Accomodations No. 2: Extended time for assignments, not just tests

Pretty much everyone gets extended time for tests as a standard accommodation. But there are some nuances to think about. 

First, many systems require the student, even young students, to ask ahead of time for extended time. Why? I don’t know. I always had access to extended time. I couldn’t tell you how often I used it but it wasn’t all the time. So how was I supposed to know? This also puts a lot of pressure on kids who are reticent to be open about their accommodations to ask the teacher in front of the class for the extra time. It also puts pressure on kids who are somewhat conflicted about the idea of accommodations to take their time. Maybe they can finish but only if they rush? Lastly, I think it’s important to make sure the how and where of finishing is ideal for the student. Some teachers are worried about the integrity of the test. I guess that’s reasonable. But I have yet to meet a criminal mastermind who’s using the accommodations to game the system. 

I guess I’ll throw this in while we’re on the subject of test taking. A quiet supervised environment outside the classroom might be best. Allowing the student to wear noise canceling headphone, and maybe even listen to music. 

But the real crux of this post is that ADHD kids will often need extended time in on assignments, not just tests. On one level, this is important because the ADHD kid is usually fighting through organizational and other EF challenges just to get to the place where they can complete the work. It is also important because most of us take longer to complete much of our work due to attentional challenges and/or slower processing speed. But, fundamentally, the challenge is the sheer quantity of work most students face. There is always an issue with the allocation of resources. whenever I do a speaking engagement I ask the parents how many of them have 6 different bosses who assign them work independently, without consulting each other? No one ever raises their hand. My brother-in-law is the closest. As a lawyer he is always juggling many cases, but rarely more than a few at a time. The point being that it just may not be possible for an ADHD student to get everything done on time even if time and attention are managed optimally. I spent most of my school vacations catching up on papers. I never took advantage of it and seem to have turned out fine.

Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. An imperfect post completed is better than a perfect post that goes unposted.

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