A 504 Plan is a type of plan that falls under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This is a federal civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination. A 504 Plan can help students with learning issues, attention issues, and other disabilities who meet certain criteria access the general education classroom without any barriers.
It is important to note that, unlike qualifying for special education services under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 does not require that a student’s disability have a negative impact on their education in order to have a 504 Plan.
If you think your child needs a 504 Plan, make a referral to the school principal. The school will first need to do an evaluation to decide if your child’s disability substantially limits one or major life activities. Make this referral in writing and tell the principal the reasons why your child should be evaluated. You will also want to send a copy of your letter to the special education coordinator for the school district. You can look in your child’s student handbook or ask the principal for the special education coordinator’s name. Also, be sure to keep a copy for your records. A copy of the sample referral is attached to recent evaluations, hearing tests, letters from physicians, or medical records to show that your child has an impairment.
The school can also start an evaluation on your child; however, the school must get your consent before doing so. If the school wants to start an evaluation on your child without your consent, then the school must first get special permission through a due process hearing. When the school evaluates your child for a 504
Plan, the school will look at documentation of your child’s diagnosis (such as records or a letter from a doctor), evaluation results, teacher assessments, school records, independent evaluations, and psychological evaluations.
A group of people will attend a 504 conference. The purpose of this conference is to talk about your child’s disability and what services and accommodations they will benefit from in order to be successful in school. The people at the meeting will be your child’s classroom teacher, the school principal, you (the parent), and the special education coordinator for the school district. After talking about what services and accommodations your child needs, the group will then write a 504 Plan.
There is no typical 504 Plan. A 504 Plan will be designed to fit your child’s individual needs. However, the 504 plan will include specific accommodations, supports, and services that your child will need while at school; names of school staff who will provide each service; and the name of the school staff who oversees making sure that the 504 Plan is carried out properly. A 504 Plan can also include services like occupational therapy, physical therapy, and counseling services. The only service that will not be included in a 504 Plan is speech services.