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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 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that protects a person with a disability. The ADA defines a disability if there is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limit’s a major life activity. Mitigating measures can not be a factor when deciding if a disability is present or not. A 504 plan is different from an IEP since it list out specifically the accommodations for the disability. An IEP lists out the accommodations and services that directly affect educational performance. If the disability does NOT adversely affects educational performance that child is NOT eligible for special education under IDEA.
To get started on creating a 504 plan for your child you start by contacting the schools 504 coordinator. This person will help put together a 504 team. Team members may include teachers, school nurse, food service personnel etc.. Anyone who will be watching over your child through out 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.
-Have medical documentation or recommendations from a doctor on hand.
-Think through your child’s day to figure out what needs to be accommodated.
– Find out the protocol for the school’s transportation. This will be important if your child rides the school bus or when they take field trips.
504 plans do have an in house complaint process similar to an IEP. However if you find that you are not getting anywhere with the school and feel that your child is being decimated against you have a right to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR will not look into any case that is currently under review with the school or other agency. You have 60 calendar days to file with the OCR after the review process has ended. The role of the OCR is to be a neutral fact finer party to resolve a complaint. They are not an advocate. The Wright Law firm has a wonderful page to help you connect with legal assistants if you find the need for one at:
For more information on 504 Plans the National Center for Learning Disabilities and Wright Law are a great resource.
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