What is a 504 Plan?
A 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child with a disability, identified under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will provide access to the learning environment. The document assures compliance of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and is developed by a team of individuals that may consist of the student with a disability (if appropriate), the student's parent(s)/guardian(s), the student's general education teacher(s), the student's guidance counselor and the 504 coordinator.
504 Plans are beneficial to both students and teachers. They help ensure that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations. They provide educators with information about the specific needs of their students with disabilities and practical strategies that they can incorporate into their lesson planning.
Examples of accommodations include but are not limited to wheelchair-accessible facilities, adjustable-height tables, large-print reading materials, and increased time to complete assignments and tests.
How is a student considered for a 504 plan?
A student with a physical or emotional disability, or who is recovering from a chemical dependency, or who has an impairment (i.e. Attention Deficit Disorder) that restricts one or more major life activities.
Major life activities include caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, and learning.
What is the process for placing a student on a 504 plan? There are essentially four steps:
- Student is referred by teacher, support staff, parent/legal guardian, physician, or therapist
- A 504 plan meeting is held
- A plan for the student is developed
- A review date is set
The student, parent/legal guardian, teachers, principals, Pupil Services administrators, support staff (i.e. nurse, counselor, psychologist, language/speech pathologist) as well as the student's physician or therapist may be involved in the placement process including the 504 meeting
If you have a concern regarding a child's performance and/or behavior that you believe is caused by a disabling condition, you should initiate a referral after consultation with support staff and/or building administrators.
Also, you should participate in any meetings where a 504 plan may be developed. Further, you should be ready to supply pertinent data and documentation such as test scores, discipline referrals, and anecdotal information to assist in the writing of the plan.
A child's seat assignment accommodates a disability.
A diabetic child may be permitted to eat in the classroom.
A child may be permitted to go to the health office for the administration of medication.
A student's assignments or testing conditions may be adjusted (i.e. extensions of time, modification of test questions).
Note: This is a team process where all members of the team, not just the teacher, may have responsibilities in fulfilling the requirements of the 504 plan.
Once the plan is approved, what are my responsibilities?
You are expected to reasonably follow the strategies written to implement the plan and to participate in the review process.