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My son has ADDHD and is under the care of a psychiatrist and psychologist who both state my son should be covered under 504. His school does not feel he qualifies for IEP. My son is about to fail his classes due to his problems. Can anything be done?

Dear Michael,

Your question indicates that your child has been diagnosed with ADHD by a psychiatrist and psychologist, both of whom recommend that your son be made eligible for a Section 504 plan. Your question then indicates that the school feels your son does not qualify for an IEP even though he is about to fail his classes.

First, you should be aware that an IEP and a Section 504 plan are different. There are different criteria for a Section 504 plan and an IEP. A Section 504 plan requires that a student have an impairment which substantially limits a life activity such as learning. In order to qualify for an IEP, the student must meet the eligibility criteria for one of the 13 categories of disability under the special education law.

In relation to ADHD, the category that is generally utilized is “the Other Health Impaired” category. In order to qualify for an IEP, the student must have a health impairment, such as ADHD, which causes limited strength, vitality and alertness, including limited ability to pay attention to the teacher, which adversely affects the students performance and requires special education intervention.

In either event, the fact that your child has been privately diagnosed would have to be considered by the school district but does not automatically require that the school make the child eligible. The school may decide to accept the outside evaluations, to conduct their own evaluations with your consent, or deny that the student needs an evaluation or services at all. If they decide that the student does not warrant an evaluation or services, they must provide you with written notice of that decision and of your right to request a due process hearing to challenge the school districts refusal to conduct an evaluation or to provide services.

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