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U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Civil Rights of Students With ADHD

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with ADHD

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a guidance clarifying the rights of students living with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the United States.

According to the OCR, the guidance is being distributed in response to countrywide allegations that students with ADHD are not receiving the necessary services they need to be successful.

"Over the last five years, OCR has received more than 16,000 complaints that allege discrimination on the basis of disability in elementary and secondary education programs, and more than 10 percent involve allegations of discrimination against students with ADHD. The most common complaint concerns academic and behavioral difficulties students with ADHD experience at school when they are not timely and properly evaluated for a disability, or when they do not receive necessary special education or related aids and services,” the guidance states.

The guidance clarifies that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ensures protection of ADHD students under law.

Specifically, the guidance calls on schools to ensure that students are being properly evaluated, especially when they display symptoms of being unfocused and distractible.

Further, the guidance warns against schools relying on generalizations about the disorder to make decisions.

Accompanying the guidance is a “Know Your Rights: Students with ADHD” document that breaks down how students with ADHD are protected by law in schools. That resource is available here.

As students are increasingly diagnosed with ADHD year after year, figuring out how to best accommodate them in schools is also an increasingly growing concern.

The Department of Education isn’t the first major department to release a guidance on the disorder this season; in May, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a guidance to professionals asking them to emphasize behavioral treatment before medication when treating children.

The CDC estimated at the time that six million children are diagnosed with the disorder with two million of those children being between the ages of 2 and 5.

Read the full guidance here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor



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