Special Education/IEP


How often does an IEP meeting takes place, besides the first time when you enroll your child. What are our rights as parents to a child with ADHD?

ABCs for Life Success
ABCs for Life Success  

Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book
Special Needs Advocacy  
Hi Betsy,  Thanks for writing to me, and for using this service at allexperts.com.  You asked me how often an IEP meeting is held, and you asked what your rights are as a parent of a child with ADHD.  I am happy to answer both, and I will take the easier question first.  

An IEP meeting must be held at least once per year, at an annual review meeting.  At the annual review, the child's progress for the year is discussed, and a new IEP is developed based on any testing or classroom information, or information presented by you, the parent.  The IEP team should also convene for a number of other situations:  discipline/suspensions through a manifestation process, evaluation planning, re-evaluation or reviewing evaluations that have been completed, when a child is not making progress, and generally, when a parent requests a meeting or periodic review of the IEP.

Your rights as a parent of a child with ADHD--a big question.  I will do my best to give you some broad ideas but there are many details that can be filled in.  I wrote the Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book to answer this question.  I think you may find it to be a valuable resource.  


If your child has an IEP for the medical condition of ADHD, it is likely that your child has an IEP for the disability called 'other health impairment'.  A parent of any child with an IEP has a right to a free appropriate public education.  My coauthor Rich Weinfeld and I have developed a simple way to describe a FAPE, using 5 words that start with the letter P:  Parent, Plan, Progress, Placement and Procedures.  The parents must be meaningfully involved and have every opportunity to be an equal partner with the team at the school.  The IEP/Plan must be developed with all of its necessary parts and so the child can benefit.  The placement/school must deliver the services in the IEP. The procedures must be followed for all aspects of evaluation, progress monitoring, meetings, discipline, IEP development and review, and in the procedural safeguards.  You have a right to obtain an independent evaluation and for the team to consider all information you provide. You may request that the district pay for an independent evaluation but you have to be ready to go to a hearing about it, if you disagree with the district evaluation.

You have a right to receive written notice about why the IEP team made the decisions it did, and the district needs to tell parents what reports were used to make its decisionS.  You have a right to exercise your dispute options such as a mediation, due process hearing, or state complaint for any reason related to the provision of a free appropriate public education for your child.

If you have not already, you also have a right to inspect your child's records.  In some states, you have a right to obtain documents in advance of meetings.  Some states vary in its procedural requirements, but all follow the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  If you pick up my book and then if you find your state regulations regarding special education, I think that will give you a full understanding.  But even then,sometimes parents need help.  At Copaa.org, you can find an advocate in your area.  Or, my group ABCs for Life Success also does distance consulting and we have a service called an IEP Audit, which goes through the IEP and issues a report about how it is written and what needs to be revised.  www.abc4lifesuccess.com

Here is the USDOE website about IDEA, and a link to your procedural safeguards.  

CHADD has a nice parent training support system online as well:  

OK, so I have given you some resources about your rights as a parent of a child with a disability.  As for your child's rights, she/he has a right to make progress, access the curriculum, attain the goals set out in the IEP, have the services and accommodations in the IEP and also has a right to the many facets of FAPE, as I described above.  

If after you review these resources, you have additional questions, please feel free to follow up with me.  I hope I have answered your questions fully as you expected and I hope I have helped you as you advocate for your child!  Thanks again for writing to me and for using this site.

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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