Some students require extra support within the school setting in order to have equity in the general education setting. A 504 plan offers services and changes to the learning environment to meet the student's need. Students with a 504 plan are NOT served under Special Education. A 504 plan may be temporary or may follow a student through his or her educational career.
What is the difference between a 504 plan and Special Education?
A 504 plan is intended for ANY student with a disability, impairment, or suspected impairment that substantially limits a major life activity while at school. The impairment can be an academic or nonacademic issue.
The 504 plan offers support needed to minimize the interference so the child can learn alongside peers WITHIN the general education classroom.
Special education is intended for students with specific disabilities that directly affect his or her ability to learn or benefit from the general education curriculum.
Students within special education are provided individualized services and/or specialized curriculum.
How does a student qualify for a 504 plan?
1) The student must have a disability or suspected disability. This could be:
- A long term medical issue (Diabetes, Epilepsy, Muscular Dystrophy, etc)
- A short term medical issue that requires school attention (digestive illnesses, extended recovery from surgery, etc.)
- A learning or attention disorder (Dyslexia, ADHD, etc.)
- Suspected impairments (reading impairments, ongoing behavior or emotional issues, attention disorders, etc.)
2) The disability or impairment must interfere with the student's activity or learning at school. How we evaluate:
- Parent input
- Review of diagnosis or doctor's orders (if available)
- Teacher evaluation
- Counselor/Specialist/Nurse evaluations as needed
What can a 504 plan offer?
Every 504 plan is different, and tailored to the needs of the individual student. 504 Plans also ensures that the student gets the same assistance in every classroom and as they move grade levels. The plan is revisited every year to make sure the accommodations are up to date and effective.
Examples of accommodations you might find on a 504:
- Extra time to complete assignments
- Personal Reminders
- Chunking assignments into smaller pieces
- Small group instruction or test administration
- Access to healthy snacks
- Frequent Breaks