NDRN Statement on the Department of Education’s ADHD Guidance

For Immediate Release             
July 26, 2016                    

Contact: David Card
202.408.9514 x122

WASHINGTON – The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is pleased to see the release of a guidance package concerning the rights of students with ADHD under Section 504 today from the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. NDRN supports the Department’s effort to put all of these resources in one place, in a manner which will assist advocates and families in accessing the information and becoming knowledgeable about their rights.  

This guidance does a number of critical things that will help ensure that students with ADHD receive the accommodations and supports they need under Section 504 so they can achieve successful educational outcomes. For example, the Protection and Advocacy Network has seen situations where a child is achieving a high level of academic success and as a result districts refuse to consider them to be eligible for needed accommodations and supports under Section 504. This guidance makes clear that even in those situations, a child may still qualify for services under Section 504.  

Additionally, the guidance makes clear that the school district may not delay eligibility evaluations by providing alternative support services before permitting an evaluation to take place. In other words, if the district suspects the student may have a disability it cannot delay the evaluation while it tries other interventions. Also, when considering eligibility, the district may not consider the ameliorating effects of medication. If the district believes a medical evaluation is needed it must provide it without cost to the family. Finally, the guidance recognizes the link between increased incidents giving rise to discipline and the need to consider whether the student may have a disability for which the district will need to conduct evaluations to determine eligibility under Section 504.

Discipline issues have long been a concern of NDRN and the Protection and Advocacy Network and we hope the release of this guidance will be the first of many to address this topic over the remaining months of the Obama Administration.       

See also:



# # #

The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.