What To Do When ADHD is NOT in the IEP

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My daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD but it is not included in her current IEP. The school has her diagnosis on file. The school won’t make any accommodations for her ADHD because we cannot get it into her IEP. What should I do?

I also have a child with ADHD. My son has and always will have ADHD.

When he was going from 5th grade to 6th grade he tested out of being on an IEP.  We transitioned him out of the special ed program during 6th grade.  A planned transition to the mainstream classroom is important.  The school provided a tutor who met with my son 5 days a week for 40 minutes.  Each quarter we reviewed the transition plan.  We reduced the time he needed a tutor to 3 days per week, then to 2 days per week.   When he completed 6th grade he left the special ed program.  He successfully transitioned to the mainstream classroom.

Even though the transition was successful my son still struggled with ADHD at school. We had a dilemma. He was having difficulty at school. Since he was no longer on an IEP we did not have the supports in place that IDEA provides.

We discovered that he could get on an IEP with his ADHD after all.  We developed an Other Health Impaired (OHI) IEP.  We requested a form from the school that our doctor signed.  This document provided the evidence that my son was truly diagnosed with ADHD. We were able to get him on an IEP with goals and accommodations to deal with issues that resulted from his ADHD.

We listed these accommodations on the IEP:

  • Extended time on projects, homework, and tests not to exceed one additional class period
  • Reduction of repetitious content in math until my son’s skills increased
  • Small group testing
  • Class notes provided when needed
  • Preferential seating (close to front of room)
  • Teacher notification to parents if grades fall below 70%
  • Faxed or emailed lesson plans to parents for English, science, social studies and math
  • Re-test in math one time if test grade falls below 60%
  • Note comparison with teacher provided notes if my son missed information when distracted

Request a copy of the school policy on an OHI IEP. Once you have this information you can proceed.  Have your physician complete the documentation. Immediately sign the paperwork required by your school to start the clock. The school must meet with you within 60 days.

Do your research.  Beware of incorrect information. I was told that there are no academic goals on this type of IEP. I discussed this with our state Department of Education and found this information was incorrect. When in doubt, contact your state Department of Education for answers to your questions.


Sharon Lutz (Sharon L.) of Ohio is a parent of 3 sons with learning disabilities (ADHD and Dyslexia). Sharon is an advocate for her sons and has 25 years of experience working with school districts and the IEP process.

Sharon enjoys sharing information with other parents so they can benefit from her experiences and is the author of “If I Can Do It, Anyone Can: A Resource Book for Parents of Learning Disabled Children” and a member of the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

Sharon started a parent advocate group. Members shared ideas and strategies and provided information to parents and the community. For more information, please contact Sharon at helpgrouponline@twc.com.




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  1. My nephew in Florida was evaluated at 3 1/2 with recessive expressive disorder and got an iep and early start at school. His behavior was also a challenge but of course, he was behaved during testing. As time in school went on, his behavior became much more of a challenge. Originally the school said it couldn’t do an FBA until he was 5 so my niece had a complete eval done. He was diagnosed with ADHD and moderate ODD. So we called the school to ‘review the iep’ and add some goals to help with the new diagnosis. So far, everyone we have spoken to has said, “we have to check on that.” Then, no one gets back to us. Any advice on how to proceed.

  2. My 10 year old had a 504 for his ADHD with accommodations. The school then had their speech therapist do an evaluation and determined he needed speech therapy and therefore placed him in special ed with an IEP. They decided to take his ADHD accommodations from his 504 and “plop” them into the IEP but NO where in the IEP does it mention ADHD. We have requested for it to be included but they refuse and state his ADHD doesn’t require special ed. services. Are there any specific laws/rules on this? If they chose to move it over doesn’t it have to be evaluated and added? Or are they just being lazy and only wanting to take care of one document?

    • An IEP is to address all of a child’s needs. He was provided accommodations for ADHD. At the very least they would have to document that there was no longer a need for accommodations for the ADHD. Contact the district special ed director if you have not already done so. You may need to contact the state education agency or state parent training and information project. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/

  3. My son is a freshman in high school. He was diagnosed with ADD when he was in 2nd grade and evaluated by the school. He often will “roller coaster” with his grades and having certain accommodations would help him be successful. In the fall of 2016 I asked for him to be evaluated to see if he would qualify for a 504 plan. I was told by the team that since he was doing so well with his grades he was not eligible. After reading many of the post here, I have concluded that he does indeed qualify for a 504 under OHI regardless of his previous good performance. Is this thinking correct? What would be my next step with the school since he was already evaluated? Currently, he is now flunking two of his classes and with accommodations I believe could have been avoided.

  4. my son is 7 y/o. He has our genetically inherited trait of ADHD, which I’m becoming more convinced, is a gift rather than disability if diagnosed early w/ strengths/weaknesses/motivators identified early in school. He is treated by teachers as though he should have never entered their classrooms. They ask, me the parent doing her own research), “why wasn’t he held back?” knowing his IQ score came to the “above avg for grade level & age group, would most likely be higher w/ improvement in auditory info processing,” I become internally enraged as I know this child is simply not conveying the info he knows in a manner teachers can recognize as “accomplished learning concept.” they send him off to the deserted island known as “Resource,” because they are not trained to teach to high intelligence, creative thinkers.

  5. Your recommendations for the IEP were awesome. Very informative for those in need of guidance. I also had my son diagnosed with ADHD. We have not gone down this path yet, but it could be a possibility.

  6. “Re-test in math one time if test grade falls below 60%” is a great accommodation because test scores can vary widely depending on the day the test was taken, the time, and how the child was doing that day. Most parents understand that some days are better than others and many children with learning disabilities swing to and from the extremes with mood and attention.

  7. A good question to ask in a “Columbo Manner” might be, “I am a little confused, I thought all areas of a student’s suspected (suspicion because he does have the diagnosis) disability were to be assessed when an evaluation took place, and that all areas of a child’s disability were to be addressed by the IEP.” Then most certainly do as Sharon suggests and request a copy of the policy regarding OHI. The key here is after you have asked these questions to write a Miss Manners letter back to the school documenting what you asked, and what the school’s response was! The letter writing thing LEVELS the playing field. I want you to think about what you would do if someone was NICELY documenting every word you spoke and every move you made, you would be more careful about what you said and did! Good luck!

  8. I’m confused by there not being academic goals on ‘this type of an IEP’. I thought there always had to be goals and it was part of the IEP. Also, I’m told that if the child needs accomodations only they are not eligible for an IEP but merely a 504 regardless of the diagnosis.

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