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How does ADHD affect a child's schooling?

Children with AD/HD are at increased risk for lower academic performance and social problems (including peer problems and teacher conflicts). They have a greater chance of dropping out of school. Many repeat grades or receive lower academic scores due to problems with attention span, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

A very typical problem is displayed by children who do not turn in schoolwork to the teacher even though it has been completed. Many have "chaotic" book bags. Entry into middle school is especially challenging for children with AD/HD because they are now expected to be able to switch from class to class.


AD/HD & School

age

What could and should my child's school be doing to help?

Children with AD/HD may qualify for special school services or accommodations under either of two federal laws: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B [IDEA] or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Children covered by IDEA are entitled to education services that meet the standards of a free appropriate education. IDEA also requires that if a child's behavior impedes learning, a functional behavior analysis must be conducted and a positive behavior plan developed. In addition, schools are prohibited from suspending for more than 10 days and expelling students whose behavior results from their disability, unless drugs or weapons are involved or the child is a danger to himself or others.

Section 504 is a civil rights statute that makes it illegal for schools to discriminate against children with disabilities and requires them to provide reasonable accommodations, which may include the provision of services. To be eligible for Section 504, a child must have an existing identified physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity. Because learning is considered a major life activity, children with AD/HD are entitled to protection under the law if the condition substantially limits their ability to learn.

Children with AD/HD may benefit from modified instructions, special classroom assistance, behavior management and assistive technology (such as recorded books, laptops or visual aids).