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504 Services

 

What Is a 504 Plan

504 plans are formal plans that schools develop to give students with disabilities the supports they need. These plans prevent discrimination and protect the rights of students with disabilities in school. They’re covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which is a civil rights law.
 

These plans aren’t part of special education, so they don’t provide individualized instruction, like IEPs do. But a central purpose of 504 plans is to give students with disabilities access to the same education their classmates are getting. (Learn more about the difference between IEPs and 504 plans.)

What Goes Into a 504 Plan

504 plans often include accommodations. These can include changes to the environment, changes to instruction, or changes to how curriculum is presented. Accommodations don’t change what students learn, just how they learn it. The goal is to remove barriers and give students access to learning.
 

How to Get a 504 Plan

The process for getting a 504 plan is much different, and simpler, than the process for getting an IEP.  With 504 plans, schools look at information about a student from a few different sources. One source might be a medical diagnosis. Schools might also look at the student’s grades, test scores and teacher recommendations.  Parents or schools can request a 504 plan through the school’s 504 coordinator.  The request must be made in writing. The school will then hold a meeting to decide if the child qualifies and what supports are appropriate.
 

Legal Rights Under 504 Plans

504 plans are covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Under this civil rights law, students have the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). And that’s the whole point of 504 plans: to give students access to the same education their peers are getting. (FAPE is also guaranteed under the special education law IDEA.)  Parents have fewer rights and safeguards in the 504 process than in the IEP process. Parents have the right to be notified when their child is evaluated or identified with an issue. They also have the right to see all of their child’s records. If the parent has a dispute about the 504 process, you have the right to appeal to the district 504 coordinator.