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Section 504 and IEP Plan Information*

The topic of 504 and IEP plans is a popular topic amongst our community. We have often heard this question, "My child has a pacemaker or internal cardiac defibrillator. How does this impact school and what help is available?" Below you will find a FAQ from parents and counselors within our community.

How can I access support at my school?

Elementary School / Junior High : Contact one of the following at the school: Principal, Vice Principal, School Psychologist, School Counselor, Social Worker or Nurse. Explain to them that you would like more information on how the school can support any special needs your child may have and how you can access this support.

At the high school level, each school should have a Student Services Department comprised of a school psychologist, school counselor, school nurse, and/ or school social workers. One of these individuals should be able to assist you or point you in the right direction.

What services may be available if my child is eligible?

There are 3 different types of services that may be available:

Section 504 Plan

  • A plan to ensure that a child who has an identified disability under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary education institution receives accommodations which allows them to reach academic success and to access their learning environment and curriculum.
  • Students with a 504 Plan will not receive specialized education ( e.g. modified curriculum).
  • The disability does not need to be educationally handicapping to qualify for a 504 Plan.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) - Special Education

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to provide all educationally disabled students ages 3-21 with a free, appropriate public education (FAPE).
  • In order to be found eligible for special education services, the team must determine that the student's disability negatively impacts their ability to access the general education environment and curriculum.

Health Care Plan (School Nurse)

  • A plan of action to help increase awareness to school personnel about your child's health condition, emergency plan, and/or coordination of Homebound / Hospital Instruction, if necessary.

What's the difference between a Section 504 Plan & an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?

  • A 504 Plan should be developed for students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but require accommodation and support to access public education.
  • An IEP should be developed for students with disabilities, who require specialized instruction.
  • Both IEPs and 504 Plans should be reviewed and/or updated annually to ensure that the student is receiving the most appropriate support for his/her specific disability/impairments.

What defines a "disability" under the law?

As defined by federal law: "An individual with a disability means any person who: (i) has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity; (ii) has a record of such an impairment; or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment" [34 C.F.R. 104.3(j)(1)].

Conditions or impairments may include specific learning disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy, allergies, low vision, poor hearing, heart disease or chronic illness that may not be obvious. If the condition substantially limits that child's ability to access their education, the student may be considered to have an "impairment". As a result, these students, regardless of their intelligence, will be unable to fully demonstrate their ability or attain educational benefits equal to that of non-disabled students (The Civil Rights of Students with Hidden Disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Pamphlet).

What services may be available if my child is eligible?

Each child's needs and accommodations are determined individually. Determination of what is appropriate for each child is based on the nature of the impairment and what that child needs in order to have an equal opportunity to access their education when compared to their non-disabled peers.

*This is not intended to be legal advice, and one should consult with their school administrator/counselor regarding their situation.