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Pamela: I have proof my daughter has ADD/ADHD and her teacher told me since I don’t have her on medication she doesn’t have it. What can I do? I am requesting an IEP meeting on her.

  1. A diagnosis of ADHD does not guarantee an IEP. The law only requires that a school district consider an outside diagnosis. The symptom associated with a child’s ADHD must adversely affect their educational performance to the degree that special education services are required.

    As far as medication goes, I believe the most school personnel could say is “other parents with similar concerns have shared them with their pediatrician.”

  2. Yes get an IEP meeting and bring your proof of the ADHD. You can request an OHI (other health impaired) IEP with the evidence you have and they can still put the necessary goals on that IEP. YOu need to request the document that your physician needs to fill out for the school in order for them to provide this type of IEP.

  3. Agree with Amy.

    When the federal special education law was reauthorized in 2004, a section was added that forbids “mandatory medication.”

    School personnel can share their observations about your child’s academic and functional performance and her behavior in school and they can suggest that she may need an evaluation for special ed or related services. But school personnel may not claim that a child needs to take medication as a condition of receiving a special ed evaluation and/or special ed services. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(25); see page 84, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law)

  4. If you suspect that your daughter’s ADHD symptoms in school rise to a level that could be considered disabling and in need of special ed, then you as a parent have the right to request an IEP team evaluation. Schools cannot “force” parents to medicate their children, and nothing in the special ed law says that kids who are not medicated cannot be considered for an IEP. Whether or not a student with ADHD takes medication is not part of the criteria for qualifying for special ed, although members of the school’s team may ask you about any medication history for your daughter as they gather info for a comprehensive evaluation.

      • Jana–Students qualify for an IEP when they meet eligibility criteria for a specific impairment. In my experience as a school psychologist, the majority of students with ADHD who have IEPs qualified for special education because they met criteria for an Other Health Impairment (OHI). There is nothing in the OHI criteria that states a student must be failing or underperforming academically in order to meet the criteria. However, an IEP team DOES need to investigate whether the student’s ADHD symptoms impact them in other ways and then decide whether the criteria has been met. You will want to review the OHI criteria for your state for more specific information about what an IEP team would need to investigate as part of an evaluation.

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