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When perfection becomes a hindrance for students

There are some students who strive to be "perfect." They want perfect attendance, a perfect score on a test or a perfect academic experience to put into a college application. While some people admire young students for this type of determination, there are some students for whom perfectionism is a hindrance to their learning.

In fact, as this article describes, students with learning disabilities like attentive deficient and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can also struggle with being a perfectionist. These conditions can create considerable challenges that warrant special accommodations.

Accommodations for ADHD and perfectionism

Children with ADHD typically struggle with shifting focus and following through with schoolwork. Oftentimes, these students benefit from a 504 plan or, less frequently, Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). These plans identify specific accommodations that can improve a child's learning, from extra time on assignments to having one-on-one time with instructors. 

When a child also struggles with perfectionism, these plans should reflect that fact. For instance, he or she may get very frustrated by imperfect results. The child might also spend too much time on insignificant details of an assignment and experience great anxiety when approaching a test. 

As such, similar or additional accommodations may be necessary for these students. As an example, students with ADHD who are perfectionists may need additional time on assignments. They may also need consistent support throughout the school day to help them shift focus as needed as address any feelings of anxiety or frustration. 

These and other resources can help children put their work in perspective and avoid becoming too focused on unimportant details.

Identifying and carrying out proper solutions

Properly identifying a child's learning needs and disabilities is crucial to ensure he or she receives a solid education. It also builds the foundation for any special education plans and services that a child will receive. With an informed plan in place and the commitment of everyone involved, a student can receive the education he or she deserves.

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