Be Your Child's Strongest Advocate
Most students with ADHD and other learning disabilities require tailored instruction and classroom accommodations to overcome their need for extra stimulation, lack of focus, difficulty with organization, trouble following multistep instructions, or specific language disabilities in reading and writing. Schools districts are required under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all eligible students. Many children with ADHD do not qualify for special education services under IDEA, though; the school must agree that the ADHD negatively affects learning and educational performance, which is not always the case. If your child doesn't qualify for services under IDEA, request classroom accommodations through a 504 Plan (this refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) to create an equitable learning experience and to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability under any program or activity receiving Federal inancial assistance.
If your child is struggling in school, determine if she is eligible for school services and accommodations. Request an initial evaluation for special education services in writing. There are stringent procedures that must be followed to pursue Special Education placement or a 504 Plan. Sample letters to request initial evaluations can be found at LDOnline.org, Peppinc.org, and ADDitudemag.com. Or check ASKresource.org and ADHDparentsupport.com for sample letters about the 504 Plan. The evaluation process can take up to four months or more so; while you're waiting, read everything you can about your child's rights in school. A great place to start is Wrightslaw.com.