Children with ADD/ADHD are eligible to receive special accommodations and services in the classroom, based on the severity of the ADD and how much it interferes with their learning. Although procedures may differ based on where you live, there are general guidelines that should help you through the process. For additional information on receiving services, you should contact your local school district and request information on their procedures.
If you feel your child may qualify for special services, you should write a letter to the school, outlining your reasons and requesting an evaluation. If you already have a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD or any related conditions, attach a copy of a letter from your physician. If possible, outline what behaviors are causing problems and why you feel your child should be evaluated. Make sure your letter is dated and keep a copy for yourself.
Teachers are also able to initiate an evaluation. If a teacher does request an evaluation, you should receive information on the evaluation, as well as a consent form to be completed.
School evaluations will often include vision and hearing screenings, IQ tests, academic screening and classroom observation. In addition, both the parent and the teacher may be asked to complete detailed questionnaires regarding behavior, education, and developmental milestones.
Depending on the outcome of the evaluation, students may be eligible for services under Section 504 or under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Children with ADHD are more often provided services under Section 504 than through IDEA. If your child is found to not be eligible for services, the school is required to notify you of the Due Process Procedure to request a hearing where you will be able to voice why you feel your child should receive special services.
Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. All institutions and organizations that receive federal funding must comply with Section 504. This law defines qualified individuals as anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as learning. According to this definition, even if your child does not require special education services, they could still be eligible for classroom accommodations.