Last week we talked about 504 Plans and ADHD/ADD diagnosis (504 Plans & the Pie Chart).
504 Plans in the schools are (theoretically) for disabled children with the intent of “leveling the playing field” for the child with a handicap.
The vast majority of children with 504 Plans have received them based on the “diagnosis” of ADHD, although 504s can be given for other handicapping conditions.
I put quotation marks around “diagnosis,” because frequently the diagnosis is made with very little actual assessment taking place or the factoring in of other variables that may explain the attention deficit.
For example, a mom this week told me of her adolescent being “diagnosed “ in about 10 minutes. After a cursory glance at Connor’s rating scales, the physician declared, “Yes, your child has ADHD.” There was no consideration of other variables or consideration of other factors such as the fact that her child has been recently embarrassed and bullied by other children in school.
So the diagnosis was made. Seriously, who can argue with a physician’s definitive statement.
In line with that, this week we encourage you as parents to not be too quick to over-accommodate. When it comes to accommodations, both formal as in a 504 and informal, it is essential that you find the right ratio, the right balance between accommodating the child and having the child do it on his/her own.
The ration I suggest is about a 10-15% accommodation.
What does that mean?
Essentially it means that the child is basically responsible for his/own stuff and that you shouldn’t look to make things too easy
Or, as the renowned psychologist John Rosemond wisely reminded us, “Never agonize over anything a child does or fails to do, if the child is perfectly capable of agonizing over it himself.”
Sure, accommodate where it is necessary but, be careful to not make it too smooth sailing or easy for the child.
It is important to keep in mind that part of the hidden agenda of school is learning to deal with things that are not always fun or pleasant and to “tough it out” when things get a bit challenging.
So, when I talked to a disconnected 12 year old who was bemoaning the fact that school and his teacher were “so boring,” that he decided not to do his work. I looked at him incredulously.
“Wait,” I said in astonishment. “What are you talking about? School was always boring. It’s the way it is and probably will always be.”
Should we accommodate this 12 year old because he can’t handle his boredom? Perhaps but you don’t want to do too much.
That is, you help some to help him get reconnected, but you don’t want to get in too deep.
It’s the child’s problem. Not yours. Keep thinking 10-15% or so and help a bit, but not so much.
It’s ok if they sweat a bit.
An example, would be offering some assistance with directions. Most of the kids that I assess seem to be fundamentally confused when it comes to following more complex directions.
They don’t know how to start or how to proceed.
So you help them some. You point them in the right direction. You can even sit close by at the dining room table, which I strongly recommend while doing some of your own work, but that’s it.
Similarly, in school with the 504 Plan the teacher can offer some assistance with directions, with the emphasis on the word “some.” Touching base with the child, reading tough words, helping with some directions are appropriate examples of offering “some” accommodations, but not accommodating too much.
Find the right ratio when it comes to accommodating.
Don’t overdo it. Don’t make too nice.
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