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Stephanie:  My son is in 8th grade transitioning to high school in the same district. He is diagnosed with ADHD, Convergence Insufficiency (visual impairment), Specific reading disability and dysgraphia. Team & teachers agree to all of these and concurred that he has problems in test activation, slow test taking, problems focusing in class, messy handwriting etc. Compensates due to his high IQ.  School said they will dispute his 504 due to his high grades (maximum score in Math on the star test) but agree to a “General Ed” accommodation plan.

School has form that asks questions to determine eligibility: At least one point must be a “yes”:

1) On district outcome assessments, are the student’s skills markedly below the standard? (in our case – no)
2) On grade reports, is there an overall pattern of poor grades (significantly below average – D’s and F’s ) in core academic subjects over more than one trimester? (in our case no)
3) On individually or group administered standardized achievement tests, does the student score two or more grade levels below placement? (in our case “no)
4) Has the student received disciplinary action for inappropriate behavior? (no)
5) Does the student have special health care needs (medication, allergy, etc.) during class activities, including lunch? (no)
6) Does the student have a pattern of excessive absences and/or tardies. (no)
7) Other: Impact on major life activity other than learning: — This is where I think it needs to be a “YES”;

If my son cannot read properly due to a visual impairment, and cannot focus properly due to ADHD doesn’t that suffice to show that he has impact on a major life activity? He is also left hand dominant with ADHD and they know he has a problem with hand writing. How can I make my case that he has impact on a major life activity other than learning?

In Wrights Law page 292 is states: “If the child has an impairment that “substantially limits” one or more major life activities (like reading, writing, performing math calculations, walking, hearing). My school district takes “learning” out of this phrase because if the child “is not failing in grades” then school says his learning is not impacted. Lilie Felton’s policy letter “failing at school” is not the sole determinant for being impacted in learning. A child can be impacted in the major life area of learning (cannot read or write) without necessarily failing and because the child has learned to compensate in order to pass grades.

I believe the school’s form expresses the spirit of the US department of education or the law as written in the Lillie Felton policy letter.

Do you think the questions on the school form are in the spirit of the law?

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No. It is not within the law. The major life activity our school used was either thinking or concentrating for a similar situation. Getting Bs and Cs on tests that a child is mentally capable of getting As on, is just bad teaching. You are limiting that child’s potential greatly and causing psychological harm. The child will not feel they are able to reach they’re potential in many cases and may even give up on academics-working twice as hard with mediocre results. How hard is it to just give the kid some extra time to complete tests, preferential seating, and reminders?


Yes, I think these questions are in the spirit of the law. Your child is able access an education in the general curriculum and learn information they are teaching.

Sharon L.

Check with your school policy for an OHI (other health impaired) IEP. They will give you the information on how to obtain one. This may be an option for you.