Advocating for Your ADHD Child

When it comes to your ADHD child and school, you need to know your rights and the school's responsibility concerning Special Education. Trust me, most schools offer little help in this regard.

Warrior Beginnings

Kindergarten wasn't much better than preschool. In fact, it was worse.

My son James, who has severe ADHD, was unable to concentrate or focus, was all over his classroom, laying under the tables, wandering around the room, playing in the bathroom and rarely able to focus or stay on task. His teacher, burdened with too many students and no aids, allowed him to wander aimlessly as long as he didn't bother the other children. She did not have the time, the energy, or the help to redirect James.

I was told that I needed to sit in class with him or remove him from school. I wasn't aware of my rights or my child's education rights when it comes to how a school needs to accommodate a child with disabilities. I didn't realize I had choices. The school didn't tell me I had choices. So, I quit my job and went to school with my son.

I'm not sure which was more heartbreaking, seeing James' inability to function in class or watching the way the teacher and other students treated him. On top of all of James' other problems, now I was afraid that his self-esteem was suffering as well. I also added a new emotion to my list: shame.

The Importance of Knowing Special Education Laws and Your Child's Rights

As an ignorant parent, putting my trust and faith in the "trained professionals" that were teaching my son, one day while in class, I participated in their efforts to "teach him a lesson". To this day, the shame remains with me and tears come to my eyes when I think back to that day.... but it was a beginning. It's what it took to get the teacher to agree that my child needed help.

Asking for help and actually getting help was a different story. In addition, I must use a different dictionary than the school does because their idea of "help" and MY idea of "help" were two different things.

This is where knowledge of my rights, and my child's rights, would have empowered me and given me the tools I needed to ensure that the state and federal laws that grant my child's right to a free and appropriate education would have been honored. Had I simply known my rights, I could have prevented a lot of the horrific things that happened to my child.

This is why you need to know your rights and the school's responsibility concerning Special Education. Due to my ignorance at the time, and the belief that the "trained professionals" knew best, I settled for the school's promises of help.

Knowing what I do now, and having been there, here are some tips and ideas that could work for your child.

next: Being a Mother of an ADHD Child
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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2000, January 4). Advocating for Your ADHD Child, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Last Updated: February 13, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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