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ADHD Parents Together
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What's the difference between an IEP & 504 ?

Can anyone explain the difference between these two and what is more beneficial? My 7yr has ADHD & has an IEP in place for Speech ( expressive and receptive) & his IEP team is no help. All came up with was to medicate him & they gave me 1 week to think about it. They also sugguested that my son might have a lower IQ then the rest to the kids in his class! Unfortunately his ADHD is starting to affect his learning at school.He has no issues with behavior. Sad to see how the school has NO knowledge or experience for kids with ADHD.

Thank you!

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My son was on and IEP from Kinder to 4th grade. An Individualized Education Program helps those with learning disabilities. His test scores no longer made him eligible for this program, so his school switched him to a 504 which is designed for physical disabilities (using his challenges with impulse control and focusing). I am thankful his school was willing to switch him over rather than drop it entirely. About medication: I had put my son on meds half way through kinder, which was hard, but really helped focus him enough to take in the training and behavior needed in the classroom. We were able to take him off after 1st grade. Now in 6th, he still has task completion and focusing and organizational issues which we try to find tools to teach him those skills. But he is respectful, curious, affectionate. And smart! You may think about testing your son outside of school, if they haven't tested him already (which they should have done!). ADHD kids often slip under the radar not because of lack of intelligence, but lack of the ability to display that intelligence. Good luck!!


You can have anyone you want on your IEP team. If you don’t agree with the programs put in place you are under no obligation to sign it. You can also request an IEP meeting whenever you feel one is necessary (I think 2 per year is standard, but you can request emergency sessions if you feel that what they are suggesting is not working). That being said, you should also talk to your son’s pediatrician to discuss medications. ADHD is a neurological condition, and sometimes medications is the best way to help. It’s just like asthma or diabetes, but it’s in the brain rather than the lungs or pancreas.

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An IEP covers many more things. It usually pulls in the school counselor and district special ed advisor. An IEP falls under the special ed department in our school district and is mandated by law to be followed. I researched online and spoke to someone who had an IEP to know what I could request - tests away from other kids, time out at the counselors if he became overwhelmed in class. He also had a special ed counselor who would observe him in class and meet with him once a week and worked on role playing.

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