Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Remains Unrecognized as a Serious Learning Risk in Ontario
While research has made it abundantly clear that ADHD significantly impairs learning on par with other neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism and learning disabilities, the Ministry of Education in Ontario has yet to recognize this fact. The Ministry continues to refuse to recognize ADHD as a disability in their special education categories of exceptionality as they do with Autism and learning disabilities.
Excluding ADHD from the Ministry of Education special education categories allows school boards to refuse to officially identify students with ADHD as exceptional learners, preventing them from receiving accommodations. This lack of recognition also means that educators are not receiving adequate training in ADHD or appropriate teaching strategies, despite having one to three students with ADHD in their classroom each year.
While the Ministry and school boards frequently point out that schools may implement an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for a student with ADHD without this official identification, they forget to mention that schools may also refuse to implement an IEP or choose to discontinue an IEP at their own discretion. Some Ontario school boards have put policies in place that automatically discontinue IEPs for students with ADHD when they enter high school. This denies students with ADHD the same rights as their peers with other neurodevelopmental disorders.
In addition, without an official designation as a student with a disability, a principal is not required to consider the student’s medical impairment when enacting punishment, such as excluding or suspending a student from school. It is not uncommon for students with ADHD to struggle with self-regulation; making it imperative for schools to recognize ADHD as a disability to ensure the student is treated fairly.
Therefore, the Centre for ADHD Canada, CADDAC, is encouraging parents of children with ADHD and everyone interested in equitable access to education in Ontario to join our Right to Learn Campaign. For more details about our ASK of the Ontario Ministry of Education, or to send an email or tweet to your elected official and Minister of Education please click HERE.
If parents of children with ADHD need another reason to contact their MPP it’s this, most elected officials question why they should be interested in ADHD advocacy efforts since their constituents do not contact them about ADHD. E-mails and tweets from their constituents will let them know that many of their constituents do indeed care about ADHD issues.
For a history of CADDAC’s Ontario education advocacy efforts and the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s view on this issue please access Ontario Specific Information .