Did Schools Reject My Son Because of His ADHD?


My ADHD son was rejected or wait-listed by the 13 schools that he applied to, despite high test scores. I think it’s because we mentioned his ADHD on the applications. One administrator had the gall to say that they rejected my son because he takes medication.

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

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are intended to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities. If the schools receive funding from the federal government, it would appear that they have discriminated against your son. However, an insensitive employee’s words may not reflect the school’s actual policy. If you don’t have written documentation of the school’s position, discrimination against your son may be difficult to prove in a court of law.

Consider whether or not a school with such beliefs would be the right fit for your son. I would seek an institution that welcomes the challenges your son’s attention deficit disorder brings, and offers services and support to help him meet them. In the meantime, you can report the incident to the Board of Trustees of the offending institutions and/or the U.S. Department of Education.

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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