Advocacy | Education


If your child is having trouble in school, where do you start?


Students diagnosed with ADHD may be entitled to classroom accommodations or services if the disorder has a negative impact on academic, social, or behavioral performance at school. A diagnosis does not automatically entitle a student to services or accommodations, however. The resources listed below will provide you with a good background in the services and/or accommodations that may be available to your child. Every public school should also provide parents with information about local procedures and policies governing ADHD and support available through the school.

If you have placed your child in a private school, or if your child's school receives no federal funding, you may not have access to many of the services and accommodations offered in public school. But you can still use many of the suggestions in the resources below to develop a plan with your child's teacher and school to provide a more supportive education environment.

Use the menu on the right-hand side of this page to find the topics of the most interest to you.

CHADD has a wealth of information to help you through the process. Just browse and click on the resources relevant to you. If there is a key next to a resource, then access is limited to CHADD members. If you are already a CHADD member, be sure to log in first. If you are not a member, join today. (Once you have joined, close your internet browser. Then reopen and return to Log in as a member and you will be able to access every resource.)

Educational Services in Public Schools

Educational Rights for Children with ADHD in Public Schools: What We Know #4 - This is a great introduction to the differences between special education services (IDEA) and accommodations in the classroom (Section 504).

Educational Rights for Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Primer for Parents - This is a bilingual publication (English and Spanish) from the National Resource Center on ADHD (NRC) at CHADD, produced in collaboration with the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. The guide includes a helpful, step-by-step guide to the special education process

Members OnlyComparison of IDEA and Section 504 - This table gives you a step by step comparison of the difference in special education (IDEA) and accommodations in the classroom (Section 504).

Members OnlyParent to Parent Training - For an in-depth training experience on all aspects of ADHD, including understanding the educational system and working effectively with your school, sign up for a Parent to Parent class in your local community or online.

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Requesting an Evaluation in Public Schools

Disclosure in Educational Settings - Although children with ADHD may certainly improve over time, parents must keep in mind that the disorder is chronic and that the symptoms and associated impairments are unlikely to be remedied from one school year to the next.

Should You Tell the School About Your Child's ADHD ? - The decision to disclose your child's ADHD can be difficult. Here is what the experts suggest.

Members OnlyLetter to Your Principal Requesting an Evaluation - The first step is to request an evaluation of your child in writing. This example will help you craft your letter.

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Special Education Services

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) - IDEA is the law that authorizes special education services for childen with disabilities. Find out if your child might qualify for special education services.

Members OnlyUnderstanding the Legal Rights of People with ADHD under Current Special Education Law - Special education attorney Matt Cohen answers questions from parents in this Ask the Expert chat.

How to Navigate the Special Ed Maze - A Guide to Special Education Advocacy provides an excellent overview of the current education laws impacting students with disabilities in the United States.

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Section 504 in Public Schools

CHADD 504 Survey - 2014 CHADD has had longstanding concerns with the process, quality, and implementation of Section 504 plans and with compliance with the regulations governing them. During the summer of 2014, CHADD conducted a survey about Section 504 and its use around the United States. Read the final report on the survey.

Section 504 - A great place to begin, this page will help you understand what Section 504 is and how it may help your child.

Members OnlyA 504 Primer - This overview will educate you about Section 504 accommodations.

Members OnlyA Parent's Guide to Section 504 - Mary Durheim answers frequently asked questions about Section 504.

Members OnlyExamples of Accommodations or Interventions for a Section 504 Plan - Not sure what accommodations your child needs? Here is a list of the common accommodations for students with ADHD.

Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008 - Understand how changes in the ADA can help your child receive accommodations in the classroom through an Ask the Expert chat with special education lawyer Matt Cohen. Log in to "Ready Talk" to hear this 75-minute audiotape.

Members OnlyTaking College Entrance Exams? - Asking for extra time when talking college entrance exams can be a challenge.

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Preparing for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Meeting

Members OnlySample Worksheet for Parents to Take to an IEP or 504 Planning Meeting - Take the time to prepare for your meeting by filling out this sample worksheet.

Members OnlyBefore the IEP Meeting: A Parent Checklist - Have you put together everything you need? This checklist will help you to be ready for this important meeting.

Members OnlyAt the IEP Meeting: A Parent Checklist - It's easy to be overwhelmed during a meeting with a table full of school staff members talking about your child. This checklist will help you be sure that you have accomplished all you intended.

Members OnlyAfter the IEP Meeting: A Parent Checklist - Once a plan is in place, don't assume all will be well. You will need to set up procedures to monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the plan for your child.

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Working With Your Child's Teacher and School

Connect with Local Parents - Want to find out about the experiences of other parents with your local school? Plan to attend a local CHADD meeting and ask others about their school experience.

CHADD Educator's Manual on ADHD - Is your child's teacher struggling with ADHD-related behaviors? Consider giving the teacher a copy of CHADD's Educator Manual, which provides teachers with a wealth of classroom strategies to effectively manage ADHD behavior.

Teacher to Teacher - Training in classroom management and educational interventions for students with ADHD is provided in this one-day program. The training is for classroom teachers, educators, and interested parents.

Members OnlyIdentifying Your School Advocates - Parents and schools must work together for success. Here's how.

Members Only Joining Forces: The Fairfax County ADHD Partnership - Recognized as a model for how schools, families, and community professionals can collaborate to best serve the educational and emotional needs of children and teens with ADHD, the ADHD Partnership offers many resources for those wishing to establish strong collaborative teams.

Members OnlyAdvocating for Your Student - How to evaluate, educate, communicate, and advocate for your child within the school system.

Members OnlyWhy Teachers Resist: Understanding Teacher Attitudes About ADHD - Sometimes a teacher is resistant to addressing problems related to ADHD with a student. This article will help you understand why and how to work effectively with the teacher.

Members OnlyADHD, School and Executive Functioning - If your child has deficits in executive functioning as part of ADHD, it has a major impact on academics and school.

Members OnlyHelping Children with Executive Functioning - With appropriate short- and long-term strategies and interventions, parents and teachers can improve the chances of success for children and adolescents with executive function impairments.

Members OnlyClassroom Interventions for ADHD - Classroom interventions, with the support of teachers and parents, can result in substantial improvement in your child's academic performance and behavior at school.

Members OnlyImproving Schoolwide Behavior - Creating a positive school environment with clear expectations for behavior can make a big difference for all students, especially those who experience difficulty in controlling impulsiveness.

Members OnlyPositive Behavior Supports - Learn how the entire school can provide a safe, structured environment that supports all of our children.

Members OnlyStrength-Based Approach for Schools - Too often we see the negative behavior of our children, and so do their teachers. A strengths-based approach will help to increase the positive behavior of your student.

Members OnlyBehavior and School - Parents pose questions to expert George DuPaul about children's behavior in school in this helpful Ask the Expert chat.

Members OnlySuspensions and Expulsions of Students with ADHD - If your child is disciplined at school because of behavior related to his or her ADHD, then this is a resource you want to read.

Members OnlyTime Management and Task Completion - The tendency to measure the use of time by its outcome creates problems in teaching time-management skills to children with ADHD.

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Changing School Behavior

Helping Children with Executive Functioning - Parents and teachers have two primary roles in helping kids with executive weaknesses. The first is to help children to be successful in their daily lives. The second is to teach the skills and approaches that allow the children to be independent in the long run.

First Step to Success: An Early Intervention - This program is recognized nationally as an effective early intervention for reducing aggression in children who exhibit such behaviors during their early school years.

Behavior and School - George DuPaul’s research focuses on schoolbased academic and behavioral interventions for youth in K-12 settings, early intervention for children at risk for ADHD, and the assessment and treatment of college students with significant ADHD symptoms.

Lying About Schoolwork - What to do if an adolescent or child lies about schoolwork.


Starting the School Year Right

Members OnlyStart the School Year Right: How to Write a Letter to the Teacher - Help your child's teacher know how to be helpful to your child and what to expect by beginning the school year with a letter. Here's how.

Members OnlyStarting the School Year Right - Your preparation for the school year can make a big difference for your child.

Members OnlyHelping Your Teen Start the School Year - High school presents a new set of challenges. You can help smooth the way.

Members OnlyBack to School Issues - Sandra Rief answers typical parent questions on starting the school year in a CHADD Ask the Expert chat.

Members OnlyThe Transition to Middle School - The change from elementary school to middle school is a huge transition for all children, especially students with ADHD. Here is some guidance to make the change easier for your student.

Members OnlyMembers OnlyStrategies for a Successful Elementary School Year - Build a partnership with your child's teacher from the beginning of the school year.

Members OnlyStrategies for a Successful High School Year - Spring is the time to begin planning for the next year of high school.

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Members OnlyHandle Homework Hassles - Six experts share their most helpful advice on homework and children with ADHD.

Members OnlyMeeting the Homework Challenge - Do you have homework wars in your home? Find out how to bring order and calm back to the process, and help your child learn the skills to master the homework challenge.

Members Only12 Steps to Homework Completion - Homework is an incredibly complex task and these 12 steps will help you identify where the problems occur.

Members OnlyA Parent's Role in Homework - Has your child become too dependent on you to help with homework and school assignments?

Members OnlyLying about Schoolwork - When children with ADHD fall into a pattern of avoiding schoolwork and not being truthful about it, what's a parent to do?

Members OnlyElementary Tracker - A worksheet to help you and the teacher track your child's behavior and homework each day.

Members OnlyHomework Plan Contract - Set up a system to positively reinforce good homework behaviors.

Members OnlyToo Much Homework? - This simple list will help you evaluate the impact of homework on your child and family. Then work with the school to implement a more reasonable homework plan.

Members OnlyTime Management and Task Completion - The tendency to measure the use of time by its outcome creates problems in teaching time-management skills to children with ADHD.

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Educational and Other Consultants

Members OnlyWhat Can an Educational Therapist Do for Your Child? - Does your child need some extra assistance outside of school? Find out what an educational therapist can do to help.

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Records and Paperwork

Members OnlyThe Importance of Keeping Records - Start keeping an organized copy of all your child's school records and it will make your work with the school system much easier. Here is a guide to what you need.

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The Twice Exceptional Student

Members OnlyTwice Exceptional Students - If your child is gifted and also has ADHD, that combination can present both challenges and opportunities.

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Members OnlyDue Process and Appeals - What if you cannot reach agreement with the public school district?

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School - Wide Programs

School-Based Interventions for ADHD - There has been a groundswell of literature directed toward educators on school-based interventions. Some of these interventions are based on defined, data-driven, and well-implemented programs. Far more, however, fall under the general umbrella of “good ideas” absent scientific support.

Positive Behavioral Supports

Thousands of schools across the country are using a program called School-Wide Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS or PBIS) to dramatically change the culture of a school to be safer, more respectful and a better learning environment.

Members OnlyHow Schools Can Adopt Strength Based Practices - The lessons learned from a strengths-based school program can help to support children’s resiliency, positive behavior and growth in any setting.

Response to Intervention

Early Intervening Services are provided to any child who is falling behind in public school. The most frequent next step is providing Response to Intervention (RTI), which is the provision of an evidence-based intervention targeting the child's specific problem, collecting data about the child's response, and then making decisions about what the child needs to succeed. This is sometimes the first step in considering a referral for special education services.

Members OnlyResponse to Intervention for Behavior and Academics - When schools raise their academic expectations, research shows that behavior problems decrease. And when schools raise their behavioral expectations, research shows that academic problems decrease.

Bullying Prevention

Bullying is a major problem in too many of our schools and has particular adverse effects for any child who is different in any way. But a number of well-researched programs have demonstrated that schools can be effective in handling these problems.

Members OnlyPromising Practices: Bullying Prevention and Interventions - While experts have been warning us for some time about the serious long-term emotional, physical, and academic effects of bullying on defenseless schoolage children, some school administrators still refuse to take bullying seriously.

Online Learning

Members OnlyThe Virtual High School Global Consortium - Drawing upon the talents of highly skilled teachers from around the United States and the world, the Virtual High School Global Consortium provides middle and high school students with exposure to courses and potential career paths usually first encountered in college.


Need More?

The National Resource Center on ADHD (NRC) has a searchable library as well as highly trained health information specialists who can help. Contact the NRC at 800-233-4050 or use our Online Form (select "Questions about ADHD") to get the help you need!