IEP Or 504 for 11 Yr Old

Updated on July 23, 2012
C.C. asks from Apex, NC
13 answers

Hi all,

Recently my 11 yr old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety disorder by a pediatric psychologist. With the help of our pediatrician we have her on 27mg of concerta. It seems to help her focus better but she gets really tired in the afternoon. We may look at a different drug for her but wanted to see how this week goes.

Anyway, she just started middle school 2 weeks ago and I was wondering how to go about putting an IEP or 504 in place for her. I called the principal but she said to just contact all (7) of her teachers...What kind of help should we expect for my daughter and what is age appropriate? My daughter isn't good at test taking and she already recieved an F on her math quiz.

The school system here is frustrating to deal with and it's hard to get help for your child when they really need it. At my daughters elementary school they would not help her because they said, her grades weren't bad enough, she doesn't have a learning disability and her ADHD doesn't affect her academically. What a bunch of BS. Sorry just had to vent a little.

Any feedback or advice would be great!


***Thank you to all that responded so far. I just want to add that her grades suffered in 5th grade math for 2 quarters and she also had low grades in science and reading for one quarter. Her teacher was strict and rigid so that did not help matters at all. She also forgot materials either at home or school just about every day.

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answers from Portland on

I don't have any advice, but just wanted to say thanks for asking this question. I appreciate many of the answers and thanks to Elena for the clear explanation between the 504 and IEP.

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answers from Denver on

My dd has a 504 plan too. A basic explanation is that an IEP is for a student who learns differently from what is typical or the norm for his/her peers (examples: intellectual impairment, brain injury, severe dyslexia, etc). A 504 plan is for the student who can learn the same info as his/her peers but needs accommodations for the way in which the information or curriculum is presented (examples: uses hearing aids or is visually impaired and needs specific seating in the classroom, or must take breaks to go get insulin or other meds, needs longer times for test-taking, may have fatigue and need to rest or have class schedule adjusted).

Your dd does not seem, from your post, to have an intellectual impairment, and it seems that she can learn, but may be anxious or may be affected by the meds she takes or have certain difficulties due to the ADHD. That is where the 504 plan comes in.

Let me say that there are many qualified, compassionate and competent educators out there.

However, you may encounter the school staff who balk, and who are not cooperative. Sometimes you will encounter school staff who simply have not previously had to deal with your child's particular diagnosis, or for whatever reasons are just not helpful. This is why my dd is in online school. And her public, online high school has been amazingly cooperative with her 504 plan and has been so supportive.

What I suggest you do, is begin with your doctor. Get a brief almost-prescription-like statement. For example: [Susie] has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Anxiety Disorder. She has been prescribed 27 mg of Concerta x times a day. [Susie] will require [here, state what the doctor says she needs, with your input, like taking tests alone or after school or whatever, and any other accommodations or modifications that you and the doctor realize that she needs]. [Susie] needs a 504 plan created for her to ensure that these accommodations are in place.

Before you ask your doctor for this letter, think about your dd and her day at school. Maybe ask her what is difficult, and how she would change things if she could. Of course, she might say "no homework" which just isn't going to happen, but she might have some realistic ideas too. Write down what you think would improve her school day, but keep it realistic.

Then bring the letter to the school district and request a formal 504 plan to be created. But don't ask for an IEP. They are separate and the language is totally different, as are the requirements. It took a doctor's letter to get the school to listen, but even then, they were stubborn. Again, the online school has saved her.

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answers from Chicago on

Don't call. Put everything in writing. Send request to principal, school psychologist and special education/special services director/coordinator. Make sure to have the full report of the pediatric psychologist and pediatrician available to include in her school records.

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answers from Phoenix on

In order to get an IEP, she needs to be tested. If she qualifies in any area, she will then be admitted into special education and you and her case manager will create her IEP (along with school psychologist, teachers, etc). If you really think she requires special education services, then write an email or letter to the school psychologist. At least in AZ, if a parent requests special ed testing, schools have to do it. That doesn't mean she will automatically qualify, though. Typically students qualify for SPED if there is a significant enough of a gap between her ability and her performance. Most of my students who are on 504 plans are on them due to medical issues like your daughter's. That sounds most like the route you should take.


answers from St. Louis on

I don't actually know what a 504 is. My older two had no plans in place and did great, my younger two have had IEPs since they first set foot in school.

If it is not hurting her academically have you considered an outside tutor? I have a friend who tutors kids with ADHD and the like. It is not so much about learning as organizing. My oldest had a hard start in high school and she got him all straightened out.



answers from Boston on

What your school system is telling you is illegal and is a violation of your child's civil rights (free and appropriate public education). ADHD is a health impairment and as such, they are obligated by law to write a 504 accommodation plan for her and follow it. They don't get to choose who they accommodate and who they don't.

A 504 plan is different from an IEP. A 504 plan can be established at your request with documentation of her diagnosis. This is the same process that you would go through if she had poor vision that wasn't correctable with glasses, or a hearing impairment, or diabetes. 504 accommodations for ADHD include things like preferential seating, verbal and non-verbal cues (perhaps the teacher casually touches her shoulder while walking by if she notices that she's not focusing on a task), the use of a computer to type responses to long essay questions on a test, the ability to go the nurse's office to take medication (most stimulants last the school day but some kids are still on ones that don't), the right to have a teacher be responsible for helping check the homework assignment book or e-mail you the assignments (or other intervention to help with making sure you and she know what's for homework).

An IEP is an individual education plan and a school will only put a child on that after testing shows that the child is performing below the 25th percentile in an academic/cognitive area. While many children with ADHD also have learning disabilities that affect their academic performance to a degree that they qualify for an IEP, many more don't qualify, especially after the ADHD is addressed. ADHD in and of itself is not a learning disability and won't qualify a child for an IEP. An IEP would include things such as small group instruction with a learning specialist daily or every other day, help with planning long term assignments, things like OT or PT, having a para professional in the classroom, extra time on timed tests, testing in a separate location etc.

If you think your child may qualify for an IEP, request an evaluation in writing and address it to your child's school's principal. They have to respond in 10 days and schedule an evaluation. That evaluation has to be carried out by a certain date (it may be 30 or 60 days, I don't recall) and then they will schedule a meeting to go over the results. If she does not qualify for an IEP, the ADHD diagnosis (you'll need a letter from her diagnosing physician) will suffice for a 504 plan. It is then the school's job to put that plan in writing and communicate it to the teachers. If you don't want to wait for the IEP process, you can request a 504 plan in writing as a temporary measure when you request the evaluation.

The website is very helpful with this stuff. Basically, all children who are on an IEP are helping the school satisfy section 504 of civil rights act but not all students who fall under the umbrella of 504 accommodations are considered disabled and fall under the IEP provision of the IDEA.


answers from Tampa on

ADHD is recognized by the disability act. The school HAS to provide services for her. In order to get any kind of help from the teachers she needs an IEP/504 in place. Contact the school again and keep bugging them. If possible you can get the psychiatrist involed that's what I had to do with my son cause his school didn't want to do IEP for a kindergartener. Good Luck


answers from Chicago on

You need to contact the Special Education department, not her teachers. The Special Education department is who will evaluate her and place an IEP or 504. I think your daughter will probably have a 504 plan (accomodations), that is what most ADHD kids have unless there are other medical conditions going on too. The teachers all have to follow the plan, but the special ed department should be the ones to place it. In addition - be prepared for her to be waitlisted.



answers from Sacramento on

An IEP is what to pursue if she's having trouble academically; pursue a 504 plan for accommodations if she's not. Our son has ADHD and didn't qualify for an IEP because he's doing too well academically. We've been fortunate to have teachers who voluntarily make accommodations for him, but the second we have trouble, we're ready to contact the district psychologist and get a 504 plan in place.

Schools hate to be legally bound by IEPs/504 plans, so your daughter's elementary school just gave bad information hoping you'd drop it all. They count on parents being uninformed.

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

With a diagnosis, your child will qualify for 504. When you have a 504 meeting, an IEP (individual education plan) will be created. Things like extra time, frequent breaks, shortened assignments, etc. can be made to help your child be successful. In order to get things going, I would request to meet with the counselor and principal together to request a formal meeting be called. Take notes and have everyone in attendance sign them before you leave. When you meet with the counselor and principal, take copies of your child's medical records. That should speed things up some. Otherwise, you will probably hear, "we need documentation from a medical professional.". HTH


answers from Hartford on

The principal won't get you anywhere, but the school psychologist and your daughter's team of teachers can help you. You're going to have formally request for the school to do an evaluation (there's a specific one for ADHD) so that they can target her weak areas and her strengths and see if there are any other issues to be concerned about. Make sure you bring in the diagnosis from her doctor.

She'll likely get a 504 plan as long as the ADHD and related behavior issues don't include diminished intellectual capacity or a learning delay. If she has one of those, she would be entitled to an IEP. With a 504, she'll be entitled to some services and considerations she might not otherwise get such as: no points taken off for late projects but she'll still be graded on the work itself. She'll get extra time to take tests if she needs it and won't get docked points for it. There will be a behavior plan put into place for her as well, which you can discuss with the teachers at team meetings/504 meetings.

Get the school psychologist to work with your pediatric psychologist. Make sure your own psychologist gets copies of ALL reports and examinations/evaluations done on your child so that if needed she can tweak treatment outside of school.

My 11-almost-12 year old was diagnosed with pretty bad ADHD (and also has ODD) near end of the 3rd semester of this past 6th grade year. It was SUCH a difficult transition year for so many reasons and her anxiety didn't help matters. When we had her 504 and behavior plan put into place at school and I took control at home rather than allowing her freedom at home (she had done well with some freedom for a couple of years with homework and class work because she was comfortable in elementary school) PLUS weekly sessions of a social group "therapy" at school, a bi-weekly session with the school psychologist, frequent visits with our pediatric neurologist, occasional visits with our pediatric psychiatrist, and finally 36 mg of Concerta, we not only saw progress but OMG PROGRESS!

She became less moody, less argumentative, her behaviors at school and home improved, her anxiety decreased dramatically, her body got used to the medication within two weeks, and she went from D's and F's (she was an A student before) back up to all A's and B's. She made honor roll 4th semester. Almost made it 3rd semester and pulled it out of the gutter.

ADHD is ... well, you know. And do you know my daughter came to ME with it? She asked to be evaluated. She went to the school psychologist requesting an evaluation and wondering if I were against it, could she get one done anyway. I cried when I found out about that because it turned out we were thinking the same thing at the same time. I resisted the idea of ADHD for so long and thought that it was just a personality quirk of first children.

Anyway, I feel your pain.


answers from Phoenix on

In the very least, they can put in a 504 plan for her. Unless she has some other diagnosis, she may not qualify for an IEP. AZ recently changed their requirements so my daughter has an IEP but my son doesn't. Don't let the principal pass the buck to the teachers. In the very least, there should be a "resource teacher" or "special ed" teacher that can take the time to help you. Good luck!


answers from Erie on

Contact the school or district psychologist and request that due to a medical diagnosis by your doctor, you want to have further testing done to diagnose a specific learning disability. They SAID she didn't have a learning disability but did they test her?
504 plans are usually for physically handicapped kids, like those who use wheelchairs or have Cerebral Palsy. IEPs are the catch all for everything else, and are more flexible, so you want that.

Contact a local special ed advocate if you need help with local laws. You can find them online, most are volunteers.

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