Students with ADHD often HATE to write. Written expression is a more demanding task than talking, reading, or doing basic math calculations. It places a much heavier demand on learned skills and executive functions. Think about it, when you sit down to write even a simple sentence, you first have to decide what it is you are going to write. Then, while you hold onto the information in your short-term memory, you have to begin putting the letters on paper. You have to remember correct capitalization and punctuation rules. You have to remember spelling and grammar rules……oh, and what exactly are you writing again? Now take that thought process and transfer it to a 5 paragraph paper or, even worse, a 5 page essay!!!
Writing accommodations should be a part of every ADHD student’s 504 plan to help them break down the steps of the writing process and efficiently get their ideas across on paper. Some accommodations should include:
- The use of graphic organizers to help them organize and sequence their ideas
- The ability to dictate their ideas to a scribe (parent or teacher aid) or the ability to use voice to text software
- Focus on the content of their writing and not the mistakes. They should not be penalized for spelling errors or errors in capitalization or punctuation unless the writing is a final draft.
- Longer writing projects need to be broken into smaller chunks to avoid the student becoming overwhelmed. Each piece should have a separate due date to avoid procrastinating the whole thing until the last minute!