Is an IEP for ADHD an Unnecessary Label?

Can a ADHD Child's IEP be Individualized?Is an IEP for ADHD an Unnecessary Label? The shocking conversation I had the other day was unexpected, both because of where it took place and because of the content discussed by this professional.  My brother and I had taken our mother to a local dentist, one whom we had seen often due to our mother’s extensive dental needs.

He began talking about his wife who was finishing up her master’s degree in special education. He had a basic concern about the value of this degree.  He decided that it was ok to help “these kids” through elementary, middle, and high school.  But then what?  He said there is no special education in college and no ability to get the extra time for assignments and tests anymore.  He then brought up how moms want less homework for their kids which in his mind leads to better grades.  But then what is the future after that?  He talked about the high percentages of dental school dropouts.  He spoke about his hiring criteria for his office and stated that he would never hire someone with a history of needing special education to be an office manager.

Here I was speaking to a professional who was choosing to categorize all those who have required special education help into one area of inabilities and incapabilities.  I think I may have stopped breathing.  And then quickly realized that he and I would never be able to have a sane and reasonable conversation about this topic.

What are the takeaways of this very disappointing conversation?

  • Yes, an IEP for ADHD does expire after high school graduation.
  • Yes, 504’s can be in place in a college setting for accommodations with required testing in place that shows a disability that limits a major life function.
  • Yes, written correctly, followed consistently, and with quarterly testing done, IEP’s can allow for remediation of learning disabilities and ADHD.
  • No, not all disabilities or areas of struggle with an ADHD diagnosis can be remediated. But strategies can be learned to overcome those areas of weakness.
  • Yes, it is clear that it is so important to understand that federal law protects those with disabilities. In the case of children, it is important for the eligibility of support needed for remediation, development of strategies, success, and a healthy self-esteem. ADHD and dyslexia are invisible to many and looked upon as not real.  They believe that appropriate behaviors would allow success if they choose it.  For instance, many in our schools believe that inappropriate behavior and lack of executive functioning skills can be controlled and learned easily without formal support.  The mere expectations of responsibility should shake our kids into action. Unfortunately, this is so wrong and detrimental to our kids with ADHD in the classroom.


Is an IEP for ADHD an Unnecessary Label?

This dentist represents the mindset of many people who assume definitions but do not clarify with good information.  Many in our schools operate under misinformation as well.  It is imperative that parents have the correct information to support and advocate for their very capable kids with ADHD who think outside of the box.  Our kids must believe this as well since they can’t change the dangerous and incorrect mindset of the dentist.  They can and must believe in themselves.

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