Is adhd special needs

ADHD / ADD Special Education Services

After working in special-education law for more than 30 years, I have found that schools don’t always follow the letter and spirit of the law when providing accommodations and special education services for children protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, the law governing special education) and Section 504. If your child with special needs doesn’t receive some or all of the educational assistance he deserves and is legally entitled to, he may find school hard, and he may even fail.

Here are 10 common myths about ADHD special-education laws that some schools purvey, either through ignorance or in an attempt to discourage parents from requesting the help they should legally receive. Knowledge is power.

Myth 1: Attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) is not a real disorder and does not qualify as a disability.

ADHD is among the most thoroughly medically-researched and documented psychiatric disorders. ADHD qualifies as a disability under the Other Health Impairment (OHI) category of special-education law and as a disability under Section 504.

Myth 2: Students with ADHD who are getting passing grades or adequate achievement scores qualify only for a Section 504 Plan, not an IEP.

[Quiz: How Well Do You Know 504 and IEP Laws?]

Students with passing grades may qualify for an IEP, as well as for a 504 Plan, if their behavior is adversely affecting their performance at school, socially or academically.

Myth 3: To qualify for eligibility under IDEA or Section 504, a student has to be diagnosed by a physician.

While best-practice evaluations of ADHD recognize the importance of comprehensive medical and psychological evaluations, the Department of Education issued a policy statement stating that, if the IEP team includes persons the school believes are qualified to diagnose the condition, a medical evaluation is not legally required.

Myth 4: Schools may require a medical diagnosis of ADHD at a parent’s expense prior to proceeding with an evaluation for special education or a 504 Plan.

[Free Download: The Special Education Laws That Protect Your Child]

If a school requires or recommends a medical, psychiatric, or neurological evaluation as part of an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education or a 504 Plan, the evaluation must be at no cost to the parent. The school must pay for it.

Myth 5: Schools may require that students with ADHD receive stimulant medication in order to qualify for special education or for other services or activities.

Schools can’t require a student to take medication as a condition for his being eligible for special education or any school activity. Taking medication is a decision to be made by the family and their doctor. If the student has ADHD and qualifies for special education or a 504 Plan, the school must develop appropriate academic and behavioral supports to meet his needs, whether that student takes medication or not.

Myth 6: Teachers may decide whether or not they will implement an IEP or 504 Plan, or even whether they will teach a student with a disability, such as ADHD.

If a student has an IEP or a 504 Plan, the school staff is required to implement it. Further, teachers may not refuse to have a student with a disability in their class. It is illegal, just as it would be for them to refuse to teach a student based on race, gender, or religion.

Myth 7: Schools may require parents to sign a waiver of liability before agreeing to administer medication at school.

Schools may require a doctor’s order confirming a prescription and the need to provide meds at school, but cannot make the provision of administering medication conditional on the parents’ signing a waiver of liability.

Myth 8: Students with ADHD may qualify for a positive behavior support plan only if they are exhibiting disruptive or inappropriate behavior toward others.

Under IDEA and Section 504, positive behavior supports can be included in the plan to address academic problems, such as timeliness, work completion, and on-task behavior, as well as to address negative ADD behaviors in the classroom.

Myth 9: Students with ADHD who have a 504 Plan are only entitled to accommodations, like preferential seating or untimed tests, not services.

Under Section 504, students with ADHD (and other disabilities) are entitled to accommodations and may also be entitled to specialized educational services (such as individual instruction or tutoring) and related services (such as counseling).

Myth 10: Students with ADHD do not qualify for one-on-one aides, bus transportation, or other more intensive or expensive services in the classroom.

Students with ADHD are entitled to any services or supports necessary for them to benefit from their education under IDEA, and to have equal access to educational opportunities under Section 504. Any blanket policy limiting access based on a diagnosis or disability label is suspect.

[Every 504 Plan Should Include These Accommodations]

Matthew D. Cohen, J.D., is a member of ADDitude’s ADHD Medical Review Panel.

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Are Children with ADD or ADHD Eligible for Special Education?

2 min · Special Education

January 28, 2021

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) presents in around 3-5% of school-aged children. While those with mild symptoms may learn to adapt to the regular classroom without a special education plan, those whose symptoms are more pronounced may run into difficulties.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)

Because ADD and ADHD appear in children as young as 4, it is important to monitor the child’s progress in his or her early years in school. Impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity are the ADHD symptoms that can cause problems in the classroom, and as a student may have trouble following lessons, completing work, or sitting still. Without proper intervention early-on, these children with ADHD may develop poor study habits, have trouble socializing, or get into trouble. These can have lasting implications.

Guidelines for Receiving Special Education under IDEA

Currently the U.S. Department of Education’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does not include ADD or ADHD as one of the 13 qualified learning disabilities that automatically qualify a child for special education. A child with an ADD or ADHD diagnosis may however, be eligible for special education should the disorder coexist with another learning disability or be shown to adversely affect his or her academic performance. IDEA stipulates that children with ADD or ADHD may qualify should they show one or more of the following:

  • Another health impairment: Another health issue, either physical or emotional, that causes your child to have limited alertness, vitality, or strength.
  • Specific learning disability: These disabilities include trouble with basic skills such as language, reading, speaking, or writing. One common example of a specific learning disability is dyslexia.
  • Emotional disturbance: Oftentimes, ADD and ADHD present in tandem with a mental or mood disorder, either of which can affect academic performance and the ability to connect with peers and teachers.
  • Developmental delay: This non-categorical option includes physical, cognitive, or social delays.

Children who display any of the above are eligible for special education services, however the disability needs to be medically documented and must correlate to having an educational impact. Schools will have varying methods for tracking a child’s abilities and educational performance.

How to Get Started on a Special Education Plan in ADD and ADHD?

Parents of a child with ADD or ADHD should be proactive early-on by immediately requesting a collaborative meeting with the school’s principal, teachers, and other school personnel. From here, a special education evaluation will be performed and an Independent Education Plan (IEP) drawn up. IEPs are unique to each student, taking his or her difficulties into consideration and finding unique solutions to address that child’s needs. Academic accommodations may include:

  • Allowing extra time during tests
  • Allowing the student to take tests or complete in-class assignments separately from other students
  • Simpler instructions on assignments and tests
  • Extra guidance in developing organizational skills
  • Allowing a child to audio-record lessons

Teachers, parents, and other professionals work together to monitor the student’s progress and reach specific goals. The routine and structure of an IEP often improves performance, reduces behavioral issues, and fosters long-lasting tools that aid in the academic and social arenas.





This article is examined by Clinical Child Psychologist and Ph. D. Researcher Kevser Çakmak, and produced by Otsimo Editorial Team.


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  • attention deficit
  • IDEA
  • learning disorder

    Working with children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

    Barinova Natalia Sergeevna

    Teacher-psychologist, FVE clinical psychology, head of the training center "Earthlings", methodologist of the inclusive direction, head of the inclusive network laboratory in MMA, co-author of the methodological manual "Practices of Inclusion", 10 years of experience working with children with special educational needs

    Corporation "Russian Textbook" together with the organizer of events for the professional and personal development of teachers - agency "Atlas of Communication" continue a series of webinars on inclusive education.

    Very often you and I can hear: “Ah, he has an attention deficit!”. Or: "This is a hyperactive child!". But what exactly is Attention Deficit Disorder?

    • What needs do children with this diagnosis have?
    • What advice can you give parents of such children?
    • ADHD, what kind of animal is it and what is it eaten with?

    Let's try to answer all these questions in our webinar!

    In addition, consider:

    1. The needs of such a child;
    2. Tools to build the educational process;
    3. Recommendations for building a child's individual educational trajectory. Examples, recommendations to parents;
    4. Opportunities for a teacher working with a child with ADHD.

    We recommend on the topic:

    • Useful practices of working with children with special educational needs
    • Work with races (autistic spectrum disorders)
    • Features of the state final certification in the form of GVE for participants for participants with disabilities, disabled people and children with disabilities



    Conferences, forums and festivals

    Videoconference “Breaking down barriers: there is a child with special educational needs in my class”


    author: Leonova Irina Vladislavovna

    Alternative and supportive means of communication. Their correct choice and influence on the development of speech of children with ASD (autism spectrum disorders)


    author: Borisova Natalya Vladimirovna

    Features of preparing and conducting the state final certification in the form of GVE for participants with disabilities, disabled people and children with disabilities


    author: Natalia Sergeevna Barinova

    Practices of working with children with special educational needs

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    Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

    Welcome! children‎ > ‎

    Working at the school, the specialists meet with the varied demands of the clients. Very often the reason for contacting a psychologist becomes excessive motor activity of the child, restlessness, impulsiveness, inability to concentrate on doing one thing. All these signs characterize hyperactive behavior.

    Children, characterized by hyperactive behavior, often cause criticism from teachers at school, because in the classroom, not knowing how to wait for their turn, they shout out; without listening to the question, or give the first answer that comes to mind; do not know how focus on completing the task. Often such children become the initiators quarrels and fights, because they are not only very mobile, but often awkward and even clumsy, so they often hurt, push, drop others objects, and due to their impulsiveness, they cannot always constructively resolve the situation.

    Hyperactive children's behavior is characterized by the following features:

      • Often restless movements in the hands and feet are observed; sitting on a chair, spinning, spinning.
      • Get up from your seat in the classroom during lessons or other situations when you need to stay put.
      • Manifests aimless motor activity: running, spinning, trying to climb somewhere, and in situations where this is unacceptable.
      • Usually cannot play quietly, calmly, or do anything at his leisure.
      • Located in constant motion and behaves "as if a motor.
      • Often is chatty.
      • Often answers questions without thinking, without listening to them to the end.
      • Usually hardly waits for his turn in various situations.
      • Often interferes with others, sticks to others (for example, interferes in conversations or games).

    For identification of hyperactive children, it is necessary to draw up a portrait of a hyperactive child.

    Probably in every class there are children who find it difficult to sit in one place for a long time, be silent, obey instructions. They create additional difficulties in the work educators and teachers, because they are very mobile, quick-tempered, irritable and irresponsible. Hyperactive children often hit and drop various objects push peers, creating conflict situations. They often they are offended, but they quickly forget about their grievances.

    Behavior hyperactive children may be superficially similar to the behavior of children with hyperactive anxiety, so the teacher and it is important for parents to know the main differences in the behavior of one category of children from another. Table 1 below will help you with this. In addition, the behavior An anxious child is not socially disruptive, and a hyperactive child is often a source of various conflicts, fights and just misunderstandings.

    Criteria for the initial assessment of the manifestation of hyperactivity and anxiety in a child:

    Criteria estimates

    Hyperactive child

    Alarm child

    Control behavior

    Constantly impulsive

    Capable control behavior

    Physical activity

    Constantly active

    Active in certain situations

    Character movements

    Feverish, messy

    Restless, strenuous movements

    Questionnaire for a teacher

    To what extent are the following child's symptoms?

    corresponding figures: 0 - absence of a sign, 1 - presence in a slight degrees; 2- moderate presence, 3- severe presence degree.



    1. Restless wriggles, like.
    2. Restless cannot stay in one place.
    3. Requirements child must be performed immediately.
    4. Hurts, worries other children.
    5. Excitable, impulsive.
    6. easy distracted, holds attention for a short period of time.
    7. Not finishes the job he starts.
    8. Behavior The child requires increased attention from teachers.
    9. Not diligent in studies.
    10. Demonstrative in behavior (hysterical, tearful).

    General number of points

    If the result is 11 or more points for girls and 15 and more balls for boys, you need to show the child to a specialist.

    In order to identify a hyperactive child in the classroom, it is necessary to observe him for a long time, to conduct conversations with parents and teachers. The main manifestations of hyperactivity can be divided into three blocks:

    Criteria for hyperactivity (child monitoring scheme):

    Active attention deficit

      • Inconsistent, it is difficult for him to hold attention for a long time.
      • Does not listen when spoken to.
      • Takes on a task with great enthusiasm, but never finishes it.
      • Has difficulty organizing.
      • Often loses things.
      • Avoids boring and mentally demanding tasks.
      • Often forgetful.

    Motor disinhibition

      • Constantly fidgeting.
      • Shows signs of restlessness (drumming with fingers, moving in chair, running, climbing).
      • Sleeps much less than other children, even in infancy.
      • Very talkative.

    Impulsivity . If at least six of the listed signs appear before the age of 7, the teacher, parents can assume that the child he is watching is hyperactive.

      1. Starts answering before listening to the question.
      2. Unable to wait for his turn, often interferes, interrupts.
      3. Poor concentration of attention.
      4. Cannot wait for reward (if there is a pause between actions and reward).
      5. Behaves differently when performing tasks and shows very different results. (in some classes the child is calm, in others he is not, but in some lessons he is successful, in others he is not).

    Overly active children with perceptual impairment differ significantly from children who tend to "only" short-term attention. They are not able to sit still for at least a short time, constantly rushing back and forth, often very noisy and impulsive. "Hyperactive" children often, in the middle of a lesson, suddenly start jumping or shouting something that is completely unrelated to the class. Often they blurt out an answer before the teacher asks them a question. Since they have a very low degree of concentration, they do not absorb most of what is said in the lesson, and are often distracted by other things, for example, what is happening outside the class window.

    Of course, this is reflected in their school success. For children with ADHD (and, accordingly, for their parents), homework turns into a real torment: many sit for hours on one task, as they are constantly distracted by something. Also, ADHD is characterized by problems with literacy (dyslexia) or with counting (dyscalculia).

    The emotional state of younger schoolchildren suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as a rule, is late, which is manifested in their imbalance, irascibility, low self-esteem. These signs are often combined with tics, headaches, fears. All these manifestations determine the low performance of children in school, despite their, as a rule, rather high intelligence. Due to their impatience and slight excitability, they often come into conflict with peers and adults, which exacerbates learning problems. It should be borne in mind that a child with ADHD syndrome is not able to foresee the consequences of his behavior, does not recognize authorities, which can lead to antisocial behavior. Especially often antisocial behavior is observed in such children in adolescence, when impulsiveness comes first, sometimes combined with aggressiveness.

    During adolescence, hyperactive children with attention deficit disorder tend to remain hyperactive. At this time, schoolchildren show different types of behavior, sometimes completely opposite: both lack of initiative and inactivity, and readiness to complete any task. Since they have already experienced enough rejection from others in their lives and still continue to feel it, many of them develop depression, and at times so severe that such teenagers are in danger of suicide.

    Learn more