The Section 504 plan is NOT an IEP and that is the only part that is clear. Understanding the differences can be critical. If you have a child who should have an IEP and you are given a 504 accommodation plan instead, you will not be able to get the supports necessary for functional outcomes because most of them are not available under a 504.
Section 504 is a part of a civil rights statute called the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
It prohibits discrimination based upon a documented disability. It requires that the needs of students with disabilities be met as adequately as the needs of their non-disabled peers.
Section 504 states that No qualified individual with a disability
under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance because of their disability.
A student (who does NOT have an IEP under special education) but requires accommodations or modifications to assure that they will receive equal access to public education and services, during the school day, must have a written 504 plan to outline their specific accessibility requirements.
Students with 504 Plans do not require specialized instruction, but, like the IEP, a 504 Plan should be updated annually to ensure that the student is receiving the most effective accommodations for their specific circumstances.
For students with disabilities who DO require specialized instruction
A child is classified as having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act because they cannot access their education without specially designed instructions that include accommodations, modification, or related services.
They are entitled to:
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Marie Lewis is an author, consultant, and national speaker on best practices in education advocacy. She is a parent of 3 children and a Disability Case Manager, Board Certified Education Advocate, and Behavior Specialist Consultant. She has assisted in the development of thousands of IEPs nationally and consults on developing appropriately individualized IEPs that are outcome based vs legally sufficient. She brings a great depth of expertise, practical experience, and compassion to her work as well as expert insight, vision, and systemic thinking. She is passionate and funny and she always inspires and informs.
MJ Gore has an MEd in counseling and a degree in elementary education and natural sciences. She worked as a life-skills and learning support teacher She has been honored with the receipt of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She is the Director and on the faculty at the National Special Education Advocacy Institute. Her passion is social justice, especially in the area of education. She is a Board Certified Education Advocate who teaches professional advocates, educators, and clinicians the best practices in education advocacy.
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