504 Plan Denied: Case Against the School?

Q:

"My ADD/ADHD children struggle with organization and anxiety, and they need a 504 Plan. They have been denied services because their grades and test results are above average. Do I have a case against their school?"

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

The law is clear that academic performance is not the sole indicator of a student’s need for services or accommodations under Section 504 or IDEA. Many special-needs children are extremely intelligent and gifted. The law says that, to qualify for help, a disability must significantly impair a major life activity. If you review the student handbook that you got at the beginning of the school year, you’ll see that school expectations go beyond academics: Your child is required to be polite, well behaved, prompt, respectful, and to refrain from fighting or other disruptive activity. It is only fair that your children receive accommodations to help them deal with the scope of their disability.

The law does not require that a school maximize a student’s potential, but that it gives him a fair opportunity to succeed, and does not discriminate based upon his disability. If your children are doing OK academically, but struggle with behavior or organization, those problems should be addressed by a 504 Plan.

Note: ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this website is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information. While comments are appreciated, due to the high volume of inquiries we receive, there is no guarantee that either ADDitude or the expert will respond to follow-up questions.

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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