Ask the Experts

Do IEPs Cover Executive-Function Problems?

“The school psychologist told me that an IEP doesn’t cover my daughter’s executive-function problems. True or false?”

False. Executive-function problems are covered under IEPs. ADHD, essentially an executive-function impairment, is specifically covered under the Other Health Impaired (OHI) category in IDEA.

Many school districts, though, will try to direct parents toward a 504 Plan. In some cases, they don’t know any better. Some school administrators mistakenly believe that ADHD is covered only under a 504. In other cases, the school may find it easier to set up and administer a 504 rather than an IEP.

Depending upon your child’s needs and the extent of her impairment — all of which should be documented by your child’s doctor — she may need a formal IEP, which has more procedural protections than a 504 Plan and allows more latitude in providing special-education services. Some school districts do what is easier or more cost-effective for them instead of what the law requires.

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