Is My Just Diagnosed ADHD Son Eligible for a 504 Plan?


My son was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and I requested a 504 Plan for him. The vice-principal said that he isn’t eligible because he’s taking medication, which, he says, “cures the problem.”

ADDitude contributor Robert Tudisco is a practicing attorney with ADHD and an expert on special education law and disability advocacy.

ADDitude Answers

First, medication does not cure attention deficit disorder . In most cases, an effective medication program manages many, but not all, ADHD symptoms. Second, no law states that a child who takes ADHD medication is ineligible for a 504 Plan.

While an ADHD diagnosis , or a diagnosis of any other disability, does not automatically qualify your son for services and/or reasonable accommodations, he is eligible for support if his ADHD symptoms significantly limit a major life activity, such as his ability to learn. You must prove and document the fact that medication isn’t managing all of his symptoms, and that he needs a 504 Plan.

Posted by Robert Tudisco

A Reader Answers

I’m sorry you are going through this. It sounds very difficult.

Did you do a formal 504 request in writing? This is important. We did a “soft” request for a 504 a few months ago and were told “Because he is meeting grade level expectations, he does not qualify for a 504 plan.” We were devastated. I posted on ADDConnect and was advised to do a formal written request. The school has to respond to it. Grades alone are not a criteria for denial of a 504. I also learned that the mitigating affects of medications cannot be taken into account.

We just had our formal 504 yesterday, and our son was approved. I was pleasantly surprised. I looked up a lot of things beforehand to see the criteria. Here is the link to the discussion.

Posted by fdm

A Reader Answers

If they denied him, ask them to give you in writing a Prior Written Notice. That has seven elements as to why they denied it. Ask them for a PWN for each denied service you asked for. They have to do the work and answer why they feel your son doesn’t need this service. Like I said, there are seven elements to the questions they have to answer, so it’s very tedious.

Posted by vabronxboogie

A Reader Answers

Is your son in a private or public school? The law is different. Non-public schools do not have the same requirements for services. You may have to work a little harder. That being said, there are things they are required to do if they are receiving state funds through the local school district.

Always put everything in writing. Go online to your state's education department and get a copy of PRISE — Parents' Rights in Special Education — to see what the law says.

Posted by Shari2015

A Reader Answers

We are going through the process of trying to get my son an IEP or 504 plan for his ADHD, Autism, and other related disorders. Academically he excels in most areas and performs at level on testing and so they will not qualify him for an IEP, but because there is obviously issues that contribute to how well he performs at school, he does qualify for a 504 plan. The catch here in Maryland is that you have to have a medical doctor complete a simple form listing the disability and the areas that it affects. The neuropsychologist who performed the examine/evaluation and diagnosed him is not a medical doctor and therefore can not alone make the recommendations. So we are having our primary pediatrician complete the form. Good luck!

Posted by scoobyelle

A Reader Answers

File a complaint, for you and the others behind you.

Go here to file a complaint with the Department of Justice.

Posted by getaccommodations2015

Read the discussion on the ADDConnect forums.


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Since Robert Tudisco was diagnosed with ADHD, he has researched and written extensively on the subject of special education law and disability advocacy, and now specializes in the area as a practicing attorney. He is a former Executive Director of the Edge Foundation , a nonprofit organization that provides specialized coaches for students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Impairment. He has served on the National Board of Directors of CHADD and is a former Vice President of ADDA . He is a frequent resource for the media, including CBS News , New York Times Magazine , Newsweek , ABC News , The BBC , The Today Show , CNN , USA Today , and The Seattle Times .
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