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504 vs. IEP


dolsen01 August 20, 2012

Hello, My son has several chronic medical conditions that have kept him out of school last year. He does not have any known learning disabilities and he is ambulatory. I am trying to decide which to pursue the 504 or IEP or both? He needs special accomodations in the classroom, like somewhere to rest if he gets tired, but when I asked they said they couldnt provide an area for him to rest in the classroom but could send him to the nurses office where quite frankly he will be exposed to regular kid illnesses that will further compromise his immune system. There are also so many challenges with a child who is medically ill. He feels so badly sometimes homework/school isn't even a possibility. He is semi repeating 3rd grade this year as they have put him in a 3/4 split class. but I am already "fighting" for his rights and school just started today. Any advice on which plan to go for and what his rights are?

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mcoop22 August 26, 2012

I don't believe that there is a "right" answer to your question, but I am happy to share some thoughts (OK, many thoughts).

If your child has a disability that impacts his learning, you are entitled to accommodations. His medical condition, should it impact his education, can be accommodated via a Section 504 Accommodation Plan or via an Individualized Education Plan. For the later, the Child Study Team would likely consider the classification category Other Health Impaired (OHI).

To receive an IEP the CST would need to complete an evaluation that would include an assessment of your son's intellectual ability and educational achievement as well as his social history and a classroom observation. If one simply thinks about getting an assessment like that completed, you can easily see how you can learn a lot about your son's strengths and needs, which in itself can be extremely useful.

While schools are required to follow both types of plans, the reality is often that IEPs are more closely followed and monitored. If your son needs a change of placement (resource room, self-contained classroom), or supplemental services (speech, OT, PT, counseling) then an IEP is likely the best bet. If you are seeking mainly in-class accommodations, a 504 plan may be sufficient.

I am writing as a professional, having worked with many students who have 504 plans and IEPs. Both can be godsends or worthless. What really matters is how the plan fits that individual child's needs and does the school follow through on what is necessary.

My bottom line advice would be to seek a CST evaluation to more formally assess your son's strengths and needs. This will help to develop a proper IEP. If he does not qualify, he may be eligible for a 504 Plan.

A website that I frequently recommend to my clients is Wright's Law

I hope this was helpful and best of luck to your son!



TaNikaMBA September 20, 2012

IEP. You son does qualify. It changed my sons life and he gets are the specialists he needs and I spend nothing. You should start with health care for special needs children get his card then SSI and then your IEP will be scheduled. I pray the best for your child.

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