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Section 504 for middle school students with ADHD: teacher attitudes, knowledge, and interest

1 January 2015


BACKGROUND: Students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) face numerous challenges in school with impairments in behavioral, social, and academic functioning. This vulnerable population of students is often served by Subpart D of the Section 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which protects students with disabilities from discrimination to allow full participation in their education. Although enacted over 40 years ago, limited research on Section 504 has been conducted, and has not examined how classroom teachers perceive the use of Section 504 plans. The purpose of the study was to ascertain teachers’ attitudes about Section 504 use for students with ADHD, perceived knowledge of Section 504 and ADHD, and interest in professional development. METHOD: Fifty-four middle school teachers from five schools within one school district completed the two-part study survey (teacher survey and demographic survey) to assess perceptions of Section 504 use for students with ADHD. RESULTS: Overall, teachers generally rated Section 504 plans feasible to implement and feel effective in implementation. They also found the plans to be helpful for students with ADHD. The majority of teachers in the sample indicated limited interest in future training related to Section 504, but strong interested in training related to childhood ADHD. Lastly, teachers’ total and mean scores on the survey components did differ significantly based on the number of course subjects taught or level of teacher experience. CONCLUSION: Teachers in the sample had generally positive perceptions Section 504 plans use for middle school students with ADHD, which may inform the development of future trainings for teachers in the district. A need for professional development opportunities in Section 504 and ADHD was identified. This exploratory study highlighted some preliminary information about teacher perspectives on Section 504 use for students with ADHD.


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