Quick Facts: School and Home Communication Plan
Collaboration between home and school is especially important for students with ADHD. Begin the school year by talking with your child’s teachers and other school staff to address any concerns. Starting the conversation early is better than waiting until there is a crisis. Share information from the previous school year during these conversations, along with your child’s strengths and successes.
Many students are still adjusting to the return to their school campuses and classrooms. This is a good time to share with your child’s teachers anything that is working well now or that worked well during at-home learning over the last school year. Set aside time to visit your child’s classroom and meet teachers, if possible, to help your child become comfortable being back in school. This can help reduce any anxiety your child may have about returning to school. The adjustment period for children who have ADHD may take longer and they may have a greater learning gap than their peers.
Any requests for updates to your child’s 504 plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP) need to be communicated in writing to your child’s teacher as early as possible. If your child’s teachers are currently making classroom accommodations, be sure to document these accommodations in your child’s 504 plan.
If you think your child might require new or additional special education services or accommodations this year, consider the following suggestions to help your child start the school year off successfully:
- Talk with your child’s healthcare provider to be sure your child’s treatment plan is up to date and effective.
- Schedule a parent-teacher or special education plan meeting to discuss your child’s education plan.
- Ask teachers to note your child’s strengths as well as any learning and/or behavior concerns they may have for your child. Ask for a copy of those notes for both your file and your child’s education folder.
- Request an educational evaluation of your child if there is not yet an accommodations plan or if the plan needs updating. You may ask for this evaluation at any time, but be sure to do it in writing. Submit a written request even if you have already talked to a teacher or principal. Date the request and keep a photocopy for your records. For a sample letter, see Requesting an Evaluation in Public Schools.
- Take an active role in preparing for the IEP meeting or providing input for a Section 504 plan. Before you meet with the school, make a list of your child’s strengths, problem areas, and what you think might help your child.
- Ask how new strategies will be tracked for success, and be sure to clarify at what point strategies that don’t work will be revisited.
- Follow up each meeting with correspondence (letter or email) documenting what took place. List the items you agree with and the items you disagree with and say why.
- Keep copies of all correspondence in your child’s educational file.
- The results of any evaluation are not final. You have the right to appeal them. The school must tell you how to appeal when you ask for the information.
- Parents and children are guaranteed certain rights under federal and state laws. Check with the school or your local CHADD support group to find someone in your community who can help answer your questions and help you to advocate for your child.
- Ask your middle or high school student for their thoughts on what they need to succeed. Bring your child to the meeting if appropriate. Teens ages 14 and older should be invited, but pre-teens can also take an active role in their education.
If you and the education team disagree about what is best for your child and you cannot find common ground, then you may make a written request for mediation or a due process hearing to help you get what you believe your child needs.