Month: April 2022

“504-ing” – Part I

Parents will come to me loaded with terms that are only partially understood.

Let’s look at one of the common ones – “504’s.”

I will hear things like,

“We just need to get him a ‘504.’ We just want to get him the help that he needs so he can start reading better.”

Even if you are able to obtain a 504 Plan, that does not result in giving the child the “help that he needs.”

A 504 provides some accommodation, such as extended time, support with directions, sitting the child near the front of the room, but it does not provide any service or intervention.

504 Plans originated from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  The law provided workplace accommodations to those with a disability in an effort to help, “level the playing field.”

In effect, a 504 minimized handicapping conditions in the workplace.

Since the mid-1990s 504 legislation increasingly found its way into the schools.

The notion of the 504 is that the child identified by an outside professional as having a disability necessitated developing reasonable accommodations so that the child could function as free as possible of the handicapping barriers  in the mainstream setting.

In other words, the 504 provided the handicapped child with equal access to the mainstream.

The fact of the matter is, that the vast majority of 504 plans in the schools are written for children “diagnosed with ADHD.  In most states ADHD is not a classification in special education code. In other words, even if a physician or some other such professional has identified ADHD this does not generate an Individualized Education Plan (i.e., IEP) in special education.

(OK, I can feel your eyes rolling over already, so I will stop here and continue with Part II next week.)

Takeaway Point

504 Plans do not offer services. A 504 provides accommodations, not interventions.

Copyright, 2022

Questions or comments email Dr. Selznick:


“Executive Functioning” – Are You Too Hot or Too Cold?

For those of you who follow this blog or read my other “stuff,” you know that my overall is to present to parents in down-to-earth, understandable terms, concepts that I think have become unnecessarily complicated.

“Executive Functioning” is a term I hear parents use a great deal, but when I ask them what they are referring to, I usually get a shrug and a look of confusion (even though they are pretty sure their child has it).

When it comes to “executive functioning,” here are few points to keep in mind:

Ship’s Rudder: Think of “executive functioning” like the rudder to a ship helping to steer things along.  For many kids they have firm “rudders” and their boat is well-steered. Tasks get started and finished.  Completing homework is no big deal.

For others, their rudder is quite floppy, which leads to floundering around and not staying on course.  Homework is rarely completed.  Basic tasks like walking the dog or putting things away are an enormous chore.

Late Maturing of the Rudder: For many of the students of concern (especially the boys), there is a late maturing of the “rudder.” Effectively, these children are not on the same timetable of school.

 Be careful with comparing your child to the average or the “norm,” as your child may be outside of the norm with the various executive functioning skills, such as task initiation and sustained effort.

The Goldilocks Rule and the 10% Standard: One of the toughest questions parents grapple with is how much they should be involved on a day-to-day basis.

Many parents that I meet (ok, the moms) are very involved with the child’s school work.  As the mom does everything she can to get the child to do their work, the child is ignoring it all while they are on TikTok, Youtube or whatever.

When it comes to parent involvement, I like parents to be thinking of the “10% solution,” which means that the parent should be approximately 10% or so involved.

The “Goldilocks Standard” is also something I mention when considering their involvement.

That is, if you are in too deep (i.e., the soup is too hot) then the kid will not be taking sufficient personal responsibility for things like homework.  Why worry about work if the parent is doing most of the worrying, anyway?.

On the other hand, if you are not involved  (i.e., the soup is too cold) with a weak-rudder type of child, then the child will flounder.

Takeaway Point

Try and find the sweet-spot of parental involvement – not too hot, not too cold, but just right and you will be on the path to helping move things forward.

Copyright, 2022 (revised from 8/20/21)

Questions or comments email Dr. Selznick:


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