Equal Opportunity: The Importance of Accommodations and Self-Advocacy

Posted by | Oct 11, 2017

Students can’t change their neurobiology, but parents and teachers can help children compensate for documented weaknesses by creating helpful external supports. These “end runs” around specific challenges include strategies, routines, and academic accommodations that level the playing field for students with ADHD and other learning disabilities.

Similar to putting a pair of glasses on a nearsighted child, academic accommodations compensate for impairments that are unrelated to intelligence or ability. Depending on the individual student’s deficits, they might include help such as extended time on tests, note-taking support, memory aids, auditory cues, motor breaks, oral examinations in lieu of written ones, duplicate textbooks for home use, emailed homework assignments and online logs, morning classes for difficult subjects, or fidget toys and specialized seating.

Students spend a lot of effort trying to fit in among their peers and it can be difficult for them to draw attention to themselves, especially if they are made to feel that accommodations are “shortcuts” that game the system. It’s essential to help your child understand which accommodations work best for them and that using them isn’t cheating.

“It’s critical that requests for academic accommodations originate from the student,” says Monica Ferenczy of Horizon Educational Consulting in Ontario. “Parents should not leave it up to the school or institution to determine what will be provided. Accommodations must be personalized and based on individual need if they are going to be successful. That happens when students are driving the process.”

At Evoke Learning, our coaches and tutors mentor students to provide the direction and support they need to speak up, ask for the help they are legally entitled to receive, and understand the science underlying their disability. Self-advocacy is a lifelong skill that pays dividends beyond the classroom, helping students succeed in the workplace and in their personal relationships. Contact us today to learn more about Evoke programs and services that support your child’s right to learn.