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.