What is a 504 Plan?

I mention that my son AC does not have an IEP – but has a 504 plan.  This page discusses the differences.  Both of these were foreign to us up until AC was in 3rd grade.  Up until that point, he had neither one.  But, when he started struggling a bit that year, we did a lot of homework – and for us, it seemed like the 504 Plan was the better choice.  By the end of 3rd grade, the 504 plan, and the use of the FM system was in place.  AC is now in 6th grade – and so far/so good.  He’s actually doing very well…  so we can’t complain.

Originally, we were told he didn’t qualify for either a 504 OR an IEP…  since he wasn’t “failing” anything.  But, we learned that he qualifies for the 504 based on the level of his hearing loss alone.

Contrary to what some school authorities told us before, I do think that if we really needed/wanted to – we could get him an IEP.   However, in our case, it didn’t seem necessary – or like the better choice.  As long as we can get his needs met with the 504 (which, at this point is basically the use of the FM system), and he’s doing well, and the school DOES include us (which they have been, even though technically, we have less rights) – it seems like the 504 is fine for AC.

Here’s a few links I found helpful that specifically pertain to 504 plans  vs. IEP’s:

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from: http://www.k4teens.info/FAQ’s/IEP-504Plan.html

Below is a table summarizing the major components
of IDEA, Section 504, and ADA.

IEP

504 Plan

ADA

What? Individualized Educational Plan, required by IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, an education law Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973, a civil rights law Americans with Disabilities Act, a civil rights law
When? Historically based in PL 94-142 in 1975, revised 1997 and 2004 1973 1990, based on Civil Rights Act 1964, amended 1991
Who? Children ages 3-21 who need specially designed instruction to meet their unique needs Any individual with an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity such as learning in school Any individual with an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity at work or in public or private settings including post-secondary public or private schools, does not apply to religious organizations
Where? In schools receiving federal funds Prohibits discrimination on basis of disability in programs and activities both public and private that receive federal funds, including schools Prohibits discrimination on basis of disability in employment, public services, and accommodations, does not apply to religious organizations
Why? FAPE, to ensure that all students receive free appropriate public education Civil Rights Civil Rights
How? FAPE, free appropriate public education is mandated as determined by a multi-disciplinary team evaluation using a variety of assessments FAPE, free appropriate education means an education comparable to that provided to students without disabilities, must be determined by a multi-disciplinary team (Child Study Team) Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities to perform essential functions of job or job training
Federal Funding Yes, although never as much as promised No, furthermore, IDEA funds may not be used to serve children eligible only for Section Rehab 504 services No, tax credits, grants
Due Process or Procedural Safeguards Specific procedural safeguards and due process rights to parents in the identification, evaluation, and placement of their child are described. Parental consent is required. Disputes may be resolved through mediation and impartial due process hearings. IEP must be reviewed at least annually. Written notice is recommended and some notice is required to parents regarding identification, evaluation, and placement. Parents must have an opportunity to participate in the hearing process, but due process is left up to the discretion of the local school districts and parent consent is not required. 504-plan must be reviewed “periodically.” No specific procedures for special education, but details requirements, complaint procedures, and consequences for non-compliance

Resources:

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I hope this info explains our choices well, and possibly helps someone out there who may be trying to determine the best route for their own child.

Deb

9 Responses

  1. Hi Deb,
    Thanks very much for such a informative blog, Its sounds like I’m talking and riding on a emotional roller coaster as just recently my son diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss and he is also in 3rd grade like AC . It seems like you just descried my son in your blog ( really good boy, good in studies but yes he also got a one more tag…..”kid with hearing aid “). Any how after reading your blog as a mother I got a great support and strength. Is it possible you can contact me personally as i have few more questions that i want to clarify before i can go to school for support.
    Thanks allot for sharing your experience.
    Ashu

  2. Hello Ashu –

    I just sent you an email. Thanks for your comment here, and if there’s anything I can help with, I’m glad to. I have let this blog get outdated lately – but, hopefully the links and experiences shared still help.

    3rd grade was the rough year for us…. It was the year of testing… and learning… and negotiating… and fighting – uh, I mean advocating. LOL ;) It seemed to take me forever to get in touch with the right people and learn what AC’s needs and rights were. Once we had the right support – everything fell in place nicely.

    AC is now in 7th grade, and doing very well. He uses the FM system and his hearing aids still.. and has been on high honor roll regularly. We are very fortunate.

    Feel free to comment more here.. or email me… and take care.

    =)
    Deb

  3. Yes! Finally someone writes about hearing device classroom.

  4. My daughter who wears a hearing aid just was approved for a 504 plan. I am continuing to fight with them about adding on extended time as an accommodation. Do you have any suggestions on how I can express to the team that this is needed? At the first meeting it was told to me that it would become a crutch so it should not be added.

  5. […] What is a 504 Plan? | Hear me… Hear me not… – What? Individualized Educational Plan, required by IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, an education law: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973, a …… […]

  6. […] What is a 504 Plan ? | Hear me… Hear me not… – What? Individualized Educational Plan, required by IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, an education law: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973, a …… […]

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