Does the IEP Provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)?

Our kids with ADHD in the classroom have so many issues around behavior that FAPE is something that needs to be understood.  It seems that the impulsivity and hyperactivity that manifests from this medical diagnosis do get in the way of learning.  Unfortunately, behavior often is looked at as controllable and can be changed when needed.  And of course, kids with ADHD in the classroom often get bored, confused, and frustrated that only can potentiate those behaviors including not listening, moving, calling out, or just not proceeding with assigned work.

I talk to parents frequently who are concerned about this behavior and how it reflects on how the teacher and their peers look at their child.  Unfortunately, it is a vicious circle since any negative response to unwanted behavior will only serve to reinforce the negative behavior.  And I would think that at this time of year, behaviors are surfacing more often due to the excitement of the holiday season that certainly serves to cause distraction!

It’s so important to know that the school is obligated to deal with these behaviors through a positive behavior plan with incentives.  It must be individualized to the child and the goals that are desired and needed.  Research states that our kids with ADHD respond much better to positive reinforcement then negative.  So, the idea is that if a child is conforming to what is expected, which will be in this behavior plan, identifying that as a positive and providing positive reinforcements will serve to promote that behavior and leave less time for the behavior that is not desirable.

As children with ADHD grow, the impulsivity and hyperactivity seem to disappear.  Although much of those feelings are in their head and no one sees.  But if they have strategies to overcome these symptoms in the classroom, learning can become easier.  Here is a great example:  a client of mine who is in college has a night class from 6-9PM.  It is very frustrating when his football team is playing during the end of that class.  He is absolutely unable to play attention during that time.  He switches is lap top to the game intermittently until the end of class.  For him, this is a workable strategy since it serves to minimize his concern of missing this game and help to refocus.

The younger child with overt behavioral problems must have a positive plan.  Remember that the behavior is not coming from a neurotypical child but a child with a medical diagnosis that includes challenges with handling impulsivity.  The behavior plan serves as an exterior support with positive incentives to assist with learning and reinforcing expected behaviors until they can internalize this ability.  Parents need consistent communication from the school in order to know how the plan is working and needs for tweaking.  In addition, they can provide the weekly incentive for having a successful week in school.  Providing this plan in the IEP is crucial to so many of our kids with ADHD in order to provide FAPE, free and appropriate public education. See the infograph for a full explanation of what FAPE is.

A little about the author and founder of ADD Advocate, Karen Lowry: I am a certified ADHD Coach. ADHD advocacy is my passion. There are so many school support challenges facing our children, that knowing your rights as a parent have never been more crucial. Effective ADHD coaching depends on effective advocacy for our kids. Remember, if you should ever have any questions about anything regarding school support, or just understanding about ADHD, IEP programs, 504 plans, etc…. Please feel free to contact me directly for a free consultancy session. You can contact me directly by clicking here!

Does the IEP Provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)?

Special thanks to Understood for their good works and creating the above FAPE infograph.

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