The Supreme Court recently had to make a decision that would impact our kids with special needs, including the possible success in the classroom for ADHD children. It was based on a case regarding a child with autism who was not making any definitive gains in achieving his goals in his IEP. His parents pulled him out of school and found a private placement that could fulfill his IEP. As a result, he began to indeed meet goals and expectations.
Many federal circuit courts within individual states had supported the need for IEP’s to reflect meaningful benefit while others, depending on the state, deemed it to be ok for the IEP to offer minimal benefit. Now, this Supreme Court has decided that IEP’s must be “appropriately ambitious”. Previously, the IDEA 2004 has held that special education services should address gaps that exist when a child performs below grade level. In addition, special education should provide “FAPE” (Free And Appropriate Public Education), by providing for a child’s unique needs and preparing them for “further education, employment, and independent living.” This reflects the very important Dear Colleague letter I talk about in another blog, “Do You Know the Civil Rights of Students with ADHD?” A document sent to public schools in the US in July 2016 reinforcing the need for evaluation and support for kids with ADHD. No law changed here; but reinforced the need to address our kids as a result of thousands of civil rights complaints that schools were not supporting these kids.
This Supreme Court ruling has not changed any of the above. But the ruling is adding more safeguards for parents to ensure that their child’s special education is maximized. The question of course is how you measure and ensure that this ruling is followed. Yes, that’s where you the parent continues to be a very important person on the IEP team. Yes, you have always been a part of the team, despite comments and behavior from some on the team who might not want you to be involved. You know your child best. The importance of follow up on plans of support and effects cannot be taken lightly. Observations and quarterly testing that monitor progress should be taking place in order to know if that IEP is effective. Another area that should be included would be communication with the school. Again, you the parent are part of the team and always have valuable input as to how your child is being effected by support, modifications, programs, and related services. In the “Dilemma of ADHD Support in the School”, I talk about reviewing those accommodations in a 504 and the possible need for an IEP. That process of monitoring and awareness of effects are crucial to your child’s success and healthy self-esteem. The Supreme Court ruling has advanced further the need to ensure that our children with special needs learn to their absolute potential. And it has given another procedural safeguard for parents who advocate for their children to ensure that they reach their potentials. Our kids with ADHD are no different than all of the other neurotypical kids in their desire to meet expectations and find their passions.
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!