What Is a 504 Plan
504 plans are formal plans that schools develop to give kids with disabilities the supports they need. These plans prevent discrimination and protect the rights of kids with disabilities in school. They’re covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which is a civil rights law.
These plans aren’t part of special education, so they don’t provide individualized instruction, like IEPs do. But a central purpose of 504 plans is to give kids with disabilities access to the same education their classmates are getting.
One way 504 plans do that is through accommodations, like extended time on tests or the ability to leave the classroom for short breaks. Some students may also get related services through a 504 plan, like speech-language therapy or study skills classes.
Schools typically create written 504 plans, but they’re not required to. There are no set rules for what a 504 plan should look like, or what it should include. The only things schools have to put in writing are their policies on 504 plans.
How to Get a 504 Plan
The process for getting a 504 plan is much different, and simpler, than the process for getting an IEP. But it varies from school district to school district.
With 504 plans, schools look at information about a student from a few different sources. One source might be a medical diagnosis. Schools might also look at the student’s grades, test scores and teacher recommendations.
Parents or schools can request a 504 plan through the school district’s 504 coordinator, who may also be the IEP coordinator. (Ask the principal if you’re unsure who to contact.) The request must be made in writing. The school will then hold a meeting to decide if the child qualifies and what supports are appropriate.
- If a parent request a 504 plan or brings in a diagnosis, notify the 504 coordinator.
- The 504 coordinator will contact the parent to obtain more information.
- The school intervention team will meet to review all data on the student.
- A 504 eligibility meeting will be scheduled with the parent.