Category Archives: > Attention Deficit/ADHD

Q&A: How Will the New 504 Plan Guidance Help My Child?

—————————— a CHADD article

Question: I just read the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has just told schools they need to follow the 504 Plan rules better for students with ADHD. How does this help my child? Does the school have to follow this guidance, or is it just a suggestion? And will it help me when I work with the school to have a 504 Plan created for my child?

—Mom in Colorado

 Answer: We brought your questions to two members of CHADD’s Public Policy Committee and asked them how this guidance was going to help parents and students affected by ADHD. We also talked about CHADD’s role in working with the Office of Civil Rights while it was preparing the guidance.

CHADD members have for a long time noted that some schools and administrators seemed to have difficulty following Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The law provides directives for the education of children with a disability and has been expanded to include children affected by ADHD. The CHADD Public Policy Committee commissioned a survey of CHADD members in 2014 asking for their experiences with 504 Plans for their children.

During CHADD’s Annual International Conference on ADHD, which took place near Washington, D.C., members of the Public Police Committee invited the OCR to present during the conference. Although, the OCR declined, CHADD and OCR representatives met to discuss their concerns for students affected by ADHD.

“It really grabbed them to see the information we gathered—to see the issues coming up around Section 504,” says committee co-chair Jeffrey Katz, PhD. “It started a conversation.”

The committee shared the results of the survey and the experiences of CHADD members, including those on the public policy committee with OCR. The OCR was very interested in the information, Dr. Katz says.

“We shared not only the data, but a range of concerns about the interpretation of the data from parents and our own professional experience,” says committee member Matthew Cohen, JD. “We helped to convince them of the importance of issuing the guidance. And we helped them identify areas that needed to be addressed.”

Mr. Cohen says the committee members discussed complaints made to the OCR from parents who have children with ADHD, along with highlighting the importance of academic accommodations as part of behavioral management for ADHD. They discussed best practices in treating ADHD, he says, and the importance of schools’ compliance with Section 504. The committee members stressed their concerns about inappropriate discipline for students affected by ADHD and how following Section 504 can help reduce the likelihood of students getting in trouble at school.

“We were particularly focused on ways that schools should be intervening and on ways schools could support kids with ADHD,” Mr. Cohen says. “It’s fair to say, because of us, many of the things we discussed are addressed in the guidance.”

Mr. Cohen says that the guidance, which must be followed by every public school in the United States, should help in three ways: it will educate and empower parents to promote their children’s rights; it will better inform schools about their responsibility and how to assist students affected by ADHD; and it will help OCR in how it responds to complaints brought by parents when there is a problem at the school.

“If schools are more aware of what can be done to assist kids with ADHD, there will be less frequency of kids not getting what they need,” Mr. Cohen says. “While the guidance is not the same as law, it will likely affect due process and court hearings regarding kids with ADHD.”

The guidance, he says, brings better clarity to the law and to both educators and parents when they work to apply the law to benefit students, he says.

“There have been many things OCR has addressed piecemeal in the last 25 years. The guidance pulls things together to provide a coherent statement and strengthen their position altogether,” Mr. Cohen says.

Dr. Katz is a clinical psychologist who has worked directly with parents and schools to help create 504 Plans. He has seen firsthand the frustration parents experience when a child who needs assistance is denied a 504 Plan or that plan is not properly employed.

“I always tell parents that I believe the school wants to do the best to help your kid, but they don’t understand your kid,” he says. “My feeling is that before (the guidance), Section 504 was up to interpretation.”

He frequently saw interpretation differences between school districts and even among principals and other educators within districts, he says. These differences led to students affected by ADHD not receiving 504 services or very limited services and accommodations. Many educators, he says, did not acknowledge that behavioral difficulties stemmed from a student’s ADHD diagnosis and could be addressed by a 504 Plan.

“This document says you have to consider that this child may have a disability if these behaviors are happening more frequently than other children,” Dr. Katz says. “There’s still room for the school to say, ‘We see this and we don’t think it happened because of ADHD,’ but they don’t have much to stand on for that.”

The document broadens the view of which students can and should receive 504 services or accommodations, he says. “We want to make sure we’re not missing the kids who need the 504 services.”

CHADD plans to continue the conversation with OCR and encourages parents whose children are affected by ADHD to also give their feedback to OCR, he says.

“I hope the document puts the pressure on schools to improve their services and improve their identification (of students) and accommodations and services to kids with ADHD,” Dr. Katz said, adding he plans to share his experience with the guidance with OCR when the new school year begins.

Parents can learn more about CHADD’s role in the creation of the OCR guidance on the CHADD Leadership Blog and can read the Dear Colleague Letter and Resource Guide on Students with ADHD for more information on how this can affect their children.

See more at:


Orion-Gillinaham tutoring for reading and writing skills in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email

Thanksgiving: ADHD Tips

By Lexi Walters Wright at

[Reading tutoring in Columbus OH: see below]

Interrupted Schedules

If your family is traveling for Thanksgiving, your child may be sleeping in a strange place and following an unfamiliar schedule. Even if you’re hosting, your family’s routines may be disrupted. That’s rough for kids with ADHD.

DO This: Stick to your child’s routines as much as possible. Try to arrange travel or guest schedules so that he eats and sleeps when he usually does. And prepare your child in advance for any disruptions you foresee. Give him an overview of what will be happening beforehand, and then remind him at each stage what’s coming next.

Waiting for the Meal

When the whole holiday is centered on a single meal, the hours beforehand can feel like eternity for children with attention issues. The anticipation may make them bored or cranky, which can lead to squabbles—or tantrums.

DO This: Before Thanksgiving, enlist relatives’ help to line up some morning activities. Could a grandparent or uncle take your child to the park? Might some older cousins set up a family game for the younger kids? Let the kids know in advance what’ll be happening when. This way dinner won’t be the only thing for them to look forward to.

Company Commotion

If your Thanksgiving involves a lot of people, your child may feel upset by the noise and activity. And kids with attention issues may get frustrated if they’ve settled down to read or work on a project and the hustle and bustle distracts them.

DO This: Whether you’re home or away, find your child an “out” spot. Agree on a place where he can go for a set period of time to be alone and listen to headphones, play a game on his phone, or read.

Preoccupied Parents!

Young kids with attention issues often need constant direction from adults. That’s hard when you’re trying to finish making Thanksgiving dinner and can’t stop to play with your child.

DO This: First, try to get as much as possible done before Thanksgiving Day. Make what you can in advance, buy the pies, go potluck for side dishes. That way, you can set aside time to check in periodically with your child. And delegate. Is there a relative who’d be happy to oversee your child for the morning? Give him coloring books, art supplies, puzzles or a new DVD so he can keep your child occupied while you’re busy.

Take Turns Talking

Kids with attention issues may talk nonstop before, during and after dinner, annoying guests. If your child is impulsive, he may interrupt family members’ stories to tell his own. If a grandparent challenges him, he might say something rude.

DO This: Before Thanksgiving, role-play appropriate ways your child might start, join and end conversations with guests. Consider coming up with a code phrase or signal you can use to clue him in if he starts taking over the conversation.

Sitting Still through the Long Meal

Lengthy holiday meals are especially tricky for children with attention issues, who may find it hard to sit through “grace,” let alone a multi-course meal. Add unfamiliar foods and grown-up discussions, and you’ve got the makings for a meltdown.

DO This: Relax your expectations. Thanksgiving isn’t the day to expect perfect behavior, so seat him at the kids’ table. He’ll do best with some parameters, such as not interrupting the adults. But let him wander between courses. If he’s a teen, see if he wants to be “in charge” of keeping dinner fun for the younger guests.


Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email

+ Central Ohio: ADHD Parent Training to Begin in January

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Parent Training on ADHD is coming to Marburn Academy, central Ohio’s premier school for children with learning challenges!

The nationally recognized CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders) Parent-to-Parent Training program will begin this January.

The sessions will be led by Christine Kotik, a CHADD certified teacher and a Marburn Middle Division teacher.

Marburn Head of School Earl B. Oremus, an expert on ADHD will assist. If you have been looking for a reliable source of information to help you become a better manager of your child’s ADHD, this program might be for you. Go to to find detailed information and to register.

 Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021 or email  

+ Marburn Academy: Part 2 of ADHD Parent Seminar

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  • Improving Self-Management Skills for ADHD Students
  • Tuesday November 15
  • 7:00 – 9:00 pm
  •  Marburn Academy
  • 1860 Walden Drive Columbus OH 43229
  • Reservations required to
  • or Call 614-433-0822

Other Events

On Monday, March 14, 2011, at 6:30 pm, Louisin Child Advocacy presents a panel on “Negotiating Services and Knowing Your Rights to Private Placement“.  This is a Special Education Parent Seminar, free and open to the public.  RSVP required  Questions: contact Siegel and Agins, at 216-291-1300.

Presented by

  • Brenda Louisin, MA, Lousin Child Advocacy LLC (special ed advocacy group)
  • Andrew J. Erkis, PhD,  Erkis Consulting Group (therapeutic and educational placement consultants)
  • Kerry M. Agins, Esq, Siegel and Agins Co. LPA (special education law firm)

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021  or email


+ Free Parent Seminars at Marburn Academy

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Every year, Marburn Academy, the premier school in Columbus Ohio for bright children with learning differences, offers free seminars for parents in the community.

Marburn Academy was founded with a dual mission.  The first goal was to provide the finest day school program possible for bright but learning-challenged students, along with related diagnostic services.

The second goal was to serve as a resource to the community at large, by providing valuable, free  informational seminars to parents regarding the latest research on the brain and the diagnosis and treatment of learning differences. 

This year upcoming seminars in 2011 are

  • Tuesday September 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm — “When Children Struggle With Reading: Is It Dyslexia?”  Many of us were told that dyslexia means a child reverses letters and words; some were told that the letters “move around on the page.”  Learn the truth about the most common reading problems experienced by children and why many of our schools aren’t addressing the situation properly.
  • Tuesday October 4th, 2011 at 7:00 pm — “Solving Reading Problems.”  If you are the parent of a child who struggles with reading, you will want to know about the most effective approaches to teaching reading.
  • Tuesday October 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm — “Understanding the Problems of ADHD Children (Part I of a series).  We parents can’t be effective advocates and coaches for our ADHD children unless we truly understand the reasons for their reactions and behaviors.
  • Tuesday November 15, 2011 at 7:00 pm — “Improving Self-Management Skills for ADHD Students (Part II of a series).  In this presentation, Oremus builds on the information of the previous seminar, discussing techniques for teaching self-management at home and at school.
  • Tuesday December 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm — “How to Get High School to Work for ADHD Students (and How to get ADHD Students to Work in High School).”  Hear about how the social and academic demands of high school — and the reality of being a student with ADHD — requires thoughtful and unique management plans and how to set them in motion.
  • To see the schedule for the entire year, go to    

These Community Parent Seminars are presented each school year and are free to central Ohio parents, whether or not their child is a student at Marburn.  (The fee for professionals is $40 per seminar.)

The presenter is Marburn Headmaster Earl B. Oremus. a nationally recognized leader in developing methods for helping nontraditional learners acquire academic and social skills.  Oremus has been at the helm of the Academy for the past 23 years.

All seminars are held at Marburn and begin at 7:00 pm.  Reservations are required: please contact or phone 614-433-0822.

tutoring in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021  or email

+ Ohio 2011 LDA Scholarship Available

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The Learning Disability Association (LDA) of Ohio is offering a scholarship to recognize and assist individuals with learning disabilities who want to pursue a post secondary education are job training.

Two scholarships of $400.00 will be awarded to qualified individuals who reside in the state of Ohio.  The award may be used for tuition.


  • Applicant must have attended or be presently attending a private, parochial or public school in Ohio.
  • Applicant must be identified as a person with a learning disability.

Selection Criteria

Scholarship awards are competitive.  A committee made up of the Executive Board of LDA of Ohio will select the recipients.  Notification of selection will be mailed to the recipients by June 5, 2011.  Selection of scholarship recipients will be based on the following factors:

  1. Academic achievement
  2. Demonstration of leadership, initiative and responsibility
  3. Consistent effort toward self-improvement
  4. Potential for benefiting from the additional education or job training


Applications must be post-marked by April 30, 2011.  Please send to LDA of Ohio, 4115 S. Charleston Pike, Springfield OH 45502.

Application Must Include

  1. The Application form
  2. Three letters of recommendation from references listed on the application.  One of the letters must be written by a person who can verify that the applicant has been identified as a person with a learning disability (counselor, principal, LD teacher)
  3. Transcript of grades

More information, phone LDA of Ohio (937) 325-1923   e-mail:  (President Mary Ellen Martin)

The application asks for name, birthday, address, phone, best time to reach you, email address and applicant’s school.  It asks you to respond to these questions:

  • How does your learning disability affect your learning?
  • What steps do you take to make sure you gain the information you need to learn?
  • Please list the name of the school(s) you are planning to attend.
  • Please tell about your career goals. (What are you planning to study?)
  • Please list school and community activities.
  • Please list three references. (Enclose letters of recommendation)

tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021 or email

+ Finding a Summer Camp for LD Kids

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In the latest issue of LDA Newsbriefs, John Willson and Jonathan Jones offer suggestions for parents who are considering a camp for their LD and AD/HD children this summer.

The message Willson and Jones offer:  You have a choice! 

If you do the research, you will discover that there are many and varied programs designed to meet the needs of children diagnosed with attention deficits and learning disabilities.

Is your child’s concern self-confidence?  Social skills? Problem-solving skills?  Academic achievement? You can find programs whose counselors know how to bring out the best in your child. 

There are programs that focus on children’s abilities and utilize encouragement and positive reinforcement.  They will help your child work on important life skills as they provide a rich summer camp experience. 

These camps know that what these kids need most is a break — a vacation from failure.  They need to experience success.  They need to be measured against their abilities and not their “failures.”

Say Willson and Jones

The summer months are a critical time for ensuring sustained growth in the following areas: self-esteem, organization, social skills, problem solving, and communication.  Likewise, the summer affords numerous opportunities to provide learning experiences  directed at developing strengths, abilities, and interests, as the academic year does not always allow for such development.

 Step one, they say, is clarifying what your child may need.  If he  needs to maintain academic study, there is a camp.  If  an academic camp would just offer too much stress, choose a program that offers low-key camping experiences without that pressure. 

If your child requires a more structured experience, with careful research  you will  find one that provides what you need.  There are situations that are specifically designed around the needs of youth with LD and/or AD/HD.

You can find a summer program that will emphasize the development of strengths, because our young people often have been “schooled in their deficits” but not their strengths and their gifts.

Step two, the authors suggest, is considering  the needs of your entire family.  Think about everyone’s respite needs, the siblings’ situations, and your financial situation.

Sometimes family members benefit from time away from one another, and some families need more respite time than others.  Parents often feel more than a little guilt about needing a time-out from their children.  However these breaks are healthy for parent and child alike.

Summer camp not only allows the child to develop independence, but allows parents the chance for personal renewal.  It is also worth noting that some parents have had success claiming a camp experience as a deduction on their taxes, especially it recommended by a therapist as a continuation of treatment.he third step is identifying the continuum of available services.  Since summer camp programs come in many different formats, pay attention to what is offered.  Some offer both emotional growth and academic tutoring.  Other focus on developing strengths while also encouraging growth in deficit areas such as organizational skills and social skills.

Step three: identify a continuum of available services.  Summer camp programs come in various formats: they may support emotional-growth with academic tutoring.  Or they may focus on developing strengths while encouraging growth in deficit areas such as organizational or social skills . 

There are day camps, sleep-away camps, travel programs, and high adventure expeditions.

Session lengths can vary from one week to ten weeks with every conceivable combination in between.

The key, they say, is matching one or more of these available resources with the needs of your child and the needs of your family.


  • Look for programs with a low ratio of direct care service staff- to- student.  (Parents are not always made aware of this right.)
  • Determine the qualifications of all direct service staff.
  • Examine the typical profile of a child attending this program.
  • Discover how the program accommodates for your child’s specific LD and AD/HD characteristics.
  • Ensure there is a medication distribution protocol.
  • Determine what type of feedback/evaluation system is utilized.
  • Learn how staff handles problem behaviors.
  • Ask how the staff deals with homesickness.
  • If your child wets the bed, ask what accommodations are in place to provide support.
  • If you have special dietary concerns, ask what dietary modifications are in place or available .
  • Contact the camp references if they are given to you.  Make sure to ask specifically for names and phone numbers of two families with a child similar to yours; contact them.
  • Find out if the program is accredited by either The American Camping Association (ACA) or The Association of Experiential Education Association (AEE).
  • Important — ask your child to develop his or her own  list of questions that they can ask the camp representative.

Finally, write Willson and Jones, make sure that you have at least two options from which your child can choose.  They might be two completely different programs or two different sessions at a given program.  

Make sure your child feels ownership by folding him or her into the decision-making process .

sole source: John Willson’s and Jonathan Jones’s article in the Manuary/February 2011 issue of LDA Newsbriefs.  LDA Newsbriefs is published five times yearly by LDA, Learning Disabilities Association of America.  It is included in your membership dues.  Visit

The American Camping Association (ACA) Web site is   The Association of Experiential Education Association (AEE) is at

tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021  or email