Diagnosis Spotlight: ADHD
The number of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States has increased dramatically.
Here are some helpful tips to help your child succeed in school:
- Become an effective case manager. Keep a record of all information about your child. This includes copies of all report cards, teacher notes, disciplinary reports, evaluations and documents from any meetings concerning your child. You might also include information about ADHD, a record of your child’s prior treatments and placements, and contact information for the professionals who have worked with your child.
- Form a team that understands ADHD and be the team captain. Meetings at your child’s school should be attended by the principal’s designee as well as a special educator and a classroom teacher that knows your child. You, however, have the right to request input at these meetings from others that understand ADHD or your child’s special needs. These include your child’s physician, the school psychologist, and the nurse or guidance counselor from your child’s school. If you have consulted other professionals, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, educational advocate or behavior management specialist, the useful information they have provided should also be made available at these meetings. A thorough understanding of your child’s strengths and weaknesses and how ADHD affects him or her will help you and members of the team develop an appropriate and effective program.
- Learn all you can about ADHD and your child’s educational rights. The more knowledge you have about your child’s rights under the two education laws, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the better to maximize his or her success. Each state has a parent technical assistance center that can help you learn more about your child’s rights (visit http://www.parentcenterhub.org/ptacs/to find the center in your state).
- Become your child’s best advocate.You need to represent and protect your child’s best interest in school situations, both academic and behavioral. Become an active part of the team that determines what services and placements your child receives in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 plan. See Education for Individuals with ADHD for more information.
- Communicate regularly. Adopt a collaborative attitude when working with your child’s team—after all, everyone has the same goal, to see your child succeed! Let your child’s teachers know if there are some major changes going on in your family since your child’s behavior can be affected. Invite the teachers to contact you with any issues or concerns before they become a problem. Having open lines of communication between you and the school will help your child.
Understand: Know the terms
The Law: IDEA (Section 504)
Section 504 is a federal civil rights statute that says schools cannot discriminate against children with disabilities. It says that schools that receive federal dollars must provide eligible children with disabilities with an equal opportunity to participate in all academic and non-academic services the school offers. The school must also provide appropriate accommodations based on their individual needs.
These accommodations are often simple changes that can help the child with the disability. Sometimes these accommodations include special services such as using a tape recorder for note taking, giving the student a quiet place to work, or access to a computer in school for written work. Students who are eligible to receive services under Section 504 receive instruction through the regular education curriculum and at the same level as their peers without disabilities. Students under Section 504 must also participate in state required assessments.