Sample 504s/IEPs for Teachers

Your students OCD or anxiety symptoms may qualify as a disability if they are severe enough that they impact his/her ability to learn.  In these cases, the student who is in public school is eligible for a 504 Plan or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). With a 504 or an IEP Plan, accommodations are made so that the student has access to the curriculum in the same way their peers do.  As a teacher, you will most likely be involved in developing this plan, and in doing so, should consider the following.

 

504/IEP Plan: What Teachers Should Consider When Making Accommodations

  • Involve all Key Players – It is important to get input from everyone on the team (teachers, guidance counselors, parents, the student’s outside therapist, and the student) when creating accommodations for OCD and/or Anxiety. Having the entire team involved increases the likelihood of developing an effective plan and having high “buy-in."
  • Operationalize the Plan – Accommodations should be clear and measurable to reduce confusion and increase consistency across teachers and classrooms. For example, instead of saying “The student will get extensions on writing assignments”, the plan should state “The student will be given a one-day extension on all writing assignments when requested via email the day before the assignment is due.”
  • Be Realistic – Accommodations should be practical for both the teacher and the student. It may be helpful for a student to get a study guide before each exam in every class, but it is unrealistic to expect this to happen every single time. Setting unrealistic goals leads to inconsistencies in plan implementation and frustration for everyone involved.
  • Collect Data – Gathering information about how accommodations are working is an important part of any plan. For example, tracking homework compliance, attendance, visits to the nurse, use of coping strategies, behavioral outbursts, etc. helps the team determine if the plan is effective or not.  Hard data is more reliable and useful than individual opinion or recollections.
  • Not All Accommodations are Helpful – It is important to make sure that an accommodation is, indeed, helpful and does not exacerbate a student’s symptoms. For example, if a student has checking or perfectionism then an accommodation of extra time on all tests may simply be providing more time for the student to ritualize. A more appropriate accommodation for these symptoms might be to have the test broken up into different sections or to have a test given orally.
  • Review Regularly - It is important to review plans regularly. In general, 504 plans and IEPs are reviewed annually, but it is wise to review plans more frequently, especially newly developed ones. The information collected (see above) ought to be reviewed and used to guide adjustments to the plan. Other factors that might warrant an adjustment to the plan are a change in symptom subtype and/or an increase in symptomatology.
  • Accommodations are not Treatment – Often times, school personnel or parents worry that the plan is “giving into anxiety” or “will become a crutch”. It is important to remember that 504 Plans and IEPs are not treatment plans.  They consist of accommodations that allow the anxious child to be able to learn as their non-anxious peers do –– to get them to the starting line, so to speak.  Without them, anxiety can be so severe that it makes learning nearly impossible.  The expectation is that accommodations will fade out as the child manages their symptoms more effectively.

 

Sample Accommodations for Anxiety or OCD:

Their are various accommodations that teachers can make for their students with anxiety or OCD in the classroom. Click the tabs below to view a list of sample accommodations for contamination fears, social anxiety, perfectionism, checking, and indecision/procrastination.

Contamination Fears
  • Separate set of books for home
  • Has own set of supplies (crayons, scissors, tape) vs. using community supplies
  • May take hand-outs first before others have touched them
  • Scheduled bathroom breaks/use of low traffic bathroom
  • May leave class a minute early to avoid hallway congestion
Social Anxiety
Perfectionism
Checking
Indecision/Procrastination

Largely, the expectation is that these accommodations will fade out as the student learns to manage their OCD and/or anxiety symptoms more effectively.