ADHD at School: How Parents Can Work With Teachers

If you think your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or a teacher raises concerns, you may be able to request that your child’s school conduct an evaluation to determine whether he or she qualifies for special education services.

Start by speaking with your child’s teacher, school counselor, or the school’s student support team, to begin an evaluation. Also, each state has a Parent Training and Information Center and a Protection and Advocacy Agency that can help you get an evaluation. A team of professionals conducts the evaluation using a variety of tools and measures. It will look at all areas related to the child’s disability.

Once your child has been evaluated, he or she has several options, depending on the specific needs. If special education services are needed and your child is eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the school district must develop an “individualized education program” specifically for your child within 30 days.

If your child is considered ineligible for special education services—and not all children with ADHD are eligible—he or she still can get “free appropriate public education,” available to all public-school children with disabilities under Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.

For more information on Section 504 visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights which enforces Section 504 in programs and activities that receive Federal education funds.

Visit the Department of Education’s My Child’s Special Needs section for more information about children with disabilities.

Transitions can be difficult. Each school year brings a new teacher and new schoolwork, a change that can be especially hard for a child with ADHD who needs routine and structure. Consider telling teachers that your child has ADHD when he or she starts school or moves to a new class. Additional support will help your child deal with the transition.

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