When the school says your child may have ADD or ADHD

What should parents do if the school identifies your child with potentially having ADD or ADHD?

Have the school put their concerns and directions in writing.

If the school tells you that your child needs medication to control his or her behavior, remind them that medical help does not necessarily mean taking medication.

If you are told to sign a release for your child’s medical records, ask to see that law in writing.

Whenever you have a school conference or go before a school review board, record that meeting on a tape recorder. The recorder should be in plain sight. If you are told that the meeting is confidential, remember that confidentiality is your child’s right ― not the school’s right.

Children who have an ADD or ADHD diagnosis normally have an above-average IQ. Ask about options that the school or school system offers for gifted children and for children who have different learning styles.

There have been major cuts to the billions of dollars that school systems get from the federal government, so schools are scrambling for funds for their special education programs. Ask the school officials how much money their school and school system gets when a child is coded as needing special education services. Remember that although there are financial incentives for the school to label a child with ADHD, the federal government provides less than 12% of overall K-12 funding.

Find out what percentage of students in the school system are taking ADHD medication. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of children taking medications to treat ADHD jumped from 600,000 in 1990 to 3.5 million in 2013.

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