son has ADD. Our doctor told us to request special education services
from the school. When we made this request, the school said he is passing
so he is not eligible for special ed. I am confused!"
Note: If you have our book, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, you can read the statute and regulations and Pete’s commentary and analysis of these issues. Most of this information is also available in the IDEA 2004 section of Wrightslaw.
A Disability Does Not Automatically Qualify a Child for Special Education Services
A child with a disability is not automatically eligible for special education and related services under IDEA. The key phrase is "who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services."
If the child has a disability but does not need special education services, the child may be entitled to protections under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 504 is a civil rights statute that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination for reasons related to their disabilities. To learn more about Section 504, read Chapter 7 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law.
Children with Other Health Impairment & Learning Disabilities
Discrepancy v. Response to Intervention Models
the IDEA 2004 statute about "Evaluations, Eligibility, IEPs, and Placements"
(Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, pages 92-107), including Pete’s extensive commentary.
Read the Commentary to the IDEA regulations. Here is a link to the Commentary about parental consent, eligibility, IEPs and Placements. Topics in the Commentary
Helpful Pubs from USDOE
NEW! U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Guidance (2016) clarifying the obligation of schools to provide students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with equal educational opportunity under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
NEW! U.S. Department of Education - Know Your Rights document (2016) that provides a brief overview of schools’ obligations to students with ADHD.
In 1992, the Office of Civil Rights published a Memorandum: Evaluation of Children Who May Have ADD/ADHD, clarifying that schools must evaluate children who are suspected of having ADD based on parental request:
"Under Section 504, if parents believe their child has a disability, whether by ADD or any other impairment, and the LEA has reason to believe the child needs special education or related services, the LEA must evaluate the child to determine whether he or she is disabled as defined by Section 504 . . ." Read OCR Memorandum: Evaluation of Children Who May Have ADD/ADHD.
In 1991, the U. S. Department of Education published a Joint Memorandum about Services to Children with ADD/ADHD. This Memorandum answers questions about eligibility under the existing categories of IDEA, and the school's responsibility to provide services under IDEA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. You may find answers to your questions in this Memorandum.
Spend Time on Wrightslaw
You will find dozens of articles, cases, references and other info about ADD/ADHD, legal disabilities, discipline, and parent advocacy on the Wrightslaw site. How can you find this information?
1. The ADD/ADHD page has dozens of useful articles and resources.
2. Search! Every page on the Wrightslaw site has a search box. To find information about eligibility of a child with ADD/ADHD, you could search using the terms "Eligibility" and "Attention Deficit Disorder." A recent search came up with these articles:
To search the regulations page, go to the toolbar at the top of the IDEA Regulations page, click "Edit," then "Find in Page" or "Find Next," and type "ADD." You will find information about eligibility and the ADD child under the "other health impairment" category.