Understanding the 504 & IEP Process

504/IEP So many Questions, So Little Time…

When it comes to getting the right classroom accommodations for your child, there is a sea of information. It can be an intimidating and confusing process for parents.

If your child is struggling in the classroom, they may qualify for accommodations. Students with one of thirteen disabilities are eligible for an IEP, which is the more formal of the two. A student can qualify for a 504 plan if they have any disability that affects their ability to learn.

One of the main differences is the way that each is developed. An IEP is constructed following a strict set of guidelines. To get an IEP, participants must meet two requirements. The first is that they must be formally diagnosed with one of the thirteen disabilities listed by IDEA. These disabilities range from dyslexia to traumatic brain injury. The second requirement is that the disability must affect the child’s academic performance and their ability to learn in a traditional classroom setting.

A 504 plan was actually developed from section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act established in 1973. The Rehabilitation Act is a national law that ensures that an individual cannot be discriminated against because of a disability. It offers equal opportunity for those with disabilities to thrive in a classroom setting. To get a 504 plan for your student, they must have a disability. This can include attention or learning disabilities. The disability must impair the child’s ability to learn in a conventional classroom setting, therefore accommodations are needed for a student to have a chance to be successful.

Another difference that stands out is the way that each is developed. An IEP is developed by a specific team that includes the parents, special education and general education teachers, a school psychologist, and a district representative. All members must be present during the development of the plan and at annual meetings. The plan must be approved by the parents, and cannot be modified without parental consent. The IEP team must review the plan annually and make modifications as needed.

A 504 plan is more loosely structured. In fact, it doesn’t have to be in written form at all. It can simply be strategies and accommodations developed to increase success in the classroom. There are no specific guidelines. However, most 504 plans include what accommodations are being given to the student, who is going to provide the service, and who is going to ensure that the plan is implemented.

In either case, there is an evaluation process. Parental consent is required before a student can be evaluated. Parents can request that the school district pay for an independent education evaluation (IEE), but they don’t have to agree. Parents do have the right to pay for an outside evaluation, but the district does not have to consider it when devising a plan for your child. If you’re seeking an outside evaluation, it’s best to consult with the school psychologist. They should have a list of approved evaluators and are more likely to consider the results if it’s done by someone on this list.

The Educational Support Advisors at Play Attention have a wealth of knowledge and resources available to you about the 504/IEP process. We are also accredited to provide the FOCUS assessment. If you would like an attention assessment conducted with your child that will report your child’s strengths and weaknesses, please contact us at 800-788-6786. The FOCUS assessment results can often be used to help design your child’s IEP or 504 plan. We can also use the FOCUS assessment results to further customize your Play Attention plan. Click here to learn more about the FOCUS assessment.

Play Attention teaches the learning skills that are often set as objectives within the student’s IEP or 504 plan. Attend our upcoming webinar to learn more.

Children Diagnosed with ADHD: Relative Age May Play a Crucial Role

The following research tells us that a proper diagnosis can sometimes be confused with a child’s maturity. Additionally, the combination of immaturity and a test heavy curriculum with inappropriate expectations make these students really struggle and stand out. Read on…

“Researchers examined medical records of nearly 400,000 children aged from four to 17 in Taiwan and found rates of the condition changed significantly depending on the month when they were born, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Just 2.8 per cent of boys and 0.7 per cent of girls born in September were diagnosed with ADHD, compared to 4.5 per cent of boys and 1.2 per cent of girls born in August.

Dr Mu-Hong Chen, a psychologist at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan and lead author of a paper about the research in the Journal of Pediatrics, said: “When looking at the database as a whole, children born in August were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and/or receive ADHD medication than those born in September.

‘Relative age, as an indicator of neurocognitive maturity, may play a crucial role in the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD and receiving ADHD medication among children and adolescents.’

‘Our findings emphasize the importance of considering the age of a child within a grade [school year] when diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medication.’

Over the past decade in the UK, the number of prescriptions of drugs designed to treat ADHD has doubled to 922,000 a year. They can cause adverse reactions such as suicidal thoughts, weight loss and liver toxicity.

According to the NHS website, common symptoms of ADHD include a short attention span, restlessness, constant fidgeting, over-activity and being impulsive.

Dr Kuben Naidoo, consultant psychiatrist and chairman of ADHD Foundation, said: ‘The study highlights the importance of ensuring the assessment for ADHD is rigorous and relies on a variety of sources of information that support the clinician in deciding whether the diagnosis is met.’”[1]

The research was published in the Journal of Pediatrics.[2]

If you would like to have your child’s or your own attention assessed, contact us. Our attention specialists are now accredited to provide you with FOCUS assessment, a groundbreaking, standardized, continuous performance test that assess attentional control. Click here to learn more.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/children-diagnosed-with-adhd-may-simply-be-immature-for-their-class-a6922301.html

[2] http://www.jpeds.com/content/JPEDSChen

Making Friends and Keeping Them!

Making friends and keeping friends can be difficult for children with ADHD. Positive peer relationships are critical to your child’s development and self esteem. You may notice that your child misses social cues, gets quickly bored with the games the other children are playing, or simply acts too impulsively when in social situations.

There are some steps you can take to help your child develop these essential social skills.

Discuss People’s Feelings: Look at pictures of different people in a magazine. Ask your child how she thinks that person is feeling and how she came to that conclusion. You may also prompt her to tell you what she thinks might have happened before the picture was taken that caused the emotion.

Role Play Social Situations: Act out different scenarios with your child. “Let’s pretend you are meeting me for the first time.” Or “Let’s pretend you see a group of children playing and you want to join in.” Role playing will allow you to model appropriate social behavior.

Positive Feedback: When you see your child display good social behavior be certain to provide immediate positive feedback. “I liked how you helped John up when he fell. That was so kind.” Or “Thank you for holding the door open for me. That is so polite.”

Play Attention:
Play Attention can help your child develop the skills she needs to make friends and keep friends. We have a fantastic add on game called Social Skills. It specifically teaches your child how to develop the ability to understand social cues. Most importantly, like all of our games within Play Attention, she can only play the game if she is in her maximum attentive state. If she loses her attention, the game will stop and wait for her to focus. This will ensure your daughter will get maximum benefit from the teaching method. See our Social Skills Game.

Attend our webinar and learn more…

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Every Sunday we post, Memoirs of an ADHD Mom, on our Facebook page. Be certain to read weekly, as Kate shares her real life stories as a mom with ADHD. This week – Love is in the air!

It is easy for all of us to complain about our issues, to talk about the things we don’t like about our ADHD or our children’s ADHD. It disrupts our lives, makes us work harder, causes turmoil.

But not this week! No, this week we are celebrating Valentine’s Day, the day of love. It’s time for us to talk about all the things we love about our ADHD. C’mon let’s celebrate it!

My ADHD makes me spontaneous and a risk taker. I am up for anything. Therefore I have had more experiences than a lot of people. I have gone on spur of the moment road trips, taken jobs I wasn’t necessarily prepared for, jumped from the highest rope swings I could find into the river below – the list goes on and on.

I am super generous. I give my time and support to all of those around me.

I think my ADHD makes me very funny. I can entertain a crowd and entertain myself. I crack myself up every day.

I struggle in a lot of areas and have a lot of things go wrong, so when the slightest thing goes right, I truly appreciate it. I celebrate the little things every day.

My son’s ADHD makes him so compassionate. He cares about everyone he meets. When we are in public, he is constantly looking at people to see how he can help. He will carry your grocery bags, open your door, or just give you that huge smile you need.

He loves legos and has the ability to hyperfocus on creating the most amazing structures you’ve ever seen.

He is always there to provide a fresh, new perspective on things. When his brother and sister are discussing a problem or issue, they typically have similar thoughts. But Mitchell, with his “out of the box thinking”, is always there to provide a new way to look at the issue.

This is the short list. Yes, we struggle. Yes, we fail. But we also excel in areas others may not.
Love me, love my ADHD. What do you love about ADHD? Post what you love on our Facebook page.

Attend our upcoming webinar.

ADHD and the Struggle with Relationships

For many, February is the month of love. We focus on the people we care about and find ways to express our feelings. Perhaps you are in a relationship as an adult with ADHD. Or you are in a relationship with someone who has ADHD. You may even be a parent trying to help your ADHD child with friendships. All of these situations can be very challenging.

Children with attention challenges generally struggle with keeping friends. They are not always able to pick up social cues that allow them to have successful friendships. For instance, your child with ADHD may say something to hurt another child’s feelings, but lacks the attention to see the sadness on the other child’s face. Therefore your child has no idea he has offended someone. No learning takes place and this behavior continues. Before you know it, your child is coming home complaining that he does not have any friends. And he has no idea why or how to fix it. He simply thinks everyone is against him.

Play Attention, a cognitive feedback based program, has an activity that directly addresses teaching social skills[1]. Through a series of attention enhanced activities, a child or an adult can start simply by focusing on a blank card. Once the student is fully attentive, the card will be completely exposed. If the student loses attention, the card begins to disappear. Once the student is fully attentive, the expression on a person’s face is seen. The student must match the feeling associated with the expression. For example, the picture may be of a little girl smiling with three word choices: happy, sad, angry. The steps get incrementally more challenging and will eventually teach the student how to respond if a person has a certain expression on his/her face.

While simplistic at the onset, teaching social skills takes foundational practice. Teaching an ADHD child to slow down long enough to actually see the expression on another’s face is the start.

What happens to those of us who were not taught social skills as a child? Many struggle with relationships as an adult as a result. Whether you are the person with ADHD, or you’re in a relationship with someone with ADHD, you are bound to face many challenges.

Attitude Magazine recently ran an article, “10+ ADD Relationship Tools for Lasting Love[2],” which explores the tools needed to have a loving relationship with someone struggling with attention issues. In this article author, Jonathan Halverstadt, states that in the beginning there are “strong and wonderful feelings — but you need much more to make an ADD relationship[3] last.” Instead of falling into an “all you need is love” scenario, Halverstadt offers suggestions for your relationship “tool box.”

One of the first things that he explores is managing the symptoms. In the relationship, the ADHD person must take ownership of the symptoms and actively manage them. Many of the skills he talks about are addressed with the Play Attention[4] program.

If you are a parent, or an adult, or love someone who struggles with attention, I encourage you to attend an informational webinar[5]. The webinar is FREE and your questions and concerns about ADHD relationships will be addressed.

 

[1] http://www.playattention.com/social-skills/

[2] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/7504.html

[3] http://www.additudemag.com/topic/adult-add-adhd/friends-relationships.html

[4] http://www.playattention.com/adults/

[5] http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

The Importance of Exercise for Brain Health & Attention

Everyone knows exercise is great for the body! It’s also an activity that the brain loves!

Exercise stimulates growth factors in the brain which promotes new brain cells which keep the brain operating at peak efficiency. Just walking can boost these levels which regulates the sensation of attention. Exercise should be an essential component of your lifestyle. As a result, you may notice that it is easier to sustain mental focus for extended periods of time.

In an effort to make your workout part of your daily routine, start with something simple. Determine what you believe is the minimum amount of exercise you will deem acceptable, i.e., 15 minutes twice a week, then set a maximum goal, i.e., 30 minutes twice a week. Create a calendar so that you can input your actual exercise and keep notes after each session. You’ll see your successes and most likely will not have any trouble exceeding your minimum exercise goals. Meeting the goals will make you feel good and will encourage you to stick with your exercise routine. The results of your exercise routine will be priceless. You may notice that not only has your attention improved but so has your sleep, mood, and productivity.

It’s time for you to move your body – it’s great for the brain!

Learn how Play Attention is a great exercise for the brain, attend our upcoming webinar.

Help Me With My Exercise Routine

Every Sunday we post, Memoirs of an ADHD Mom, on our Facebook page. Be certain to read weekly, as Kate shares her real life stories as a mom with ADHD. This week Kate requests your help with a new exercise routine.

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom
Kate wants to lose weight and needs help

Okay folks – this time I’m going to do it. I’m going to get in shape! (And all of you who know me can stop snickering now) I really am. I’m not just turning over a new leaf…I’m turning over a whole new tree.

I am overweight. I compulsively eat. I don’t really think of consequences…I just eat whatever looks good at the moment. I really have zero self-control when it comes to food. From what I hear, this is common to adults with ADHD. I also hear exercise is supposed to be good for the ADHD brain, and so..the tree. I’m making a promise to myself to exercise at least an hour a day. I know it’s the right thing to do and I know I’ll feel better about myself. The thing is, I have such a hard time sticking to my promises. I go all gung ho for a day and then before you know it I’m sitting in front of the TV with that party size bag of Fritos.

So, help me. How do I stick to my promise? How do I make myself do what I know is right? Is there any hope for me?

Make certain to post your helpful tips for Kate on our Facebook page.

The Importance of a BFF

The Importance of a BFF

Everyone wants to have friends. At an early age, forming friendships allows a child to develop a multitude of skills needed throughout life: teamwork, cooperation, sharing, dealing with conflict, competition, etc.

If your children or clients are struggling with ADHD, they may need your guidance to help develop successful, long-lasting friendships. Here are some tips to help.

* Keep Play Groups Small – One or two friends at a time will allow your child to be successful without being overwhelmed.

* Form Friendship Groups – Team Esteem is an organization based out of New York. Run by social workers and psychologists, their goal is to create an environment for children with behavioral, social, and academic challenges. Attitude Magazine says that if your child is having a difficult time forming friendships, a friendship group may be the answer. The article also goes on to caution parents that running the group themselves is not the best answer and should be left to professionals.

* Plan Play Dates – Scheduling specific dates for playtime allows your child with ADHD to prepare for the event. It gives you an opportunity to discuss and role-play different scenarios. It also gives you an opportunity to plan what will happen during the play date. While not completely controlling the event, you’ll want to have some clear ideas on what will go on.

* Control The Environment – Your child may be bursting with energy. Let them exhaust some of that energy during the play date by kicking a soccer ball with their friend, playing an informal game of basketball, or swimming in the pool. Then, after the little tikes are worn out, provide a snack and a quiet movie. This will help them transition into the next activity calmly.

* Deflect Boredom – Play dates that are too long can lead to boredom. It’s important that these end on a high note for everyone involved. An hour after school is certainly adequate to get in some socialization without throwing nightly routines off. You can increase that time to a couple of hours on the weekend. Making an entire day of a play date may lead to disaster by forcing your child with ADHD to be on their best social behavior for far too long.

* Positive Reinforcement – After friends go home, talk to your child about the play date. What did they like? What didn’t they like? What made them feel good about their friend? Be sure to provide positive reinforcement for things they did well. “I liked it when you shared your bike with Jimmy and let him ride it first.”

In his book, The Friendship Factor, Dr. Kenneth Rubin explores the impact of friendships on a child’s emotional, social, and intellectual growth. After 25 years of research, Dr. Rubin put his findings on paper to better prepare parents with helping their children form friendships.

If you’re looking for a children’s book, check out Making Friends. Written by American icon, Fred Rogers this book is intended to teach preschoolers about friendships and social skills.

Learn how Play Attention can help your child develop better social skills.

Attend our webinar to learn more.

Set Up Routines

Time Management
Set Up Routines

When working with a child with ADHD success often comes from setting up routines and sticking to them. It helps establish consistency and expectations. Many times your ADHD child may know what needs to be done, but has a hard time prioritizing the tasks at hand.

It’s important to understand that it takes time to set up routines that are consistent. Normally, changes in behaviors take 21 to 30 days before they become habit.

Think about a routine that you tried to establish for yourself. If you were successful, it’s probably because you established the routine, executed on it, and were consistent.

So let’s just say you’re setting up a morning routine for your child. As it stands now, things are chaotic in the morning, always looking for the lost shoe, homework left in the bedroom, teeth rarely brushed, etc. To establish a consistent routine, you may want to start with a checklist. It may look something like this:

√ Eat Breakfast
√ Get Dressed
√ Brush Your Teeth
√ Make sure everything is in your backpack

Keep things simple. Set your child up for success. If your checklist includes too many things—like make your bed, make your lunch, etc.—and your child doesn’t have time to do them, you’re setting them up for failure.

It’s important to understand that a checklist is designed to successfully get them to the goal, which in this case is getting ready for school.

Since mornings are hectic, it’s not recommended that you overload it with chores that can be done after school. Just focus on what is needed. The only other thing you may want to add is:

√ Watch TV when 1-4 are completed.

You’ll be amazed how quickly and efficiently the list gets completed.

To learn more about establishing routines in conjunctions with cognitive attention training for people with ADHD, register for our webinar.

Tips to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

It is commonplace for everyone to make New Year’s resolutions, however, adults with ADHD can experience frustration by not following the “list” of their resolutions for the following year.

In an effort to eliminate that frustration and improve the likelihood of keeping your New Year’s resolutions follow a simple process throughout the year.

Although New Year’s resolutions are “Life Changing” start with a simple task, such as cleaning out a closet, taking a ten (10) minute walk each morning, or organizing your important papers.

Make a list of your resolutions and each day keep notes under each item. Reflect on the event and memorialize your activity which relates to a success. As you progress you will believe you can achieve the goal and you will! Don’t rely on an excuse to avoid the resolution, such as, I must go shopping, it’s raining outside, and I just want to sit down! Each time you consistently undertake the resolution you change your behavior and success will follow.

By starting with small tasks, you will experience success by following through each day, next year your resolutions can be more “life changing” as you have experienced success in completing your New Year’s Resolution of the past year.

This is a process and you will build your confidence from your past year’s achievement!

Play Attention can help you develop the skills you need in order to reach your goals this year. Be more focused, more productive, and more successful in 2017 with Play Attention. Attend our webinar to learn how to get started.