504 Plans and Punishment

Doodicus had his second therapy session almost two weeks ago. During our appointment, Dr. Rita scribbled some notes on a sheet of paper and handed them to me when we were done. It was a list of accommodations we would send to the school. The beginning of our 504 Plan.

Now in my head, the 504 Plan was this formal outline that not only required a notary, but the signatures from no less than a dozen physicians, and the stamp of a unicorn’s ass to make it official. Apparently not. In our case, it just needs to be a neatly formed letter describing the disability (ADHD) and how it can affect the child’s learning and then basically a list of bulleted statements of accommodations the school (or even the family) will take from that point forward.

After years of "pleading" with teachers to just take a few extra moments, if you don’t mind, I know you’re busy and all, but would you double-check his assignment book to make sure he’s filled it out before coming home, it’s now just as simple as this example:

"The teacher will review and sign off on Dood’s assignment book every day, which is then to be double-checked by the parents."

As you can tell, it’s not really a request. Just like you don’t ask your kids, "Will you please eat all your peas?" I have to realize that this is not a favor I am asking, but that just like eating your peas, it’s simply an expectation of what is best is the given situation.

So I am figuring this out (slowly), but there is still so much gray area to cover. For example, we are also supposed to come up with punishments for repeated infractions. The punishment must be immediate and straight-forward. It’s simple to exact punishment at home: no TV, no video game, quiet time in room, etc., but what kind of punishment is acceptable by the teacher in front of 20 other kids in a classroom? The infractions that we are trying to eliminate may seem rather…petty…but they are part of helping Doodicus understand what responsibility means. Here are a few behaviors and if you have any suggestions on how to motivate Dood to not repeat them, please shout it out:

1) Not hanging up coat/throwing coat on the floor. It’s causing a tripping hazard to other kids and a distraction to Dood.

2) Late assignments. I have taken reduced recess out of the equation.

3) Carrying on with neighbor-student (talking, joking, horse-play) during the lesson. BTW, I believe it’s this type of activity that ends up getting Doodicus excluded from planned group activities. No one wants the trouble-maker on their team….

4) Using his pencil as a sword or light saber during study hall. He’s playing by himself, but he’s not only distracting everyone around him, he’s not getting his work done. Obviously, you can’t take away the pencil.

All thoughts and opinions are helpful. There’s no such thing as "assvice" around here.

P.S. I plan on posting more about the 504 Plan because it’s taken me almost three years to actually understand what I needed to do. I had a gist, but Dr. Rita has been invaluable in helping me appreciate how very simple it is.

7 thoughts on “504 Plans and Punishment”

  1. I find that the not so Mini thrives on a known schedule. We’ve taught him to put his clothes in the hamper when he’s done, and overall, he’s done well. We’ve given him a small set of responsibilities on a chart, (like, stay on green light at home and at school, pick up your laundry, no fussing about the meal, pick up your toys nightly, etc) and if he gets enough stickers, he gets an allowance. He gets a sticker for each task performed, and if he misses more than three stickers during the course of the week, he doesn’t get an allowance. Which, dude, the kid is five, and he’s young, but I feel that the quicker you start, the easier it is for them to grasp the concept of responsibility. The key (and I won’t lie, this is super hard for me, because hello? ADD, sparkly, what?) is being extremely consistent. I find that the more consistent you are with everything in their life… schedule, rewards, reprimanding, what have you, the easier it is. When he’s forced to stay on task, because of a list, it gives him that sense of ownership for not only his things, but also his behavior. And he does really well with it.

    If the Dood is a pleaser, this also helps. In general most kids are. They want to make you happy. We even have a “bonus” sticker for him to earn daily. And we agree to decide on that sticker. It’s something like, “you shared with your sister” or “you were super nice to your friends today.” Anything to reflect on what he did to make him feel good about himself. Also, with that consistency, is key on not only letting him know when he did wrong, but calling him out on the good. We’re big on constantly telling them when we’re proud. And try to do it every day. Even when I feel like I’m at my shittiest in parenting, I overhear them talking and playing and really, they’re well behaved kids, and good at heart and it makes me proud, of all of us.

  2. First let me say I am glad that Dr. Rita appears to give a sh*t and is actually trying to help.
    Second, I have not been in your shoes, yet anyway, and am just putting out what I would think would help me if I was in his shoes.

    #1. What Onlyhalfnuts said. Be made responsible for all coats that are on the floor. Coat monitor kind of thing. Can’t hurt to try, right?
    #2. Perhaps a reminder in the morning from the teacher that assignments are due to be handed in, if she/he is doing her/his job in the afternoon with checking the assignment book and you are making sure he gets the work done, then it may just be a matter of a reminder in the morning to turn in the assignment. Is that not being done already? I can’t remember sometimes to do stuff in the morning that I knew needed doing the night before, ok it might be that I am almost 45 but still, they are little kids and you can’t tell me he is the only one that has late assignments in his whole class.
    #3. A million years ago when I was in school, if kids, myself included, acted out the teacher would just drag our desk to the back of the room and that is where we sat the rest of the day. Still in the classroom to be taught but not near anyone to bug them. If we were really disruptive then the desk was taken into the hall. Only took one or two times but it was enough to fix the problem.
    #4. this is a hard one as he is a bright boy with a vivid imagination and sometimes it is hard to control your imagination. Perhaps the teacher could have a quiet talk with him asking him if he would like to use his study hall time wisely to complete his homework so he has more free time to play when he gets home.
    Since my mom is an ex Kind., 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade teacher, when you teach for 45 years you hit them all apparently, I will run this by her and see if she has any thoughts.
    I wish you the best and it seems that things are looking up. I can’t remember if you covered this or not, but a friend’s son was diagnosed with ADHD and put on medication that seemed to make it worse. In desperation the doctor suggested giving him a Coke every morning before school and that worked better for this particular child then all the various medicines that were availble 12 years ago. You do know I play a doctor in my livingroom, right? 😉

  3. My sons teacher has what she calls the “observation deck”. It’s a designated area in the room where she sends the kids who are being disruptive in class. They are still in the room but don’t get to interact in what’s going on. I’m not sure how effective it is but I do know my son must not like it…cause if he gets sent there it makes enough of an impact that he tells me.

  4. For the coat hanging thing, perhaps he could be responsible for making sure everyone’s coat is hung? Maybe a greater responsibility would help him pay attention to a small one?

    Could they move Dood’s seat next to someone who won’t respond? There is always someone super shy or extremely focused that would ignore his attempts at distraction – or tell him to stop.

    Late assignments = extra assignments, maybe? Nothing complex – maybe just writing like Bart Simpson “I will not be late with my assignment” to be turned in the next day?

    The pencil thing is difficult – everyone plays with their pen and pencil. Um…good luck?

    I hope this is the turning point that gets him back on track…

  5. The very first thing that popped into my head about what an acceptable punishment by the teachers is what I DON’T think should be done. I don’t think that Dood should be called out in front of his peers. Drawing more attention to him at the time would cause embarrassment and fuel the fire of bad behavior (IMHO). This is a long-shot and would depend on the teacher, but could she have a reward system in place and for each disruption one of the rewards is taken away. Once it’s figured out, all it would take is a look between the two of them for him to know that ‘yep, Mrs. Teacher is nodding at me so I guess I get one less __________”. Or, positive rewards for the times he is not disruptive for an entire class period.

    I have a question that I don’t know if you have ever addressed in a post before. Does Doodicus seem to settle down at all after a good recess period? I am wondering if physical activity makes things better or worse or makes any change at all. If it helps, maybe they could figure out how to put in an extra gym class (?).

    Feel free to ignore my ramblings, just shootin from the hip here.

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