The United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") issued guidance to public schools, including charter schools, clarifying their obligations to provide students who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ("ADHD") with equal education opportunities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This new guidance explains Section 504 and schools' obligations to provide education services to students with disabilities, including students with ADHD. See Dear Colleague Letter and Resource Guide on Students with ADHD.
To be clear:
- Schools must evaluate a student when a student needs or is suspected to need special education or related services.
- Services that schools provide must be based on a student's unique / specific / individualized needs and not on generalizations about disabilities. As discussed, a school must not deny services to a student who is doing well academically and ignore that the child is substantially limited in major life activities, such as reading, learning, writing and thinking since that child is likely a person with a disability.
- Students who have behavior issues, or do not focus or are distractible, could have ADHD and should be evaluated to determine their educational needs.
- to the guidance, the Department also released a Know Your Rights document that provides a brief overview of schools’ obligations to students with ADHD.
The US Department of Education also release a KNOW YOUR RIGHTS document that provides a brief overview of schools' obligations to students with ADHD.
For more information, or to help access services for your child, visit Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch.