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Attention Deficit Disorder Lawyers

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What Is ADD?

ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder, and it is a learning disability that must be diagnosed by a doctor. ADD is characterized by:

  • Inattention - the person has a hard time paying attention, especially when something is boring or has a lot of details. Oftentimes, people with ADD will have a hard time following directions.
  • Hyperactivity - the person has a lot of extra energy and has a hard time keeping still. The person might be fidgety or unable to sit still for any long period of time.
  • Impulsivity - the person may make decisions without thinking about the consequences. Children with ADD might tend to blurt out answers, interrupt their teachers or fellow students, or have trouble waiting for their turn.

How Does ADD Affect My Child's Education?

Children with ADD may have a difficult time in school, even if they are very bright. ADD may make it hard for some students to pay attention and remain on task. Students with ADD may also have behavioral problems that can interfere with their education. If your child has ADD and it is interfering with his education, your child may be eligible for some form of special education.

If My Child Is Diagnosed with ADD, What are His Educational Rights?

There are two main sources of law that establish rights for students with ADD. The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These laws require schools to make modifications or adaptations for students whose education is significantly impaired by ADD. However, not all students with ADD are eligible for special education under the IDEA, or Section 504.

What Are the Criteria for Eligibility for Special Education?

The criteria for eligibility are slightly different under IDEA and Section 504. Students may be eligible for special education under the "Other Health Impairment" section of IDEA if:

  • They have been diagnosed with ADD by the school district
  • The ADD results in a limited alertness to academic tasks
  • The effects of the ADD are long-lasting or very severe
  • These effects must adversely affect the student's academic performance
  • The student must require special education to address the ADD. The standard for eligibility is broader and more flexible under Section 504. Under Section 504, students do not have to need special education, they only have to need some sort of educational assistance.

Who Determines if a Child Is Eligible?

The school is responsible for evaluating the student to see if he is eligible for special education or assistance. A medical evaluation is not necessary, and if the school does require a medical evaluation, it must be done at no cost to the parents.

What Kinds of Special Education are Students with ADD Eligible for?

While a child may be placed in a special education classroom, this is usually a last resort. Some of the common types of assistance that a student with ADD may receive include:

  • A personal aide to help the student remain on task
  • Preferential seating in the classroom
  • Untimed tests

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

If you believe you or your child's rights to special education or academic assistance were violated, you may want to speak with a lawyer who is experienced in education and schools. A lawyer will be able to clarify the laws that determine if a student with ADD is eligible for educational assistance under IDEA or Section 504, and can help you understand your rights.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 06-18-2013 02:23 PM PDT

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