Your ADD/ADHD child may have a right to educational assistive technology. Here's one idea for approaching your child's IEP team about gadgets in the classroom.
by Kay Marner
One of my favorite things about writing an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) parenting blog is having the opportunity to offer monthly giveaways of books or products related to ADD/ADHD, its common comorbid conditions, and learning disabilities. Our latest contest -- for a free MotivAider, a vibrating behavior-change gadget that kids with ADD/ADHD might use in the classroom -- generated an unprecedented amount of interest for this blog. The hope it elicited from so many parents made me wish we could name every single entrant a winner! Unfortunately, we can’t, but I might be able to do the next best thing -- for those of you whose child has an IEP, at least: offer you ammunition to convince your child’s school to provide a MotivAider.
Wrightslaw, a respected source for practical and legal information about special education, recently added a page to their website devoted to assistive technology. There, they explain that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) requires the IEP team to consider the assistive technology needs of all kids with disabilities, to provide the technology needed without regard to cost, and to provide training to teachers in how to utilize the technology to benefit those kids. There is a lot of information on the page (and I haven’t sifted through all of it) but it didn’t take me long to find a reference to the category of assistive technology that covers the MotivAider in a checklist (PDF download) created by the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative.
Feeling bummed that you didn't win a MotivAider? Don't count yourself out just yet. Do your homework on your child’s educational rights to assistive technology. Create an intelligent, thoughtful, positive pitch for your IEP team about how the MotivAider will help your child. Then, call an IEP meeting. (You might even bring a plate of still-warm homemade cookies to the meeting!) If all of our contest entrants do that, more than 160 schools could be ordering MotivAiders soon!
Happy advocating, parents! Please let us know the outcome of your efforts, good or bad.