Would Your Child Benefit from an IEP or a 504 Plan?
When a child has any type of disability or health challenges, a 504 Plan or an Individualize Education Plan (IEP) may be of benefit to them in a school setting. We are here to help you determine the differences in the two options as well as what they entail.
What is a 504 Plan?
A 504 Plan is written in cooperation with the parents and the school staff (usually the school counselor, school nurse and your student’s teacher(s)). It lists the specific accommodations that are necessary for your child to meet with success in the classroom due to their disability. Once a 504 plan is implemented, all school staff must adhere to it as required by federal law. A 504 is written when the child could benefit from accommodations in the classroom, usually due to medical conditions, and is less restrictive than an IEP.
Sample accommodations include:
Allowing a child to take a short break outside of the classroom when feeling overwhelmed
Allowing a child to test in an alternate setting, free of distractions
Allowing a child to use headphones when needed to help eliminate noise and distractions
Allowing a child to have extra time on homework
Allowing a student to eat a snack when they feel their blood glucose level dropping
Each 504 is specifically tailored to the individual child, so there could be many options that you can explore when considering accommodations. You can find more resources and information here: https://www.parentcenterhub.org/section504/
What is an IEP?
An IEP is more in-depth and comprehensive than a 504. To qualify for an IEP, the student must have one of thirteen disabilities and that disability must negatively impact their education. Not only do students receive accommodations, but they also have academic and/or behavioral goals included in the plan. An IEP team consists of a district administrator, a special education teacher, a regular education teacher, and the parents. Often times, a school counselor and specific therapists are included in the writing of an IEP. As with a 504 plan, teachers are required by law to implement the IEP. In order to best meet student needs as outlined in the IEP, the student is often placed in a classroom with a special education teacher present or in a self-contained special education class.
Examples of an IEP Accommodation:
The student will meet with a speech, physical or occupational therapist outside of the classroom
The student will meet specific academic goals that are based on his/her level of functioning and not the standards held in place for general education students
The student will have a paraprofessional with them all day to assist with behavior management
You can find out more about their differences and who qualifies for each here:
Lyme Disease is a qualifying marker for a 504 Plan and in some instances may qualify a student for an IEP. If your child is struggling in school, please discuss these options with the school administration to determine if either an IEP or a 504 would be beneficial to your child. Remember, if they do not qualify for an IEP, they most likely qualify for a 504.