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Guaranteeing Special Education Rights: Individualized Education Plans

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student's deskClassroom Modifications for Students with Attention Problems

Change where the child sits. To help the child listen in class, he/she should be placed in an area where there is not much noise or distraction; away from the window or doorways.

The best place for the student to sit may not be in the front of the classroom, if it is near an open door or window which may be a constant source of distractions.

Two or three times each day, have all of the children stand up at their desks, turn around, jump up and down or do other physical exercises. (NOTE: This works best with elementary children, especially K-3 who think it is funny, and really need to ‘get the wiggles out’. Your high school students may think you are a bit weird if you do this. I would do it once in a while anyway, just to mess with them, but that is me.)

Try to change the class schedule so he is in the same classroom most of the day if the child tends to get into trouble during breaks, moving from one classroom to another.

If a child has trouble staying still, give her plenty of breaks. After each ten minutes of work completed, let her get up to sharpen a pencil, clean the board, walk over to the bookshelf and look at the books or other activity.

To keep their environment even more in order, the teacher should keep everything in the same place, such as desks, supplies, etc. For a child who is easily distracted, once she has to get up, search for a pencil or piece of paper and come back to the desk, she may have completely forgotten what she was supposed to be writing about with that pencil.

Make your own cubicle: You can do this in school or at home. You may wish to discuss this with the student first. There are two ways to do this. The first is to get a very large box, the kind refrigerators come in is perfect. Cut the top off and one of the sides. Put the student’s desk inside of it. They may even want to decorate it with pictures or their schoolwork. This cubicle prevents students from being distracted by what is going on to either side or in front of them. If the student’s desk is put in facing away from the teacher, when she wants the class’s attention, the student can turn his chair around. Cubicles are probably best used at home or in a self-contained class where every student has one, or it makes too obvious a distinction between the child and his or her classmates. It may not bother the child at all to be singled out, or whatever distinction the cubicle makes can be less problem than the learning or behavior difficulties he or she is having. Cubicles may also be useful for children who have behavior problems because it makes it much more difficult to hit the child next to you or throw things at other children.

A second way to make a cubicle is to get a large box, say, the size a TV comes in, cut out the top and one side, and put it on the child’s desk. Again, this blocks distractions from the side and front and makes it easier to concentrate. You can have these ‘cubicle boxes’ in the classroom and allow any child to use when he or she is finding it hard to block out distractions.

NEXT arrow NEXT: Example 2- IEP and learning disabilities

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