Giving the ADHD Kid Some Extra Time

March 15, 2013

In 504 Land, one of the classic (almost knee jerk) accommodations recommended is to give an ADHD child extra time. 

Let me ask you this, how many impulsive, hurry-let’s-get-it done, style kids that you know want extra time?  The answer is none.  The last thing that the ADHD kids want is more time.  In fact, they are looking to be the absolute first one done, regardless of the work quality.  “Ha ha, I beat everyone again,” is the probable running thought process.   “So, what if it it’s 40% accurate.  I’m done and I can put my feet up again,” thinks the ADHD style kid as he surveys the others toiling away around him.

Mark, age 11, typifies this process on a daily basis.  Rushing through his work, Mark can’t wait to be finished his homework so he can be back on Xbox 360 Live.  So, when his mother explained to him that the school was developing a 504 Plan for him so he could have extra time on tests and school work, he looked at her like she was sprouting various heads.

“Extra time???” he thought to himself.  “What do you mean extra time?  Those worksheets are the stupidest things any way….why would I want to spend more time on them.  I want less time!!!!”

“Oh,” his mother continued.  “They are also going to offer you preferential seating  so you can follow directions better.  You will sit right up there next to Mrs. Smith.”

“What????,” thinks Mark.   “Am I hearing this correctly? Whose preference is this?  Not mine!  I prefer to be as far away from Mrs. Smith as possible.  Maybe my mother prefers that spot in the classroom.  Not me. That’s not preferential seating.”

504 Plans sound great on paper with a lot of wonderful accommodations.  Just like a football coach who has all of his game plan mapped out before going into the game, the 504 plan documents the various and sundry ways the child will be “accommodated.”  It all sounds great.  Well, the coach often finds out the reality between his mapped out chart and the game itself can be very different.

Same with the 504 plan.  The kid may have other thoughts about it.  The plan may need some adjusting.  The things that you think sound helpful, may be the opposite.

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