WHAT IS A 504 PLAN?
A 504 plan is a legally binding document. Its purpose is to plan an instructional program to assist students with special needs who are participating in the general education curriculum. The 504 plan should not be confused with the Individual Education Program (IEP), but in some cases students transitioning from special education to general education may qualify under the conditions of 504.
WHAT MAKES A STUDENT ELIGIBLE FOR CONSIDERATION OF A 504 PLAN?
The student must be identified as disabled, as specified under Section 504: the individual has a physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities; or has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded (perceived) as having such an impairment. If the individual meets one or more of the above criteria, they may qualify for the provisions under Section 504. This would be especially true if the student does not qualify for special education services under IDEA.
WHAT ARE "MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITIES?"
Major life activities include some of the following: caring for one's self, the performance of manual tasks, breathing, seeing, hearing, walking, working and learning. If any of these activities are substantially limited due to a disability, the individual may be accommodated under a 504 plan.
WHEN SHOULD A POSSIBLE 504 REFERRAL BE CONSIDERED?
A 504 plan should be considered appropriate when the individual meets the 504 criteria as having a disability, but the individual does not qualify for special education services. Other questions to ask might include: 1) Is the student being considered for expulsion? 2) Is retention being considered? 3) Is the student returning to school after a serious injury? 4) Is the student "at risk" of dropping out of school? The team should ask some of these questions to help determine the appropriateness of a 504 plan. Health care plans can be used, if appropriate, instead of 504 plans for medical student issues.
IS THERE A PROCESS THAT WILL HELP PLACE A STUDENT ON A 504 PLAN?
There are several steps involved in the development of a 504 plan:
1. The student is referred by a teacher, parent/legal guardian, school support staff, physician, or therapist. It is possible for the student to initiate a self-referral. All new 504 plans should be generated through the Student Success Team process.
2. The school psychologist, who is the building point of contact, will organize and facilitate an evaluation. Conducting an evaluation to determine IDEIA eligibility first is best practice, before qualifying a student for 504.
3. If the student qualifies for a 504 plan, a meeting will be scheduled and a plan will be developed.
4. 504 plans are reviewed and updated annually by the psychologist, administrator, and team members working with the student.
WHO BECOMES RESPONSIBLE FOR IMPLEMENTING A WRITTEN 504 PLAN?
All parties who sign off on the 504 plan are legally accountable for implementing and providing accommodations to the student as outlined in the plan. A person who disagrees with the plan and refuses to sign my still be obligated to make the accommodations outlined in the plan. The 504 plan may be altered by sending a written notice to all persons who attended the first planning meeting and scheduling a time for a plan review.
WHAT ARE SOME TYPES OF ACCOMMODATIONS THAT MIGHT BE INCLUDED IN A 504 PLAN?
There are many possible accommodations that might be included in a 504 plan. Here are some examples:
• A student may have his/her test questions modified (length of test or different questions)
• A student may have a special seating assignment to accommodate needs
• A student may be permitted to have an extra set of texts (a school set and a home set)
• A student may be permitted to leave the classroom for certain activities
• A student may be permitted to use a private rest room (mobility and dignity issues)
There are many possible accommodations that a team may consider appropriate for a student. All participants within the scope of the 504 planning share equal value when making recommendations. Any member of the 504 team may be required to carry out certain portions of the 504 plan to be assured that accommodations are implemented.Should you have questions about whether your child qualifies for a 504 Plan please contact your child's Principal or contact: