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

Each month we our advocate will be answering questions from our visitors about yours and your children's rights in the educational system.    

A mother is trying to help her teenage son learn anger management.   

Five great ideas for motivation, including The Shoe Race, Trading Places and more.  

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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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Trouble with school complying with existing Section 504

Good day. My son has ADHD and is going into the 5th grade. Last year he had a 504 written up for him. The teachers and principal did not want to do the things that the social worker and I had put on the 504 plan. The teacher told me that my son will not tell me how to run her class What was written in the 504 plan to help my son have a successful year they decided on their own they were not going to do them. Such as little things like making up little cards to help him with transitioning. From one subject to another. Social problems. I asked that his desk be cleaned because it was a mess. I wanted to come and help and show him the way he should keep it. The teacher would not let me in the room without an escort and two other people in the room. I want to know
if they don't have to do what is written on the 504 then why is there one? Could I get an IEP under a OHI? They won't even test him. I had written for a requesting him to be tested. They said he is right with his peers. How can he be with his peers if he is a grade level behind? He should be in 6th grade this year.

Please help with this. I want to go into the school year know what my options are so that I have a leg to stand on and can back the stuff up legal things. I want what is best for my son so that he can succeed in school.

Thank you for your time.


Debra: Your e-mail to the ADDHelpline was forwarded to me for response. Before I start, I must advise you that I am an attorney licensed to practice law in Illinois. I focus a great deal of my practice on special education matters. As such, I am familiar with federal law on this issue. However, your e-mail does not say what state you are from. This could be important because state laws vary from state to state. Also, federal court decisions vary from circuit to circuit. Moreover, the Court's decision on whose facts to accept and or whose interpretation of the law is correct cannot be predicted. Therefore, my I do not make any guarantees about the accuracy of this advice or any result. However, I can offer some general advice.
First, under fairly recently revised regulations to IDEA (20 USC 1415), ADHD is now a disability under the OHI classification. However, before any child can be found eligible under IDEA, in addition to having a recognized disability, there must be a showing that the disability is having an adverse educational impact. Second, under the law and at your request, they must either conduct a case study evaluation (CSE) or send you a letter explaining why they will not do so. They must also give you a full explanation of your rights under IDEA, including a list of low cost legal assistance in your area. One of your rights is to file for due process to challenge their decision. Normally, that is done by sending a certified letter to the superintendent and the principal requesting due process and setting forth your reasons. In Illinois, that request is sent to the State Board of Education who appoints an impartial hearing officer (IHO) to hear the case. Thee are a lot of rules associated with a due process hearing and it is a good idea to get an attorney who works in this area. Third, under federal law, if they refuse to do an evaluation, you have two choices: either go due process and try to get the IHO to order them to do it or get an independent educational evaluation on your own. If you prove that their refusal was wrong, they have to reimburse you for your costs.There is an element of risk here because the IHO may disagree with you and then, you would be responsible for your own costs. Also, you must give the school district 10 days advance notice of your intent to get the IEE. They may change their mind. Failure to give them notice could hurt your chances to get reimbursement if you win down the line. Finally, you can file complaints with the U.S. Justice Department, Office of (Special) Education and /or your state board of education. I hope this is helpful to you. Please feel free to e-mail me at any time if you have more questions. Steven Glink