Back to school is such a busy time of year. You are buying school supplies, new clothes, attending Open Houses, sports physical, meetings and more. But if you are the parent of a child with ADHD then you are also thinking about whether or not to ask for a 504 Plan.
What is a 504 Plan?
A 504 Plan is a written management plan you create, together with the school, that addresses how the school will accommodate the needs of your child. The plan also ensures your child will be able to participate safely in daily classroom and school activities. (This plan is covered under the American with Disabilities Act, so you have a legal right to have a 504 plan).
Review your child’s current 504 Plan
Children change each school year. They master certain skills while facing new challenges. The 504 plan should reflect their current status and the accommodations needed to succeed. Go ahead and schedule€€ a team meeting before the start of the school year.
Bring copies of all educational assessments, report cards, notes from the teacher, individual testing and any notable assignments. The purpose is to illustrate your child’s current achievement levels. Let the team know which accommodations last year were helpful and which ones were not. Discuss your goals for your child and what additional accommodations you would like.
Organize with your child
Visit your local office supply store to put together a system that will help contain the mess. I have found for the middle school age that a large binder that zippers shut to be ideal. Within this binder you have a zippered pencil pouch full of supplies, folders, loose leaf paper, a copy of their schedule and locker combination.
Stock up on supplies
While you are at the office supply store go ahead and stock up on essentials. August has the best deals of the year. There will be lost scissors, notebooks, folders and glue sticks come January. It’s best to be prepared.
Create a plan for after school activities
Some children need a chance to burn off that extra energy. Signing up for swimming, gymnastics, or soccer may be best.
Other children need a chance to practice focusing. activities such as karate or chess club may help.
Find a homework helper
Some children will need additional help, or just help from someone other than mom or dad. Find a resource list of tutors early on in the year. This can be from the school, the Office of Special Education within the district, or even online services such as Tutor.com and Care.com
If your child was off of medicine for the summer, you will want to discuss when to restart with the doctor. Some medicines can take one to two weeks to build up in the system.
Set goals with your child
Sit down with your child to discuss goals. Some can have a social focus, such as make two new friends this year. One by December and another by May.
Other goals can be academic. They will prepare and study for all quizzes and tests.
Organizational goals can be related to writing in their homework agenda daily.