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ADHD at School

Going to Middle.. Should we keep 504 plan?

My daughters are going into middle school in September and I’m not sure if I should keep them on the 504 plan. They hated being on the 504 plan in elementary school - hated being seated in front of the classroom etc.
All of their friends will be attending a completely different middle school so they don’t know of anyone at the school they will be attending in a few weeks.

Will keeping them on the 504 plan be the best choice?
My fear is that they might fall behind if they are not on it but don’t know for sure.

I told their new guidance counselor that I would get back to him on our decision..

Being the new kids, not sure of what to do - any suggestions?

Much appreciated!

Replies

My daughter is on a 504 plan, she just got on one last year in 8th grade, moving into high school this year and we (including her) have decided to keep her on it for a few reasons.

Most important is that if they choose to go to college they will need to show a history of having accommodations to make it easier to get the accommodations through the disability services at the college and trust me they will want it.

Where I work we do assessments and instruction for people with learning disabilities and other non-apparent disabilities like ADHD. So often young people going to college come to realize that the accommodations will help them show their knowledge, skills, and abilities. It allows them to use their strengths.

I would talk with your girls about what’s on their 504 plan, is it working for them? Maybe they can sit in the front in some classes that they really need to but sit in the middle in other classes, maybe they can get copies of notes from their teachers ahead of time so they are not missing what’s on the board.

I think the most important to include your girls in the process, with my daughter it helped her realize why it was important to have the 504 plan in place.

Posted by cheroyley on Jul 22, 2014 at 7:15pm

When my son went to college, they said his diagnosis was too old and wouldn’t be able to give him accommodations.  So I think that might vary depending on the school you go to. We had to get him reevaluated.  My son got a 504 plan in 6th grade.  It was helpful.  He used it less and less as he got older and was more and more able to keep up with everything. 

I have also worked in a middle and high school.  Teachers may not know what is in the 504 plan and you as parent will need to watch and advocate for your kids if something comes up.  Getting out of the system is pretty easy, getting back in if you need it is not as easy.  So my advice would be to keep the 504 plan.  Since social things are very important to middle schoolers, I’d tend to give your daughters a month, let them sit where they wish and see if they can handle the work load.  If not, reassess with your girls and the teachers to see what all of you thinks would be more successful.  cheroyley had good advice to include your girls and help them understand what their own weaknesses are and how a 504 plan can help them.  Middle schoolers develop attitudes and study habits that they take into high school.  It is important to keep them invested in school and seeing school as preparing them for their future.

Posted by whizinc on Jul 22, 2014 at 8:27pm

We don’t have 504s here, so I can’t comment on that really, but I know for my son that middle school was a lot harder for him than elementary. There are higher expectations, more freedom, different teachers, different classrooms, etc.

I’d keep the 504 for sure, but re-evaluate. Let your daughters get involved and see how things go. If the biggest issue is sitting at the front, work with that but leave the rest.

Posted by Rai0414 on Jul 22, 2014 at 9:23pm

Hi SHJ!

The accommodations in your daughters’ 504 Plans should be updated each school year, as teachers change and the demands on different skills change. They will likely need different accommodations in middle school than they did in elementary school as well.

I would get a couple weeks into the school year, assess how things are going, then call a meeting with the 504 coordinator and their teachers and reassess each accommodation and add any that seem necessary.

This download provides sample accommodations for ADHD students of all ages: http://www.additudemag.com/resources/free-downloads/9206.html/accommodations-for-adhd-children.

Organizational demands are very high in middle school—here’s “10 Solutions for Disorganization at School”: http://www.additudemag.com/resources/free-downloads/2743.html/school-organization-for-adhd-kids, which will provide ideas and strategies for accommodations on their 504 Plans as well.

Good luck!
Penny
ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 23, 2014 at 1:27pm

Definitely keep her in the 504.  But as Penny says tweak it to her needs.  She provided good links.  As a retired elementary school principal and long time teacher, I never understood the concept of keeping the child in the front of the class.  That was dreamed up by people who had no concept of what ADHD was and how it could be handled.  Ya, maybe for a lazy teacher, who didn’t know the first thing about working with ADHD kids.
  And since your daughter will be seeing many different teachers, the 504 will help to keep them all on the same page.

Posted by Sandman2 on Jul 29, 2014 at 4:49am

My son is going into grade 7 and there hasn’t been a “front of the class” ever, I think.  They sit with their desks in small groups.  And most teachers will switch those groups around at least once a month.  I’m actually pretty surprised that any teachers even do “everyone stare at the front of the class” arrangement anymore…

For a while in grade 5 my son sat at a desk next to the teacher’s desk.  This could have been bad for his self esteem, but he said he didn’t mind and his teacher didn’t feel anyone else did either.  But it was a huge boost for him academically!  His teacher would give the lesson, then go back to her desk for a while while the kids worked independently.  But of course, my son struggled with that. But his desk was right there, so she could just look up and see that he was or wasn’t on task and was able to get him going again.  I assume that’s why they’d want your girls at the front?  But it would only work if the teacher was actually up there most of the time.

I *do* think my son might be more of the exception… he’ll do what helps him better able to concentrate.  So if that means working alone in the hall, he’ll choose that.  Or working at a desk near the teacher, he’ll choose that.  He likes being able to get the work done faster so he can move on to something more interesting for him. If he had a problem with it though, I’d definitely try to find a work around.

Posted by Rai0414 on Jul 29, 2014 at 6:25pm

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