ADHD News & Research

One in Three Students with ADHD Receives No School Services

A critical lack of school support services was revealed in the first large-scale analysis of school services drawn from a national sample of youth with ADHD.

March 15, 2019

A national study1 of U.S. school children from every state showed that one in three students with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) receives no support services at school. Researchers used parent-reported data for 2,495 youths with ADHD ages 4 through 17 from the National Survey of the Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD and Tourette’s Syndrome to determine that fewer than 43 percent of students with ADHD had an individualized education plan and fewer than 14 percent had a 504 plan.

Findings published in the Journal of Attention Disorders showed that one in five students with ADHD did not receive services even when experiencing significant academic and social impairment, including youths with ADHD who had actually repeated a grade or had been expelled. The services gap was especially prominent for adolescents and youth from non-English speaking or low-income families. In addition, secondary students were less likely to be given school support than were younger children, despite equal or higher levels of impairment.

The study cautions that grade retention and expulsion are ineffective for students with ADHD; one out of four students with ADHD has repeated a grade and one out of six has been expelled. One alternative solution recommended by researchers is an evidence-based intervention program to target students with ADHD and their specific impairments.


DuPaul, G. J., Chronis-Tuscano, A., Danielson, M. L., & Visser, S. N. Predictors of Receipt of School Services in a National Sample of Youth With ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders (Dec. 2018)