Getting an IEP or 504 for ADHD Behavior Issues?

Updated on November 09, 2010
W.H. asks from Buckeye, AZ
12 answers

This is my friend's question - she has a son about 10yo who is getting in a lot of trouble at school for behavior problems and such. She wanted to know how to go about getting an IEP or 504 plan for her son (he has ADHD). Does anybody know?

Her son was kicked out of the after school care program and so now she has him at the babysitter for her toddlers. How can she help her boy get the help he needs to be able to behave appropriately and learn well?

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answers from Reno on

She needs to call the school and ask to speak with the special education teacher. She then needs to request testing for eligibility and provide the school with a copy of the student's diagnosis. At this point, the student would qualify as Other Health Impaired.

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answers from Columbus on

Yes. She needs to ask for an evaluation becasue her son has a disablity and he has an educational need for special education. She should also ask for something called a Functional Behavoiral Assessment and for a Behavor plan with Possitive Behavioral Interventions and supports to beggin as soon as possible due to ______ behaviors. She should ask for a meeting to commence as soon as possible to discuss the evaluation, and for her to give her consent for evaluation.

She should do everything in writting. She should log on to and learn about advocacy, and read about behavior issues and behavior plans.

She should not be leaving all of this to the school. Her son should have some combination (many hours per week) of: Cognative behavioral therapy, play therapy, social skills classes, speech therapy, occupational therapy, medical intervention and school interventions and supports. Parents who realize that ADHD straddles the medical - educational boundaries and who provide appropriate private services can seem more colaborative to school districts, which is especially important when a child has a behavior issue. Every child with a disablity should be in private serivces in additon to those provided by schools, schools are obligated to make childre funcitonal at school, parents want more than that and have to provide maximization themselves. It is a win-win if it helps the child to be all that he can, and helps the family get more cooperation from the school.

Wrightslaw is going to be her bible. There is a yellow pages for Arizona on that site, she can find advocates in her area that can help her, as well as therapists and providers for her son. His age makes him vulnerable, if he has already been kicked out of the aftercare program, suspensions and police involvment cannot be far behind. Your friend needs to make it her bussiness to know all about how many days he can be suspended and what the manefestations of his disablity are.


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answers from Chicago on

The school can help with an IEP, call the school, tell them you want an evaluation done. As Christine says below, they will do one and then if the child qualifies they will have a meeting about what he needs to be successful.

However, the school will not diagnose ADHD. It's not really in their power. He needs individual care.......a doctor and counselor to help treat the ADHD. To help him learn how to overcome his weaknesses (counselor) and to make it easier for him to do so he needs medication (psychiatrist). You can just go to a psychiatrist, they will give you a rough diagnosis and set you up with a counselor to work with, but if you TRULY want to know FOR SURE what's going on and if it's ADHD or not, you have to have him tested by a psychologist. They are the official "experts" that diagnose. Then if he gets the diagnosis, the psychiatrist monitors and prescribes medication and the counselor helps him learn how to function better in daily life.

Medication can sound scary for a young child, but is needed. There is a chemical/neurological problem. It will be much much better treated if the child receives medication to help control the symptoms. Then with time and working with a counselor they can learn how to control it somewhat themselves. Some people can go off meds, some continue to need it. Once you get a child on the meds, treatment and therapy with a counselor is much more effective because you have the symptoms under control.

For some insurance you need referrals for psychological testing, so first step would probably be to call her insurance company to get a list of psychologists in her network. Then the school can be a good resource as far as who is a good psychologist and/or psychiatrist to see. They see alot of evaluations come in and have worked with alot of these professionals. Our district has a nurse that specializes in working on IEPs and I have found her knowledge to be invaluable.

For sure, go to the school for help with school, but privately he needs help just to make him a successful person in life overall as well. Trying to work only with the school can be like pulling teeth cause the last thing they want to do is spend money. They have to abide by the law and provide a free and appropriate education for any child with a disability, but that doesn't mean they have to help them become all that they can be. It means they have to make the effort to help him be successful in school with whatever tools they have at their disposal. But individual treatment beyond school is what is going to have long term effects.

A great place to go for info

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answers from Washington DC on

I used to be a Special Education teacher, and honestly getting an IEP is difficult if there is no proven disability. Meaning, having ADHD does not make you eligible. It has be to affecting his school work. First thing she needs to do is request an evaluation by the school. Once that is requested, the school has 120 days to follow through. They should also meet in the meantime though to have a child study meeting to discuss options to help him. Once the evaluation is complete, a team will meet (the parent included) to discuss the results and decide if the child is eligible to receive services. If the answer is yes, than an IEP can be set in place.

Now, if she does not want to go the IEP route, he does have ADHD, so she can request a child study meeting and request a 504 plan be set up. All that will do though is put on paper accommodations teachers need to implement to help him during the school day.

Bottom line, she needs to contact the school ASAP and request a child study meeting and evaluation. She should also contact his doctor because it does not sound like his ADHD is under control.

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answers from Tucson on

My daughter, now 20, had a 504 in Junior High. The ADD that she was diagnosed with was an ACTUAL medical condition, which fell under the 504, not specifically a learning disability or special ed. was an especially great source for getting all the information I needed to get the school administration and teachers to be alert to her condition and showing them how to teach her.
There are people in the education world that assume that a child with ADD or ADHD are deficient in paying attention, hence the 'Attention Deficit Disorder' name. However, ADD kids actually have too much attention, it's just spread everywhere. As younger kids, they're called 'social butterflies', and it's cute. When they start to grow, all of a sudden they are expected to control that social-ness that they were positively reinforced for.
Just a few suggestions for your friend-
~when contacting the school psychologist or principal or any teachers, it helps to write a narrative about the child through the child's eyes (i printed mine on a neon orange page to draw their attention to it)
~a meeting with all teachers included in the child's education, main teacher, art teacher, PE teacher, music teacher, principal, even the secretary, is very important because they must all be on the same page as to how to re-direct, how to focus the student, any disciplinary actions, they MUST ALL BE THE SAME (consistency at school as well as at home)
~WRITE EVERY CONTACT DOWN, every voice mail left, every note, every email, every phone contact, there is a short downloadable form on wrightslaw, I think. There used to be.
If you want to, send me a private message, and I'll send you a copy of the narrative I wrote almost 10 years ago. Tell her good luck, and remind her that her son will make it out alive, and possibly stronger from his experiences! :)



answers from Minneapolis on

i just set up a 504 plan for my Asperger daughter. I met with the school counselor and brought the medical diagnosis. I don't feel this is a disability for her, so I don't want any special accomodations for her. I jsut want teachers to be aware and maybe be a little understanding if she's off one day.



answers from Flagstaff on

First, please don't link or assume that a kid with problems has any relation to ADHD. These are good kids who need extra support. My son is ADD and did need an IEP, so I can speak from my own experience.
Kids who are diagnosed with ADHD need a lot of physical exercise so I would begin there. In the morning as part of his daily routine, she should find a way for him to kick a soccer ball, shoot some baskets, take a walk or run-something positive....
Next, I would look into things that may have happened to him in his life that could contribute to his behavior. Is he a child of divorce, has he had to move a lot in his life, are there poor parental boundaries either non existent or too extreme? She would need to be able to step back and look at her parenting and find ways to help support him while not going insane (love and logic parenting helped me), having teachers insight and counselors will also be invaluable help.
This process took several years for me to change.
As far as the IEP, this will help kids who have a hard time functioning with school work in a positive way. If he is disabled or if his brain is not allowing him to get his work done, then an IEP would help. If he rates at a certain level after testing, the parents and teachers sit down and come up with ways that would help him succeed. For instance if my son gets a writing assignment, he can type instead of hand write. He can turn in half a page of writing instead of a full page. He doesn't know that he can turn in less, he turns in his assignments and the teachers make an effort to see that he followed the directions (what he was supposed to write about) and will accept a minimum requirement from him.
This has helped his self esteem and work habits. Instead of feeling like he could never accomplish assignments and wouldn't hand things in at all, he makes an effort and is rewarded with the effort he has made.
It's a really hard situation and takes a huge amount of effort, I would get a team involved, everyone on the same page and dive in head first. This is the way I approached his situation. He has matured slightly every year so I know all the effort put forth was worth it. One more thing, all these things that you're talking about like the IEP are tools, not easy fix all solutions. It will take many tools, taking apart here and there to put it all together in the end. Good luck.



answers from Bellingham on

My son has an EIP. You just need to talk to the school and let them know you want to get more information about it and set up a meeting. Our meeting was with the school counselor. The IEP was so helpful for my son. He was given extra time when needed. Even if he felt like he was getting “worked up” he was able to go in the hallway for 5 minute and calm down. No extra attention given to him, he and his teacher just knew if he went into the hall, he needed a minute to compose himself. This is just one example of how an EIP helped my son. I would definitely talk to the school about one. I did not need a note from his Dr. I just asked and they set up a meeting.



answers from Detroit on

Put a request in writing to school counseling or social worker.



answers from Chicago on

Talk to either the school nurse or social worker. if none is available, go to the board of ed for your school. We recently set one up for my son due to medical issues so that he is not penalized for missed school days or extra time needed between classes. The nurse told me about it and coordinated it. You will need a note from the doctor stating the diagnosis and any meds he takes.



answers from Sacramento on

For starters, he needs the right medical care. It doesn't sound like the ADHD is being treated? If he is doing the combination of therapy and medication, it may be that his medication or dosage isn't quite right. When all is well, he should be doing fine at school behaviorwise.

As far as the IEP/504 plan, she needs to write a letter to the school district office requesting an evaluation. They must do this by law if it's requested. It may take some time for the appt. (our district psychologist & his team were very booked), but they will fit her son in because they have to.

Best of luck! Hopefully she can get the right combination of medical treatment and school assistance so he can thrive at school and at home.



answers from Phoenix on

Some mixed responses about initiating this. I just went through this with my son last year. The school needed a diagnosis; we obtained this from a developmental pediatrician. Then requested an evaluation from the school in writing. He then qualified for an IEP under "other health conditions". It was not difficult but it was a process. The school has been wonderful but we are very proactive and have gotten him additional services (occupational, speech, play therapy) privately. It has all made a huge difference for our son and us.

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