ADHD and School Supports (504 Accommodation Plan/IEP)

Has your child been recently diagnosed with ADHD? Do you know that your child is entitled to a 504 Accommodation Plan at school to accommodate his/her disability?

On July 26, 2016 the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance to schools clarifying their responsibilities and how they should be helping students with ADHD.

July 26, 2016: DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER—
Main Points:
· “The Letter” explains the Existing 504 Rules and also expanded the understanding of how these rules apply to students with ADHD;
· “The Letter” expands the scope of “who” is eligible for a 504;
· The July 26, 2016 OCR Dear Colleague Letter Does Not Have the Force of Law, but should be given deference by schools and the Courts;
· School Districts are asked to “pay attention” to this letter and the interpretation of this letter which was created by the office of civil rights.

Some of the top messages include:

-Right to Evaluation and Identification: Districts must appropriately and timely evaluate and identify students suspected of having ADHD:
-Section 504 requires more than just accommodations if needed for the students needs to be addressed. Requires appropriate accommodations AND services at no cost to the family. Districts must document and provide appropriate placement and services, regardless of cost. May include instruction and/or related services;
-Executive Functioning difficulties and non-academic behavior/social problems cover students with ADHD may also be eligible due to disruptive behavior, social skills issues, or problematic behavior such as not turning in homework or talking out of turn even if their grades are adequate;
-Students with Inattentive Type or Ability to Hyper-focus Shouldn’t be Ignored or Excluded. Schools have an obligation to evaluate inattentive type students and take into account extra parent effort and avoid discounting impact due to ability to hyper-focus for preferred tasks. Inattentive students are subject to protection because this involves thinking/learning;
Schools cannot make the parents responsible for their evaluation process
-District cannot make parent responsible for necessary elements or cost of evaluation. Cannot preclude evaluation or eligibility because parents can’t access private doctors/evaluators. Cannot require parents to pay for any element of the evaluation process if required by the school to determine eligibility;
-A good evaluation includes both medical and psychological (**Neurological Evaluation);
-504 Requires FAPE, not just accommodations and should not be limited to services that are free or low cost to the district and can include services that are also provided under IDEA, such as Special Education or related services through an IEP, if such services are necessary to receive a free and appropriate education under Section 504;

If you still have questions….we’re here to help! Call Suzanne @ 973-658-7767

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