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A 504 plan lays out the management of accommodations or modifications for a child in elementary or a secondary school so that they can participate safely and equally along side their peers. This is available under the federal civil rights law that protects a person with a disability. NICHCY states that in order, “to be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to:
To get started on creating a 504 plan for your child, contacting the school’s 504 coordinator. This person will help put together a 504 team. Team members may include teachers, school nurse, food service personnel, and anyone who will be watching over your child throughout the school day.
There are several things that you can do to prepare for the 504 meeting ahead of time to try to ensure the meeting goes smoothly:
When the meeting starts remember to be reasonable, smart, ready to negotiate, and, potentially, be able to prove why your child needs the 504 plan. We have to keep in mind that many people still do not fully understand the complexity of food allergies. Knowing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws can help greatly if you find yourself facing a 504 team that isn’t as understanding. The ADA defines a disability if there is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Mitigating measures and the use of epi pens can not be a factor when deciding if a disability is present or not.
FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is a fantastic resource for newly diagnosed families. They have resources for parents, teens and schools.
Kids with Food Allergies: Keeping children with food allergies safe and healthy by educating their families.
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