The good news is the hell he went through, and the price he paid, won't be necessary for his children.
That's because theSupreme Court ruled this week, 6-3, that your kid has ADHD and the school refuses to deal with it, you can now send him or her to a private school and send the public system your bill. The case is FOREST GROVE SCHOOL DISTRICT v. T. A.
For five years his mother and I told everyone we met in the school district — every teacher, every parent, every administrator — that John had ADHD.
Instead of dealing with this properly the school district just suspended John from school, repeatedly so that despite a stellar academic record and top-rate test scores he was rejected by every college he applied to.
Worse, I learned, the school district had complied with the law — IDEA does not require that public schools identify kids with ADHD or anything else, just that those who are identified be given services and protection.
No more. This decision does not technically impose a "duty to identify" but it does something better. It lets any parent whose child is having trouble send districts bills for private school tuition, which can be twice what public schools pay to teach a child.
So, in fact, it does create a duty to identify. Creating a proper system for identifying and protecting kids with ADHD costs a lot less than private school tuition, so the economic incentives are now all in favor of dealing with the problem, and not sweeping it under the rug.
Too late, you may think. But our son will now apply to a state school, his tuition will be lower, he'll live at home for a while, he'll improve his behavior toward other people, and we think it'll all work out. (And with the money we saved he got to go to China, above.)
The good news is my hell, and his hell, need not be your hell. If you suspect your child has dyslexia, or ADHD, or any other learning disability get them tested. Demand the district test them. Threaten to send your kid to a private school if they're not tested. Be obnoxious. Don't trust the system. Work it.