The 504 plan is a document that falls under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Its purpose it to plan an instructional program to help special needs children who are attending a schools regular education classes. The 504 is not the same as an IEP and should not be thought to act in the same manner.
To be eligible for the 504, a student must be disabled as outlined under section 504. This means that the student must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his or her major life activities. They may also have a record of such an impairment or they may be perceived as having such an impairment. If you believe that the answer to any of these is yes, then your child may qualify under 504 and you should check into it at your child’s school.
One question that you may need answered for you is: What are major life activities? They would include some of the following:
1.) Being able to care for yourself.
2.) Being able to perform manual tasks such as:
A child would be considered for a 504 plan when he or she meets the criteria and yet is not being recommended to the schools special education service.
There are also some additional reasons that may be considered in recommending a child for 504. Those would include some of the following:
1.) If the student is just returning to school after a serious illness or injury.
2.) If the child has a retention problem.
3.) If the child was referred to the special education program but for some reason did not qualify.
4.) If the student is at risk for dropping out of school.
There are four basic steps in developing your 504 plan:
1.)The student must be referred
2.) The planning meeting is scheduled and then held.
3.) The 504 plan is developed.
4.) A yearly review date is set by the team.
At your planning meeting, you will usually find the following people in attendance:
1.) Parents or legal guardian’s
2.) The student (my son has always attended and given his input on what would help him achieve the best education. After all, he is the one who has the needs and it is his education that we are trying to plan.)
4.) Principal or Assistant Principal’s
5.) Nurse (I have made this not only include the nurse that will be working with my son at school, but also those who work with him at home. Together they can share and exchange information that you may not even think of.)
6.) Therapist(s) (Once again, I include those who are working with my son at home.)
* I always make sure that I have made a trip to my doctors office before these meetings so that I can bring with me any orders that the doctor may have. That way they can be implemented in right away. For example: My son has a full time aide with him at all time and this is by doctors orders.)
A Sample 504 Plan
I will use examples from my son’s 504 plan to explain what this is.
1.) My son is able to complete all academic tasks at the second grade level without modification. He is, however required to have oxygen on at all times. Because of the weight issues that this child has, he will be required to drink two cans of pediasure a day. (If this is unable to be accomplished then nourishment must be supplied through the G-tube.) He will also be required to have two snacks per day. One of these to be administered in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
Because of this child’s unpredictable health status, he should not be left alone at any time of the day.
This 504 plan then goes on to list all of the special services that my son is provided with while he is at home.
Because of my son’s need for special transportation and tutoring services, the following questions needed to be answered:
1.) Is there a physical impairment?
2.) Does is substantially limit one or more of his major life’s activities?
3.) Is there a history of impairment?
4.)Is the student regarded as having an impairment?
5.) Does the committee have sufficient data to consider the determination of the disability?
6.) Were the options accepted?
The next part of the 504 plan will consist of the recommendations of the plan. My sons recommendations are as follows:
Special transportation will continue.
Regular education with adult support to monitor unpredictable health status.
The child’s parent will send 2 oxygen tanks to school each day and one extra tank will be stored in the office. The tanks will be switched at the end of lunch recess.
The student will take Maalox at lunch and before each given snack.
The child’s parent will indicate appropriate lunch choices from the monthly menu. On days when there are no appropriate choices the parents will send a lunch.
The child should be encouraged to eat his lunch, but not forced.
Physical activities are limited to the length of his oxygen tank tube.
The student will self monitor when he needs to rest for short periods of time.
The child can play if he feels well enough to do so.
When the student needs to take extra seizure medication, he will let the staff know.
The student is not to be left alone for any period of any day.
An adult will monitor him during lunch restroom breaks, and fire drills.
This child must avoid peanut butter, nuts and all things containing yellow dye.
There will be a notebook sent back and forth between school and parents to provide daily information on status of child.
The child will have elevator privileges and will be accompanied by an adult.
The child’s mother wishes as normal activity as possible.
This form is then signed by all parties present at the staffing and is put into action. It is your child’s right to have his or her day modified in such a way as they can obtain the education that is to be provided to them.