Dear ADDitude

Dear ADDitude: What If The School Denies an IEP/504?

“In kindergarten, my son’s school said he didn’t qualify for an IEP or 504 Plan because he is ‘too smart’ and was keeping up. Now in second grade, he’s falling behind – and his incomplete classwork comes home every night on top of his regular homework. It’s getting unbearable. Can I petition for another round of testing?”

ADDitude Answers

Yes, I would absolutely request another evaluation. There is no reason why you can’t request a second, or third, evaluation if you feel your son would benefit from accommodations. The school has the right to not approve an evaluation, but if that occurs, they must tell you where and how you can appeal their decision.

In the meantime, I would set up a meeting with your child’s teacher and explain that completing classwork and homework each night is causing a hardship-for your son and your family. Ask for some alternatives, such as completing every other problem. You also want to talk about why your son is falling behind-does he not understand the work or is he distracted and not getting the work done. You can use this information to devise solutions.

Posted by Eileen Bailey
Freelance writer, author specializing in ADHD, anxiety, and autism

ADDitude Answers

Yes, parents can request an evaluation at any time. My son was denied an IEP in 1st grade for being “too smart.” By the beginning of third grade, the gap between his peers and his own capabilities was so cavernous that that they couldn’t avoid it when I requested evaluation again at that time.

Here’s a sample letter to make an official request.

Here’s some info on IEP vs. 504 plan too, to help you determine which your child really needs.

Posted by Penny
community moderator, author on ADHD parenting, mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

[Free Download: Creating An IEP/504 Plan for Your ADHD Child]

A Reader Answers

Go back and insist on a 504 at the very least. A child can be gifted and still need accommodations for a disability. Send a letter to the director of special services as well as the principal of the school where you requested the evaluation. They are legally required to have a meeting to discuss your concerns. Have your doctor write a note explaining the diagnosis and recommended services.

In the meantime, meet with the teacher. Explain that the homework overload is adversely affecting your child. Ask if the teacher will work with you to alleviate some of the difficulty – some teachers are more willing than others – and come prepared with some ideas of how. Inquire about reducing the workload without reducing content covered. For example, if there are 20 math problems, can your child only complete only even problems?

At home, you can help your child with homework until the school is on board. If your child is slow reader, alternate pages, you read one, they read one. You know your child best. When my son was in 4th, he excelled in math and didn’t really need much practice. His math teacher agreed that I could just check a couple problems in each area to be sure he understood, then focus on language arts where he needed help with writing assignments. Don’t count teachers out without talking to them first.

Twice exceptional children are often misunderstood. It is our job to make them understand.

Posted by Peacfldove

A Reader Answers

I live in Canada but in an advocacy course that I took we were told if you didn’t agree with the teacher or resource teacher, go to the principal. If you’re not getting anywhere with the principal, go to administrator, trustee, special education coordinator. Keep going up the chain of command until someone listens.

Make sure you put all requests in writing. The IEP and 504 processes have legal standards that need to be followed. Also you can take an advocate with you to meetings. Check with your local learning disabilities association. We were given a representative at no cost from ours. Sometimes I take my husband, brother or mother for moral support. I also explain that I would like to concentrate on what is being said so I bring my digital voice recorder to scribe things for later. I carry my son’s binder with his picture, all his report cards, IEP’s and assessments whenever I go to school meetings. It can be intimidating so I try to look prepared, organized and bring people to support me.

If you get to the top, and you are still not having success, looking into another school might be the best option. Good luck! It can be frustrating, but it’s so satisfying when you see your child start to succeed!

Posted by JulieBmotherof3

[Quiz: How Well Do You Know Special-Ed Law?]

A Reader Answers

Your son can be retested after one year. Schools don’t usually retest in less than one year because the kids will remember the test. It really depends on what he is struggling with. If smaller accommodations – such as a quiet place to take tests, preferential seating, more time for assignments – are all he needs then a 504 Plan may be the answer. But, if you suspect there is more to the problem, you can formally request a comprehensive evaluation in writing to the school, and they are required legally to respond.

Posted by Cameo

A Reader Answers

If the school denied your son, ask them to give you a Prior Written Notice (PWN) in writing. There are 7 elements explaining why they denied the IEP or 504 plan. Ask them for a PWN for each denied service you requested. They have to do the work and answer why they feel your son doesn’t need this service. It’s very tedious for the school.

Posted by vabronxboogie

A Reader Answers

You could ask the school to do an RTI (response to intervention). It is a special technique used by some schools to identify and support students with unique learning and behavior needs. If the interventions they put in place don’t work, then the next step would be a meeting with parents, more interventions, or a referral for special education testing. Make sure you ask for a formal RTI in writing so you are on the right track to getting the IEP/504 plan evaluation. Hope this helps.

Posted by Sporty

[How to Request a Special Education Assessment]