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ADHD, IEPs, and Retention
Q: My son has ADHD. Can his school hold him in the sixth grade without doing an IEP first? I was told that it is against the law for them to do that. Is this true and could you tell me where to find this law?
A: Everyone who has ADHD does not have to have an IEP. However, if your son's ADHD is impacting on his academic work or if he has a learning disability or other handicapping condition along with the ADHD, you or his school can request a comprehensive evaluation to determine his needs. One of the results of that evaluation can be the development of an individual education plan (IEP). Modified promotion criteria can be part of that I.E.P.
The best legal resource I know is Attorney Lawrence M. Siegel's book, The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child. Information about the laws pertaining to children with special needs and additional legal resources are offered in this book. You may also find information about special education, IEPs, and the law on Family Education Network.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.