Parents can find support and guidance through Springer's referral and consulting services, which can help with identifying obstacles to learning and determining next steps.
I first want to clarify that Section 504 plans are not considered special education, but I wanted to include information regarding Section 504 in this series because it is often discussed when students receive intensive interventions and the team is considering the proper next steps. In addition, since all students on IEPs have disabilities, they are automatically protected under Section 504 law.
As part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Congress passed Section 504, a civil rights law allowing people with disabilities full protection and equal access to participation in areas such as education and the workplace. In schools, students can qualify for accommodations under Section 504 if they have a mental or physical impairment that limits one or more major life activities such as learning, reading, concentrating, or communicating, just to name a few.
In order to determine if a student qualifies for a Section 504 Plan, the school district will conduct an evaluation to see if she has a disability that limits a major life activity, as stated in the criteria listed above. Section 504 evaluations are separate from special education evaluations, but information may be taken from a special education evaluation if one was previously conducted.
If the team determines that a student has a disability that limits one or more major life activities, the school will create a Section 504 plan. The Section 504 plan differs from an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for special education in that an IEP provides for the individualized special education program created to meet the unique needs of the child. A 504 plan provides services and changes to the learning environment that allow the child the same access to education as other students. A few common accommodations listed on 504 plans include extended time on tests, preferential seating near instruction, and provision of copies of materials.
Students with disabilities, such as ADHD, may qualify for a Section 504 plan, special education services, or neither, depending on the outcome of evaluations.
As with many services for students with disabilities, understanding Section 504 can be perplexing. Springer can help parents understand and navigate this process.
Blogger Stephanie Dunne, Ed.S., is the Center Director at Springer School and Center. Prior to coming to Springer, Stephanie practiced as a school psychologist in public and private schools for ten years. If you have questions, please contact Director of Learning Programs Carmen Mendoza at .