I’ve scheduled my daughter for a speech & language evaluation due to CAPD and potential expressive language disorder. She also has a diagnosis of ADHD Inattentive. Our school district goes to any means to prevent giving a 504 for ADHD. They say it does not substantially affect learning. How do I advocate for all her needs?
You need to get a copy of Section 504 and read it. Search the Wrightslaw website for information about Section 504. Contact your state Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) to see if they offer training on the topic.
Section 504 says that a child’s disability must adversely affect a major life function. Going to school is our kid’s job. It is a major life function!
The school says your daughter does not qualify for a 504 because she does not have failing grades. Get them to put it in writing.
A good way to do this without seeming adversarial is to use a comment like this. “Wow. I did not realize that my daughter’s grades had to be failing for her to qualify for a section 504. Do you have a copy of that law and could you put that in writing?” Write a polite letter to the school with your request.
Look at this a different way. A student has a physical impairment that prevents him from getting to class on time. He is making passing grades. An appropriate 504 accommodation might be more time to get to class. Would the school deny this student a 504, just because he is making passing grades? How would that be equal access and opportunity? This is the promise of 504.
Eligible for an IEP under IDEA?
If my child had an ADHD diagnosis, I would request a complete evaluation. ADHD often goes hand in hand with a learning disability. If your daughter has CAPD, then she should be eligible under IDEA for an IEP with speech/language services. The IEP should include accommodations for all of her needs. IDEA says school cannot deny a child services because she is passing and moving from grade to grade.
An IEP provides your child (and you) with more rights and protections than a 504 plan. If your daughter has a disability that adversely affects educational performance, she is eligible for special education services under IDEA. If your daughter is eligible for special education under IDEA, she is protected under Section 504 (but the converse is not true).
This diagram always makes it easier for me when I am trying to help parents understand that a child with an IEP is covered by 504.