You've noticed that your kid is struggling with school. She can't seem to finish a test on time and gets distracted easily. You think it may have to do with her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and you're wondering if there is a way to assist her.
You reach out to your child's school, and a counselor recommends putting in place something called a 504 plan. You don't necessarily know what it is or what it can do for you, but the brief description feels like it might be just what your child needs.
Here's what you need to know about a 504 plan for your child.
What Is A 504 Plan?
The 504 plan is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prevents public schools from discriminating against students who have disabilities, says the US Department of Education (ED).
A 504 plan can help these students learn and engage in the general education curriculum.
Does Your Kid Need A 504 Plan?
Students who have either a physical or mental health issue that impairs their reading or concentration are eligible. Students with chronic conditions can also get a 504 plan, says GreatSchools.org.
Conditions include diabetes, allergies, heart disease, or a chronic illness. You'll have to provide medical proof of the issue, such as a doctor's note.
Source:US Department of Education
What's In A 504 Plan?
Schools must provide disabled students with aid”tailored to their exact needs”that will give them access to the same type of education as their classmates without disabilities, says the ED.
Aid may come in the form of disabled students being able to learn in a normal classroom, sometimes with extra benefits. Or they would learn in a special education classroom with benefits tailored for that classroom.
The students may also be given aid in the form of a computer, extra time for test taking, or after-school tutoring, says the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD).
A group of both regular and special education teachers, along with the school's principal, will meet to discuss the child's disability and how it impairs the child's learning process. Once decided, they can determine what services would be best for the child.
Parents should be present for the meetings and decision-making.
How Do You Get A 504 Plan?
Parents can ask for an evaluation from the school or the school can start the process on its own. When the school decides a student needs an evaluation, it has to notify the parents and get consent, explains the NCLD
The evaluation determines the student's needs and whether the disability negatively impacts learning and an ability to participate in the classroom.
Without parents' consent, the school must request a due process hearing to move ahead.
What The School Needs
The school will need the following to get a 504 plan, according to Understood.org:
- Proof of the child's disability (doctor's diagnosis)
- Evaluation results
- Academic record
- Parent and teacher observations
- Any independent evaluations
If your child is disabled and you need a doctor's diagnosis for an evaluation, schedule an appointment with an Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center physician.