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504 Plan v. IEP for ADHD

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My son is 7 and in 1st grade. He was diagnosed with ADHD in February. I agree with this diagnosis. He is on no medications but takes omega 3-6-9 and multivitamin supplements. It is clear that the school wants him to be on medication and have asked me if I've spoken to DS's doctor about the appropriateness of ADHD meds.

DS struggles in school due to his attentional and 'behavioral' issues. I had an independent evaluation done by a neuropsychologist, which resulted in the ADHD diagnosis. An educational assessment was also done, and the results indicated that DS is of 'average' intelligence.

DS is behind in school. The school says that DS is "making effective progress" and is, therefore, not eligible for an IEP. They have offered a 504 Plan and are drafting it now. The plan will include certain accommodations. I believe that an IEP would be more appropriate.

If anyone has experience with a 504 Plan for their child with ADHD, I would appreciate hearing about it (or any other advice you may have). Than you!
post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommy Cat View Post
The school says that DS is "making effective progress" and is, therefore, not eligible for an IEP. They have offered a 504 Plan and are drafting it now. The plan will include certain accommodations. I believe that an IEP would be more appropriate.
why?

My DD is on the spectrum and has a 504 and it works well for her. Rather than focus on IEP vs 504, I would look at exactly what accommodations they are offering. What matters is whether or not the accommodations are the right ones, not what the piece of paper is called.

I also recommend trying what they want to try to see if it works.
post #3 of 10
How behind in school is your ds? Is it all subject areas? By measurable progress do they mean he is within the realm of what is expected for his grade, just on the lower end?

What an IEP gives you are extremely specific goals, with very specific expectations for achievement within a certain time frame. Accommodations may also be a part of the IEP. Are you concerned about academic progress in addition to the behavioral component?
post #4 of 10
An IEP means Special Ed. If your DS is behind due to inattention, but could catch up and keep up with the appropriate accommodations, then a 504 will be what he needs. If the ADHD is affecting is actual learning, even with accommodations and he would need specialized instruction, then he will need an IEP. I say start with the 504 and see how it goes. You can always step up to an IEP at a later date if you feel the 504 is not enough.

My daughter has Landau Kleffner (epilepsy) and ADD. She has both an IEP and a 504.
post #5 of 10
Within our school district an IEP allows the student to receive services, for example meeting with a psychologist or OT. With a 504 these staff members can consult with the teacher but don't treat the student.

I have two children on 504 plans, most of the accommodations were already occurring before the 504 was put into place. We have amazing teachers so in our case it was more of a legal document in case we had issues, and for middle school, and high school. A 504 plan is great to get everyone on the same page with expectations/accommodations.

You can get quite specific on exactly what accommodations you want on a 504, however, I was told it is better to be more open to allow for change if needed. We do meet yearly to review.

Feel free to PM me if you want more specific ideas, and I can share what's worked for us.
post #6 of 10
It is sooooo much easier to change a 504 than an IEP. Fewer people have to sign off on it!

With my DD's 504, she has one period a day with the special education teacher, who mostly trouble shoots communcation problems between my DD and her other teachers. She also has access to the school counselor as needed.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. I want the IEP because there are more parameters around implementation and revisions to the plan (for example, parents don't need to consent to a 504 and only need to be notified if there is a significant change in placement). The IEP also requires, as a previous poster said, specific and measurable goals and I think that's important here. The accommodations that I want can be offered via either plan, so that isn't my primary concern. It's all the other stuff. I have academic and behavioral concerns. I want a behavioral intervention plan to be a component of this.

Thanks again for the responses.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommy Cat View Post

If anyone has experience with a 504 Plan for their child with ADHD, I would appreciate hearing about it (or any other advice you may have). Than you!
First off, you have to look at your State's laws to determine if ADHD is even a qualifying condition for an IEP.

I am way simplifying this...but simply put..

An IEP includes services the child receives - pull out of the regular classroom for certain subjects; speech services; OT services; PT services; etc.

A 504 plan is basically a listing of accomodations your child will received based upon emotional, behavior, educational is having. They do not receive services, but it may include things like additional time on taking tests; different tactics for handling misbehavior in school, etc.

So, if your child does not need or qualify for services or pull out from the classroom, then a 504 would be appropriate.

Here is a good article on the difference and ADD/ADHD...
http://addadhd.suite101.com/article.cfm/iep_versus_504
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommy Cat View Post
(for example, parents don't need to consent to a 504 and only need to be notified if there is a significant change in placement). .
That's not true here.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
So, if your child does not need or qualify for services or pull out from the classroom, then a 504 would be appropriate.
that is not entirely true, since many special education services are delivered IN the classroom setting. In our school (where I work) the vast majority of our children receiving special education services are served by learning support teachers who are IN the classroom during key academic periods and by modifications to the academic work within the classroom (i.e. materials at their own instructional level, different presentation of material, alternative testing methods, etc.) Of course, a subset of our students DO leave the classroom for services- primarily OT/PT/Speech with a very few having one-on-one or small-group time with the learning support teacher.

As for the issue of ADHD getting an IEP or a 504, it can qualify a child for either, depending on how it is manifesting in the academic setting. The VAST majority of students I diagnose with ADHD in the school setting (I'm a neuropsychologist and I work primarily in a regular-education charter school) either get NO 504 or IEP or get a 504. they get neither if their ADHD exists (i.e. I can diagnose it via testing/observation/rating scales) but they are not having significant difficulty in school (i.e. academic/social/behavioral/organizational). Of the ones that qualify for SOMETHING, most get a 504 under the category of "other health impaired". the twist is that each district is allowed to determine for themselves WHAT constitutes the level of "impairment" needed to qualify for a 504. In our school for example (and I had no part in writing these rules) a student with ADHD can have a 504 if they are getting below a grade of "C" in one of their major (like reading or math) subjects.

In general, an IEP is for disabilities that are directly related to learning (versus for example, a 504 could be for a child who is deaf and needs accomodations and modifications but actually does not have any learning disabilities). 90% of the kids I test who get IEPs have specific learning disabilites or speech/language impairments (I dont' diagnose these, I refer them). A few are autistic (or on the spectrum) and a few have what is called SED (serious emotional disturbance- though most of those get a 504 instead). a VERY few (like one a year) of kids with only ADHD get an IEP here, and that is when the condition is so severe that they are literally unable to learn (which is different than the kids who could learn more/better if they were attending or were more organized).

My advice would be to start with the 504 and to work with the school to be as specific as possible in the list of accomodations and modifications. This could certainly include a behaivoral component and a behavior plan to address issues related to ADHD (we often do this- to address things like attention, on-task behavior, social skills, decreasing disruptive or aggressive behavior, etc.) If that doesn't seem to be working the way you hoped, you can convene the "team" to adjust it. Unlike an IEP, it does not have to be re-done every year, but like an IEP, it CAN be changed any time, as needed.

If an adjusted 504 isn't "working", then you could revisit the idea of why an IEP is or isn't appropriate. There are certainly cases here in our school where we recognize that a child is not being served by a 504 (though we certainly expected it to help, and were acting in good faith) and re-evaluate to determine if the academic levels have changed (i.e. the child has not been able to learn as expected) and to see what the next step is in appropriate educational programming.

HOpe that helps...
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