A 504-plan is a legally binding document that falls under the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In terms of educational purpose, it is designed to plan an instructional program to assist students with special needs who are attending their school's regular education program. The 504-plan should not be confused with the Individual Education Program (IEP)for special education services.What makes a student eligible for consideration of a 504-plan?
The student must be identified disabled as outlined under Section 504. The individual eligible for a 504 accommodation has a physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities; or has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment. A 504-plan is especially helpful if the individual does not qualify for special education services under IDA (formerly PL 94-142).What are "major life activities"?
"Major life activities" include caring for one's self, the performance of manual tasks, breathing, seeing, hearing, walking, working and learning. If any of these activities are substantially limited due to a disability, the individual may be accommodated under a 504-plan.When is it appropriate to consider a 504-plan referral?
A 504-plan is appropriate for individuals who meet the 504 eligibility criteria AND:
What is the 504-plan process?
- Are not being referred or do not qualify for special education services
- Are not benefiting from the current instruction provided
- Are being considered for retention, suspension or expulsion
- Are returning to school after a serious injury or illness
- Exhibit a chronic health condition
- Are "at risk" of dropping out of school
- Are involved with substance abuse
- Need physical accessibility to building or school activity
A teacher, parent/legal guardian, school support staff, physician or therapist makes a referral or the student makes a self-initiated referral.
A 504-plan referral is made.
A meeting is scheduled to develop the 504-plan for the student.
The team sets a 504-plan review date.
Who is involved in the 504 process?
Teacher(s), parent/legal guardian, principal, district administrator(s), support staff (school nurse, paraprofessionals, speech and language therapist, etc.) and the student (where appropriate).
What are some common accomodations of a 504 plan?
Modification of assignment or tests
Extended time for completing assignments or tests
Provision for a second set of books at home
Extended time for transferring between classes, due to mobility needs
Journals/contracts/meetings to facilitate communication of parties involved
Use of a private test room
Access to technology
Allowance for health-related absences
Utilize specific materials to address learning style
There are many possible accommodations that a team may consider appropriate for an individual student. It is important to keep in mind that all participants within the scope of the 504-planning meeting are of equal importance when making recommendations.
The 504-plan may be altered by sending a written notice to all persons who attended the first planning meeting in an effort to schedule a time for a plan review. The plan should be reviewed and possibly modified periodically.
How does The CLIME® Program help with 504-plans?
The strategies from the motor areas addressed in The CLIME® Program will benefit students who need intervention, especially those who may not qualify for special education. Exercises and interventions from The CLIME® manual can be written as 504 accommodations. Those done on a daily or weekly basis can help many students overcome their motor difficulty. The exercises are designed to be unobtrusive within the classroom setting and can be done with the whole class thus benefiting all students.