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Regular Features

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.  

Organize your child at home, and maybe find some tips that will help you as well.  

Headlines about ADHD, Learning Disability and Mental Disorders

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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by Steve Glink

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Q) Hi, I am not sure if you can give me any suggestions? But I live in a city for one has 2 school districts. One is the city and the other is the county. We live in the city district. Now, our son attended the Catholic schools in Kindergarten, and then they suggested we switch him to the city school, since that is our district we live in. So I had a friend whom taught first grade there, she took him on as a summer school student, and then had  him in the first grade. And he had been diagnosed with ADHD in Kindergarten. Anyway, he was in a regular classroom, yes she had an aide, but he never had any testing done until 3 months before school was out. So all that school year he was in trouble, in the principal's office, and they would send notes home on his behavior. So I agreed for them to do the IEP test 3 months before school was out, but frustrated with the City school system not doing anything extra during that whole yr. of  first grade. He was never pulled out for extra help in another class at all. After they did the IEP, I was called at  the end of the school yr. and they asked me if I could come to meet with the faculty staff on his IEP results about 2 weeks after school was out.

My husband and I decided he would not be attending there the next year, so we did not need to go to that meeting. But  they did mail me the IEP results. So, I put him back int he Catholic school the next year, and they said he was not ready for first grade, since he learned very little at the city school in first. So we repeated him in first, 2nd time. And at the end of that school year, they said he was still not ready for 2nd grade, and if we wanted to keep him there we would have to put him back in first for his 3rd time? Well, all summer I hit  the pavement, on how can I get him into the county schools, their programs are better, and what can I do? So, I went  to the county board of education, and they told me, being he has special needs, and the city and county only have so much money allowed for students in those districts, it would be impossible. So, I did not know where else to turn, and keep in mind if he were your typical child, I could have transferred him as a tuition student much quicker. Discrimination if you ask me, but oh well. So I went back to the Catholic school, and said, we will repeat him in the first for the 3rd time. And he is small for his age, so that was a plus. But, the other kids started to make fun, your in the first grade a 2nd time. Not realizing it was his 3rd time. Being he attended another school his first yr. in first grade. 

Now were at the end of the school yr. at the Catholic School, and they feel they just do not have the funding to offer special classes our son needs, and we need to put him where they do have this for our son. So I called the principal of the county school I wanted our son to attend, and met with the principal. Took her all our son's evaluations, and we talked. She was very concerned that our son would be 10 in August 2001. And she did not like kids being older than 12 in the 5th grade. Well, what am I supposed to do? Also, she had to touch basis with the special Ed director to talk about it. And as I was leaving that day, I saw a special Ed teacher whom when getting her degree in college, she baby-sat our son a few times. And also had him at the Family Y in a summer program. She said, I hope he gets to go here, and I get to have him. So, the principal called me that next week, and said they were at their quota for the school yr. in special Ed, and would have to wait for about 6 weeks to see how many residents children in that district would need special Ed next year. Well, I knew they were not at their quota from a resource I had. So, I then called the person at the County Board of Ed. and spoke with him. What really discouraged me about what he said was "What would you think if we could get him ransferred this next week, the last week of school?" I was all for it, and he said let me call and get back with you. Well, he called back later that day, and said their at their quota for the yr. and you will need to go ahead and file a transfer student app, and I did and faxed it back that same day. Then in the mean time I phoned the superintendent of the County schools, and asked him what can I do to get our son into your school and program he needs? He said, well you can file for a Limited Educational guardianship, if you have a family member whom lives in that district. So, I went  to an attorney friend, and he said the law says your child does not have to live with that person, but it could be the school policy? Well, it was their policy. So, I did not go that route. I am not fighting for a transfer with tuition for my son to attend that school. Also, I was aware if he got  to go there he would be able to have an aide if need, in his regular class. And this special Ed director told me, the city
district would have to pay for that. I am totally confused here.
Please help?
I am in Owensboro, KY
PS: Please reply

  A) Dear Raine: Your e-mail to the addhelpline was forwarded to me for a response. I am an attorney who concentrates a significant part of my practice in special education matters. I am licensed in Illinois. This is important because laws and rules may vary from state to state. However, there is some uniformity in the law with special because there are federal laws & regulations involved. The first part of your e-mail mentions the difficulty that you have had with the school relative to ADD & 504 plans. The first thing that you should know is that this is very typical school district behavior, so try not to be discouraged. The second thing that I think you should know is that under 1999 revisions to the federal law (IDEA), kids with ADD or ADHD qualify for eligibility for special education and related services under the Other Health Impaired (OHI) category. This is important because your son is entitled to more services, etc., under IDEA than he would be under 504. For example, under IDEA, they have to devise an entire Individual Educational Program (IEP) for your son. They also may be prohibited from expelling him if his misconduct is a manifestation of his disability. There are many other potential issues as well.

Third, you mention that the school is not too interested in mentoring. I am not sure what you mean, but I get the impression that what you really mean is that they are not too interested in helping your son. You should know that you cannot force them to hire qualified evaluators or service providers. However, what you can do is to challenge the validity of his 504 plan or his IEP. If you demonstrate that the services that they are providing are not appropriate to meet your son's needs, than you may win the right to have the school pay for an appropriate placement of your choice. You must proceed carefully on that as there are a lot of issues that go into that determination. You may need to have an independent evaluation to asses your son's current needs AND to determine if the current program is appropriate. Under federal regulations (34 CFR 300.502, you always have the right to an independent evaluation at your expense. However, if you can show that their evaluation(s) are inappropriate and that your evaluation(s) are appropriate, they have to pay for your evaluation(s). Under the law, the school district must provide you with names of independent evaluators. They must also provide you with names of "affordable" advocates/ attorneys in your area. Make them do that. You can also contact your State Board of Education for assistance. Finally, with respect to the housing issue, most states have laws that prohibit discrimination based upon a disability. If the evict you because of your son's mouth, which may be a byproduct of his disability, that might be construed as discrimination based upon his disability. You should check with your local Human Rights Department on that.I hope that this answers your questions. Please feel free to contact me directly via e-mail ( if you have any additional questions. Good luck. Steven Glink