Decide Which Laws Are Applicable
IDEA covers kids with very specific conditions, including mental retardation, emotional disturbances, hearing impairments, and speech and language difficulties. Kids may qualify for coverage if they frequently have one of these problems in addition to attention deficit. Some qualify under another IDEA category: Other Health Impairments. If your child’s ADHD is so severe that he’s unable to learn in a regular classroom, he may qualify.
Section 504 covers ADHD kids who don’t qualify for special-ed services under IDEA, but who need extra help in the classroom. The law prohibits schools from discriminating against students because of physical and mental impairments. Just as the school must provide ramps for kids in wheelchairs, it must make modifications (such as preferential seating, extra time on tests, or help with note taking) for kids with brain-based learning barriers.
FYI: If the team decides your child doesn’t need special ed, you’re entitled to appeal your case in a "due-process" hearing - a legal proceeding that often requires legal representation for the family, testimony from independent experts, and a review of meeting transcripts, test scores, and other documents.
To share strategies for getting accommodations for your ADHD child, visit the ADHD at School support group on ADDConnect.