What is a 504 Plan?

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PDF Version: What is a 504 Plan?

PDF Version: Full Guide of all 30+ Flyers (Compiled as a Booklet)

Versión en Español en Formato PDF: ¿Qué es una Plan 504?

A 504 plan is a plan for students with disabilities. It helps them get what they need in school by providing additions or changes to the learning environment to accommodate your child’s disability. It is provided at no cost to families. A 504 Plan should not be provided instead of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) when a student is eligible for Special Education.

504 plans come from Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act. This is a civil rights law. It protects students from discrimination. In order to qualify for a 504 plan an individual needs to have a documented disability or health concern that substantially limits one or more life activities, such as learning. Some students with disabilities are not eligible for an IEP but still need accommodations. In these cases, the student with a disability may be eligible for a 504 plan.

How is a 504 plan different than an IEP?

IEPs come from the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). The IDEA gives students with disabilities the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). IEPs are a plan to meet a child’s needs at school. Every child with a disability is not eligible for an IEP.

However, 504 plans are similar to IEPs. Like IEPs, the school has to follow what is in the 504 plan. Unlike an IEP, it may or may not be a written plan. However, it is a good idea to have a written plan. As a parent, you should ask for the 504 plan to be in writing. This will help you and the teachers follow the plan. A 504 plan includes additions or modifications that the school must provide to accommodate your child’s disability.
If the school does not follow the 504 plan, it can be difficult for your child to succeed. If you think the school is not following the 504 plan, you should ask for a meeting with the school to go over your concerns. You can also invite the Special Education Coordinator for the District to try and find a solution.

Here are some ways 504 plans are different than IEPs. If your child has a 504 plan:

• There does not have to be a meeting to change your child’s placement, although it is still required that you are
notified of any change.
• You do not have to receive prior written notices of any changes to the 504 plan.
• You do not have the same list of parental rights. You do not have the right to a due process hearing if you
disagree with the school about something. You can however participate in mediation, have an impartial
hearing, and file a complaint with the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of
Education. Your child can still be suspended or expelled for behaviors related to their disability.
• The school does not have to give your student an education while they are suspended or expelled.

I think my child could benefit from a 504 plan. How do I know if they are eligible?

Both physical and mental impairments could make your child eligible for a 504 plan.
Physical impairments affect the body or organs. Mental impairments include mental illnesses, intellectual/developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury, learning disabilities, etc.

Full definitions can be found in the federal regulation CFR 104.3 (j) (i). These definitions don’t include specific diseases, but that doesn’t mean that your child’s condition would not qualify them for a 504 plan. Your child should qualify for a 504 plan if they have a documented disability or health concern that substantially limits one or more life activities, such as learning disability.

How do I request a 504 plan for my child?

First, the school needs to decide if your child should have a 504 plan. They do this by conducting an evaluation. For a 504 Plan, the evaluation needs to show that their disability limits one or more major life activities. This might be walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, writing, doing math calculations, working, caring for oneself, or doing manual tasks.

You can request an evaluation for a 504 plan in the same way that you request an evaluation for an IEP. One easy way to request an evaluation is to write a letter or email to your child’s teacher, principal, counselor, and/or a social worker.

See more: Who can make a referral for an evaluation to determine if my child needs Special Education services?

Can my child have a behavior management plan with their 504 plan?

Yes. Any child with a disability whose behaviors affect their educational opportunities at school should have a behavioral intervention plan (BIP). You can request this from the school in writing.

Sources & Additional Resources:

Kansas Special Education Process Handbook, Chapter 6. Kansas State Department of Education.

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. Only an attorney can give you specific legal advice based on your particular situation. We try to update our materials regularly, but the law can change frequently. This publication is based on the law at the time that it was written. Future changes in the law could make information in this fact sheet inaccurate.

What is a 504 Plan?