What is an Educational 504 Plan?
The intent of a 504 Plan is to give students with disabilities equal access to their education, by mandating appropriate accommodations and adaptations in the school setting. Students on 504 plans are protected by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These plans are appropriate for students who have impactful disabilities, but are not in need specially designed instruction (ie: special education). 504 plans must be updated at least one time per year by a student’s educational team. These plans are legally binding documents.
Who qualifies for a 504 Plan?
In order to qualify for a 504 plan a student must have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities
What is a physical or mental impairment?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act defines a physical or mental impairment as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems:
- Neurological; Musculoskeletal; Special sense organs; Respiratory (including speech organs); Cardiovascular; Reproductive; Digestive; Genitourinary; Hemic and lymphatic; Skin; Endocrine; Mental or psychological (ie: mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities)
What is a major life activity?
Major life activities may include:
- Self care; Performing manual tasks; Walking; Seeing; Hearing; Speaking; Breathing; Learning; Working; Eating; Sleeping; Standing; Lifting; Bending; Reading; Concentrating; Thinking; Communicating; Performing bodily function
What is a substantial limitation?
A student who suffers from a substantial limitation will meet these two criteria:
- Unable to perform a major life activity the average person can perform
- The measure of substantial limitation is determined by the 504 team based upon available and up to date data
What are accommodations, adaptations/modifications?
- Accommodations: Changes in the curriculum, instruction, or testing format or procedures that enable students with disabilities to participate in a way that allows them to demonstrate their abilities rather than disabilities. Accommodations are generally considered to include assistive technology a well as changes in presentation, response, timing, scheduling, and settings that do not fundamentally alter the requirements. Accommodations do not invalidate assessment results.
- Books on tape; Calculator; Extended time; Preferential seating' Adapted keyboard; Voice recognition software; Visual schedule; Visual timer; Reduced length of assignments; Modified seating; Graphic organizers; Math tools; Notes provided by teacher
- Adaptations (Modifications): Changes to the curriculum, instruction, or assessments that fundamentally alter the requirements, but that enable a student with an impairment that significantly impacts performance an opportunity to participate. Adaptations invalidate assessment results and provide non-comparable results.
- Language arts tests read aloud; Out of level testing;Alternate texts at reading level;Adapt grades to reflect progress toward IEP goals;Adjusting grade weights
What does a 504 Plan look like?
504 Plans are individualized and developed based on student need. The content is different from student to student. A 504 Plan will include the following parts:
- Description of the nature of the concern
- The physical or mental impairment
- The Major life activity(s) that are being limited
- Information about how the major life activity is being substantially limited
- Description of the reasonable accommodations
- Date of the Annual Review of the 504 Plan
- Date of the Eligibility Review (every three years)
- Name of those present for the 504 meeting
- Parent signature
Does a student in special education need a 504 Plan?
Students who are on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) do not need separate 504 Plans. Like 504 Plans, IEPs document the required accommodations and adaptations necessary for student success.
What does a parent do if they have disagreements with 504 Plan?
If parents have questions or concerns with a 504 plan, they should contact the Director of Student Services who will share the process to follow to find a resolution.
Who do I contact regarding a 504 Plan questions?
If you have further questions or wonder if you might have a child who qualifies for a Section 504 Plan, please contact the following people:
- Director of Student Services
- Social Workers, School Counselors (secondary schools), and/or the school nurse at each school