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Can I Demand a Paraprofessional in the Classroom for my ADHD Child?

May 17, 2012
by Emmeline ll

The short answer is, no.

However, the school is required to provide FAPE (free and appropriate education) in the "least restrictive environment," so if the support provided isn't enough to keep him in general ed., but an aid could, then they should try that before a self-contained classroom. I found a good link though:  How to Request a One-to-One Aide for Your Child by ... - Wrightslaw; also, the book below has advice in understanding how schools operate in this area and how to negotiate with them. Have they evaluated for a behavior intervention plan? ~~When searching for special education info, proceed your question with "Wrightslaw" and something relevant usually turns up.

I'm curious as to why their minds would go straight to a self-contained classroom--perhaps just because they have one; my ds attends a space-restricted charter whose library is about the size of my bedroom.

My ds (now 8yo) has rather ADHD-combined and used to be quite aggressive and hyperactive. Just prior to 1st grade we started him on Concerta which helped a lot but there were still problems. A couple of months later he moved on to Vyvanse which was a lot better, then a few months after that we increased the dose of Vyvanse and he has been doing well on that for over a year. All during the last school year and summer he was seeing a behavior therapist (which didn't help much until the second dose of Vyvanse), but the most important factor in his ability to get through first grade was his teacher--she figured out what it took to calm ds or to talk him out of one of "his freezes" (absolutely no communication), and how to make the school environment work for him.

I recommended reading "Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy" ASAP; the information from the book can be found on their site as well (Table of Contents). Reading "Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition," would be a good idea as well.

I would also suggest pushing the meeting back a week to give you more time to prepare, but if that isn't possible you may want to contact an advocate to meet with prior and accompany you to the meeting. Your state department of education website may have a list of free or low cost advocates. I would also print a copy of your state special education laws from that site.

"Can I Demand a Paraprofessional in the Classroom for my ADHD Child?" Mothering.com

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