In my previous blog, A True Story: ADHD and Self ADHD Advocacy, I talk about the importance of our teens advocating for their needs in order to have structure and strategies in place. Self-advocacy does not equal disrespect of the teacher. It is important for kids to know and understand ADHD and how it impacts them.
In speaking with a client regarding her teen daughter in high school, she spoke about the attitude of the guidance counselor regarding her 504 Plan. This attitude permeates so many districts and represents incorrect information and beliefs about ADHD and the importance of the 504 Plan. This mom was told that no one will reach out to her daughter regarding her accommodations to ensure she receives what is in that document. She must ask! This comment does fit with many I have heard that indicates the need for our kids with ADHD to “be responsible, grow up, and do their work successfully.” Again, a disability that is so misunderstood. Our kids want to be successful and can be if given the use of the individualized accommodations noted in the 504 Plan. Those represent the strategies that allow the growth, and the ability to formulate plans that do lead to success!
To review: the 504 Plan is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This is a Federal Civil Rights Law that prohibits discrimination of a person with a mental or physical disability. If the disability impacts a major life function, then the person is eligible for a 504 Plan. In the case of the diagnosis of ADHD, two of those life functions would be learning and concentration. See my free eBook, titled: Do You Know the Civil Rights of Students with ADHD? … In this eBook, you will learn the civil rights of a child with ADHD. As a parent, you want your child to succeed and maintain a healthy self-esteem. This guide will provide you with the facts that you need, to know the civil rights of students with ADHD.
What is my answer to this mom regarding her reactions to an administrator who indicates that it is all in her daughter’s “court” to ensure accommodations are met? The 504 Plan is not an optional document and is just as important as an IEP. There are just fewer parental safeguards. Should the school ensure that these accommodations are in place? Of course, they should. Unfortunately, I think sometimes ADHD is not understood and many believe that those accommodations are not needed, particularly if the teen is not failing.
This is an opportunity to continue to teach this teen about ADHD and to encourage her to pay attention to strategies that work and don’t work. She actually is doing that! She has noticed that when taking breaks outdoors it enhances her later focus ability. As she continues to learn, it is important to begin self-advocacy in high school. The 504 Plan is in place. You can’t change attitudes all the time. However, the teen with ADHD can know what’s in a civil rights document and how those accommodations benefit her. In addition, her mom is her number one advocate! Mom can be in the background—insuring that she learns effective self-advocacy, how accommodations are working through effective home/school communication and needed tweaking. All of this will prepare her for the world of college and beyond when expectations are there for her to ensure her own success!
To understand more about what ADHD advocacy is, and how it can dramatically help your child, please contact me directly for a free consultancy session. On our call, you will have the opportunity to share the challenges that your child is facing, and get instant feedback on critical next steps to help both you and your child. You can contact me directly by clicking here!
A little about the author and founder of ADD Advocate, Karen Lowry: I am a certified ADHD Coach. ADHD advocacy is my passion. There are so many school support challenges facing our children, that knowing your rights as a parent have never been more crucial. Effective ADHD coaching depends on effective advocacy for our kids. Remember, if you should ever have any questions about anything regarding school support, or just understanding about ADHD, IEP programs, 504 plans, etc….