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Author Topic: POLL: 504 Plan What is it?  (Read 1149 times)
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« on: March 13, 2015, 09:34:32 PM »

If your child has learning and attention issues and is struggling in school, you may be curious about 504 plans. If your child doesn’t qualify for an Individualized Education Program (IEP), a 504 plan may be a good alternative. If your child has BPD or traits of the disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety or other emotional challenges that make school difficult, and is not eligible for an IEP, he or she may be eligible for a 504.

A 504 plan can give you peace of mind. This is especially true if your child already gets informal accommodations at school and you want to make sure they continue. But first, you need to know what a 504 plan can provide, what your rights are, how to pursue a 504 plan and what makes a child eligible. The more you know, the better you can advocate for your child.
What is a 504 plan?

This type of plan falls under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This is the part of the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against public school students with disabilities. That includes students with learning and attention issues who meet certain criteria.

Much like an IEP, a 504 plan can help students with learning and attention issues learn and participate in the general education curriculum. A 504 plan outlines how a child’s specific needs are met with accommodations, modifications and other services. These measures “remove barriers” to learning.

Keep in mind that a student with a 504 plan usually spends the entire school day in a general education classroom. And typically, children who need modifications would have an IEP, not a 504 plan.
Who qualifies for a 504 plan?

504 plans are for K–12 public school students with disabilities. Section 504 defines “disability” in very broad terms. That’s why children who aren’t eligible for an IEP may qualify for a 504 plan. Section 504 defines a person with a disability as someone who:
•Has a physical or mental impairment that “substantially” limits one or more major life activity (such as reading or concentrating).
•Has a record of the impairment.
•Is regarded as having an impairment, or a significant difficulty that isn’t temporary. For example, a broken leg isn’t an impairment, but a chronic condition, like a food allergy, might be.

This definition covers a wide range of issues, including ADHD and learning disabilities. However, Section 504 doesn’t specifically list disabilities by name.

Having a disability doesn’t automatically make a student eligible for a 504 plan. First the school has to do an evaluation to decide if a child’s disability “substantially” limits his ability to learn and participate in the general education classroom.

This evaluation can be initiated by either the parent or the school. If the school initiates the evaluation, it must notify the parents and get the parents’ consent to evaluate a child for a 504 plan. If the school wants to move ahead without the parents’ consent, it must request a due process hearing to get permission to work around the parents’ refusal.

When doing an evaluation for a 504 plan, the school considers information from several sources, including:
•Documentation of the child’s disability (such as a doctor’s diagnosis)
•Evaluation results (if the school recently evaluated the child for an IEP)
•Observations by the student’s parents and teachers
•Academic record
•Independent evaluations (if available)

Section 504 requires evaluation procedures that prevent students from being misclassified, incorrectly labeled as having a disability or incorrectly placed.

What does a 504 plan contain?

There’s no standard 504 plan required by the law. Every school district handles it a little differently. In general, a 504 plan should include the following elements, all tailored to a child’s individual needs:
•Specific accommodations, supports or services
•Names of the school professional that will provide each service
•The name of the person responsible for ensuring the 504 plan is implemented

A 504 plan can include specialized instruction in a general education classroom. It can also provide related services. These could include speech or occupational therapy or even counseling.

If you’re already familiar with what an IEP includes, you’ll notice that a 504 plan is less detailed. For example, a 504 plan doesn’t include annual goals. Learn more about the difference between 504 plans and IEPs.
Who develops a 504 plan?

A 504 plan is developed by a team of people who are familiar with the student and who understand the evaluation data and special services options. This group, sometimes called the 504 committee, might include:
•Your child’s general education teacher(s)
•A special education teacher
•The school principal
•You, the parent(s)
•The child (depending on his age and maturity)

You can ask to be involved in all discussions and meetings about your child’s plan. But it’s important to know that the law doesn’t require or guarantee parent participation in these meetings.

After you receive a copy of your child’s 504 plan, keep an eye on how it’s being implemented. This is especially important, because the school isn’t required to give you regular updates on your child’s progress. Don’t wait until next year’s 504 plan meeting to raise your concerns! This and other tips can help you make sure your child’s 504 plan is being followed.
What happens at a 504 plan meeting?

Your child’s 504 plan must be reviewed by the 504 committee every year. Legally, parents are not guaranteed a seat at the table, but they are encouraged to attend. Here are some of the key things the committee may discuss in the annual 504 meeting:
•Your child’s strengths. This is a time for you and the team to share success your child has had in and out of school. For example, if your child struggles to pay attention and follow directions, the group might compare notes on his progress in those areas. Be sure to tell them about his wins at home and in extracurricular activities.
•Your concerns and suggestions for improving your child’s education. The meeting is a good time to share where you still see your child struggling. Is his backpack always disorganized? Does he forget to bring his homework assignments home? Let the committee know what you think might make these tasks easier for him, based on your experience.
•Whether or not accommodations (such as assistive technology) and modifications are helping. If they aren’t helping your child as expected, the group needs to discuss upgrading, discontinuing or replacing them. The team should also consider any new instruction and technology tools that might be more helpful for your child.

Based on what’s covered in the meeting, the committee may propose changes to your child’s 504 plan. Your permission is only required if the committee recommends a major change in placement, such as discontinuing educational services that are in his current plan.

What happens if you don’t agree with a 504 plan?

If you disagree with the school’s decisions about your child’s education, there are several ways to dispute it. Here are the steps you can take (usually in this order):
•Request a mediator to help you and the school reach an agreement.
•Ask for a hearing before an impartial hearing officer.
•File a complaint with the federal Office for Civil Rights.
•File a lawsuit.
What can make the journey easier?

Whether you’re just learning about 504 plans or your child already has one in place, there are many ways to make the journey easier.
•Know your child’s issues. Observing your child can help you better understand his strengths, weaknesses and needs.
•Explore supports. Find out about accommodations that can help students with learning and attention issues.
•Partner with teachers. Communicating with your child’s teachers is a good way to advocate for your child and find out what’s working in the classroom—and what’s not.
•Get advice from experts. Parenting Coach offers tips that may address aspects of your child’s 504 plan. Live chats are an opportunity to ask questions directly to experts.
•Connect with other parents. Parents like you can be a source of support, understanding and helpful advice.

The U.S. Department of Education's (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued additional guidance concerning the effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 on public elementary and secondary program. In most cases, application of these rules should quickly shift the inquiry away from the question whether a student has a disability, and toward the school district's actions and obligations to ensure equal educational opportunities. U.S. DOE OCR Guidance Letter advising school districts of the expanded definition of and services for students with disabilities. The new guidance requires students who traditionally may not have been identified under Section 504 and Title II under ADA to be reevaluated and tested under a broadened definition. - See more at: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/sec504.index.htm#sthash.y9yUVTMr.dpuf
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 04:33:32 PM by livednlearned » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2015, 07:10:22 AM »

What is the difference between a 504 Plan and an IEP?
Both Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans can offer formal help for K–12 students with learning and attention issues. They’re similar in some ways but quite different in others.  Below is a comparison between the Program and the Plan.

Comparison: IEP and 504 Plan

Basic Description
IEP: A blueprint or plan for a child’s special education experience at school.
504: A blueprint or plan for how a child will have access to learning at school.

What It Does
IEP: Provides individualized special education and related services to meet the unique needs of the child. These services are provided at no cost to parents.
504: Provides services and changes to the learning environment to meet the needs of the child as adequately as other students. As with IEPs, a 504 plan is provided at no cost to parents.

What Law Applies
IEP: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) This is a federal special education law for children with disabilities.
504: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973  This is a federal civil rights law to stop discrimination against people with disabilities.

Who Is Eligible
IEP: To get an IEP, there are two requirements:
1.A child has one or more of the 13 specific disabilities listed in IDEA. Learning and attention issues may qualify.
2.The disability must affect the child’s educational performance and/or ability to learn and benefit from the general education curriculum.
504: To get a 504 plan, there are two requirements:
1.A child has any disability, which can include many learning or attention issues.
2.The disability must interfere with the child’s ability to learn in a general education classroom. Section 504 has a broader definition of a disability than IDEA. That’s why a child who doesn’t qualify for an IEP might still be able to get a 504 plan.

Independent Educational Evaluation
IEP: Parents can ask the school district to pay for an independent educational evaluation (IEE) by an outside expert. The district doesn’t have to agree. Parents can always pay for an outside evaluation themselves, but the district may not give it much weight.
504: Doesn’t allow parents to ask for an IEE. As with an IEP evaluation, parents can always pay for an outside evaluation themselves.

Who Creates the Program/Plan
IEP: There are strict legal requirements about who participates. An IEP is created by an IEP team that must include:
•The child’s parent
•At least one of the child’s general education teachers
•At least one special education teacher
•School psychologist or other specialist who can interpret evaluation results
•A district representative with authority over special education services
With a few exceptions, the entire team must be present for IEP meetings.
504: The rules about who’s on the 504 team are less specific than they are for an IEP. A 504 plan is created by a team of people who are familiar with the child and who understand the evaluation data and special services options. This might include:
•The child’s parent
•General and special education teachers
•The school principal

What’s in the Program/Plan
IEP: The IEP sets learning goals for a child and describes the services the school will give her. It’s a written document.
Here are some of the most important things the IEP must include:
•The child’s present levels of academic and functional performance—how she is currently doing in school
•Annual education goals for the child and how the school will track her progress
•The services the child will get—this may include special education, related, supplementary and extended school year services
•The timing of services—when they start, how often they occur and how long they last
•Any accommodations—changes to the child’s learning environment
•Any modifications—changes to what the child is expected to learn or know
•How the child will participate in standardized tests
•How the child will be included in general education classes and school activities
504: There is no standard 504 plan. Unlike an IEP, a 504 plan doesn’t have to be a written document. A 504 plan generally includes the following:
•Specific accommodations, supports or services for the child
•Names of who will provide each service
•Name of the person responsible for ensuring the plan is implemented

Parent Notice
IEP: When the school wants to change a child’s services or placement, it has to tell parents in writing before the change. This is called prior written notice. Notice is also required for any IEP meetings and evaluations.
Parents also have “stay put” rights to keep services in place while there’s a dispute.
504: The school must notify parents about evaluation or a “significant change” in placement. Notice doesn’t have to be in writing, but most schools do so anyway.

Parent Consent
IEP: A parent must consent in writing for the school to evaluate a child. Parents must also consent in writing before the school can provide services in an IEP.
504: A parent’s consent is required for the school district to evaluate a child.

How Often It's Reviewed and Revised
IEP: The IEP team must review the IEP at least once a year. The student must be reevaluated every three years to determine whether services are still needed.
504: The rules vary by state. Generally, a 504 plan is reviewed each year and a reevaluation is done every three years or when needed.

How to Resolve Disputes
IEP: IDEA gives parents several specific ways to resolve disputes (usually in this order):
•Due process complaint
•Resolution session
•Civil lawsuit
•State complaint
504: Section 504 gives parents several options for resolving disagreements with the school:
•Alternative dispute resolution
•Impartial hearing
•Complaint to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

IEP: Students receive these services at no charge.
States receive additional funding for eligible students.
504: Students receive these services at no charge.
States do not receive extra funding for eligible students. But the federal government can take funding away from programs (including schools) that don’t comply. IDEA funds can’t be used to serve students with 504 plans.

To read what other parents are saying about 504 Plans and participate in the discussion please follow this link:

« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 08:25:46 AM by lbjnltx » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2015, 06:56:17 AM »

I think it's  - Excellent .

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