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504 recommendations for ADD-in

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My nephew (age 13) was just diagnosed as having inattentive Attention Deficit.

The family will try medication.

What would be the best 504 school accommodations to recommend for him? 

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I assume that he is enrolled in brick and mortar school? There is not a simple answer to your question. First, schools have some latitude for implementing 504 plans. Sometimes they (or the parents) will want the student to undergo the full evaluation process, to determine if there are other learning issues at play. Then they will determine whether the student qualifies for an IEP or a 504. However, a school can write a 504 plan without the full evaluation process, if there is documentation of the issue and if teachers agree that the ADHD affects the ability to perform to his ability in the classroom.


So, first of all, the family needs to be working with the school, if they are not already. That teacher input is essential. They won't automatically write a 504 just because there is an ADHD diagnosis. There must be evidence that the student needs accommodations. They should start by bringing it up with the teacher, but they will also need to write a letter to officially request consideration for a 504. They can ask the school whom they should direct that letter to.


The school will have a kind of standard idea of accommodations that they can offer, but parents also need to know what to ask for. And it totally depends on what is happening in the classroom (though parents can discuss what homework time is like, as well). They will only put into the 504 the accommodations that that specific student would need.


Your family members can google "ADHD 504 accommodations" or a similar term and see many options on the internet. They can then consider which of them would apply to their son, and then make a case to the school for the things that they think he needs.


When I say "the school," I mean not only the classroom teacher, but also a case manager from the intervention department will be involved, along with anyone else who may know your son and have input to offer. This group, together with the parents, will write the 504 plan, if it is determined that he needs one.


Common accommodations include taking tests in a quiet room, having extra time for tests, having extended due dates for projects, sitting in a preferred section of the classroom, having teachers redirect the student's attention as needed, frequent checks for understanding (if there is a history of missing information). But these are just some examples. The school has to figure out what is actually needed for that particular student.

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Thank you so much, Storygirl!  That was really helpful.

As I understand, the school (in Wisconsin) wasn't really helpful.

My sister has always thought there was a problem but they didn't do anything to address it.

She finally had outside testing done and the result was the diagnosis of ADD-in and the testing place suggested medication and a 504 plan.

Since the school has been reticent to do anything on their own, I thought it would be helpful if she had some suggestions in place for their meeting.

Thank you again for your very helpful reply!

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Under the Child Find federal law, the school does have to consider evaluation reports from outside sources. But they actually don't have to agree with them and tend to want to run their own tests anyway. And if the teachers say they do not see any issues, the school can say that even with a medical diagnosis, that it is not affecting him in the classroom and does not need to be accommodated at the school.


I'm not saying your nephew's school would be this way, but some schools are, so his parents should be aware and prepared to make their case, not only with the documentation from the doctor, but also with evidence of how he has performed in school and how ADHD has hindered him. Has he, for example, had his grade docked for turning in assignments late, even though he has finished them? Does he have a history of not being able to complete assignments in the allotted time? They need to be ready with whatever examples and evidence applies to him.


Teachers can form an impression that a student is lazy or doesn't care, when the real issue is ADHD, especially when it is inattentive type, and not hyperactive type. So the teachers may need to be convinced. Knowing that he has the diagnosis now may help them reframe their thinking about whatever difficulties he may be having in class.


I don't know if this is the case in your family, but it also can happen that a student seems to be doing fine according to the teacher, because they are right in with the average performance of the class. But the parents know that the student is highly capable and is not doing as well as he or she should. The school does have to provide accommodations to students who are not failing but who are nevertheless hindered by the ADHD. But it can be a harder case for the parents to prove, because the teachers may think he is doing fine.


The school will have an ADHD screening that the school psych can run. If the school is hesitant to just accept the doctor's report (the parents should submit a letter with the diagnosis, by the way, and not just SAY he has received a diagnosis), the parents should request, in writing, that the school run their own evaluations. If it were me, I would walk into that meeting with such a letter already written and in my bag, so that if necessary, I could pull it out and submit the letter in person right then.


The letter should say that he has a diagnosis of ADHD and that they suspect it is affecting is "ability to access his education" -- those are key words that are in the federal law that requires schools to evaluate students, so they should include those words in the letter -- and are requesting evaluations by the school.


That letter will set into motion a process that the school must respond to differently than if they just have a conversation or meeting or make an oral request. The school CAN still determine that they don't have to evaluate, but they will have to give the parents an official document indicating that they refuse and on what grounds. If that happens, the parents can decide if they want to appeal (there is a process).


Hopefully none of these issues will crop up, but it's wise for parents to be prepared. I was taken aback and angry at one point during our evaluation process, because something happened that I did not know would or could happen. So it is good to know the law.


They should familiarize themselves with the federal laws on the IEP and evaluation process, called IDEA and Child Find. The guidelines for 504 plans are different but are also federal law, so they can find that out as well with online research. They can search their state department of education website for explanations of how things may work in their state. They can read a book called . They should go into the meeting prepared and informed!


And then hopefully it will all go smoothly and agreeably, and they will find they don't need to be insistent or disagree with what the school is saying. But in case they do need to advocate firmly, they will know the laws and can hold the school to them.

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