ADHD Attorneys in Los Angeles
Helping Parents and Students With IEP and 504 Plan Disputes
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be a difficult condition for a child to deal with, as this disability heavily impacts the ability to learn and grow. With ADHD, a child may have difficulties paying attention to certain tasks, developing new skills, and learning at a standard pace. Many children with ADHD trail behind their classmates due to a lack of structure and support to help them, even if they have a high IQ. But under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, your child may be eligible for reasonable accommodations or supports and services through either a 504 Plan or an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
If you are facing difficulties getting your child the accommodations or supports they need to succeed in school, reach out to Woodsmall Law Group. Our dedicated and compassionate Los Angeles special education lawyers can look over your case, explain your child’s rights under the law, and fight to get them the education they need to succeed. There is no cost to sitting down with us in a confidential consultation. We assign two attorneys to every case. Call us today at (626) 440-0028 to learn what we can do for you and your family.
IEPs vs. 504 Plans: Which Is Best for My Child?
Students with ADHD may be eligible for either a 504 Plan or an IEP depending on the nature of their disabilities. Both of these programs assess each student’s disability and develop solutions to help the student succeed, effectively providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities, but the criteria and process for these programs differ.
Compared to 504 Plans, IEPs have stricter requirements for disabilities, limiting supports and services to:
- Specific Learning Disability
- Other Health Impairment
- Emotional Disturbance
- Speech or Language Impairment
- Visual Impairment
- Hearing Impairment
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Intellectual Disability
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Multiple Disabilities
ADHD can fall under specific learning disabilities, other health impairments, emotional disturbances, or multiple disabilities if your child has another disability. For your child to be eligible for an IEP, their ADHD must adversely impact their ability to focus during school. Having ADHD does not automatically make your child eligible for an IEP; your child’s disability must impact their academic performance. ADHD students who are eligible for IEPs have access to certain supports and services.
However, even if your child is not eligible for an IEP, he or she may be eligible for a 504 Plan. Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, your child is protected against discrimination based on his or her disability, has certain rights under federal law, and may have access to certain accommodations.
Accommodations under a 504 Plan differ from the supports and services of an IEP in that they make a change to the learning process to help the student overcome his disability. This can include allowing students with ADHD to take test in separate rooms where they can focus better, providing instructions in writing and orally, and teaching organization skills to help the students with studying and note-taking.
How Do Schools Know a Student Needs Support?
A major part of this process is identifying if your child has ADHD and, if he or she does need accommodations or supports and services, preparing a plan of action. An evaluation must be performed by a trained professional. Parents can request evaluations at any time free of charge from a school district by speaking to the school’s special education advisor or principal. In some cases, school administrators or teachers may assume a student has ADHD based on classroom behaviors or performance and request an evaluation.
Based on the evaluation, the school district may diagnose the student with ADHD and determine whether the student is eligible for a 504 Plan or IEP. If a parent disagrees with the results of this evaluation, the parent is allowed to request a separate independent educational evaluation (IEE) with a third-party specialist free of charge from the school district, but only once per evaluation dispute.
What Issues Can My Child Face Receiving Accommodations or Services?
Children with ADHD often struggle to get appropriate education, whether they are attending public or charter schools. For one, the student may be inaccurately evaluated by the school and denied access to an IEP or 504 Plan. In addition, even if the student receives an IEP or 504 Plan, the school may delay in providing accommodations or supports, argue over the costs of the child’s education, or refuse to provide certain accommodations or supports.
However, there is no excuse for denying a child access to a free appropriate public education. All children with disabilities deserve fair treatment and school districts must do all they can to assist children and their parents in getting the resources they need to succeed. If a school district denies your child access to a free appropriate public education, then you may be able to file a complaint through due process.
How to Settle Disputes
An important element of 504 Plans and IEPs is due process, the procedure by which disputes are settled between parents and school districts. When it comes to special education disputes, parents should speak to an attorney first to determine the best course of action.
Here at Woodsmall Law Group, our Los Angeles special education attorneys can sit down with you to discuss how to move forward with a complaint. Some issues can be resolved through mediation where you, your attorney, and the school district come together to discuss the best course of action. But in serious cases, we are prepared to represent your child in a due process hearing to get them the accommodations or supports and services they need.
If you are having difficulties resolving an IEP or 504 Plan dispute with your child’s school district, call Woodsmall Law Group at (626) 440-0028 to schedule a free consultation.