Advocating for a Child with ADHD – 504 or IEP?

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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.

  1. My son is 10 years old and have been diagnosed with adhd at the age of 5. He is now in the 4th grade and he is struggling with his assignments. Math is his strongest subject, but the other subjects he is failing. His behavior is out of control at school. I constantly receive calls from the teachers, principal, or counselor everyday regarding his behavior. He is now seeing a personal counselor because the place where he receive his meds are not doing their job. I think my son suffers from more than adhd, but they had not informed me anything else regarding his condition. My son also has a speech delay. Can you give me some advice about my situation?

    • Does your son have an IEP that details all of his accommodations and modifications. It sounds like he needs one and you can ask for modified class and homework. I would also get an Independent Assessment for your son to find out what is going on with him. From the just of things it sound like ADHD but I think there are other things going on as you mentioned.

    • You say your son has a speech delay, wondering if you’ve taken him to a Speech and Language Pathologist for testing or had Central Auditory Processing disorder ruled out? My child is similar and after doing research on Spelling tests we found 2 tests that pinned point where my child struggles with Language period. Spelling, reading, listening, memory, answering questions are all compromised. Our occupational therapist also pointed out sound & light sensitivity is big. ADD & CAPD mirror each other in many ways & can be hard to distinguish. If he is overstimulated ALL day, it can cause fatigue, regulation breakdown & unpleasant behavior. Think how is your behavior when you’ve been excessively stimulated for 6 hours? It’s a lot to take in, learn & advocate for.

  2. Good Morning

    my son is 7 years old with an ADHD diagnosis. He is on Stimulant. Last school year, The school and I drafted an 504 plan. A FBA was drafted and accommodations were made including the need for an 1 on 1 aide. This upcoming year, the aide was not assigned due to being short staff (that’s the excuse) weeks have gone by and emails exchanged until a meeting was set up to discuss the removal for the need for an one -one aide. The reasons indicated were that the troubling behaviors that were present in the past are not of concerns now. His grades are exceptional and therefore, the aide should be removed from the 504. is this enough reason to remove the one -on one aide accommodations from his 504 plan?

  3. Eligibility for special education is defined by your State. To be eligible for SPED services there are several qualifications. One is you need to have a disability. BUT YOU ALSO need to show an adverse affect on education — link the disability to a problem in education, AND you need to tell what Specially Designed Instruction is needed. In other words, just because a student has ADD, do they need extra time (accommodation) or do they need to be taught how to attend. One is through a 504 and the other is thru SPED. SPED cannot fix everything and often times, students with a disability being served SPED have worse outcomes in life. So it is not just “oh they have a disability”.. it is more than that.

  4. My daughter is 10 y/o in the fourth grade. She was diagnosed with ADD and Anxiety. She has already been held back once in the first grade. We had a 504 plan put into place for her with some accommodations that seemed to help her in the third grade, but this year she is really struggling. She typically makes A’s, but this year is making C’s, D’s, and now several F’s. I have approached the school with my concerns and even asked for an IEP, but was told that because she tested below average she doesn’t qualify. I was told she was in the 13th percentile and just below average, but they felt that was typical of a child her age. I don’t understand how that is typical of a child her age if she has already been held back and should technically be in the 5th grade.

    • I suggest sending a written request for special ed testing to the campus principal & special ed director. Note the facts that you mention here. Request a written notice saying yes or no. Push them for this if necessary, since state & federal rules require this. Your state parent training & information center can assist you.

  5. We moved and my son is in a new school district. He has Autism and he gets very stressed when seeing a child crying. The new district has not completed an evaluation on him and are trying to just go with the previous school iep which is not helpful. Previous school district had no teacher for 2 years and I wrote numerous letters to special ed dept and to superintendent including principal and teacher. There was retaliation as he was removed from inclusion classes first because they didn’t have TAs to take him, i asked to add it back on but was denied time after time. He is high functional, and has shown improvement outside of school environment. I have an ARD on 9/27 and want him back on inclusion. Does anyone know of a child advocate in Austin/Buda, TX area? I am in desperate help.

  6. As the father of a young adult with an ASD dignosis, I highly recomend From Emotion to Advovacy and Special Education Law by Pam and Pete Wright.

    From Emotions to Advocacy offered a different perspective to the IEP process.
    When we first started, we often referred to our efforts as fighting with district.
    After reading this book, we began “negotiating” for meaningful services.

    My son graduated top in his HS class and earned a degree with 4.0 GPA. He now has a high paying job in a neighboring school district.

  7. My son was diagnosed with ADHD the summer before kindergarten. The school said that it was to0 early in the year to set up an IEP, so we did a 504. It seemed to work for the most part but he was still having behavior problems due to his frustration. The school kept pushing he was emotionally disturbed. We final requested an FBA. Among the paper work the school gave us- a behavior assessment. They question us if we got it and why we didn’t fill it out.
    After explaining to them that I did my homework and that the behavior aspect is not part of an FBA they simply said ok not a problem we won’t do that part. After the assessment was completed we had the meeting.

    The school stated he was diagnosed primary ADHD, secondary Emotionally Disturbed based on his teachers evaluation and a preschools evaluation that he was at for a month. When I explained to them that I am not happy regarding the emotionaly disturbed piece and how it was done the school said that he was better off with the two. Reason 1 was that he will get more services like 1 on 1 which he wouldn’t get with just the ADHD diagnosis. Reason two was they tried to tell me that he doesn’t qualify for services just having ADHD and that a secondary diagnosis is needed. So can he get the same service with just having the ADHD? Can I do anything about how they went about the diagnosis? I truly feel like they are targeting the poor kid who is now in first grade. im so frustrated

  8. Karen
    My son was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, depression and anxiety disorder in 3rd grade. The psychologist recommended a 504 plan which his school denied telling me he didn’t qualify “because a 504 is for disabled/sick kids say with cancer or an amputee” I know this is inaccurate but didn’t fight it as the principal then told me the school would provide him with any accommodations I wanted, obviously not in writing. He hasn’t needed many, does well on tests and normally is a A-B student. Most of his issues so far have been behavioral. His does take stimulants. Now he is in 5th grade and he is struggling with writing projects, and the whole executive function thing with organizing thoughts. I want to revisit a 504 plan can they turn me down?

  9. I have contacted my daughters school in June to set up a 504 for this September. The asst principal didn’t respond until 2 weeks ago. We have been playing phone tag. She calls at times that I tell her I won’t be able to answer since I will be at work.
    My daughter just started 3rd grade and I do not want her to be stressed at all this year. How do I light a fire to get moving without blacklisting myself?

    • Do not answer those calls! Send an email with your request–always in writing to the school! If you happen to answer the phone, put that conversation to an email describing what was discussed!! In your email, document all the dates you called and voicemails you left asking about a 504 meeting. I’d wait a day and then cc the superintendant on the next email.

  10. My son has been medicated for ADHD since he was ten and is now 16. He’s a good student, but his grades dropped last year when teachers started being very strict about no credit for late assignments (he sometimes forgets to turn them in). He does really well on tests, but has never had a time-limited test, and often is still completing a statewide test a couple of days after other students are finished. I’m concerned about college entrance exams (ACT, SAT), which I understand will grant accommodations such as extended time, if they already have a 504 in place at high school. Our counselor told me that his ADHD must affect his coursework in order to have a 504. Also, “We can’t write a 504 specifically for test accommodations (not allowed per federal law)”. Is this correct? Any advice?

    • Documentation for submission to ACT/SAT is considered by looking closely at the educational impact and the adverse effect on learning — Submission to the ACT/SAT can include teachers concerns, emails from teachers, past report cards, evaluations, I am going through this as now I have another child (11th grade) who was recently diagnosed with ADD-Inattentive. ACT/SAT is looking at a paper trail of evidence of impact. The high school counselor resubmitted paperwork to indicate a paper trail since the initial request for extended time to ACT/ SAT was denied. You counselor may not know this as we had to submit documentation for reconsideration after an initial denial of extended time. Make sure (the first time) that ALL that documentation is included that shows impact–

    • To clarify: My child does NOT have a 504/IEP but was recently diagnosed with ADD. SAT/ACT initially rejected request—counselor only initially sent a school summary with a recent medical evaluation. When I read the denial letter, I gathered the paper trail that the college board needed to consider accommodations–especially for a child without an IEP/504 – many children are overlooked or not in special ed who need accommodations. My child now has accommodations because the counselor submitted the paper trail that showed impact over time to ACT/SAT. That paper trail (emails, evaluations, summer program reports, tutor bills, old and new report cards and report card comments) was key to obtain accommodations. Know the process and inform the counselor of that process.

  11. Hi. My daughter is 7 years old and going into the second grade–she has been formally diagnosed with ADHD and is also Epileptic and is going through the process of being evaluated for Autism because she has major sensory issues and has many characteristics of Asperger’s.. Her grades are above level other than math which in that subject she is on level. Her doctors have collectively decided to place her in PT and OT. Well that 3 days a week of the 2 services combined, which they offer in school. The school board told me that she does not qualify for these services during school because she’s not failing. She will Miss over half a day of instructional time 3 days every week. And I was told I am not allowed to let her miss so much either. That will make her suffer and fall behind. Help!

    • Under the federal IDEA law related services are provided to assist a child to benefit from special ed. The IEP team, not the board makes this decision on an individual student basis. If you disagree with the team’s decision, you can use the state dispute resolution processes to challenge the decision. Your state parent training & information center can assist you.

  12. Hi my 5 yr old grandson has traits of ADHD and Autism I have had him to numerous phycologists who have said they can see the traits but they are not ruling out displacement order. They will not commit to a diognosis until he is 6 which is October school have told me he cannot concentrate he no fear of danger he doesn’t understand the word no I have been advised to go on a 123 magic course but am still awaiting details. Is there any way I can get an early diognosis before it’s too late

  13. My 6 year old grandson has executive function disorder, ADD, and a tendency to Aspergers. He had occupational and speech therapy in Pre-k. He missed a lot of school during the first half of kindergarten. Stomach problems. He went to several doctors before we found one who didn’t think “it was all in his head/nerves”. He had a very bad stomach infection. After he got better, he only missed a couple of school days. He caught up in school. The school thought he would fail kindergarten. The school decided to test him and said they did see some issues with his learning but that he is smart. He is a transfer student. Now they’ve decided to not let him come back there. To many absences. Change will set him back. Is there a way to keep him there? Do we have any rights?

  14. My daughter has adhd/add, anxiety, dyslexia, and just diagnosed with autism. She has a 504 plan but it is not cutting it. The team does not think she needs an IEP because the tests done were now low enough and there was little discrepancy in scores. I have so many questions but do not know where to begin!

  15. My son has adhd, dyslexia, special learning disorder and aniexity. He’s been diagnosed with adhd since kindergarten, but has recieved 0 help. Because he was held back in first grade, the second time around he made good grades. He has failed second grade but will be pushed into third anyways. I’ve personally met with the special education coordinator of dale county, AL. He does not qualify for any help, simply because he is not “mature enough” and his IQ isn’t “low enough”. She kept repeating it’s state law, she can’t help him. He doesn’t qualify. But his younger sister, who had speech impediment, had an IEP. Now, explain to me, what all kinds of illegal just happened there?

  16. I live in Virginia. I have a ninth grader in high school. He has been diagnosed with adhd combined type and oppositional defiant disorder. He has a current IEP. We are about to have his first annual iep meeting and I was sent a draft. He is currently allowed to Retake failed tests and quizzes and extra time on tests. The school is attempting to change the IEP to tests and quizzes only and no retakes On failed benchmarks and 9 weeks Tests. Is that legal? Can they omit these specific tests as no retakes? If he has problems on regular tests of course he will have problems in his 9 weeks testsThey are also changing the wording of extra time on tests to “extended time when he is ACTIVELY working on the tests. I guess because he zones out and then the tests time out. Can they make these changes?

  17. I just received my son’s psychological report and he has difficulty with memory but the psychologist is saying that the memory scores are low due to difficulty with attention. He has a lot of trouble with reading, articulation and conveying his thoughts in general. I’m worried now that the 70’s he has in memory and above average IQ are going to keep impacting his academics and self-confidence. I had him retained in pre-k due to attention/maturity/learning issues. Attention and memory go hand in hand but it seems hard to dismiss a major processing skill because of attention….

    • What shouldn’t be dismissed is the scores of 70’s in memory in any case. If it turns out to be a result of a problem with processing, you are correct not to dismiss it. But even if the low memory score is a result of inattention, that would be clear evidence of some type of “life-altering condition” affecting his progress in school.

  18. I have custody of my 7 year old nephew been having custody of him since he was 1. They have him on a 504 plan I took him to get tested outside of school they said he was ADHD and has a learning disability. The school was also to test him within 60 days and have not yet tested him. But they keep suspending him for dumb things. What can I do?

    • Was your request in writing? They have 60 school days from the request to complete the testing. I would also officially ask for a functional behavior assessment.

  19. My grandson “qualified on paper” for dyslexia instruction, but because of his short attention span, he was denied services. The teacher, counselor and assistant principal said he should be tested for ADHD and put on medication. They said if he were medicated, and had his ADHD under control, they would retest him. Isn’t this against Federal Law?

    • That is against Federal Law and probably State laws as well depending on where you live.

      “The prohibition on mandatory medication in 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(25), which was added to the IDEA by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act Amendments of 2004, became effective on July 1, 2005. This prohibition on mandatory medication, which is implemented by the Department’s regulation at 34 CFR §300.174, is one of the conditions that a State must meet in order to be eligible for assistance under Part B of the IDEA.”

      § 300.174 Prohibition on mandatory medication.
      (a)General. The SEA must prohibit State and LEA personnel from requiring parents to obtain a prescription for substances………

  20. I have received custody of my 12 yo grandson because of the termination of my daughter’s parental rights. He is in 6th grade and switched to a 504 from an iep at the beginning of 6th. He has cerebral palsy due to a stroke just before or just after birth. The right side of his body doesn’t function properly. We are also screening him for add and he has ocd and an anxiety disorder for which he is taking medication for. The 504 conditions are not being followed. I am looking into removing him from school due to the fact that the faculty is politely hostile to me and he says his teachers hate him. He ended the first two semesters with failing grades in 3 out of 4 core classes because the 504 wasn’t implemented. When I complained they stated their ‘policy’. It is so frustrating.

  21. Rawr!,
    Yesterday my mom and I had a meeting for a 504 plan. It was denied. The ‘team’ consisted of the school counselor and the assistant principle (by the way, he wasn’t even paying attention, he was just on his computer clicking away, not taking notes, and not contributing to the discussion). They said “504 plan was considered. No substantial limitation exists, met with/ by mitigating measure. Coping strategies/medication”.
    1. I never mentioned any coping strategies, they just assumed I had them because I have good grades 2. There were teacher evaluations, those didn’t help–I’m a girl, my teachers have never noticed the ADHD. 3. Why is it that my grades excuse all of my other limitations–they documented “caring for oneself, visual distractions, sensory overload….”

  22. My son has ADHD and is in 6th Grade. He is constantly turning assignments in incomplete and late. My husband and I asked his school about getting a 504 plan/ IEP for him and his teacher said he thinks my son is making a conscious choice to do this so no further accommodation can be made. What do I do? He takes ADHD meds daily.

    With a 504 plan how much extra time can my child have to turn in assignments? The school says only 1 and a half times the original. But is that the law or the schools rules? Who decides?

    • Starr let me tell you right now accommodations can always be made. What I would do is contact the school and set up meeting with the principal, the teacher, your son, and his guidance counselor. You all should be deciding this as a team/ If he needs and extra day for assignments then they should be giving hime that extra day. Make sure everything is documented and make sure you have copies so that you have a pair trail to cover yourself.

    • My son has a 504 (he’s in 8 th grade) he gets double time on class assignments and 1 extra day on projects.

    • Your request for evaluation for a plan under Section 504 requires the school district to either honor that request or provide you with your procedural rights if they determine it to be unnecessary. Section 504 does not specify accommodations at all, since they need to be individualized. The one and a half times the original is an arbitrary determination by the school. An individual student is entitled under Section 504 to whatever accommodations will provide him or her to equal access to the educational program.

  23. Hello, my son has ADHD and ASD (highly functional) diagnosis from his doctors. At school, since first grade they had an IEP. In October, I brought up the issue that ASD is not addressed. My husband and I provide private tutors, rad and follow guides at home for ASD and ADHD (use positive and negative reinforcement), adjusted his medication. We recently had a meeting and we are now being told that he does not need to be in special ed and that they are going to put in in a 504 Plan instead of IEP. We are not in agreement, what should we do?

    • A 504 will have the same accommodations/modifications as an IEP, basically the only difference is the placement. IF your son needs to be placed in a RR then he should have an IEP, if he will be successful in a Gen Ed classroom with accommodations and/or modifications then a 504 is just fine. With that in mind, it is ultimately up to the parents.

      • Teach me, Sorry but your statement that an IEP and a 504 are essentially the same except for placement is not correct. An IEP provides the child and parent with more rights and protections than a 504 plan. If the child has a disability that adversely affects educational performance, the child should be found eligible for special education services under IDEA. If a child is eligible for special education under IDEA, s/he is protected under Section 504 (but the converse is not true). Please read the article you are commenting to – it should make the differences clear.

    • Well, it depends. If your son no longer requires specialized instruction (special ed), then the school is probably recommending the right thing by looking at a 504 plan instead. Wanting your son to be in special ed is not part of the criteria for qualifying. Students who require specialized instruction due to an impairment are usually eligible for an IEP. Students who do not require specialized instruction, but WHO DO NEED accommodations to allow them the same educational access as nondisabled students are those student for whom a 504 plan is more appropriate. I could answer in more detail to your situation if I knew the reason that you want an IEP versus a 504 plan…..

      • My son has ADHD, and he is on a 504. Last year I assisted with writing his 504 with his middle school. I assumed this transferred over to high school that is within the same district. I found out today, 6 months later, that the high school changed his accommodations on his 504 plan. I was never notified nor given an option to give my input. I also never received a copy until today. The only reason I found out that it was changed was because I requested an evaluation for special education. The school psychologist sent me a copy on a fluke. What do you recommend that I do? My son is currently failing three classes.

    • Bonnieg – If I understand your facts, your child has ADHD and ASD and has an IEP. The IEP does not address his needs related to ASD. Your family provides extra assistance, tutoring, etc.

      After you brought up the issue of ASD, the team said he doesn’t need special ed. They want to terminate his special ed and develop a 504 Plan. You do not agree.

      Before your child could be found eligible for special education, the school had to conduct a comprehensive evaluation. The eligibility decision was based on findings from the evaluation. Before the school can terminate his eligibility, it must also do a comprehensive evaluation. 20 USC 1414(c)(5); see page 98 in Wrightslaw: Special Ed Law.

      You need to write a letter that describes the events and your objections. Keep us posted.

    • Most children with asd qualify for an IEP. They almost all have a significant language delay in the pragmatic side category. This is a developmental delay that qualifies them for special education by an SLP at the very least and social skills groups. It is illegal to use academics as the only metric for an IEP. It is important that the do not have a 504 because those constrain accommodations only and are not required to have goals. Those goals ensure that children work towards being able to find employment and live independently. Most of our kids have impaired executive function and will struggle with living independently even if they are the smartest kid in the class academically. When they use the term education it includes developmental, functional and not just academic

  24. My daughter has had a 504 for ADD Inattentive Type since 3rd grade. She is supposed to have a 50% workload and additional time, as well as a list of other things. Her new middle school teachers are saying that they can’t cut her workload to 50%. As a result my daughter is an exhausted stressed out mess. I have a meeting (which I requested) with them on 10/5 and they mentioned they want to discuss possibly modifying her 504 to “fit middle school”. I am very concerned about this. Her teachers seem to think that she just needs to work harder and focus more. (If she could do that, she wouldn’t need a 504!) I feel like because she is in Honors classes and getting A’s and B’s they think she is just being lazy. Can they take away her reduced work load? Can they take away her 504?

    • I am having a similar issue – 7th grade. My son’s accommodations are not as drastic, but he is supposed to have extra time to complete assignments. No reduced work load accommodation. Now he has the ridiculous reading log that he will never be able to complete. He keeps getting points taken off of the late work. Now he will be missing a big chunk of points because he hasn’t read enough books (we listened to 4 on tape – supposed to have read 6 in 6 weeks!). I have gotten the same type of attitude also – that somehow he has to meet the expectations or receive bad grades.

    • I feel your pain. I have daughter with ADHD. The school thinks she is just having bad behavior. 6th grade. talking walking . They told me same bad grades only way to get IEP

      • my son is in the second graded and it’s taken me since k grade to get the iep and they are still on him about everything! He picks up stuff an puts it in his pocket! Hes adhd odd and add but the school don’t care.

      • Folks, the law does not require “bad” or failing grades for a child to be eligible for special ed. Period.

        If you have copies of the federal special ed law and regulations or our Special Ed Law book as a pdf, search these documents for “grades”. You will not find anything that supports the idea that kids must have failing grades or bad grades to qualify for special ed.

        • My daughter is 5, in kindergarten gets OT and counseling. she has ADHD, Social Anxiety disorder, mixed with moods and depression and on meds. my district is refusing her special Ed. she doesn’t tell her teacher what troubles her. her preschool for special services was a class of 12. now she’s stuck in a class of 21. what’s her rights?

    • Does anyone else also have the problem with their child that has add being stuck in classes with the kids that have behavioral problems. My daughter has a 504 because of her ADD (she’s in 6th grade) and she has mentioned several times of the students that just yell out and get in trouble constantly. I think they placed her in all classes at low levels because of her test scores . I’m a little upset and don’t know what to do , don’t think it’s fair to place kids with learning disabilities with all the kids that have behavioral problems all in one class. Just doesn’t seem fair to my daughter who would be devastated if she ever got in trouble at school to sit in a classroom with kids that act up all day. I’ve been told that’s how they group them

  25. Hi my son is 16 years old, a 9th grader. IEP since first grade. Last year they never told me he was failing classes during his yearly meetings, the school said he was doing well. This year they retained him, back in the 9th grade without my knowledge. I’ve been calling, but can’t find the right person. The school admitted they were wrong but won’t help me. Want me to do in IEP now because of the lack of communication. I stay in Wisconsin. Is there anyone I should contact or what can I do to hold the school responsible for the mistakes in making my child pay for it? I need help and advice. I’m lost here.

  26. My son is in the 6th grade(should be 7th this year..) has ADHD and 504 plan in place. He failed Math and Reading throughout last year’s school year, attended summer school and brought home a report card with a B in reading and a C in math.

    The principal called me three days before school started and told me they still failed him.

    How can they fail him? I thought the 504 plan was put into place to accommodate his learning needs? And isn’t a C supposed to be considered a passing grade?

    • My daughter’s school says a “D” is a passing grade, I’m in Oklahoma. I think all schools refuse IEP based on grades. The only class she is having problems with is Math.

  27. My son has ADHD and ASD Level one, or what used to be called asperger’s. His impairments are mostly social and he has been on the honor roll every marking period for the last three years. He transitioned to high school two days ago, and I learned that one class will require extensive note taking. I’m not sure if it’s part of the autism, or something else, (the neurologist told me he’d never be an athlete but should do alright in life,this was prior to the Level One ASD diagnosis I got outside the school) He gets tired writing, and his handwriting gets atrocious no matter how hard he tries…So today I called the guidance counselor and asked for an accommodation to be made where he could type the notes on a keyboard, the guidance counselor told me honor roll kids can’t have a 504.

    • That’s incorrect. I am an honor student and currently have a 504 plan in place. Get a copy of the law and read it thoroughly, present it to the counselor.

    • My son gets hard copies of notes from the teachers because he has trouble with reading and writing due to ADHD and Dyslexia, and he gets overwhelmed with all the writing and it takes to long for him to write it all down. Your child has rights! look up your state requirements for 504, IEP, IDEA & your child’s rights. and anything the say they wont do for him, first you put in writing to the school requesting assignment modifications and put in writing that you want the school to put in writing that they are not willing to help your child.

    • WRONG! Just because your son is an “honor roll kid” does’t mean he can’t be on a 504 with proper accommodations that fits his individual needs. A kid with asthma could be on a 504. You need to call the special education supervisor. It is pretty simple to put your kid on a 504 and add that simple accommodation. There is no reason for your child to FAIL before they decide to give him proper accommodations! Keep fighting you are in the right! If all else fails email his teachers individually and describe the situation. As a spec ed teacher myself who works with many gen ed teachers…none of us would never fail a hard-working student, well behaved, respectful student just because he struggle to write.

  28. My 15 year old daughter has been diagnosed by an outside psychiatrist with ADHD, ODD and a learning disability with impairment in mathematics. She also has an Other Health Impairment form. She has a 504 that was put into place a couple of weeks before school ended. She was denied an IEP. The educational diagnostician told me that her ODD is a disqualifier. She also told me that thru the schools evaluation she was identified with social maladjustment but does not qualify for emotional disability therefore she does not qualify for an IEP. Somebody please help me as I do not want my daughter to fall through the cracks. She attended 5 elementary schools 2 middle schools + alternative school for behavior and 1 high school. She is headed to the 10th grade. Her reconvened ARD is next Tuesday.

    • That’s bull – a lot of schools try to push your child through the cracks. look for a book called A guide to special education advocacy by Matthew Cohen it will have all the info you need to fight I had the same problem and my daughter has ADHD odd PTSD and dmdd and she has her IEP. You just have to fight hard because a lot of city’s don’t want to pay for the extra Education

    • See whether there is a chapter of the non-profit organization Families as Allies. They are advocates for the educational (civil) rights of children with mental health issues and will even send someone to go with you to the meetings at the school to make sure the schools adhere to the law. It all falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act which says that any child with a disability has the same right to a FREE education as a child without a disability. That means that if the school district cannot provide the necessary accommodations, they will have to pay to have them provided elsewhere, e.g. pay for a private school. Don’t back down!!! Schools try to weasel out of their responsibility all the time. If you need legal representation, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a good resource.

  29. Our school does not do 504 for ADHD. We automatically do an IEP with parent’s consent and participation.

    • Don’t understand. I am trying to fight for an IEP for my son with ADHD. Because he is passing, they won’t give him an IEP or the evaluation. I wrote a letter to the school principal and have done a lot of my own research. Today I get a letter from a teacher who works 30 min with the children who’s tests are below average, She says my son needs this extra time. I just dont understand how if it’s the law, why are all different type of kids w disabilities being treated differently. Now that my son is being pulled out of class for extra help, one of his class mates is bullying him adn his teacher is part of that family. Any ideas?

  30. Write a letter and date it requesting an evaluation. Show proof of Doctor diagnosis and request a 504 if child does not qualify for an IEP.

  31. I have a 16 yr old son who has ADD he is really struggling in Math and I would like to find out how I can go about getting him an IEP or a 504. I have talked to the counselor at my son’s school and she really didn’t help us. Can I please get some advice from other parents or professionals on where I get started to get him some help.

  32. My son was just diagnosed with ADD and a learning disability in math. He has done poorly in math his entire academic life (will be entering 8th grade next year). My question is, does he have to have an IEP, can it just be a 504? If he is a clear qualifier for an IEP does he automatically qualify for a 504 if we chose not to have an IEP for him?

  33. Hello I Have a son who is 6 years old and has ADHD explosive behavior and speech impaired. He failed almost every 9 weeks and I scheduled meetings with counselors teacher right after the first 9 weeks. Finally at the end of the year they decided to test him and that’s were he got placed in the resource program cause they found out he had (speech impairweek and he was having trouble with math and reading. He just went to summer school and they kicked him out because he had a tamturm and they know wanna fail him because he didn’t pass during the school and they kicked him out of summer school. Can someone please tell me what to do and I know there is a LAW please lead me to it. I talked to both principles and administrative above them they just see my son as the child with tamturm.

  34. My son just got an adhd diagnosis. I want to request a 504 plan for him through the school, but his last day of school is approaching in less than a week. Should I still submit the request now or wait for the new school year to begin? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

        • Requesting a 504 plan – Many kids with ADHD also have learning disabilities that will be identified during a comprehensive evaluation. Kids with ADHD may be eligible for special ed services under the “Other Health Impairment” category in IDEA. If child eligible for services under IDEA, child is automatically protected under 504. Consider requesting an evaluation for services under IDEA.

          “With only 4 days left of school” – Request now. The legal requirements for evaluations, including timelines, run in the summer when most students are not in school. Some school staff, including related service providers like psychologists, work in the summer.

          Timelines to identify, evaluate and determine eligibility vary by state so you need to check your state’s special ed regulations. Links to state special ed regs here:

          • So we have had a private elevation done through a psychologist, since the school didn’t believe he needed an evaluation. No learning disabilities were found, only the ADHD diagnosis. The psychologist told us that the 504 plan would be more appropriate for him. At this point, do I just request a 504 plan through the school or do we still need to request an evaluation in order to receive the 504?

          • Request a 504 plan and provide the evaluation that supports his need. If the school wants more info, they will ask for your consent to do an evaluation.

  35. My daughter is might be suffering from selective mutism which is the inability to speak in one or more settings even though at home she is able to talk freely. I had a concern because she is going on to 2nd grade and still has not been able to talk in school to anyone. I recently requested an IEP and they had decided she is ineligible because she has commodate to learn with out verbally participating and isn’t behind in her learning/meeting standards. What can I do? Does the 504 plan help her?

    • Did you formerly request a full evaluation or did you just ask for one? If you ask if they think she needs one they most certainly will always try to say no but if you formally (paperwork at district special Ed office ) request a full cse evaluation they HAVE to do the testing within 60 days of filing and have meeting with u after to discuss findings and suggestions (in which they likely will try to roll over u and say she doesn’t qualify for this or that Reason which usually is not true) get ready to learn to advocate for your child, it’s a rough roAd I wish I knew more back then. now my son is still without services and in HS struggling. Seeking a lawyer aT this point I’m done fighting with them . Good luck

  36. My child has been struggling in school for the past 2 years…bringing home D’s and F’s on each report card. I had her tested at school, in which it was determined that she did not qualify for an IEP. I had her tested independently- same results. However, she continues to fail. She just finished another year of school- with D’s and F’s. We are working double time at home, she is trying, and only continues to grow more frustrated with each failing grade. What else can we do??

  37. My son is 11 he is failing and has ADHD. The school did an evaluation and said he is behind because of school he has missed. They punish him all the time, won’t let him participate in events, take time away at recess. I have been told they have to give him a 504, is this true? I have asked them to mail things to me they don’t and he loses them, I think they do this on purpose. Please help

    • Go directly and immediately to your districts special education office and fill out paperwork for a full cse evaluation.’from the date you file they then have 60 days for the school psychologist to formally test your child and then have a formal meeting to discuss findings and suggestions where u can bring and advocate along to assist you. Careful as this is where they try to tell u he doesn’t qualify. And don’t fall for a stupid response to intervention plan-they don’t have to be
      Followed and they are worth crap! You want a 504 or IEP but do your research or u will be like me 5 years later and have gotten no where. Now I need a lawyer.

  38. I’m almost 18 and I am a junior in high school. I was diagnosed with ADD & ADHD when I was 4 yrs old. I have a 504 but teachers never follow it. I’m in the middle of truancy because I have been sick and have missed a lot of school. The school says i didn’t tell them i was sick. I turned notes in. Recently I have been diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. My school tried to refuse to let me go on home bound but finally granted it to me. They took away my 504 plan, now they are saying if I don’t return to school next year that they will have me taken away from my parents. That there is no way they will grant me homebound next year. Docs have been messing with my meds this year, we told the school this and that i needed some more help and they said it didn’t matter.What can i do?

    • Dear one I am sorry to hear this! Will your parents step in to help you out? Are you able to find an advocate in your area? (Google) I would start to document in a notebook everything that is happening, dates times what was said and what u did and what the conflict or discrepancy is. This is a record that can assist you in case needed. Why did they take away your 504?

  39. I have a child in HS who had a 504, since 5th grade who has all D”s and F’s. Looking back at his academic assessment he should of qualified for an IEP before he entered HS. I emailed the Special Education director my findings. What should I do next, because the school year is ending and the 504 director said we can schedule a meeting for next year since this year is almost over.

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