Public schools in Kansas, Missouri, don’t test for ADHD

Parents ask the public school for help for their child who is struggling.  The child has a diagnoses from a medical professional of ADHD and has provided that document to the school.

The school staff tells the parent the school doesn’t test kids for ADHD, and, they don’t have a program for kids with ADHD.  This is true, however, students with significant ADHD might qualify for “special education” under a category called “Other Health Impaired”.   This is often referred to as “OHI”.  This is within the process known as “special education under the IDEA”.

Another approach which parents choose is separate from the IDEA process. Some students who have significant ADHD may qualify for a “504 accommodation plan” under a civil rights law.  Most school districts don’t make this known and have experienced developing few of these plans. Parents may get a blank stare from school personnel when a parent requests a 504 accommodation plan.

504 accommodation plans are to allow for students to not be penalized since the student is different from other students. I have helped parents deal with this scenario multiple times.

Advocate Marilyn McClure,

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Parent-teacher conference is not an IEP meeting

Parents are asked to go to a meeting at the school for their child who has an IEP. The school has not provided any paperwork to the parent about the upcoming “meeting”. Parents, hoping for the best, attend and participate. Hopeful that these discussions will help the child the parents rely on these discussions.

The parent later receives paperwork indicating there will be an upcoming “IEP meeting”. Parents attend, again hopeful. Discussions include items discussed in the previous “non-IEP meeting” where the parents learn that some of the ideas were tried or not carried out. Parents ask about the previous meeting only to learn that it was a “parent-teacher conference”. Decisions made in “parent-teacher conferences” do not get included into the IEP.

Parents of students with special needs’ must realize that the IEP meeting is the forum for “official” changes to a students education programming.

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Repeating first grade? Retain in first grade?

I am concerned when a parent tells me the public school wants their child to repeat a grade, especially if the child is a “special ed” student. 

Too often, the attitude toward our struggling child at this age is “wait and see”.  I have met too many parents over the years who went along with “wait and see” only to watch the years pass by and have a child much older than his classmates in middle school.

“Wait and see” is often a result of poor programming by the school for our child.  Perhaps assumptions were made about the child, or the child’s disability, by those who plan the child’s education.  Parents need to make sure to bring to the IEP meeting folks who know about the disability of the child so that the school can be brought up-to-date on how our child learns.  This is especially true for children who have invisible disabilities, such as Aspergers, head injuries, etc.

Parents can be proactive and insist on further testing by the school in order to get information about the child’s learning styles and abilities. Parents can also ask to see the data collected by the school that either supports or undermines the school’s contention that the child needs to repeat.

Advocates at are available to go to school meetings with parents in MIssouri and Kansas, and available for telephone consults.

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Kindergarten screening for kids with learning disabilities, aspergers

Public schools will soon be screening children for kindergarten eligibility.  This is a time when a parent can let the public school know that the child has special needs and may be eligible for an “IEP” (Individualized Education Plan) while a public school student.  The school may tell the parent to go get more information from doctors, but  the school can’t use that to delay a child’s access to public schooling.  A parent can be assertive and indicate that regardless of documentation from doctors, the school needs to make plans for my child.

To make a transition to attending school easier, the student might want to have opportunity to preview the school.  A parent can let the school know that this will be necessary to insure a positive start in the fall.

Students who score very poorly on the kindergarten screening may want to ask the school to evaluate the child for eligibility for an IEP (in writing, keep a copy).  Doing so before Kindergarten will help prevent delays in getting much-needed services.



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IEP Evaluation waived since “no information needed at this time”

Every three years students’ with IEPs are suppose to have a three-year evaluation conducted by the public school district unless a parent becomes convinced that it is not necessary.  Parents unknowingly may be convinced by school personnel that adequate information and knowledge the school has about the student does not make it necessary for the school to conduct evaluations, test, assesments, etc.

Parents might not realize that a three-year evaluation is a safeguard that Congress put into place for our kids so that they don’t slip through the system.  If a parent “waives” the three-year evaluation, potentially it could be six years before the student is adequately evaluated!  Think of the changes a child makes in six years!

Unfortunately time passes quickly and before we know our kid is a teenager and struggling at school.  If the three-year evaluation had been done, perhaps the school would have a better understanding of the student’s needs and abilities.

Parents can request a re-evaluation during the school year as long as they have not had the school do one within the past year.  It may be a good idea to ask the school to repeat the same tests done previously, so that progress or regression can be tracked using the same standard.

Keep in mind it often takes almost half of a school year for the school to conduct evaluations and finalize them. If you recently signed a paper at the school “waiving” a three-year evaluation, parents can consider requesting a re-evaluation. 

To draw this scenario out even longer, if the parents disagrees with the public school’s evaluation, the parent may seek evaluations by outside (independent) professionals, which often takes weeks (perhaps even months) to get an appointment. This lengthy process works against the precious learning time of our child.

Some evaluations are costly to conduct so a parent can waive specific evaluations, to same your public school district money.

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Bullying school policies in Missouri

Our Missouri legislature is considering tightening the bullying policies of the school districts in Missouri. This can affect your child as early as next school year.

Parents of students with special needs’ who have inappropriate behaviors would need to be proactive in order to prevent their child as being seen as the perpetrator when he/she perhaps wasn’t.

The sponsor of the bill is Sue Allen. It is in the House Rules committee now for a hearing on Monday, March 11. Committee link:

Here’s the link to the bill:

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” title=”Change Missouri special education”>Change Missouri special education

Quick way to submit proposed changes to Missouri special ed system by signing petition at  

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September 5, 2012 · 12:25 pm