Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder can be frustrating for kids and their families. Families try medications, natural supplements, behavior modification, and other tactics to try to help their children. It can be a challenge at school as well, with a national average of 3 kids in every classroom having ADHD. But did you know the school has to provide accommodations for your child?
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 insures that all people with disabilities are not discriminated against. This means any student with a disability must be included in any programs funded by the federal government. If your child has ADHD he or she may qualify for a 504 accommodation plan. So what are the guidelines?
Not all children with ADHD need a 504 plan, but if a student's disability is affecting their ability to learn or socialize in school, then a 504 plan may be in order. If an ADHD student is highly distractible, unable to focus for long, or has trouble staying in his or her seat, a classroom plan may be beneficial.
It's best to start with your child's teacher in determining whether a 504 plan is warranted. Schools generally assemble teams to study a particular student's needs and decide how the school can best address those needs.
If a 504 plan is decided on, the team, along with the parent, will decide on appropriate accommodations for the classroom. For a child with ADHD these typically include being seated at the front of the class, or away from distractions; extra time to complete work or homework; frequent breaks or movement; or a quiet place to self-calm.
The accommodations will be geared to your child's needs. Schools are only required to provide accommodations that are deemed reasonable, so they may vary from site to site.
Please be aware that a 504 plan does not excuse a child from schoolwork, but it tries to ensure that access to learning is equal.
In educational settings, you may also hear the term IEP, or Individualized Educational Plan. This is different from a 504 plan as it pertains to students with specific learning disabilities. These students qualify for Special Education under IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. One way to remember the difference is that an IEP gives help in addition to the regular classroom, whereas a 504 plan makes sure students are included in the regular classroom.
To learn more, or to gain information you can use in an upcoming 504 meeting, click on the link below.
©2008 Victoria McGee
Victoria McGee, M. A. , is a guidance counselor, and has published two self-esteem curricula for middle school boys and girls. She is also a “Chicken Soup" author and the author of “Section 504: A Simple Guide for Parents. " Victoria speaks on self-esteem and empowerment, especially as it pertains to women and girls.