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Rebellious Teenager with ADHD
Q: My fifteen-year-old has ADHD and he's really rebelling. His teachers won't consider using my son's counselor's suggestions in the classroom and I can't get a daily attendance report. If my child is having attendance issues and I can't correct them in a timely manner then I will have to go to court. Where can I go for help? The school is non-responsive, the district is moving me from person to person, and the statewide school system is passing me off to individuals that are not willing or empowered to help. I'm losing my child in bureaucracy! By the way, his testing shows that he's proficient. I'm at a loss as to what can I do.
A: Do you have a Section 504 accommodation plan in place for your son? This is part of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It requires public school districts to provide a free, appropriate public education to every "qualified handicapped person" residing within their jurisdiction. The Office of Civil Rights has determined that children with ADHD are "qualified handicapped persons" under Section 504 if their ability to learn or otherwise benefit from their education is substantially limited due to ADHD. If your son has a documented case of ADHD, drawing up a 504 Plan for him would be one way to get the kinds of supports he needs in school. There should be a Section 504 Coordinator for your son's school or school district.
To get some help in walking your way through the system, contact Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CHADD) at 1-800-233-4050 to see if there is a branch of this parent support group in your community.
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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.