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Effective Accommodations for High School Student Newly Diagnosed with ADHD


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Hi.  My High School Junior daughter was diagnosed with ADHD last year. We have finally gotten the school to do a  504 process. I am looking for accommodations that have been effective for your high school-age student.

Since she was diagnosed so recently, she has not had the benefit of training/teachings from a younger age. To top that off, she is a super-sociable teenager who will anyway be distracted by other distractions. Almost all accommodation examples I see seem more effective for younger children, not her age/school. e.g. "Break down tasks in smaller chunks." Is this meaningful to ask for at 11th grade? I am also worried that with too much adult intervention (e.g. teacher trying to monitor her assignments), she will be more dependent on external motivation - but in 2 years, she will have to apply all that in college. Anyone in my shoes?  would love to hear your perspective about training/coaching an almost-adult child, and also, any good accommodations that were helpful.  FYI we don't think she has any big learning issues because she had great grades in all subjects until recently. So I am looking for accommodations related to attention/focus, task initiation, exec functioning skills. I am also looking for ideas about how to manage her behavior at home and teach her useful skills. Thank you all.

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In a lot of ways, breaking down tasks is a natural strategy many older teens and adults do for themselves, often without even thinking about it, and is actually an important skill for college. The thing is, a college class likely wouldn't arrange it for the student.

So, I'd go with it, with a focus on teach her how to do it herself (though that may be more of an IEP accommodation than 504...)

One difficulty you do seem to recognize is that she has gotten the 504 at an age where many other students in her shoes are working on reducing/taking charge of their accommodations. 

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Given she has 2 years to figure out how to get herself organized, she might benefit from specially designed instruction via an IEP in addition to accommodations.  Being seated away from distractions in the classroom might help - in other words, away from her BF.  Having the teacher give her reminders to stay on task can also help.  They can work with her during study hall to stay on task & get her work done.  Colleges can offer the same sorts of accommodations.

An IEP or 504 will help during school hours but it seems she has needs at home.  A therapist can help her with things outside of school - like if she's focusing on her phone rather than doing homework.  IMO, this is where the distractions will be in college.  She'll be going to parties and meeting new people but her dirty clothes pile will be out of control & she'll be behind in getting reading done for classes.  Psychologists/therapists can help with this.  She can be taught strategies so she can be better organized - both with her things & her time.

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Well....not all behavior is related to their disability 🙃

If you have an ADHD coach that you like and trust and works well with her, you should start to see results. But wanting to be social and on your phone and not listening to your mom is typical teen behavior.

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52 minutes ago, Lisa Lightner said:

Well....not all behavior is related to their disability 🙃

If you have an ADHD coach that you like and trust and works well with her, you should start to see results. But wanting to be social and on your phone and not listening to your mom is typical teen behavior.

If I may continue with humor, this sounds like a potential game of "ADHD or Typical Teen?"

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Well, I also want to add that I'm not trying to gaslight mom either. But as a mom to two teens myself, one of them disabled, I know that I often have to make a conscious effort to stop, think and process what is happening. I'm sometimes too quick to try to troubleshoot a scenario and pin it to the disability. When often times, I can just say, "Yeah, and non disabled teens do this all the time, too."

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7 minutes ago, Lisa Lightner said:

Well, I also want to add that I'm not trying to gaslight mom either. But as a mom to two teens myself, one of them disabled, I know that I often have to make a conscious effort to stop, think and process what is happening. I'm sometimes too quick to try to troubleshoot a scenario and pin it to the disability. When often times, I can just say, "Yeah, and non disabled teens do this all the time, too."

I think that's very sensible, especially when you may often be in the mindframe of "how is their disability impacting them?" It's good advice to stop and think about what is the disability and what is no more and no less being a kid/teen and an individual at that?

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