Section 504 provides a blueprint for how students with disabilities accesses learning. It is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This federal civil rights law seeks to stop discrimination. It mandates equal access and opportunity. It is the most common educational support for students with ADHD.
In elementary and secondary education, schools are required to identify student needs and provide help. 504 Plans suffice for services. Modifications are selected to help the student succeed. Specific steps must be taken to demonstrate academic impact.
- Request an evaluation.
- Evaluate how child functions in school.
- Bring records
- Report cards
- Standardized tests
- Medical records
- Communications logs
- Decide which laws are applicable.
- Insist on a customized plan.
In contrast, postsecondary students are required for self-identification. They must request accommodations, modifications, and services according to college policies. This must be done each semester. The individual is required to pay for testing and any services that are unpaid by nondisabled students. The objective of Section 504 is to simply provide access, not create success.
- Talk to disability support first.
- No reduced assignments.
- Math and science waivers are difficult
- Non-mathematics majors are moderately difficult.
- Extended time on assignments is extremely rare.
Students with ADHD face significant challenges in securing accommodations, especially using Section 504. Meeting with an evaluation team decreases confusion and the sometimes intimidating situation. As part of this process, everyone provides a different perspective in how the child functions at school. Following the assessment, together the team determines how ADHD impacts their ability. Whether K-12 or college, services are only provided if education/learning is impacted. From there, customized accommodations are selected.
- Oral/computerized tests
- Extended time on tests (not assignments)
- Tape record lectures
- Computer, writing, math labs
- Receiving instructions for projects in writing
In a nutshell, K-12 public schools provide overall opportunities for success. Only federally-funded colleges/universities are regulated under Section 504. Regardless where you find yourself, seek support from student services as early as possible.
What is the biggest challenges in receiving supports?