If your child needs extra help or school accommodations due to physical or mental impairment, you may be able to get help through a Section 504 plan.
A Section 504 plan will help your child find accommodations (changes in the way people are taught supported or assess content) that will help your child participate in a class or other major life activities.
Section 504 uses a very broad definition of the word “disabilities.” This means that students who are eligible for more extensive special education services covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) can also receive 504 benefits.
What does 504 mean?
It is a civil rights law that gives students with disabilities the legal right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). This means that they must have the same access to learning activities as their non-disabled peers if they qualify otherwise.
It applies to academic, non-academic (attendance, lunches, and meetings), and extracurricular activities.
In addition, the school principal gives students 504 plans that list housing and study aids.
What is 504 in school?
The 504 plan is a plan designed to ensure that a child with a legal disability who attends elementary or secondary education receives equal access in educational sectors. Under this law, classroom teachers ensure academic success and access to the learning environment.
Section 504 Plans vs. IEPs
There are various differences between the 504 plan and the individualized education program (IEP).
504 plans are not part of special education in most places. Therefore, they differ from IEP. 504 and IEPs are governed by different laws and work in different ways. However, the ultimate goal is the same; it helps students succeed in school.
The major difference is 504 plan changes a student’s consistent education program in a school district. Classroom teachers monitor a 504 plan. A student of IEP under the Disability Education Act (IDEA 2004) receives different educational opportunities depending on the conventional and superior student’s needs. School personnel usually administers and supervises these IEP programs thoroughly.
Parental consent and involvement are also required for an IEP, but not for a 504 plan. However, full parental involvement in the 504-plan process is important to the student’s academic success.
Besides, it is significant to note that students with IEPs are also eligible for the additional educational purposes, protections, and services that 504 plans offer.
For example, students with IEPs may benefit from a 504 plan when they transfer from a special education institution to consistent classes. At this time, it is the teacher’s responsibility to become familiar with the 504 plan before attending such students who are influenced by 504.
Who qualifies for a 504 plan?
Students with disabilities may qualify for 504 plans that affect or limit any of their abilities as:
- Walking, breathing, eating, or sleeping
- Communicating, seeing, hearing, or speaking
- Reading, concentrating, thinking, or learning
- Standing, bending over, lifting, or working
What types of accommodation covers plans 504?
Children can receive 504 services for many reasons. Some examples of 504 accommodations are:
- Extended time for tests, assignments, and evaluation data
- Sit at the front of the class to avoid distractions
- Have a guardrail or ramp installed at the school
- Classroom changes to manage food allergies.
- Preferred places
- Shortened homework or assignments in class
- Verbal, visual, or technical aids
- Modified textbooks or audiovisual materials
- Behavioral management support
- Revised timetables or assessments
- Oral examination
- Reasonably late, walking or missing classes
- Pre-approved nurse visits and follow-up visits
- Physical therapy
Parents have the right to choose where their children study or not. Under 504 pan, the U.S department of education covers public or private primary and secondary schools, including religious schools. This also includes charter and home schools.
However, it should be understood that rehabilitation acts of children with disabilities placed by their parents in private primary and secondary schools do not coincide with the rights of children with disabilities attending public schools (or staying in public institutions).
At the elementary and secondary school levels, determining whether a child is a disabled student under Section 504 begins with the evaluation data.