It’s that time of year again. The weather’s heating up, and the end of the school year is in sight. For many schools, this is the time when the 504* or IEP is up for review. Seemingly obvious questions like “What worked?” and “What didn’t work?” need to be answered.
As a parent, it helps to have an arsenal of new ideas to try. New accommodations or modifications don’t have to be complicated. Here are some ideas that may jumpstart your child’s productivity and your own creativity:
Home to school:
1. Keep one copy of textbooks at home.
2. Mandate that the school use a homework planner – or the school website if that’s in use at your school.
3. Build in a weekly communication between each teacher and you. Email is probably easier for each of you.
1. Seat the student at the front of the class. In the front row, fewer distractions come between a student’s line of vision and the black board.
2. Give priority access to after-school tutoring sessions or learning programs.
3. Allow different tools to accomplish goals. For example, if copying the assignment from the blackboard is tedious, take a picture instead. (Many cell phones have camera apps.) If note taking is a challenge, tape the lecture, or use the Livescribe Smartpen
4. Have tests administered orally.
5. Allow typewritten assignments.
6. Cue a child to stay on task (This could be as simple as making eye contact. )
7. Limit a student’s copying assignments from the board.
8. Monitor student’s homework planner.
9. Allow exemption from notebook checks.
10. Assign an individual to daily help with organization.
11. Provide copies of homework assignments and notes.
Of course, our favorite list of resources is Focus Pocus – 100 Ways to Help Your Child Pay Attention. Take your copy to your 504 or IEP meeting. And if you and your child’s teachers have something we’ve left out – let us know! We’d love to hear from you.
*504 – what’s that? Before I had children, I thought 504 referred to a type of button-fly jeans. It wasn’t until Leslie was in 6th grade that I learned that a 504 refers to a law mandating that children with disabilities receive “accommodations” to help them learn, even if they don’t qualify for special education.
The 504 is for children with physical – non-learning disability disorders like ADHD, physical impairments, chronic illnesses such as asthma and sometimes for temporary conditions like broken limbs. To qualify, a student must have “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities…caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.”*
*See Eric Digest