IEP Step 12: Review and Reassess

How parents should respond if the school fails to implement ADHD accommodations outlined in an IEP or 504 Plan.

ADHD School Accommodations: When an IEP Plan is Ignored
ADHD School Accommodations: When an IEP Plan is Ignored

IEPs and 504 Plans are mandated by law to be reviewed annually. If your child received an IEP or 504 Plan in January, the annual review would be the following January. Your school will notify you about the date and time of the review. You should prepare for it as you prepared for the original IEP meeting. Some measures to take beforehand include:

1. Complete a new profile for your child, including any new circumstances or problems

2. See your child’s teacher before the meeting to ask which accommodations worked and which are no longer relevant

3. Make a list of the accommodations that you believe are most relevant and helpful

4. Choose goals you would like your child to achieve over the coming year.

E-mails and other communications with the teacher throughout the school year should help you determine which accommodations your child no longer needs, which should remain in place, and new ones that need to be added due to new challenges.

What should I do if the school and teachers are not following the accommodations in the IEP or 504 Plan?

Both the IEP and section 504 are legally binding documents. Once the school accepts the document, through a signature by an authorized representative, it is bound to provide all services, accommodations, and modifications listed in it.

However, sometimes there are extenuating circumstances for teachers. Perhaps the content of the IEP wasn’t communicated to the teacher fully, or it was condensed or summarized, and the teacher didn’t know about a certain accommodation. That does happen. Ask for a meeting and talk to (not at) the teacher. If this doesn’t solve the problem, ask for an IEP team meeting that includes the teacher.

If the accommodations are still not being implemented in class, file a complaint. You were given a packet of information when you applied for services that should list the person or persons you should contact.

IF YOUR CHILD HAS AN IEP:

  • Write the head of the Special Education Department and let him or her know about your concerns. Explain what services or accommodations are not being provided. Give as much detail as possible about the accommodations in the IEP and which ones are not being implemented.
  • If you choose to call the head of the department rather than write, follow up with a letter summarizing your concerns, as well as his or her responses. Keep a copy of all correspondence and e-mails in your file.

IF YOUR CHILD HAS A 504 PLAN:

  • Write the Section 504 Coordinator in your school district. You should have been given this name at the meeting when you requested that your child be evaluated for accommodations. If not, ask the school or one of the 504 team members for it.
  • If you talk to the coordinator over the phone or in person, follow up with a written summary of the conversation, so that you will have documentation of what was discussed.

Because IEPs and 504 Plans are closely monitored – not following them is a federal offense – talking with the school district usually solves the problem. Teachers and schools do not want to be found non-compliant in implementing the plans.

I followed the steps you outlined, but my child is still not receiving the accommodations in his IEP. How do I take this to the next level?

There are set procedures for you to request a due process hearing to resolve the situation.

IF YOUR CHILD HAS AN IEP:

  • File a written complaint with the school and request mediation.
  • File for a due process hearing. You may need to work with an experienced attorney or education advocate, since the procedures for a due process hearing are complicated.

IF YOUR CHILD HAS A 504 PLAN:

  • File a written complaint with the 504 Coordinator in your school district.
  • File a complaint with the regional Office of Civil Rights, which oversees Section 504s.

During the resolution process, it is a good idea to hire a special-education professional. There is a difference between a special-education advocate and an attorney. There are no degrees or licensing requirements for advocates – anyone can call himself a special-education advocate. If you decide that you do not need an attorney, but think an advocate would help, be sure to ask for background information, previous clients, and references before hiring one.

Start by asking other parents of children with disabilities for recommendations of advocates and attorneys in your area. You can also search:

  • The National Disability Rights Network (ndrn.org)
  • Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (copaa.org)

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