Does My ADHD Child Qualify for Special Education?

Learn what qualifies a child for Section 504.
My 12-year-old was recently diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive type, and has already gone through evaluations with the child study team. He scored very high in almost all areas, determining that he does not have a learning disability.

Since my child is unable to "stay on task" or "multitask" because of the ADD, the Team suggests classification, including in-class support and a study skills class to help him become more organized. I really don't want to classify him, but instead would like him put on a Section 504 plan. I'm really getting a lot of conflicting information from both the school and other specialists in the field. The Team says he's not eligible for the services they're suggesting under Section 504. I've read about Section 504 and it sounds like he is eligible for what the school is recommending. Can you help me?

Unless there are other factors that the school has not made clear to you, it certainly sounds like your child qualifies for Section 504. For a comparison of services/requirements under Section 504 and IDEA, go to Special Education and the Law on You'll find helpful information that you can take back to your son's school about the differences between these two laws.

You can also go to the website for Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CHADD) at or call their toll-free number 1-800-233-4050 to see if there's a branch of this advocacy group in your community. Someone at CHADD should be able to walk you through the process of getting appropriate supports for your child.

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.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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