ADHD Accommodation — Or Not?


"Is it reasonable to ask for 504 accommodations (e.g., extra time on major tests) for my son—a gifted student with ADHD, who is not failing and is taking pre-AP classes? He has difficulty with short-term working memory."

ADDitude contributor Robert Tudisco is a practicing attorney with ADHD and an expert on special education law and disability advocacy.

The need for special education and/or accommodations under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is not dependent upon failing grades. A student who is passing, or even one who is doing well, may qualify for services and/or accommodations.

However, parents should know that a diagnosis of ADHD or of a learning disability doesn’t guarantee services. It is incumbent upon the family to inform the school about the diagnosis and the disability’s impact on the student’s academic performance or on another “major life activity.”

Your best bet is to support your claims with a thorough neuropsychological evaluation that pinpoints your child’s specific deficits. And remember that a thorough evaluation is the best blueprint for a successful IEP or 504 Plan.

Since Robert Tudisco was diagnosed with ADHD, he has researched and written extensively on the subject of special education law and disability advocacy, and now specializes in the area as a practicing attorney. He is a former Executive Director of the Edge Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides specialized coaches for students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Impairment. He has served on the National Board of Directors of CHADD and is a former Vice President of ADDA. He is a frequent resource for the media, including CBS News, New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, ABC News, The BBC, The Today Show, CNN, USA Today, and The Seattle Times.
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