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Helping Students With ADHD - Section 504 Accommodations

What is a 504 Accommodation Plan?


Updated June 19, 2014

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Helping Students With ADHD - Section 504 Accommodations

A 504 Accommodation Plan must be tailored to the student's individual strengths, learning style, behavioral challenges, and educational needs.

Photo © P.E. Reed

Accommodations Available to Qualified Students With ADHD

  • Preferential seating (away from distractions - away from door, window, pencil sharpener or distracting students, near the teacher, a quiet place to complete school work or tests, seating student by a good role model/classroom "buddy")
  • Extended time for testing (especially helpful for students who tend to retrieve and process information at a slower speed and so take longer with testing)
  • Modification of test format and delivery (oral exams, use of a calculator, chunking or breaking down tests into smaller sections to complete, providing breaks between sections, quiet place to complete tests, multiple choice or fill in the blank test format instead of essay)
  • Modifications in classroom and homework assignments (shortened assignments to compensate for amount of time it takes to complete, extended time to complete assignments, reduced amount of written work, breaking down assignments and long-term projects into segments with separate due dates for completion of each segment, allowing student to dictate or tape record responses, allowing student to use computer for written work, oral reports or hands on projects to demonstrate learning of material)
  • Assistance with note taking (providing student with a copy of class notes, peer assistance with note taking, audio taping of lectures)
  • Modification of teaching methods (multisensory instruction, visual cues and hands on activities, highlight or underline important parts of a task, cue student in on key points of lesson, providing guided lecture notes, outlines and study guides, reduce demands on memory, teach memory skills such as mnemonics, visualization, oral rehearsal and repetitive practice, use books on tape, assistance with organization, prioritization and problem solving)
  • Providing clear and simple directions for homework and class assignments (repeating directions, posting homework assignments on board, supplementing verbal instructions with visual/written instructions)
  • Appointing "row captains" or "homework buddies" who remind students to write down assignments and who collect work to turn in to teacher
  • One-on-one tutoring
  • Adjusting class schedule (schedule those classes that require most mental focus at beginning of school day, schedule in regular breaks for student throughout the day to allow for physical movement and "brain rest", adjustments to nonacademic time)
  • Adjustments to grading (modifying weight given to exams, breaking test down into segments and grading segments separately, partial credit for late homework with full credit for make-up work)
  • Organizational assistance (including teacher/school representative meeting with student at end of each class or end day to check that homework assignments are written completely in homework notebook and needed books are in back pack, providing organizational folders and planners, color coding)
  • Extra set of books for student to keep at home
  • Highlighted textbooks and workbooks
  • Use of positive behavioral management strategies (including frequent monitoring, feedback, prompts, redirection and reinforcement)
  • Setting up a system of communication (such as a notebook for weekly progress report, regular emails or phone calls) between parent and teacher/school representative in order to keep each other informed about the student's progress or difficulties. Notify parent of homework and project assignments and due dates

If you are a parent of a teenager with ADHD or are a teacher of a student with ADHD, I highly recommend Chris Zeigler Dendy's book Teaching Teens With ADD, ADHD, and Executive Function Deficits: A Quick Reference Guide for Teachers and Parents. It is jam packed with important information you need to know to understand how ADHD can impact learning and ways to help your teen manage these challenges and be successful in school and beyond.

Additional Reading:
Accessing Special Education Services
Understanding Learning Differences
Helping Children With ADHD Succeed


Chris A. Zeigler Dendy, Teaching Teens With ADD, ADHD, and Executive Function Deficits: A Quick Reference Guide for Teachers and Parents (Second Edition). Woodbine House. 2011.

Sydney S. Zentall, ADHD and Education: Foundations, Characteristics, Methods, and Collaboration. Pearson Education, Inc. 2006.

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