What Special Education Services Are Available to My Child at School? It is important for parents to be aware and knowledgeable about the types of support, accommodations and special services that may be available to help their ADHD child succeed in school. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that public education provide appropriate services to children whose disabilities limit or impede ability to function in an educational setting. Your child may qualify for special services in case he has ADHD and the ADHD significantly impairs academic performance under IDEA. The school system is responsible for identifying and evaluating children who are suspected of having disabilities. You may request an evaluation for your child at any time as a parent. It is often helpful to put the request in writing in addition to talking to your child’s teacher and school principal. IDEA lists many different categories of disability under which a child can be eligible for special education. ADHD children often qualify under the other health impaired category. Although your child may qualify in case the ADHD symptoms severely inhibit learning and behavior at school, he does not automatically make him eligible for services under IDEA.

Special education services available at school

 You and school personnel will meet to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) specifically tailored to your child in case the outcome of the school evaluation indicates that your child meets the criteria for special education services. The IEP is a written document that outlines goals for your child, as well as the educational, developmental and behavioral support and services your child will receive in order to help him reach these goals. The definition of a disability is much broader under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, than it is under IDEA. He still may be able to qualify for services under Section 504 in case he does not qualify for services under IDEA. Section 504 requires that the needs of students with disabilities be met as adequately as the needs of those students without disabilities. A student with a disability is defined as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.  Many students with ADHD qualify as a “person with a disability” under Section 504 since learning is considered a major life activity. The school system will determine if your child qualifies for specialized services and accommodations under section 504. You may make a request for services by submitting the request in writing to your child’s school. You can better understand your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of the school so be sure to ask for a copy of your school district’s policies and procedures on Section 504. Often ADHD children continue in the regular classroom with appropriate modifications and accommodations rather than being placed in a separate special needs classroom so special education services and support should be provided in the least restrictive environment. Removal from the regular mainstream classroom would only occur if the student continues to struggle significantly in the regular classroom.