What is an IEP for learning disabilities for kids and teens with ADHD?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

As a parent, you can decide whether to have your child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) assessed for an individualized education plan (IEP). If you choose to do so, you will be asked to sign a permission form that will detail who is involved in the process and the types of tests they use. These tests might include measures of specific school skills, such as reading or math, as well as more general developmental skills, such as speech and language. Testing does not necessarily mean that a child will receive services.

Dr. Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Practitioner

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other disabilities may qualify for special programs in public schools. Individualized education plans (IEPs) provide individualized education programs, and they are free for the students who need them. 

Parents need to understand how IEPs work. In 2004, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was updated. Parents of students with special needs were made more responsible for their children's education. Parents can work with educators to create IEPs. These cover the goals set for children during the school year. They also describe any special support needed to help achieve these goals.

Schools often develop IEPs for students with ADHD. These programs are used to determine students’ learning strengths and weaknesses, and they can help with making plans for improving learning. Students with ADHD and learning disabilities may require specialized activities to do their best in school. For these students, an IEP might include regular time with a tutor or a specialized classroom or special equipment.

Students with disabilities covered under an IEP are re-evaluated at least every three years. The IEP itself is reviewed whenever a change in placement occurs. Typically, this occurs annually—when students move up in grade levels, it is considered a change in placement.

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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.