ADHD School Special Education Services Available in Schools By Keath Low Keath Low Keath Low, MA, is a therapist and clinical scientist with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina. She specializes in treatment of ADD/ADHD. Learn about our editorial process Updated on August 15, 2021 Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Adah Chung Fact checked by Adah Chung LinkedIn Adah Chung is a fact checker, writer, researcher, and occupational therapist. Learn about our editorial process Print Mari / Vetta / Getty Images It is important for parents to be aware and knowledgeable about the types of support, accommodations and special services that may be available to help their ADHD child succeed in school. IDEA The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that public education provide appropriate services to children whose disabilities limit or impede the ability to function in an educational setting. Under IDEA, your child may qualify for special services if they have ADHD and the ADHD significantly impairs academic performance. The school system is responsible for identifying and evaluating children who are suspected of having disabilities. As a parent, you may request an evaluation for your child at any time. It is often helpful to put the request in writing in addition to talking to your child’s teacher and school principal. IDEA lists many different categories of disability under which a child can be eligible for special education. ADHD children often qualify under the "Other Health Impaired" category. Your child’s ADHD does not automatically make them eligible for services under IDEA, but they may qualify if the ADHD symptoms severely inhibit learning and behavior at school. If the outcome of the school evaluation indicates that your child meets the criteria for special education services, you and school personnel will meet to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) specifically tailored to your child. The IEP is a written document that outlines goals for your child, as well as the educational, developmental and behavioral support and services your child will receive in order to help them reach these goals. Section 504 The definition of a disability is much broader under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 than it is under IDEA. If your child does not qualify for services under IDEA, they still may be able to qualify for services under Section 504. Section 504 requires that the needs of students with disabilities be met as adequately as the needs of those students without disabilities. A student with a disability is defined as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Since learning is considered a major life activity, many students with ADHD qualify as a “person with a disability” under Section 504. Determining a Need for Special Services and Accommodations The school system will determine if your child qualifies for specialized services and accommodations under section 504. You may make a request for services by submitting the request in writing to your child’s school. Be sure to ask for a copy of your school district’s policies and procedures on Section 504, so you can better understand your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of the school. Special education services and support should be provided in the least restrictive environment, so often ADHD children continue in the regular classroom with appropriate modifications and accommodations rather than being placed in a separate special needs classroom. Removal from the regular mainstream classroom would only occur if the student continues to struggle significantly in the regular classroom despite accommodations and interventions. Below is a list of accommodations that are often granted to children with ADHD. Classroom Accommodations Helpful for Students with ADHD Seating the student close to the teaching area and away from the distractions of doors and windowsReducing the length of the student’s workload (both classroom assignments, as well as homework) to accommodate their attention spanGiving assignments one at a time rather than all at once, and breaking longer assignments into smaller parts, so it isn’t so overwhelming for the student.Allowing the student extra time to take tests and complete assignments (this is especially helpful for those children with the predominately inattentive type ADHD who tend to process information at a slower speed and so often take longer with tasks)Allowing the student to take tests or work on assignments in a quiet area free from distractionsProviding the student copies of class notes or assigning a “study buddy” to help in note-takingAllowing the student to tape-record teacher’s directions regarding assignments, as well as class lectures to help in recall and learningGiving the student frequent physical breaks for movement and exercise during the day in order to help recharge, maintain focus, and burn off any excess energy or feelings of restlessnessSetting up a system of communication (such as a notebook or daily emails or phone calls) between parent and teacher so that they may keep each other informed about the student's progress or difficulties For more information on special education services and procedures, contact your local school district or your State Department of Education. You will also find information and support at your state Parent Training and Information Center and at the Office of Civil Rights. 2 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. U.S. Department of Education. About IDEA. U.S. Department of Education. Protecting Students With Disabilities. Additional Reading Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. A Parent's Guide to Section 504 in Public Schools. Nemours Foundation. 504 education plans. By Keath Low Keath Low, MA, is a therapist and clinical scientist with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina. She specializes in treatment of ADD/ADHD. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! 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