blank'/> Promoting Success: Top 20 ADHD Accommodations and Modifications That Work

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top 20 ADHD Accommodations and Modifications That Work

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a neurobiological disorder. 

Typically children diagnosed with ADHD have developmentally inappropriate behavior, including poor attention skills, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. 

 While there may be disagreement among professionals regarding the incidence rate and even the actual diagnosis, all teachers will agree that all students are different and a single approach or strategy will not work for each and every student. 

Differentiation is the key to any successful classroom. 

 In this case, success is defined as all students learning to their highest potential. 

Top 20 ADHD Accommodations and Modifications That Work

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Some kids (diagnosis or not) have more difficulties focusing and maintaining attention to the task. Of these students, some may have a 504 Plan with accommodations or an IEP (Individualized Education Program) with accommodations. In both of these cases, it is the teacher's legal obligation to follow the plan. It is important to remember that students will need to be specifically taught how to utilize the accommodations, objective data should be collected regarding their effectiveness (progress monitoring), and ongoing evaluation is essential.

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Here are some accommodation ideas for any student to increase time on task:
  1. Written and posted daily schedules and assignments 
  2. At least one day notice (when possible) for schedule changes 
  3. Consistent schedules (as much as possible) 
  4. Allowing time for movement during classroom "seat" time (all students benefit from this!) 
  5. Supplement verbal directions with visual instructions (task cards, demonstration, etc.) 
  6. Chunk assignments or test questions with breaks and positive feedback in between 
  7. Develop and private signal or cue to the student (imagine if the principal called a teacher out when not giving 100% at a staff meeting :) 
  8. Examine expectations and compare data with same age peers. Sometimes our expectations for students with ADHD behaviors begin to exceed our expectations for other students. 
  9. Provide opportunities for hands-on learning 
  10. Allow the student to stand while working or listening 
  11. Use a yoga balance disc (wiggle seat) on the student's chair 
  12. Use transition activities, songs, bell, timer, etc., so the student can clearly identify a change in activity 
  13. Provide cue (1-2 minute notifications) before an activity is about to end or begin 
  14. Color is very effective in getting attention. Make use of colored dry-erase pens on white boards, colored overhead pens for transparencies and overhead projectors, and colored paper to highlight key words, phrases, steps to computation problems, spelling patterns, etc. 
  15. Be aware of competing sounds in your room environment (such as noisy heaters or air conditioning unit.) 
  16. Alter the way students are called on to avoid calling on students one at a time. Instead, have students respond by "telling their partner," writing down or drawing their response, or other alternative way. 
  17. Be careful when always seating the student by the teacher. This may actually increase student anxiety thus increasing inappropriate behavior. 
  18. Read aloud test questions. Although the student may have average or above average reading ability, have to questions read aloud helps maintain focus. 
  19. Provide outlines of the lecture and discussion. Student discusses and share with other students (thus reading, discussing and learning by doing!) 
  20. Allow headphones to drown out distractions. When I worked at an alternative high school, many of the students scored higher on tests and assignments when listening to music. I had two rules. I had to listen to ensure it was music. The other rule was the student was the only one who should be able to hear the music through the headphones - not the entire room! 

Key step to implementing an accommodation: 

Select only 1-2 to implement at at time.
Teach the accommodation to the student.
Determine how you will know if it is successful - target goals.
Collect data over time (Not just a couple of days - remember sometimes the behavior gets worse before it gets better)
Evaluate progress
Make team decisions to keep, change, or try something else! 


You may also like these resources from our TeachersPayTeachers store:



You may also want to read this blog post:

 behavior modification strategies for the classroom


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Best Seller:

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  1. I help reluctant or written output difficulties by wheeling my chair up to them with my laptop on my lap and I type out their stories for them. After I print it they are often able to add more on their own and they are so proud. I also use brain based learning that is so successful and easy to implement :

  2. I have used a similar approach with my students. Actually when I was writing a lot of papers for my endorsement, I used the same strategy for myself. I am definitely a visual learner! Thank you for sharing!

  3. I make good use of lap weights and weighted vests. I also periodically schedule movement and heavy work breaks.

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  4. My daughter has ADHD (she is now 23). What strategy worked best for her was to chunk the assignments into smaller sections. Kids with ADHD get overwhelmed very easily.

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  8. I've had some great success with doodle books. Kids have a little notebook where they make a two column page. On one side they doodle as they listen and on the other sketch key ideas or key words from the lesson. The therapy band stretched across chair legs is a favorite coping strategy for my kiddos who need to move. Love working with these sweeties. Don't forget the number one strategy they need is how to respectfully communicate and advocate for their own learning needs!

  9. I would love some advice on the best practices on figuring out if your child has ADHD.

    1. I think the best way to find out is to see a therapist and have a psychologist make a determination and prognosis.

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