Dear Colleague Letter and Resource Guide on Children with ADHD


The US Department of Education receives many complaints about evaluations and FAPE for students with ADHD.  This Dear Colleague Letter and 35 page Resource Guide provide information on evaluating students with adhd and ensuring that school do not discriminate against them as required by Section 504.  Some of the issues around evaluating students are:

  • students never being referred for, or identified by the school district as needing,
  • an evaluation to determine whether the student has a disability and needs special education or related services; students not being evaluated in a timely manner once identified as needing an evaluation; or
  • school districts conducting inadequate evaluations of students.

When students are evaluated, the services provided may still be inadequate to enable the student to access the curriculum, and all school staff interacting with the student might not have the information from their 504 plan or IEP.  "The failure to provide needed services to students with disabilities can result in serious social, emotional, and educational harm to the students involved. It can also unnecessarily drain school district and family resources if the school is ineffectually attempting to meet the needs of students with disabilities through failed interventions or disciplinary consequences."

The Resource Guide discusses: Section 504, ADA and IDEA; child find; evaluating students; providing individualized supports; not relying on the "ameliorative effects of mitigating measures"; and more.  "For example, if a student requires medication to address an impairment, the ameliorative effects of the medication cannot be considered when evaluating the student for a disability."