization: Does your teen misplace or forget key items often? Are their personal items and spaces messy, and disorderly?
  • Mismanaged sense of time: Is your teen perpetually late? Does starting and stopping tasks prove difficult for them?
  • Problems with planning: Does your teen struggle to execute the phases of a plan and see it through?
  • Delayed reading and writing: Is your teen’s slow pace of reading or writing impacting the amount of work they routinely accomplish?
  • Problems with working memory: Are the memory skills required for writing, math problems, and reading comprehension lacking?
  • Emotional regulation problems: Does your teen have trouble with controlling their feelings and emotional expression?
  • Undiagnosed conditions: Do you suspect there may be other issues, like anxiety, depression, or another learning disability at play?

Second, you’ll need to specify what types of instruction and accommodations make sense for your teen.

Determining the supports that significantly lessen or eliminate the learning obstacles created by your teen’s ADD/ADHD is the next key goal.

The following services are available and often helpful:

  • speech, occupational, or physical therapy
  • assistive technology
  • individual counseling
  • organizational training
  • help with study skills and time management

In addition, your teen can obtain immensely helpful classroom modifications.

You may find that further support greatly benefits your teen as well. Consider adding the following

  • Adjusted testing format and delivery. Your teen may access certain tools, sites, or time adjustments that take their ADD/ADHD into account.
  • Amended assignments can offset your teen’s challenges with written work, reading, and planning issues.
  • Request modified teaching methods. Accommodate your teen’s need to do more hands-on work or oral assignments.
  • Memory-based work may be reduced or offset. Ask for study guides and concrete outlines.
  • Class rescheduling may be appropriate. Ensure support of your teen’s natural daily periods of focus and inattention occurs.
  • Setting up a system of communication via progress reports and routine emails can keep you and teachers aware and involved.

A 504 Plan Can Make a Significant Difference in Your Teen’s Daily Life at School

With these and other accommodations in effect, your teen can start to get a handle on their impulsivity, restlessness, and classroom anxiety. Feeling supported, seen, and heard may help them socially and emotionally as well. Knowing that there is a  plan in place from which you and your teen’s teachers can operate reduces misunderstanding, prevents friction, and promotes a healthy productive learning environment too. All in all, the goal of the 504 Plan is to give you peace of mind and springboard your teen’s success.

To start the process, consider reaching out to an experienced counselor. I’m here to help. Please read more about therapy and contact me soon for a consultation.

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