I was recently in a school meeting defending the ADHD civil rights for the children of my clients. They basically wanted a 504 plan for their twins, who both have ADHD. Every district handles these requests differently but the federal law does not change. Unfortunately, though, there is wiggle room for some subjective assessments on the part of the school. When I asked why the school was going through with an evaluation to determine eligibility, I was told by the Director of Special Education that it was necessary to determine their need for this support.
Technically, there is no formal evaluation needed for the assessment of eligibility for a 504 plan. Eligibility is a disability that impacts a major life function. In the case of ADHD, two of those life functions are learning and concentration. I was corrected by the Director: The word that I left out was “substantially.” She is correct. Unfortunately, that word can impact this decision. What is the definition of substantial and how does it reflect the need for the 504 plan? There can be many different points of view, including that recurring incorrect requirement of low grades.
In addition, she said she needed the document from the clinician who diagnosed the twins with his recommendations for accommodations. This was stunning to me. Many times, parents believe that a physician document will seal the deal with the granting of the 504 plan. It does not, because the physician does not have the academic expertise any more than the school has any medical expertise. Schools can look away from those recommendations because of that and rightfully so. Further, in order to insure the individuality of the 504 plan, there needs to be information that shows impairments and how they are actually affecting academics in the classroom. That is where those accommodations must come from.
So, what is the answer for you parents trying to advocate for school support? It is clearly important to document the struggles you see on a daily basis that come from the impairments of ADHD. No one can argue about factual data. This information comes from what you see at home regarding organization, time management, levels of frustration, and emails from teachers with documentation of struggles in the classroom.
Our children with ADHD have the right to receive education without the impairments of this disability getting in their way! They are bright, intuitive, passionate, and sensitive people who just need accommodations and sometimes modifications in order to achieve school expectations with a healthy self-esteem. Download and read my FREE eBook on ADHD civil rights titled: Do You Know the Civil Rights of Students with ADHD?
It is clear that the federal law is protecting our kids with ADHD. We need to continue to advocate for their needs by being vigilant in our documentation as we prove that many times ADHD and ADHD civil rights, is a substantial impact to our kids’ success!
To understand more about what ADHD advocacy is, and how it can dramatically help your child, please contact me directly for a free consultancy session. On our call, you will have the opportunity to share the challenges that your child is facing, and get instant feedback on critical next steps to help both you and your child. You can contact me directly by clicking here!
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, ADHD civil rights, IEP programs, 504 plans, etc….