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Are children, teens and college students with ADHD eligible for benefits under Section 504?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Children and teens with ADHD
Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act (RA) of 1973, which is designed to protect people with disabilities. Section 504 ensures that some children and teenagers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have free and appropriate learning opportunities in their schools. Some of the benefits granted under Section 504 include:

  • The right to be placed in a regular classroom
  • The right to receive additional services and accommodations in school
  • The right to receive special education services

However, Section 504 does not cover all young people with ADHD. Children and teenagers with ADHD symptoms must demonstrate that their condition impairs their ability to do their schoolwork. A mental health professional or other specialist will evaluate each person to determine whether they qualify for protection under Section 504.

ADHD and IDEA
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can get benefits under Section 504 or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) but not both. Deciding which program best meets your child's needs can be difficult. In general, if your child does not need a lot of accommodation to be able to learn, Section 504 is the appropriate choice. If you child needs more extensive services, IDEA may be the appropriate choice. Most kids with ADHD who do not qualify for IDEA do qualify for Section 504.

College students with ADHD
Some college students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) qualify for benefits under Section 504. Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act (RA) of 1973, which makes discrimination against people with disabilities illegal in some circumstances. Section 504 outlaws discrimination against disabled people in places that receive money from federal sources. For college students, this law includes public and private colleges and universities that receive federal funding.

If you are a college student with ADHD and you think you qualify for benefits under Section 504, you will need to provide evidence that your condition significantly impairs your ability to complete your schoolwork. Once you have done that, you may be eligible to receive special accommodations in college.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.