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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Individualized Education Programs

01/11/2001

Question:

Can you please explain what an IEP is and what benefit is it to have one in an add childs school record? Thank you.

Answer:

Very important question for this area of Netwellness! The federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) was amended in 1997 to focus on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to enhance learning. ADD/ADHD falls under the IDEA. States must do IEPs if they want to be eligible for federal funding for children with disabilities. Each disabled child has a right to an IEP (e.g., the school will gather teachers, counselors and parents together to develop an IEP) that includes the following: 1) A statement describing the child’s current ability and how it is affected by the ADD/ADHD, 2) Goals, 3) A description of special ed, services or supplementary aids and 4) a description of what the school will provide to the school personnel so they can accomplish #2 and #3. If your child has been assessed outside of school, that assessment should be included in #1. Sometimes, the professional making the assessment meets with the school personnel when the IEP is being formed. Results of the IEP might include such things as more time for tests or doing every other homework math problem rather than every one of them (i.e., showing mastery without needing to show speed). The benefit is that teachers and other school personnel are supposed to follow the IEP guidelines and, if they do, the child will be measured on abilities in a more egalitarian manner than without an IEP. It`s kind of like the advantage of having a note in a very nearsighted child`s chart that s/he is nearsighted but can not afford glasses so s/he should be put up in one of the first two rows so the board is clear.

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Response by:

Susan Louisa Montauk, MD
Formerly Professor of Family Medicine
University of Cincinnati