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ADHD and Battles with Teacher
Q: I already see battles ahead for my first-grader. His teacher does not seem to have much experience with ADHD. She's not making any modifications for him and appears to do things that will have a negative effect. He's very bright and scored a perfect achievement test score at the end of kindergarten. But this teacher says his grades will be low because he rushes through work, which she usually doesn't check when he turns it in. She gets frustrated with him when he forgets what to do when he's done with his work. When he finishes a writing assignment -- which was probably difficult for him in the first place -- she makes him write more sentences. This makes him more frustrated. I don't think she will grade him by what he knows -- only on work that's not well-monitored.
A: If you've already approached the teacher and asked for help from the administration and still have not been successful getting supports for your son, there's another step you might try. It sounds like it may be necessary to have a Section 504 modification plan written for your son to help to ensure that he receives necessary accommodations in his classroom. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 has been used as a support for many children with ADHD. Talk to your school guidance counselor or principal, or find out who is the Section 504 coordinator in your son's school. You can work together with them to spell out the modifications and/or accommodations your son needs to succeed in school despite his ADHD.
An excellent place to start is to contact the national office of Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CHADD) at 1-800-233-4050. They can put you in touch with a local branch of this parent advocacy organization that can help you navigate through the school system to get what you need to support your son.
You might also want to read Harvey Parker's Problem Solver Guide for Students with ADHD. He gives a good list of possible Section 504 accommodations you might want to request.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.