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Dr. Steven Richfield provides articles on many different aspects of raising a child with ADHD.                                   

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Study on ADD and TV
The recent study published on watching television between the ages of one and three and the possible link to ADD/ADHD did not take many considerations into account. The author of the study even admits that he cannot conclude that television watching and ADD/ADHD are linked.

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Are "Special Education" classes a requirement for receiving extra services?

I have a daughter in her first year of high school, and she is having a very difficult time getting her work turned in and/or completed.  She has been late to class and threatened with detention though according to her there just isn't enough time to get there, and she fails many of her tests.  I read that she has the right to take oral exams which I think may help her but she isn't in any "special education" programs.  Does a student have to be in special education classes in order to be allowed these provisions (like extra test time and oral testing)?  If so, how does one go about doing that if the school doesn't put her in a special education program?

Thank you,


Karen: Thank you for your e-mail. Any school may voluntarily provide accommodations to its students, but few do unless they have reason to believe that the student has a disability. Your e-mail mentions tardiness and poor performance on tests. That may be indicative of a disability, but that is not conclusively the case. What you should do is to request (in writing) that the school perform a case study evaluation. The CSE is a multidisciplinary analysis of your daughter's educational and health. They will do a psychological evaluation, speech/language assessment, academic assessment, social developmental study, vision & hearing tests. If you think that your daughter may have a learning disability, or ADD/ADHD, you should ask them to screen for that. You should consult with your own doctor to see if he/she sees signs of ADD or ADHD. The school has 60 school days to complete the CSE. They then have to hold an IEP meeting to discuss the results of the CSE. First, the IEP team  must decide whether or not your daughter has a disability as that term is used in the law. If she has no disability, she is not eligible for any assistance. If she is eligible, then they have to decide if her disability impairs her educational performance. If it does, they must draft an IEP. If not, they must implement educational accommodations. If you disagree with any of their decisions, you must file a due process claim, usually through your state board of education. the school must give you a written explanation of your rights (including how to file for due process) as well as a list of places where you can obtain low cost legal assistance.

Good luck. Feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance.
Steven E. Glink
Attorney at Law
3338 Commercial Avenue
Northbrook, Illinois 60062
847/480-7749 (voice)