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When To Implement 504 Plans For Students

written by: Rose Kivi • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 9/11/2012

Students who require certain accommodations in the school environment but do not qualify for special education services can benefit from a 504 plan. 504 plans address certain disabilities that do not meet the criteria needed for the implementation of an IEP. Learn more about 504 accommodations here.

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    What Is A 504 Plan?

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 outlines the provisions that can be made for students who have disabilities or impairments that adversely affect their performance in the general education classroom. Children who are offered services under 504 plans are enrolled in their school districts as regular education students, and therefore are not entitled to the IEP provisions granted to special education students. While a student with a 504 plan participates in mainstream classes and activities, he or she may struggle with academic issues such as test-taking, developmental issues such as poor organizational skills, or behavioral issues such as hyperactivity.

    Before a student is able to receive 504 accommodations and modifications, a parent, teacher, or counselor must refer the child for an evaluation. The 504 meeting, which includes school administrators, teachers, support staff, and parents, is then held in order to determine which services are most appropriate for a student's specific needs. As is the case with IEP teams, those involved in the 504 process meet periodically to review and revise the plan set in place to assist the student with meeting school goals.

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    504 Accommodations

    Students can receive a range of 504 accommodations, which vary according to the nature and severity of a child's disability or disabilities. Examples of services and modifications that are arranged through 504 plans are:

    --Children who exhibit ADHD traits may be entitled to extra time for completing assignments, seating in the front of the classroom to prevent distraction, or help from peers when working in the classroom.

    --Students with emotional issues may receive group or individual counseling with a school psychologist, a behavior modification plan, and specific reinforcements for positive behavior.

    --Test questions can be modified or simplified for students with academic difficulties.

    --Children with medical problems can be provided with a safety plan and assistance from trained staff members when needed.

    Parents or teachers who suspect that a child may qualify for Section 504 accommodations and modifications should intervene as early as possible to ensure the best chances for school success. This type of plan is of great value to a student who is not entitled to special education services.

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    Reference Links

    1) How Does A 504 Plan Differ From An IEP?--http://specialchildren.about.com/od/504s/f/504faq2.htm

    2) Questions About 504 Plans--http://www.labor.state.ak.us/dvr/504.htm