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HomeLearning DifficultiesLegal Rights & AdvocacyIndividuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004Understanding the Law

A parent's guide to Section 504 in public schools

This important civil rights law can provide educational benefits to kids with learning disabilities and/or AD/HD in public schools.

By Mary Durheim

Section 504 — just what exactly is it? You've probably heard about it, but every school district addresses Section 504 in a different manner. Some districts have even been heard to say, “We don’t do that in this district.” But in fact, compliance to Section 504, which is a federal statute, is not optional. This article attempts to answer basic questions pertaining to the implementation of Section 504 in public school systems.

What is Section 504?

Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met.

Section 504 states that: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 706(8) of this title, shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...” [29 U.S.C. §794(a), 34 C.F.R. §104.4(a)].

Who is covered under Section 504?

To be covered under Section 504, a student must be “qualified ” (which roughly equates to being between 3 and 22 years of age, depending on the program, as well as state and federal law, and must have a disability) [34 C.F.R. §104.3(k)(2)].

Who is an “individual with a disability”?

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)].

What is an “impairment” as used under the Section 504 definition?

An impairment as used in Section 504 may include any disability, long-term illness, or various disorder that “substantially” reduces or lessens a student’s ability to access learning in the educational setting because of a learning-, behavior- or health-related condition. [“It should be emphasized that a physical or mental impairment does not constitute a disability for purposes of Section 504 unless its severity is such that it results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities” (Appendix A to Part 104, #3)].

Many students have conditions or disorders that are not readily apparent to others. They may include conditions such as specific learning disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy and allergies. Hidden disabilities such as low vision, poor hearing, heart disease or chronic illness may not be obvious, but if they substantially limit that child’s ability to receive an appropriate education as defined by Section 504, they may be considered to have an “impairment” under Section 504 standards. 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). The definition does not set forth a list of specific diseases, conditions or disorders that constitute impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the comprehensiveness of any such list. While the definition of a disabled person also includes specific limitations on what persons are classified as disabled under the regulations, it also specifies that only physical and mental impairments are included, thus “environmental, cultural and economic disadvantage are not in themselves covered” (Appendix A to Part 104, #3).

Copyright © Mary Durheim and Educational Rights Information & Consulting Center, 2003. Reproduction in whole or part without the written permission of the author is prohibited.

 

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

06/4/2012:
"The schools protect themselves and not the child with or without a disability. It is their job to save the school money so they can get merit pay. Don't feel sorry for teachers; they and the principals get paid very well. "
05/21/2012:
"As an education advocate I feel obligated to clear up a few things posted regarding 504 plans. First and foremost, qualification for a 504 plan has absolutely nothing to do with how a student is currently performing.Section 504 and the ADA define disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. This list of activities includes eating, sleeping, reading, concentrating, walking, learning, and more. Major bodily functions have been added to include functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. Provisions for attendance CAN be written into 504 plans and frequently are. Schools that are frequently denying children with diagnosed disabilities for 504 plans, especially based on academic data, are not only breaking Federal Laws bu! t they are setting themselves up for some serious lawsuits. As far as the comment goes about children and parents abusing the system, to some I'm sure it appears that way and just know that a lot of the disabilities we deal with are known as "invisible disabilities". Until you have been in these children's shoes, please reserve judgment, for many of them it is a silent hell. "
05/21/2012:
"From what I witnessesd at a Alternative School. Alot of parents and children are abusing the system! Many children with a 504 just want attention, rather it be negative or postive. Too many people are getting away with murder, because their a 504!!! "
05/8/2012:
"After reading many of these post, it appears that a 504 plan can help than hurt. On this Thursday I will be having my meeting with the school diststrict to figure out if my son is going to be classified or not. My Son is only 5 years old and has recently been diagnosed with ADHD. He has an IEP and will be entering the public school system. He has been with several other physicians that gave him an diagnosis of Autism but this year it was most apparent it is ADHD. I spoke to the physician and he recommended getting a 504 plan for my son. I do feel that my son will need every bit of help he can get. The schools are getting tougher for all ages in many ways including the safety our children. I know my son can learn with much assistance. He needs a smaller settings, and more assistance than can be provided in our public schools today in a regular classroom. I can only pray that the school administators, federal government, and the president could see how important our children ! education is. They say our children are failing. I feel the system has failed our kids. So for anyone that is thinking about a 504 plan. You are you childs voice. When your child is in there school, they have a right to an education. "
05/2/2012:
"I have a question, my 6 year old has NF1 ( neurofibromatosis, and also has ADHD, he is in a wheel chair from all the surgeries he has had, which is 8 in 9 months. they want him on the 504 plan, BUT THE BAD he is going to FAIL kindergarten and they DONT offer summer school for him cause he is a regular ed classes.. what can I do "
04/26/2012:
"i live in oregon is a parent obligate to put her child in special ed by the school and the state? "
04/24/2012:
"Extremely well written and informative. "
03/27/2012:
"My daughter has a 504 plan for Irlen Syndrome but was just diagnosed with several autonomic nervous system disorders including POTS, Chronic Fatigue, Vasovagal syncope, also migraine syndrome, dizziness, vertigo, etc. I need to get her 504 amended but am having difficulty. How do I amend her plan. She attends a private school that accepts Title 1 money so they have to make accommodations for her but her guidance counselor controls this and she does not believe a smart child can be sick? "
03/21/2012:
"I am recently discovering much too late in the game that my child may have qualified for a 504 based on some testing recomendations made years ago. Currently my child is in high school and I am concerned for her in college (with the hope she graduates high school. I am baffled at why the school admin are skirting the 504 issue. When brought up recently I was told "we do that anyway". I ended up looking on line to even see what 504 is. Why would the public school system refrain from putting a child on 504 all of these years when my child has clearly struggled for so long. The test results years ago indicated dyslexia and anxiety disorder. "
03/9/2012:
"My child was beaten at school resulting in TBI. Though websites like this one we are slowly finding out what rights our child is granted by law. The school recently told use they are Not required to inform anyone about what rights the child is entitled to or the steps to obtain the help the student needs. 5 months after the injury and being qualified for 504 serves. The school is finally starting IEP evaluation process (With less than 6 weeks of school year left). My question is (is there any laws that state a school should advise parents of the Childs rights?) "
03/8/2012:
"This is a great article but it was frustrating for me to read all of the comments. I work in a school and shudder to think that all of these children seem to be denied their basic rights. I feel in my school we take the time to consider very carefully all of the information that parents or outside evaluators share. "
03/7/2012:
"Excellent resource, thanks you! "
03/6/2012:
"My 10 year old niece - whom i now have custody of, has been diagnosed with RADS and the therapist says probably PTSD but did not put that diagnois down on paper. The way she reacts to certain situations seems to get her suspended or threatened to be suspended alot. Does anyone else have a child with RADS that has had a 504 plan? Will the school do one for a child with RADS? "
02/28/2012:
"My son was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome at age 5. He now is 13. I have been dealing with behavioral problems at school all these years. When I brought up his disease and the side effects of prednisone they believe I use that as an excuse for his behavior. My whole family is effected by this disease. They assumed he had ODD, ADD or ADHD. Took him to a specialist and she disagreed with all. The schools do not care or want to care. Finally at the age of 12 504 was mentioned because sometimes my son was in the hospital for as long as a month. I emailed the school and said the 504 was not working and now they are going to have my son tested. I really believe I should retain an attorney because I don't understand everything and believe they just hate my son and want him out of their hair. I actually believe I could have the school investigated for just things my sick son and his twin tell me every regarding their treatment because of the sick son. We are so depres! sed and do lots of crying around our house. "
02/14/2012:
"Once a school signs the 504 plan, are they legally obligated to follow it? There are several accommodations in my daughters 504 plan that were agreed upon but violated every day of school so far. I was told they have no legal obligation to help her academically, is this correct? "
02/13/2012:
"I am a 504 campus coordinator, and can answer many of your questions. Many have asked about attendance and tardies due to certain disabilities. Attendance laws and 504 are 2 separate entities. A 504 committee can't change the 90% attendance policy (in Texas) and has no control over whether a 504 student is taken to truancy court nor make accomodations about coming to school late, partial days, etc. Having doctor documentation and working with the person in charge of Attendance is the way to handle this. For a student to qualify as Section 504, the student must have a SUBSTANTIAL limitation which effects a major life activity (learning, hearing, etc.) Being diagnosed or perceived as having a disability in itself does not constitute a placement. So, if your student is being successful (most districts perceive this as passing) then there is no substantial limitiation. 504 does not state that a parent must or even be asked to participate in a 504 meeting. BUT, a parent must sign for an initial evaluation to occur. It's best practice to invite and encourage parents to attend and be a part of the committee. 504 is clear about what contitutes a 504 committe which is a person with knowledge of: the child, the placement options, and the evaluation data. That does not mean ALL teacher have to be there, the parent be there, a counselor be there. As long as the 3 criteria are met, the school in in compliance. A doctor's note does not constitute a placement into 504. A number of evaluation data must be used such as grade reports, RTI reports, behavioral reports, teacher/admin input, early intervention data, etc. A parent ALWAYS has the right to due process. So, if you don't agree, file a due process hearing....this is part of your child's procedural safeguards. If you are refused due process, then the district is not in compliance. At that point, contact OCR. As far a SAT/PSAT/ACT accommodations, that's a whole new ballgame. It's perceived that a student who has a disability has a right to accommodations on these tests. The college board does not see it that way. In fact, if your student has not had certain types of testing (which is basically used in SPED testing not in 504) your student will not qualify for things like extra time period!! When reqesting extra time, the college board REQUIRES test results (which must be done within so many years. Without that, the student will be denied. Basically, it stops there. So, unless you child was initially tested for Special Eduacation (within their time frame to be considered current) and received these tests, then again, no accommodations. I have yet to request extra time for a 504 student and it be approved. If your child has had these tests, then there's more criteria that must be met. Logon to college board and click on student's with disabilites. It's explains in detail ! what is required to consider the extra time. "
02/9/2012:
"My child is about to be placed on the 504 committee. He has been part of the special ed since Pre-K and now is in second grade. I have few questions about the committee. Primarily, what would my child be loosing by being de-classified as special-ed kid? Additionally, he has been diagnosed with possible ADHD. Considering it is the school that has put this label, should they not recognize the need and give him more assistance? If this is wrong, what can I do to stop this de-classification? "
02/8/2012:
"My daughter is a 504 student. Yesterday morning she was told by a teacher to sit in a seat before school. She did so. Another girl came up to her and start mouthing to her. The teacher then told my daughter to move to another seat. As she got up the girl started walking very close behind my daughter still mouthing. When my daughter turned around to tell her to leave her a lone the girl ran up on her. Which the school says she push the other girl. The other girl took a swing at my daughter hitting her in the head. Because of this they suspend my daughter for a day and is sending her off to off school campus. I went to the school board for answer to when she got in trouble when all she did was turn around but I could not even get into see the superint. for the school. They told me I had to talk it up with the school. I went back to the school to basically get no where. This is not the first time this has happen she had a deal where a boy came up to her and slapped her and she hit him back.Same thing..suspenion. I have asked for there help to come up with a plan for my daughter. I just want her to finish school. I have started to feel like the school districts do not care for kinds with 504. That its just a way for they to get alittle more money from the state. "
01/31/2012:
"Our teen has a 504 for Bipolar, ADHD, Chronic Migraines. Onset of brain disorders 1 year ago. Since that time, school administration has been assigning detention for medically documented attendance includ tardies for migraines, med changes, symptoms. He has completed Spring and now Fall Semesters, not given any credit. With these increased detentions, he has reacted negatively and begun blowing them off = even more detentions. Now, he has begun acting out, not angrily, not in class, goofing off with friends. Now, for the first time ever, he has shown up + for 2 urine screens (cannibus). We have met with school admin, 504, child study. Our teen just wants to drop out, no longer wants to be there. This VS prior to onset, he was researching music schools including Julliard and was a star at school - music/sports competition. This has been a nightmare. Can school do this to our teen? Thank you for your experiences... "
01/17/2012:
"Can a school stop a 504 without a parent's signed consent? Is there an expiration time for a 504? "
01/13/2012:
"My son is in high school and is suffering from depression and anxiety. The school wants him to attend for only three hours instead of the seven hours he is currently enrolled for. Do they have the right to do this? He just had his 504 plan updated to accommodate his current situation,but it is a constant battle to have the teacher's follow the accommodations. "
12/19/2011:
"Will the 504 show on my child's transcripts for college's and how will it affect any decisions from those colleges? "
12/16/2011:
"My daughter who has a diagnosis of Autism, and now been re-evaluated for missing so much school that now is being re-assigned back to our home school zone because of attendance. She has gone to this school since she was about 4 years old in the Special Education Class, but is now in a regular classroom setting in the 4th grade. They have already re-assigned back to our home zone school and I am fighting this School, because I feel like we were pushed away because they did not want to have to deal with her. I am going to try and get a discrimination Advocate for her so that they can represent her case to the School Board with me. Any suggestions anyone has where I can start to find free Advocation or legal services please respond back to my situation. Thank You "
12/14/2011:
"I would suggest getting a strong advocate to help you navigate these issues. Ours helped us to push back on the school and get our son the rights they were saying he was not entitled to. Here's her site: SuccessByDesignEducation.com "
12/12/2011:
"My son is in 2nd grade in the state of Florida. He is on a 504 plan for ADHD. He also has proven food allergies including, but not limited to, sugar, chocolate, dyes and artificial (and some natural) flavorings. This is well documented by his doctor and his psychologist as when he has these foods, the chemicals in his brain react and he has a really hard time controlling himself and has even gotten dangerously out of control around his 2 yr. old brother. Then, he cries, after it wears off, and says he hates when he acts like that and it really upsets him. His teachers give CANDY to their students as rewards for answering questions correctly as well as other reasons. After many times of them "forgetting" and giving it to him, they give him stickers now instead. For Christmas, they went to other classrooms to learn about other cultures and have all week been getting treats from those cultures. Such as a pastry with whipped cream, chocolate and a candy red hot! When I found out what he had that day, it explained his behavior after picking him up from school. I wrote his teachers a note basically reminding them of his allergies and the effect on his behavior. Their response was "let us teach" and "do not promote a victim mentality". They even included in their note that my son needs to be the one responsible to not eat the things he's not allowed to have. And, they said they had "tested him with M&M's to see what he would do and he took them". WHAT?! For one, what 7 year old isn't going to want to take M&M's that their teacher gives to them in class and everyone else is getting them?! Second, how is it a victim mentality to have a reaction from certain foods? Isn't there a LAW against teachers giving out foods to students? WHO CAN I TURN TO? I've already been around with the teachers AND the school counselor and this is what happened. What do I do now? "
11/29/2011:
"Didn't see "hearing" listed under major life activities...as in those with hearing impairments/loss...that should obviously be included in your examples for readers. "
11/28/2011:
"As a parent of a child who will soon be in a 504, this article was very helpful to answer some of the beginner questions of its origin and application. I wish that administrators would stop using so much textbook examples and try and look at each student as an individual, I understand teaching is a demanding job and not all students and their parents are negotiable towards either criticism or emphasis. But so many students are placed on a "as needed basis" and end up getting lost in the shuffle until its too late, or really don't read the students needs or the parents whom are trying to help their children but are told to do the "lets wait and see" act. That is why teachers and administrators must listen more often with that educated ear they so cautiously keep closed to the wrong people and most become more observant to the real needs of those students whom display needs. These children usually have very good parents to help them, but become frustrated themselves when t! hey see how frustrated their children have become due to this "wait and see" attitude by the administrators and teachers. If a parent with an educated background and sound decision making comes to you for help with a child with needs, please educational professionals, starting listening and act on their behalf!!!! "
11/21/2011:
"What about riding a bus? My child is 5 and I was told she cannot ride the bus due to being disruptive. She has OCD and severe anxiety disorder brought on by bus riding new school etc. The Principal called me and said she needs a new way to get to school until we figure out whats wrong with her. Would being allowed to take the bus fall under the 504 act due to her anxiety? Thank you. "
11/18/2011:
"This article is riddled with gross generalizations and in many cases outright mistakes in its interpretation of the law. I storngly suggest people go elsehwere and that the site take this article down and re-evaluate it. "
11/15/2011:
"How long is a school district by law required to keep records of my childs learning disabilities. "
11/9/2011:
"I have a question for you, my almost six year old son has asthma and allergies and just now receiving speech help due to the fact when he was younger had nine seizures, and numerous ear infection. When it cold outside he has trouble breathing will I have kept him home due to this and the school here in Oklahoma has no school nurse so it is the school secretary, superintendent and the principal that provides medical care they have been told and I have talk to the Dr about this and the school was sent a form from the dr saying he has a medical condition then he got suspended for 3 days for moving his chair that he had over his head the principal called me and told me my son had an accident and about the incident in the classroom room. Now my thing is that the people are notorious for saying things that are confidential and basically told me if he misses any more days he would be kept back in Kindergarten all the teachers and administrators have favorites and my son is not one of them and neither am I they are judgmental and it is a small school and the principal has been know to get in a child's face and yell and scream at them. I have tired to get help here but no one seems to know what to do about this. My son is a loving, kind and caring kid and he is smart too. "
11/7/2011:
"My son is ADHD. This year he is a junior and his grades are falling. This is the first year he is failing classes. He has a 504 in place but not all of teachers are follwing his accomodations. I am also a teacher in the school district which makes it awkward for me to speak up. Should I skip speaking to my local 504 coordinator and contact the federal coordinator? "
11/3/2011:
"Under 504, a child has the right to a nurse, under insulin laws in CA, a licensed nurse must administer insulin. Also a parent DOES have the right to write their own 504. It is up to the parent to request daily routines and daily management, this is written in relation to doctors orders. All children with medical needs have access to a nurse, cost cannot be used in a court of law either, so districts cannot say they can't efford it. Your information is wrong with regards to parental involvement in 504 planning and you shold support childrens health by mentioning the legal rights to licensed nurses for medical treatment and care at school. "
11/1/2011:
"Does the 504 go on a middle schoolers record when she applies for high school and if so does it limit her chances of getting into a good school? "
10/25/2011:
"I have a little sister who is currently a sophomore and an honors student at the Bronx High School of Science (1 AP course, two honors courses, studio art, and an athletic commitment) and has earned grades at or above 90 on a 100 scale both of the past semesters. She is also dysgraphic and somewhat dyslexic; we've never had her officially tested or diagnosed but she's always had a problem with letters and numbers spontaneously rearranging themselves at times. She's on track to do even better this year in all of her classes except foreign language, in which she's averaging 75s on the tests. There's a possibility she can still pull a 90 in the class but it's very much up in the air. Because she's never been diagnosed and she's been homeschooled until ninth grade (because we couldn't afford good private or Catholic schools and we don't live near a decent public school)there's nothing on file for her. Is it possible to have a 504 that solely allows her extended time or modificat! ions to test format for only one class? Also, are there any studies about how 504s affect acceptance metrics for top students at magnet high schools? Is there any sort of "asterisk effect" on the way colleges consider the performance of students with accommodations? "
10/10/2011:
"How too get shot record for new school "
10/5/2011:
"Im from Texas and my son is in kindergarten and he was placed in a 504 meeting because he has absent seizures, I went to a follow up meeting and they are telling me because the doctor has recommended that my son not be able to play on any gym equipment that they might have to remove him from school pending what the school district says can they do this just because of that, he has medical records that they already have and a school doctor has seen him and now they are telling me this stuff. If they can do this what can I do to fight keep my son in school. "
09/19/2011:
"I'm hoping someone can help me. I've researched and cannot find information. We moved to a new state and my son was diagnosed PPDNOS in 2nd grade. He is now in 6th grade entering middle school. We have made great progress and his PPDNOS is manageable but he still has a difficult time finding a peer group and is an easy target to get picked on/bullied. I debated whether or not to tell his teachers because he does great academically but thought they might be able to help socially. I requested a meeting with the guidance counselor. His diagnosis was disclosed to the guidance counselor and we asked her not to say anything to the teachers at this point. She did. A teacher informed me of a 504 meeting I did not know about. I feel violated; I was looking for advice on if I should tell his teachers because whether we like it or not, there are pros and cons to telling teachers if we have high functioning PDDNOS children. Is what the school did legal? Is this what they are ! supposed to do - tell everyone? If so, I may have done my son a big disservice and do not know how I should deal with this going forward. "
09/12/2011:
"I moved to Alabama from Florida and found that every state truly does operate on their own agenda when it comes to 504, IEPs and "No child left behind" all together. In Florida, as soon as the teachers noticed that my son was struggling, they contacted me and offered a referral to a counselor to see if there was a problem that could be worked through before they did any testing on my son for disabilities. He was in the 1st grade. This help was significant for us because my mother being a social worker, had already noticed signs that my son may have had a problem earlier, but of course as a parent I wanted the normal child. We went through with the testing at the end of his 1st grade year, which he ended up having to repeat. The school district determined that my son had ADHD and classified him has having an OHI so that he could have an IEP. Once all of this was in order, I was set up with a weekly counseling for my son who would visit his classroom weekly and we would meet w! ith her at home or in her office weekly all at no cost to me. He was not moved into a 'special education' classroom, and when I came to the school I was always impressed with how well his teacher and the para-professional that was assigned to his classroom interacted with each other and the children. (I must also state that I have another son that is 15 months younger than the son that I am speaking of and he has no problems at all, but all of the same accomedations that were being made for my older son were also seen in the classroom of my younger son.) I was highly impressed at the way that this public school operated their system being sure that no children were singled out if there was a IEP/disability or anything of that sort so that they could live as normal of a childhood as possible. Unfortunately this particular school ended at the 2nd grade, but I was given the option of placing my son in any school that I wanted to public or private at no cost to me based on his ! diagnosis! I chose to send him to a private Christian school t! hat had a small classroom setting. In doing this, I also learned that private schools don't have to make accomondations for children with learning disabilities like public schools. I guess we were blessed though, because my son flourished at his new school! He started out a little shakey, but he ended up making As & Bs with no additional help! Fast forward to our move to Alabama. Things have been down hill since then. I moved to an area that is suppose to have one of the best school systems in the state (right outside of Birmingham) and they refused to accept my son's IEP. They also refused to do any testing or offer any services to him based on the medical diagnosis that I provided from his doctor. They required that I pay for all of his testing if I wanted it done, which I paid over $2000 for. Even then, they still refused to review his information and develop an action plan or IEP to help my son do well. What they did do, suspend my son monthly, call/email me almost daily, make threats of action and never follow up on them,and talk down to me like I was a small child (I was a minority parent in a non-minority school system. I graduated with honors with a B.A. so was I offended, HIGHLY!) They would constantly tell me what their code of conduct said, so I fought fire with fire and I started quoting back the the c! ode of conduct to them and showing documentation of each and every meeting that they had me to leave work to attend. This resulted in this particular school implementing a new code of conduct amongst the administration at my son's school where the teachers could now make more 'liberal' decisions about a child's consequences based on their action. When I challenged this and threatened to contact the state/federal government to file an official complaint, they tried to start singing a new tune. Unfortunately it was now mid-April...too little too late. Now my kids are both out of the public school system again. My oldest son is 13 and has been dignosed with ADHD-combined-type, ODD, Depression, affective disorder and Bi-Polar Disorder. Many of his therapists here have attributed his depression to the move to Alabama and how things went his first year of school here. I have contemplated suing the school district were he was, but what would that accomplish? Just know that if you ! have a child with any type of disabilities, Alabama is the WOR! ST STATE for them. Even after I contacted the state of with my documentation 2 years later I still haven't gotten anywhere. The worst part of it all, there are no specialized schools in the entire state for people with disabilities unless your are deaf or blind! Even then, you are limited to only 1 school which would require that you ship your child away. The ESE teachers here are not required to have any special instruction or testing for licensure. You just basically have to have a degree in any subject and agree to take the general teacher's certification exam within a specified time period. The best option for any Alabama student to be successful with or without a disability--HOME SCHOOL! But even then, in Alabama you have to go through a religious organization to be recognized as a home school student so those who want to educate their child without boarders or stereotypes have a whole other battle to fight! "
08/30/2011:
"My.son has been diagnosed with bilateral perthes which puts him in a wheelchair sometimes...when he takes his chair he has a very difficult time getting around...pulling up to the lunch table ect and teachers at his school won't help. He is on a 504 and I'm wondering about school providing an aide on.the days he has to take the chair? ... Its to the point I have tp fight him to take the chair...any suggestions? "
08/25/2011:
"My son was diagnosed with Severe Deep Depression and deemed non-functional at age 15 in his freshman year. He has flunked freshman and sophmore year in school. He has received treatment and medication, which he is still on some for anxiety and panic attacts. His highschool dragged myself and my son to court for truancy four sepperate occasions. This was their first and only acts, never anything prior to this as far as help or warnings. He now wants to drop out of school and I feel the school has neglected to help and has done more harm than anything. Is there anythng I can do for him?? Please help?? "
08/17/2011:
"my disabled son (on state disability)was expelled from 6th grade after school decided his disability had nothing to w his actions. the school had told me for 2 yrs to have him evaluated due to his disability causing him to have problems, and promised extra rights..then had manifestation metting and decided otherwise..funny how they make u get help for a child then take away rights just to get out of their school..now 9 months ater i still cant get im into any school district bc they refuse to lift the expuksion.. "
08/8/2011:
"I have a 15 year old that was severely depressed last year and missed most if not all of her freshman year in high school. She made up most of her credits, but is short 15. Is it right for her school to send her to continuation school, because of her depression? If she was a cancer patient would they be considerate? How does section 504 protect my daughter? and what can I do as a parent to help my child stay in regular high school? "
08/2/2011:
"can a rehabilition center providing employment training to an ssi claimant make the claimant change their home address? "
07/15/2011:
"I was doing research on laws about special needs children and was wondering if anyone knows if a school district can refuse to send my disabled child to another school that is better suited for his needs when they have other children at this school "
05/23/2011:
"I found this article interesting. I work for and elementary before and after school program and I was trying to get an air conditioner put in my classroom but the head maintenace person we cant due to the 504 plan. can anybody out ther explain this to me please? I have many IEP students but are not told they are. I have many asthma students, a few allergy students and lots of ADD ADH children. I say this head maintanence man doesnt want to put it in and used and excuse. I work in NJ and my boss wont even look this up to help us out so Im giving it my best shot cause parents are not happy and we got the air conditioner given to us. I need help please."
05/10/2011:
"my 18 yrd old son is deaf from one ear since 5yrd old he is also learning disable,as of now he is at home because the shool that he was attending did not provided the services that he needed.I found him a private school that has all the program for him ,the only that holding us is a letter from the board of ed called the nichelson letter in order for him to attended the school,I have called different places I have spoken with someone from the board of ED but no luck yet not even the school had contact me to find about my son is has been two months and no one care about my situation"
05/4/2011:
"My 13 year old daughter was recently hospitalized and diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Some mornings are rough. Some nights are rough. Has anyone asked about the 504 plan for this reason? Do I inquire at her school?"
04/18/2011:
"No Thanks, I said to SEP and section 504. My son was recently tested and diagnosed through the school board to be placed in the special education program. I listened to their assessment and promptly refused it. I did not allow them to place him in the SEP program...Why? I think elementary is too early to diagnose a child with learning disabilities. This decision could have drastic effects on his future, resulting in low academic achievements, leaving him with no chance of attending a grade A college due to class placement. I will consider the SEP if he continues to struggle in the future, but we as parents need to make sure we make the right choices for our children. My decision is based on my past experience with my two older daughters. They both struggled through there elementary School years. Both girls went through the IEP programmed offered after school as a form of tutoring and prep for the CRCT test and this is what I learned over the past 12yrs. Don't worry, they will be alright. My oldest was held back in kindergarten, more or less for maturity reasons. She continued to struggle through elementary. I continued to refuse to medicate her as I was told to do so by many teachers along the way. I paid $75.00 an hour for a tutor during her 3rd grade yr. The tutor was no help and to expensive. Not once did they offer to test her for special education due to a learning disability, nor did I ask. I totally thought she had one at the time. After she entered 6th grade I was proven wrong and she became an honor roll student. She's currently a senior with a 3.7 GPA, she’ll graduate in the spring of 2011 with honors and several college course achieved by taking advanced placement classes. She'll be attending the college of her choice this fall and seeking a bachelor's degree in science. My younger daughter who's currently a 7th grade honor roll student had to experience summer school after failing the CRCT at the end of 5th grade. She failed it twice. It was a surprise to us both times. I believe her nerves took over and failed her. I don't know the rules most people follow when something like this happens, but I went straight into conference with her class teacher and the principal. I explained what I thought her issues were and why I knew she was capable and ready for the 6th grade. They agreed and she has excelled in middle school. I don't know what changed my daughters or why they both became such good students after leaving elementary. I can only assume that maturity and a willingness to learn took over. These are major changes I wanted to share considering they suffered with attention issues, low test scores, lack of knowledge with homework, low grades on assignments, performed poorly on test, causing them to suffer stomach pains and nausea each morning before school. The pressure to succeed and the lack of explaining the lesson on hand contribute to it all. Elementary years are the hard ones and it took years for me to learn that teachers are not always correct. Listen to your inner voice as a parent, seek advice from others, accept the mistakes, and don't let your children fall behind without your hand on their back. Don't rush to label your child. Once you place them in the SEP that's where they will remain. It's almost impossible to go back into regular classrooms. Know what type of diploma they will receive with the SEP. It may be different than a regular one. All I'm saying is research before you sign; it's your 10yr olds future at stake "
03/31/2011:
"I'm trying to find someone that might be able to help me get my daughter on the 504 plan at her school."
03/30/2011:
"My daughter is diagnosed with Pediatric Bi-polar and ODD with ADHD tendancies. She gets fantastic grades, however has tremendous trouble getting to school on time and getting her homework done after school. We don't know what to try anymore. Would a 504 plan allow her to go to school later and make allowances for her homework, based on the amazing grades she gets on everything else. Would she even qualify since she is not on SSI yet?"
03/18/2011:
"My stepdaughter is on the 504 plan but her father and I have no idea why or who recommended this. Where do we get this information?"
03/9/2011:
"My stepdaughter falls under Section 504 at her high school, but it appears that she consistently does not hand in her homework or attend school the days there are exams. We cannot get a straight answer out of her or her mother, who say 'everything is fine.' She is supposed to graduate this spring, but as far as we can tell, she wouldn't have enough credits to graduate even if she passed everything this semester, which she has at least 3 Fs. So my question is, would a 504 section program for a student stipulate that she does not have to actually do her school work? That she can just pass the class by showing up? She has OCD and depression and has been medicated since she was 5. She also has a co-dependent (and dr-diagnosed depression) mother who has led her to believe that she can get away with anything because of her illness. I feel for all the parents here who have kids who struggle even when doing their very best. What do you do about a kid that is taking advantage of the system and then crying about it later that 'it doesn't work?'"
03/2/2011:
"If a child has a 504 plan in place, and the teacher states that 'if' she can implement the modificaitons she will, is this a violation of the plan? Are educators required to follow what is in the plan, and should a complaint be filed if they refuse?"
01/18/2011:
"Hello, I have a preschooler year with sleep apnea. He attends preschool through our public elementary school. He is also on an IEP for a learning disability. The school is requiring him to attend afternoon preschool rather than morning preschool. Due to the sleep apnea, he is at his best in the morning and by afternoon needs to rest. I am worried that by forcing him to school in the afternoon, he is not obtaining the best learning environment that he needs for his learning disability. Can the sleep apnea qualify for a 504? With this, would he be allowed to attend the morning program?"
01/5/2011:
"My son was treated for Chronic ear infection since the start of school. He had lost a significant amount of hearing and began missing school sporadically for appointments and simply being in pain. He was having trouble hearing in class and focusing. His grades dropped and he was handing in work late, which was in turn graded as such, for lesser grades than deserved. He just this past week had a tumor removed from his ear, and is deaf in that ear. How can the 504 plan help or protect him. The Dr. offered to write a letter if needed. Can it be used to retroactively have the grades that were given as partial credit due to tardiness improved now that there is proof of the condition? I need help, this is all SO new to me!"
12/21/2010:
"My son is 14,with Dyslexia,ADHD and depression. They took him out of his 504 status and I am trying to get him back in. My daughtet went through high school without the true help she needed to succeed and is now 2 years out of HS not attending college. I don't want my son to just slide through HS and not have the tools in place for college. The schools are failing these children. They are smart yet made to feel stupid. We need people who care enough to help these kids succeed. My daughter has Dyscalculia(a form of Dyslexia) and went through HS in a math class with kids with severe brain injury and retardation. She became severely depressed and gave up on her life. I am trying to get her started in some college classes. I am trying to get my son back on 504. That is my first step for him for the new year. I wish I knew other parents in this area going through the same things. I feel like a failure if I watch my highly intelligent son struggle through HS and give up like my daughter did. "
12/14/2010:
"My son has been in the 504 program since he was in the 7th grade. He is now in the 9th. My dilemma is he is now in a different school district that says they have a 504 program, which is untrue. There 504 program consists of the child going to a learning lab where a teacher is supposed to help the child with there school work. My question then is why my son still fails his work that he is doing in the lab? My wife talked to the principal and the only guidelines they had were for the 8th grade. The principal then asked my wife to look over the paper to see what they needed to use and what to take off of the paper. That obviously means there is no set program in place and it is already near semester end. What can I do about this situation?"
11/17/2010:
"THE SCHOOL NURSE IS PUTTING MY DAUGHTER ON A THE 504 PLAN, SHE HAS DIABETES, EXCELS IN SCHOOL UNLESS HER BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS ARE OUT OF CONTROL, THEN SHE TESTS POORLY. THIS YEAR SHE ENTERED THE 7TH GRADE, HAVE HAD TWO TEACHERS THAT WOULD NOT GO BY HER SCHOOL ORDERS, THEY HAVE NO IDEA THE THINGS SHE GOES THROUGH BEING INSULIN DEPENDANT & BEING A CHILD WITH THIS ILLNESS FOR 7 YEARS NOW."
11/10/2010:
"Question: Who pays for services and modifications in Section 504? "
11/10/2010:
"I was very pleased to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! This is a very informative post, it helps me more."
09/16/2010:
"My daughter was just diagnosed with Narcolepsy and we've set up a 504 with her counselor. None of her teachers or the counselor know what should be on the 504 exactly. So the only thing I knew to ask for was extended time on testing and assignments. With this said, how does she get extended time on the SAT, ACT and AP testing? I've heard that there is paperwork to file which would give her up to 50% more time on these tests due to the Narcolepsy effects. Also, she is a junior in high school and this testing is of great importance at this time as she prepares for college entrance and looking for scholarships. I've also heard that she would be limited to testing to a 2-hour maximum due to the inability to concentrate for a long time. Can anyone help me out with what type of paperwork or forms have to be filed for the time extension on the SAT, ACT and AP testing? Thank you. "
09/15/2010:
"I am meeting tomorrow wth the RTI (response team intervention team)and teachers at my son's high school. He is now in 11th grade. After years of having a hard time with school, we finally had him tested for ADHD ,depression,and other learning disabilities. He was diagnosed with all of the above and considered 'at risk'. He has had a Psycologist on and off most of his life and she is the one who did the testing. It was also recommended by a tutor he needed 3 times a week last semester in 10th grade.I got this report 1 week before school started and presented it to the school on registration. I met with the shool psycologist and ESE coodinator and was told he probably oes not qualify due to his grades not being that bad. The first RTI meeting was to be a week ago but they forgot to invite us (the parents) and had to reschedule. My son was allowed to play football for the first 2 weeks since tey missed that his grades were too low for sports so now they pulled him off the team.! Now he is even more depressed and I WOULD NOT BE SUPRISED IF HE TRIES TO QUIT SCHOOL ALTOGETHER.He has accoding to the coach to go pro-football. The coach also worked some with ESE and stated to me that my son has the NEED in his opinion nd I could quote him on that. Another issue is that for the first half of tenth grade he was living with his mom and she had a mold problem in her house and he missed 42 days of school in 1 semester. I asked how they could count that.Last thing, I hope to get help as soon as possible and I understand there is a time line which the school board must comply with. It seems I have all needed to get him help but they want to TRY everything else. The testing was $2000 and seems ery conclusive.....HELP my son...."
09/15/2010:
"I had a meeting with my son's counselor for his 504. He was on the telephone. She asked him if he still needed the 504. Of course he said 'NO'. She decided to remove the 504. My question is who makes that decision to remove the plan for him. Second, when you have your annual evaluation what staff members need to be present by law. I feel my son and child have been cheated by the system and he can be another child falling thru the cracks."
08/17/2010:
"To have a child evaluated for 504, it very much helps to have a medical diagnosis. This may be provided through a medical doctor, or another professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. In the case of poor organization, it may be worthwhile to look into whether your child has other symptoms of ADHD, which can present in a variety of different ways. It may be possible to show that he or she needs accomodations such as extended time, testing in a quiet room, organizational materials or notes provided, and other strategies. A child with a disability may also qualify for an IEP, if the disability is significant enough to require specialized instruction. You may also want to look into whether the school psychologist at your school does assessment for ADHD. Depression, at a clinical, diagonsable level, may also qualify a student for a 504 plan, provided it is neither minor nor transitory (transitory equals about six months duration or expected duration). Bottom line, ass! essment is necessary and if the school is resistant, having an outside assessment may help bring the issues forward more strongly. Good luck!"
08/16/2010:
"How do I have my 17 year old son tested or evaluated when his teachers insist and have insisted since 10th grade that he has poor organization skills and that's all that's wrong? He has averaged between a c & D average since 8th grade. FINALLY, his GPA is too low to participate in any activities, so he's depressed. He wants desperately to go to college, but his counselors keep trying to convince him that he's not 'organized' enough to successfully go through college. I feel bad that it's taken me this long to persist, as this is his last year in High School. He is an impeccable athlete and has universities from around the country interested in him. But, his academic reports are tragic! What can I do to have him evaluated for Section 504 so that his college years won't be like this?"
08/2/2010:
"Thank you. This was very helpful."
07/19/2010:
"What do you do when all the school test and private doctor tests show you child needs special sevices and the school can care less. You already have IEPs set up. They want to change them to hold the student with disabilities accountable. I'm sick about this. It's like we're living in the dark ages in Texas. What happened to George's plan. Does he know that we live within 40 miles of him and the school doesn't care? What happened to integrity?"
05/12/2010:
"My son has Bipolar disorder as do I. He will start high school next year and we are trying to get something in place before he starts to protect him. When I ask straight out the difference between a 504 plan and an IEP I don't get a straight answer. So what I'm understanding from this site is that as long as the district and school and ALL teachers abide by the IEP, it can be as successfull as a 504. All my son wants is to 'feel' normal and not be treated differently. He is newly medicated and when his IQ was tested he scored superior. I'm still concerned and would like advice on the best way to go about getting him the best care to be succesfull in high school, any advice or opinion will help. Thanks"
04/28/2010:
"I have a son who is 17. He is a junior with a GPA or 3.5 He already has college as a plan and is down to two schools as a choice. He has been diagnoised ADD and Disthymic (low grade depression), and has had a 504 plan since 7th grade. I am a mental health therapist by trade and fight for other children who need 504 plans. The 504 plan is something reviewed each year. If your child has attention issues, or a mental health issue, you can get a 504 plan. They can carry it all the way to college. It will not hurt them when they apply or go. They have services there to help also. They will not hold the plan against your child. I have had to fight schools to get it done. I will refuse to let the meeting close, until there is a plan in place. I want to tell the parents and famly members on her how to fight. Pull up the 504 plan and info online from a great website, that comments on what qualifies. Take that to your meeting. Have diagnosis paperwork from the doctor also. You may even want the doctor to write a note saying that the child qualifies. Do not let them hold a meeting with teachers missing. Tell them that if the teacher cannot show, you want to reschedule. All teachers (gym, home ec, math, even the teacher in study hall). Do not let them ring a note from a teacher who could not be there. That is unacceptable. You cannot question a note. Each teacher should be there to say what interventions they use that works and does not work. They may tell you that they are already doing the changes and do not need a plan. Do not go for it. If they are doing interventions, they need to put it in writing. What if your child went to a school next year? They will try to leave before you feel the meeting is over. When you schedule the meeting, tell them if they have somewhere they need ! to be, they need to reschedule for another day. You may need an hour. If they try to close out the meeting while you are there, tell them that you need to have another meeting so that you feel you have been heard, and understand all the pieces. Do not sign anything you don't understand. Ask questions. Just because these people have degrees, does not mean that they know everything that is best for your child. "
04/7/2010:
"My daughter has been on the 504 plan since 2007. It has worked out well for her and she will be graduating this year. There are some other benefits to this plan, your child my be able to receive free college tution in the state of TN. Contact your local Vocational Rehabilitation Regional Office for assistance. "
04/6/2010:
"To the parent of the student who fell: it sounds like you have significant legal claims against your school district. You should find an attorney in your state specializing in student-side education law. "
04/5/2010:
"Regarding the post on 3-8-10, daughter in middle school now getting C's and D's, I'm in the same boat, in fact I could have written your post!!!! When I asked the school about a 504 for my daughter, I was told that students with a C or better average didn't qualify and that my daughter had a C average. I was also told that her teachers didn't think she needed to be put on a 504, they felt she just needed to develop better organization skills!!!! (She's ADD and has an anxiety disorder.)"
03/31/2010:
"my son is 7 years old and we live in one school district but attends another but both schools say that the other school is to give the test and i don't know what to do"
03/18/2010:
"My son is on a 504 plan in which it states that he is not to be left alone due to being high risks for falls, possibly having a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy. However, while at school 2 days ago he was left while in the bathroom and his teacher and the rest of the class went outside to recess to a park across the street. My son was trying to hurry and catch up with the class and he fell down the steps and got seriously hurt. He has a fractured foot and possibly a dislocated ankle joint on his dominant leg. When I got to the school to pick him up to take him to the doctor the nurse was very rude and hateful and treated him like there was nothing wrong insisting he did not need to sit down and rest even though he was in tears. I just want to know if anyone else has had a similar situation and if you have any suggestions on how to handle this and should the school be liable and me make them pay for the medical bills due to this injury. He has had to have 3 x-rays, and tod! ay they are sending him for a CT scan and MRI, and if they show that his foot is dislocated he will have to have surgery before Monday and they will have to put a pin in it. Thanks for any advice."
03/10/2010:
"I really thankful to you for this great read!! You did a very great job, keep it up."
03/8/2010:
"My daughter is having difficulty transitioning to the middle school experience. She is getting C's and D's in some of her core classes. She never had grades this low until now. She is doing the work , but, not getting it turned in for various reasons, including forgetting it in her locker, turning it in the wrong day etc...I have asked her team to allow her to turn all work in first thing in the morning so she does not lose it or forget it. My Brother has worked as a middle school Principal for over 15 years, he reviewed her records and said she may need accomodations but that this would tick off her teachers and cause her more grief. Is this right? She already has 2 teachers that I would say border on abusive and have responded to my requests for help with this in unprofessional ways....one teacher actually wanted to know what I was implying when I asked why my daughter was tardy to her class and disciplined in her class only. I asked what she thought the problem was a! nd that was her reponse. I don't expect anything more than help with this situation.... is the 504 appropriate?"
02/23/2010:
"I am wondering if anyone knows why a student on a 504 would be suspended numerous times during a school year and numerous times the school did not call my sister and tell her that her son was suspended? I see this as a violation of his civil rights....one time he was suspeneded for 2 weeks because he colored the girl's hair who sits in front of him in the class. One time he was suspended for tossing a pencil...for one week that time....when he transfered from the middle school to the high school they did not have a transition meeting, and the high school did not know he was on a 504 until 1/2 way through the year, when I brought it to their attention!!! This kid has spent more time out of class than in class....Any advice so I can help my nephew and sister get this fixed."
02/2/2010:
"I work in a school district, I am the 504 coordinator. Keep in mind that any info below is what is standard in my district and may differ from other districts. The most important thing to understand with 504's is that they do not PROVIDE services, but they ensure that a student with special needs isn't DENIED the opportunity to participate in or receive benefit from district programs, services, or activities that any general ed student would receive. This is not a special ed program. If teachers are willing to give students accomodations (say, extra bathroom breaks for a student with a bladder problem) without going through the 504 process, then there may be no need for a 504. We will give extra sets of books to a student with a broken leg so they don't have to carry a backpack, no 504 needed. If they need extra time on tests to benefit from the curriculum, no problem. Some schools aren't so willing to accomodate though, so a 504 would ensure that students aren't denied opportunities. Yes, in some ways proof is needed to show that the condition exists. Most often this is a dr's note. However, the district can't require medical records before moving forward with the evaluation. It just makes everything smoother. If the student is REGARDED as having the impairment (for example we can see the cast on the leg), that may qualify. Speech services must go through the IEP process. As comment 1/27/10 stated, students with a 504 don't automatically get extra time on the ACT and SAT just becuase the 504 says so. It's a very rigorous process to get extra time on these tests. So, if you're thinking that your child needs a 504, ask yourself what accomodations are being denied? What is standing in the way of your child succeeding in school? If she can't get to class because she's in a wheelchair and ramps aren't provided, there's an obvious case of accomodations denied. But just because a student has ADHD doesn't automatically mean a 504 is appropriate. The condition must substantially impair one or more major life activities (walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for one’s self, and/or performing manual tasks), and BOTH parents/guardians and the school team must agree that accomodations are necessary."
02/2/2010:
"I have an 8 yr old second grader who is on a 504 plan due to food allergies to milk, egg whites and peanuts. He has no other issues. Is this a bad thing for him to be on the 504 plan and will this follow him for the remainder of his educational years? I have a conference scheduled with is teacher and the school nurse, to discuss his allergies in details. My son's teacher okayed him to take a swallow of milk when he expressed that he was thristy after lunch last Wednesday."
01/27/2010:
"Re: the comment from 12/3/09, the statement was made that 'Even ACT and SAT, required for entrance to college, will allow them to be taken untimed if a student has that in their 504.' Just because that accommodation is listed in a 504, the College Board (SAT) or ACT will not automatically give the student extended time. Specific documentation must be provided showing a need for extended time; simply writing it in a 504 will not suffice. Re: questions about 504s affected college applications or permanent records, it should not ever affect anything. A 504 is not printed on report cards, diplomas, or anything a college or employer would want to see. The only way a college will know if a student has a 504 is if the student brings it to their attention because they want accommodations."
01/25/2010:
"My children have Celiacs disease. They are on the gluten free & casein free diet. I've been told to get a 504 for them. This would limit the ways food is used in the classroom. What are the ramifications for having your child declared a 504? I only see the benefits, but I must be missing something. "
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