Reply To: Gifted w/ADHD – No accommodations?

Penny Williams

Legally, grades are not the only measure of need for special education services and an IEP. Sadly, many schools steadfastly believe that a kid has to be failing to qualify for an IEP. That’s not what the law says.

The struggles you outline are due to executive functioning deficits. There are accommodations that can be helpful at school. Needing accommodations alone don’t qualify a student for an IEP. An IEP is for students who also need individualized instruction. With good grades, an IEP qualification is for students whose behavior is negatively impacting school performance (not just grades). If you can make the case that he needs individualized instruction or different class placement to support executive functioning deficits, then he could qualify for an IEP… but I don’t think that’s realistic.

There’s a lot of the IDEA law that is very ambiguous and open for interpretation. It doesn’t state that kids have a right to meet their maximum potential. It only states the right to an “appropriate” education. I’ve had many a heated discussion about this in school meetings over the years. My son is 2e, 10th grade, barely getting Cs in regular level and inclusion classes, all due to executive functioning deficits. Mind you, this is Cs with a TON of work and help on my part. It’s most definitely exhausting. My son has an IEP (qualified for dysgraphia in 3rd grade). He has assistive tech and a goal for the effects of EFD on knowing what needs to be done, doing it, and returning it and turning it in. The issue is that the classroom teachers won’t provide the level of support he needs in this area. They feel he basically needs to “man up” and get it done, because he’s 16. I have the developmental disability, not really functioning at 16, discussion with them at every meeting. Again, exhausting.

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ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism