The United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has just issued a new guidance to clarify the rights of those students living with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) within the United States. The OCR says they are distributing this guidance as a response to nationwide allegations that students who have been diagnosed with the condition are not receiving the necessary services they need in order to succeed in school (and, to a further extent) in life.
The newly issued guidance reads: “Over the last five years, OCR has received more than 16,000 complaints that allege discrimination on the basis of disability in elementary and secondary education programs, and more than 10 percent involve allegations of discrimination against students with ADHD. The most common complaint concerns academic and behavioral difficulties students with ADHD experience at school when they are not timely and properly evaluated for a disability, or when they do not receive necessary special education or related aids and services.”
In addition, the guidance also sets out to clarify Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504 which ensures the protection of ADHD students, by law.
Specifically, the guidance puts out a call on schools to ensure they are receiving proper evaluation, particularly when they already display symptoms of ADHD, like lack of focus and constantly being distraction.
On top of that, though, the new guidance also warns against schools that rely to heavily on generalizations about this disorder for decision making. With more and more students receiving ADHD [spectrum] diagnoses every year, trying to determine how to best accommodate them throughout their schooling continues to be a bigger and bigger concern.
Of course, the US Department of Education is not the first major governmental department to release a guidance of this kind on the disorder, this season. As a matter of fact, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also released a guidance to professionals, requesting that they emphasize behavioral treatment before prescribing medication when treating children for ADHD.
A remedy to this problem is definitely in order, as the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least six million children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder every year; and approximately one-third of those children are between the ages of 2 and 5.