Tips That May Help Your Teen at School
Know your teen's rights
There are steps you can take to help your teen with ADHD in the classroom. If you decide to explore accommodations for your teen, learn about laws, rights, and regulations designed to help.
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provides for accomodations such as using a tape recorder for note-taking, giving students with ADHD a quiet place to work, and giving access to a computer in school for written work.
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) offers a wide range of service options. Teens who qualify for accommodations under IDEA are entitled to an individualized education program (IEP), a comprehensive plan that requires the school to clearly state your teen's current level of performance, modifications required, how progress will be measured, and additional services needed to prepare for further education, work, or independent living.
For more information on your teen's educational rights, check out the Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD®) Web site at chadd.org.
Take an active role
If you're thinking of working with the school to seek help for your teen, here are some tips to help get you started.
- Speak to the school. Begin by speaking with your teen's teacher, school counselor, or the school's student support team.
- Request an evaluation. To qualify for special education services, teens with ADHD are required to complete an evaluation. The evaluation requires experts from different fields, including at least one teacher and one professional familiar with ADHD. The school must have your approval in writing before evaluating your teen.
- Make sure new teachers know your teen has ADHD when he or she starts school or moves to a new class
- Prepare for meetings with the school. Write down what you'd like to talk about, and note specific examples of your teen's challenges.
- Take notes during school meetings. Offer to send the teacher a copy and keep one for yourself, so you share the same aspirations for your teen.
- Encourage your teen to get involved. Teens should have input into the choices that will affect them in the future.
Help your teen get organized
Everyone could use a little help getting more organized. Here are some tips to share with your teen:
- Create a plan of schoolwork and other activities in an assignment notebook
- Color-code books, file folders, and other materials
- Use a timer or alarm to help with managing time
- Keep things simple, breaking down large tasks into more manageable steps