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After extensive testing by various places, my son has been diagnosed by a psychologist with ADHD-PI and sluggish cognitive tempo. He has just started taking band and playing the flute. Band is held at the end of the day when the other students have a study hall. As expected, he is having difficulty finishing tasks and tests in class.

The teachers want me to withdraw him from band to give him extra time to finish these things. He wants to continue band. He does not have an IEP yet. I am waiting for the written report from the psychologist to schedule an appointment with the counselor. The school tells me that with ADHD he does not qualify for additional resources.

Is sluggish cognitive tempo considered a learning disability? Will the diagnosis qualify him for additional resources, such as a resource teacher or just an IEP? Should I withdraw him from band and make him concentrate on academics or should I insist that the school make other accommodations to allow him to finish his unfinished assignments?

It appears that the school has done formal testing, called psycho-educational testing. These data should clarify why he has “sluggish cognitive tempo.” The most frequent causes are weaknesses in what is called processing speed or in what is called working memory. If these are the reasons, targeted special education tutoring should help.

You are correct — ADHD is not a disability under education law, thus, an IEP will not be done. ADHD can be considered under what is called a “504 Plan” and would include some assistance, such as the study hall.

Your options: You might let him stay in the band and provide a private special education tutor to work on his areas of difficulty. If formal psycho-educational testing has not been done, you might request that the school do these studies (or have them done privately).

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