If a child with ADHD is eligible for an IEP, the IEP team formulates goals, action plans, modifications, and accommodations. Although school personnel are considered the professionals on the team and certainly guide the process, the parent is a very important person on this team. You know your child better than the professionals and can certainly add to goals and plans that allow for success. After all, this plan is individualized. Although many times you can read so many documents explaining good accommodations for a child with ADHD in the classroom, they actually are only good if they work for your child!
For instance, some accommodations include technology like recorders that are found in a pen, (Livescribe) or apps that help with time management and organization. But if the child does not choose to use any of this because of confusion, then it is not an accommodation that should be included. As much as I wanted a client to use the Livescribe pen to not only record but to also compile notes in organized folders in his lap top, he would visually become anxiety ridden at the thought of trying to learn how to do that despite what I believed would add to his success in organization. Finally, knowing that a recording would help fill in blanks during periods of inattentiveness, I did encourage at least that usage of recording without the need to download information from that to the computer. Maybe that will come later!!
Recently, I have heard from clients and those on my Facebook Support page about another person who is trying to appear as part of this team: the principal. The principal is not part of the IEP Team and cannot randomly make rules that affect a child’s IEP. Again, the principal does not generally come to IEP meetings and therefore does not see test results, discuss results of modifications on success, or know research based programs that are remediating a learning issue. Again, each child is an individual and so is that IEP. The principal cannot make blanket statements of where children with IEP’s can take tests. An IEP is a legal document and must be followed. That document can not be changed without the team approval, yours included. In addition, changes must be accompanied by a prior written notice which explains the reasons for a change in service or placement of the child.
It is hard to be among professionals who are determining the support needed in the classroom. Many parents are intimidated and feel that those in charge should make the decision. They certainly are a guiding force to this process. But parents need to also realize that they are a very significant person on the team who can contribute greatly to their child’s success. They know their child who is an individual and not just someone with a diagnosis of ADHD.