Truancy: TRUANCY and ADHD

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Amy:  Hello. My child is regularly tardy to school (by minutes). He is diagnosed with ADHD and has a difficult time getting out the door in the morning and getting to his classroom once he enters the school. He is on an IEP. Is there a way to have this written in to his IEP that his tardiness not be held against him? He does not miss days of school and efforts are made to make this better. Thank you.

  1. You should check your state laws, but in California pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education who is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year or tardy or absent for more than a 30-minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year, or any combination thereof, shall be classified as a truant and shall be reported to the attendance supervisor or to the superintendent of the school district.

    If he is only a couple of minutes, he is not considered truant in California.

  2. If the child has an IEP and this is a “unique need,” then YES, have it written into his IEP and then they must legally abide by this. a doctor’s letter would be helpful. Our child had a sleep disorder and for years was not sleeping well, so he could be late to school. In addition, he was very sound sensitive,and at the end of the day, they were using a megaphone that was extremely painful and very upsetting to him, so we had it written in that I pick him up BEFORE they started shouting through that mega phone. i was also able to get them to STOP using whistles to control noise level int eh cafeteria. Whistles and megaphone usage are often very painful to kids with autism. if a child has a “unique need” then it is appropriate for the school to make accommodations to fulfill this need.

    • My son is 8 and is on an IEP. He has sleeping problems, or sleep apnea, and is hyperactive. I’ve spoken with the principal and superintendent about these problems and they ignored me. They ignored my request for a late start and didn’t follow the guidelines of the truancy law before taking me to court. I’ve had the principal call CPS on me, access me of being on drugs and have been in court every other week, with 450 in fines because they will not take my son’s disorders in consideration. I also have medical conditions that the school and the courts refuse to ignore. What an I supposed to do? I’m about to hire a lawyer to solve this matter.

  3. We currently have a set of brothers with similar issues and found that having them earn a reinforcer (e.g. ipad time) when they arrive on-time has had amazing results.

    The IEP can address a shorter school day, but I agree with an earlier statement to try setting the alarm back 15 minutes. There are other things he can do like showering in the evening, and packing his lunch and setting out his clothes the night before. If the school has a breakfast program, he might be able to have breakfast at school.

  4. Amy –

    Yes, the IEP can include “alternative” rules for your son regarding lateness. More often, however, I see this sort of thing in a behavior plan. Then the behavior plan, itself, is referenced in the IEP.

    The thinking behind this is that the behavior plan can be more responsive to the child’s needs. It can be revisited and revised as necessary, without having to call a full Team meeting.

    The plan can include the strategies the school is using to help alleviate the issue (and hopefully they are doing something, and this is not just your problem – if not, address this with the Team). It can also include any alternative discipline the school might use with him.

  5. Try speaking to the IEP committee about this and suggesting that he have a leeway of 10 minutes for the next x number of days, then reduced to 5 minutes. Try setting the alarm for 15 minutes earlier than usual. The combination of the two should help your child to respect time more.

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