At times, a child may have an impairment that has a substantial impact on their functioning, but still does not qualify for an IEP for special education. A 504 plan is available to children with impairments that do not qualify for special education services. The plan takes into account children who have conditions or disorders that are not readily apparent, but nonetheless substantially limit the child’s ability to receive an appropriate education.
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, children with certain disabilities are guaranteed rights, including access to a Free and Appropriate Education (the same right used in IDEA cases). Qualified students can receive accommodations and modifications to their academic programs.
What type of accommodation your child may receive is based on their disability and unique circumstances affecting them. Some examples of accommodations include: extended time on tests or assignments; computer aided teaching and instruction; extra textbooks; oral tests; visual aids. A child with a 504 plan will remain in a regular classroom.
In order to qualify for 504 plan, a child will undergo an evaluation by the school district.The school is specifically looking for impairments (physical or mental) that substantially limits a “major life activity.” This may include children with ADHD, dyslexia, cancer, a food allergy, and several other impairments. The major life activity can include: reading, communication, concentration, sitting, self-care, and several other activities.
If you have a concern about your child’s education needs, it is best to contact the school district and make them aware of your concerns. For a 504 plan, the parents play an integral role in collecting information to display their child’s need for a plan and to develop an appropriate educational plan.