The 504 gives much needed recognition to ADHD and ADD students

Millions of high school students struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Facing the stress from school, extra curricular activities, and social pressures is hard enough, and dealing with ADHD or ADD just adds to the burden.  These disorders detract from a student’s ability to function to their utmost capabilities due to their difficulty focusing on schoolwork, activities, and forming healthy relationships.

Students with ADHD and ADD  are often not  accommodated for in regards to their needs in schools. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, more commonly referred to as the “504,” compensates for students with disabilities and disorders and allows teachers to directly focus on their personal needs.

The 504 can give students extra time on tests, frequent feedback, or preferred seating assignments. The goal is to provide equal opportunity for all students. It states that every student with a disability, disorder, or issue that makes success in a conventional environment difficult must be given equal allowance for success.

In order to acquire a 504,  parents need to have their child assessed by doctors and send their child’s information for processing. If approved, the child will then be able to fully utilize the benefits of the 504. Emma explains, “It takes months to get the 504 approved, but it’s so helpful once you have it.”

Many kids feel that some teachers are generally dismissive and ignorant of individual student issues.  “Some teachers just don’t want to deal with it. They have a whole class, they don’t want to focus on just one case,”  sophomore, Emma*, who has ADHD,  describes. She continues, “Teachers aren’t accommodating unless you have the 504, which is very hard to get.” Students with disabilities and disorders are unfairly ignored for months before it gets approved.

Teachers usually have thirty students or more to focus on at a time, so they cannot be solely blamed for the shortcomings of the system’s accommodation of people with disorders or any disabilities. Instead, more effort and attention should be given to educating students and parents about their opportunities through the 504. The 504 is suitable to anyone who feels that their school work is being compromised due to the adverse nature of the classroom. This applies to people with anything from chronic pain, heart disease, anxiety disorder, or ADHD.

Many students with ADHD feel that the pressure is considerably reduced .  Students with ADHD struggle to focus and remain concentrated on the task at hand. Emma explains, “Sometimes teachers don’t really understand how much it affects students. I take three hours on tests, all day on homework, I have to go into another room for tests.” She pauses. “I would fail all my classes without the 504, which allows me to have extra time.”

*name changed upon request.