A 504 plan is a plan that allows students with medical concerns to receive accommodations to help them learn better. It is part of a federal civil rights law, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The 504 plan is named for Section 504 of this law. If your child’s school receives federal funds, an education team can consider whether he qualifies for a 504 plan.
Does my child qualify for a 504 plan?
As outlined in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, your child might qualify for a 504 plan if he has one (1) of the following.
- A physical or mental impairment (problem).
- A physical or mental impairment (problem) that limits the ability to do one (1) or more major life activities, such as learning, hearing, or seeing,
- A record of such an impairment (problem). The record can include psychological or neuropsychological reports.
- Being known to have such an impairment (problem) by reports, school testing, or in other ways.
What could my child receive with a 504 plan?
Your child might receive accommodations, or supports, that help with learning in school. These can be from grade school to college. Examples of common supports include:
- Sitting closer to the board or teacher,
- Having more time to finish assignments or tests, or
- Taking tests in a place with fewer distractions than the regular classroom.
This list does not include all the possible support your child might receive. The school administrators, 504 plan coordinator, counselor, or teachers could determine the specific supports your child might need in school.
How can I request a 504 plan?
Talk to the Section 504 coordinator at your child’s school. Ask for a meeting to discuss creating a 504 plan. If the school does not have a Section 504 coordinator, you may talk to the school administrators, counselors, or teachers.
A book on 504 plans
You might want to read “Understanding Special Education: 504 Parent Handbook,” by Michele Hancock.
Websites on 504 plans
- U.S. Department of Education
- Center for Parent Information and Resources
- Section 504: A Guide for Parents and Educators
If you have questions about 504 plans, ask your child’s psychologist, neuropsychologist, teacher, school counselor, or principal. You may also call the St. Jude Psychology Clinic at 901-595-3581.
Important terms to know about 504 plans
Accommodations: Support that makes learning easier for a student with a medical problem. A support can be sitting closer to the board or taking water breaks more often. This is not the same as special education. It does not change the curriculum (what students learn) but instead helps them learn the curriculum.
Physical or mental impairment: A physical or mental problem that limits a child’s ability to learn at school.
Section 504: The section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that involves 504 plans.
Section 504 coordinator: The school staff member who takes requests for accommodations and supports and manages 504 plans. If the school does not have a Section 504 coordinator, contact your child or teen’s school administrators, counselors, or teachers.
This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.
St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
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