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Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
FAQs l Articles  l  Legal ResourcesGood Books  <
 Free Pubs l Information & Support

When parents, teachers, related service providers, health care professionals, and advocates have questions about special education services for children with ADD/ADHD, they often contact Wrightslaw.

If you are a parent or teacher, you need to educate yourself about attention deficit disorders, medical treatments, educational methods, and how to present the child's problems to school staff so they want to help.

elementary school boy and girl smiling when looking at a book

The Wrightslaw ADD/ADHD page includes frequently asked questions, articles, legal resources, book recommendations, free publications, and a short list of information and support groups.

Many children with Attention Deficit Disorder have other problems that affect learning and behavior, including learning disabilities, Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Bi-Polar Disorder. Because few school personnel receive adequate training in effective educational approaches for kids with ADHD, they often blame children (and their parents) for behavior caused by these neurobiological conditions.

Are children with ADD/ADHD eligible for special education services under the IDEA? Are they eligible under Section 504? Can they be suspended or expelled? Answers: maybe, maybe, maybe. To learn more, check the Legal Resources below.


Are Children with ADD/ADHD Eligible for Special Education Services Under IDEA? Many people continue to ask whether children with ADD/ADHD are eligible for special education under IDEA. This article discusses eligibility issues, and gives readers a Game Plan that will help them learn more about these thorny issues.

Section 504 Requires Schools to Evaluate Children with ADD - Memorandum from OCR clarifies school's responsibility to evaluate children with ADD/ADHD; includes Questions and Answers about ADD, Section 504 and IDEA, evaluations, more. The answers to these questions may surprise you!

Is ADHD a Learning Disability? I've Been Told "No, it's Not". It often is, and kids who have ADHD often have learning disabilities that affect other areas - math, writing skills, etc.

Is a Child with ADD/ADHD Eligible for Special Ed Services Under IDEA? A 504 Plan Under Section 504? Information for parents, teachers, related services providers, and school administrators who have questions about whether children with ADD/ADHD qualify for special education services under IDEA.

Articles about ADD/ADHD

Let Me Introduce You to My Child: Communicating with Your Child's Teacher (Part One of Two for Parents)

Supporting Your Child at School: Communicating with Your Child's Teacher (Part Two of Two for Parents)

ADD/ADHD: Developmental, Parenting and Treatment Issues. Typically the child with ADD experiences problems in learning, peer relationships, self-esteem, mood, behavior, and family relationships. This article discusses child development from infancy through elementary school and offers suggestions about how to help the child grow up to be a healthy adult.

Identifying Inattentive ADHD-1. Connors forms are not objective evaluations. They are simple surveys of parent and teachers’ observations. They are not sufficient to diagnose an individual with ADD/ADHD. At a minimum, the child should receive a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation.

Discipline and the ADHD Child - In response to a grandmother's plea for help, Pete shares four rules of discipline; what he did, never did, and why. "If we can teach elephants, lions and tigers to behave, we can teach our ADHD children to behave."

Do Teachers Promote ADHD? Pam Wright responds to a school psychologist who expresses concerns about teachers who "promote" ADHD; recommends better training.

Parent Empowerment by Becky Milton, winner of 1st Creative Solutions Contest. Becky is the parent of a child with a disability. Her advocacy journey began 10 years ago when her son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. Learn about empowered parents

Reinventing Our Schools - Thought-provoking article by Thom Hartmann, author of several best-selling books about ADD/ADHD and education. Describes two "world views" of ADD, discusses low stimulation and high stimulation classrooms.

Section 504 updated: Greater eligibility and accommodations for students with LD, AD/HD. Learn about recent improvements made to Section 504, a civil rights law that now provides protection and accommodations to even more students with LD and/or AD/HD.

ADDitude’s Ultimate ADHD Toolkit. A free handout from ADDitude Magazine - School Help for Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD ADHD) and Learning Disabilities Like Dyslexia.

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Legal Resources about ADD/ADHD

U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Guidance (2016) clarifying the obligation of schools to provide students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with equal educational opportunity under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

U.S. Department of Education - Know Your Rights document (2016) that provides a brief overview of schools’ obligations to students with ADHD.

OCR Memorandum: Evaluation of Children Who May Have ADD/ADHD. This 1992 Memorandum clarifies that schools must evaluate children who are suspected of having ADD based on parental request:

"Under Section 504, if parents believe their child has a disability, whether by ADD or any other impairment, and the LEA has reason to believe the child needs special education or related services, the LEA must evaluate the child to determine whether he or she is disabled as defined by Section 504 ..."

Joint Policy Memorandum on ADD/ADHD - 1991 Memorandum from the U. S. Department of Education; children with ADD/ADHD may be eligible for special education services under several existing categories (including LD, OHI, ED); circumstances under which schools must provide services and supports under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Memorandum begins with this statement:

"There is a growing awareness in the education community that attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) can result in significant learning problems for children with those conditions ... "

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Good Books about ADD/ADHD

Learning to Slow Down and Pay Attention: A Book for Kids about ADHD by Kathleen Nadeau and Ellen Dixon. This short paperback book was created to be read by parents to children ages 6 through 11 who have AD/HD, need to understand it better, and need age-appropriate tips for remembering stuff, getting ready in the morning, staying focused, and asking for help.

ADD: A Different Perception (revised) by Thom Hartmann gives examples of successful, creative, and dynamic individuals throughout history who were undoubtedly affected by ADD. 

Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood by Ned Hallowell and John Ratey. (Bantam Books, 1996) 

Describes the types of ADD/ADHD, from hyperactive to floating daydreamer; describes how ADD/ADHD is different from "unacceptable behavior" and medication and treatment techniques that work best. Also available in audio tape format. Driven to Distraction (2 audio tapes)

How to Reach and Teach ADD/ADHD Children: Practical Techniques, Strategies, & Interventions for Helping Children With Attention Problems and Hyperactivity by Sandra F. Rief. 

Includes management techniques that promote on-task behavior and language arts, & multi- sensory instruction strategies to maintain attention and keep students involved.

Learning Outside the Lines: Two Ivy League Students with LD & ADHD Give You to Tools for Academic Success by Jonathon Mooney and David Cole. 

This inspiring, practical book was written by 2 college students: Jonathon has dyslexia, David has ADHD.  Gives hope to parents and adolescents who are demoralized by school experiences. Includes practical strategies for kids to use: notebook organization, note taking, test taking, cramming, reading, and more. Learn more about Learning Outside the Lines

Maybe You Know My Kid : A Parent's Guide to Identifying, Understanding, and Helping Your Child With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by Mary Cahill Fowler.

In this guide for parents whose children have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, you learn about the latest scientific advances and clinical breakthroughs and the education of children who have ADHD. Examines the school's role in assessing children, practical guidelines and suggestions for improving educational performance.

Teaching the Tiger : A Handbook for Individuals Involved in the Education of Students With Attention Deficit Disorders, Tourette Syndrome or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by Marilyn P. Dornbush and Sheryl K. Pruitt 

"The best practical reference book for educators who work with students with Tourette Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, and/or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It's definitely not just for the special educator - counselors, social workers, school psychologists, classroom teachers, and paraprofessionals will find it a useful resource." Learn more about Teaching the Tiger.

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Free Publications about ADD/ADHD

Classroom Interventions for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Challenges students with ADHD typically demonstrate in the classroom; strategies for academic interventions and behavior management to improve the learning environment; importance of home-school collaboration and communication. (William & Mary Training & Technical Assistance Center, 2017)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD: Signs, Symptoms, and Research? NIMH researchers talk about the symptoms of ADHD as well as the latest research. Video from the National Institute of Mental Health (2006).

Office of the Surgeon General, Report on the Surgeon General's Conference on Children's Mental Health - A National Action Agenda (2001).

Report from Surgeon General describes a crisis in mental health for children and adolescents. 1 in 10 children and adolescents suffer from mental illness that is severe enough to cause impairment; fewer than 1 in 5 children receive needed treatment. Report includes goals and objectives, focuses on the need to use science-based prevention and treatment services. Download

To order bound copies, contact The National Institutes of Mental Health, Office of Communications and Public Liaison, 6001 Executive Blvd., Room 8184, MSC 9663, Bethesda, MD 20892-9663. Phone: 301-443-4513

Office of the Surgeon General, Children and Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (2000).

According to the landmark "Global Burden of Disease" study, 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability for people 5 years of age and older are mental disorders. Children and Mental Health describes normal child development; risk factors and prevention; describes mental disorders in children, including ADHD, depression, anxiety disorders, autism, disruptive disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders and effective treatments for these disorders. Download  Full text of Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General

More Free Publications

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Organizations, Information & Support

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
800-233-4050 (To request information packet)

Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
Publications available in Spanish

Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA)
888-300-6710; 412-341-1515; 412-341-8077
Publications available in Spanish

National Attention Deficit Disorder Association

National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
212-545-7510; 888-575-7373

Parents Helping Parents: Family Resource Center for Children with Special Needs
Publications available in Spanish; Spanish speaker on staff

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Last Revised: 02/15/2022
Created: 01/01/00

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