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Elementary School Kids Elementary School Kids

The difference between an IEP and 504?

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I feel like this is such a silly question, but here goes: What's the difference between a 504 Plan and an IEP?  I'm just learning about IEPs since we just had my son evaluated in January and his IEP went into effect last week.  I keep seeing people mention 504 Plans and haven't heard of them.  I'm curious as to what exactly they are and how they differ from an IEP.

by on Feb. 17, 2013 at 2:42 PM
Replies (11-20):
harry209
by on Feb. 17, 2013 at 7:24 PM
This , she gave excellent info.... I work with kids with disabilities. You mostly find students with 504 do not have intellectual needs. For example extra time for testing, but can take same tests as regular education students. I have one that has 504. She had visual needs do she has to suit to front of class and had a one to one to ensure she doesn't miss anything

Quoting maxswolfsuit:

504 plans are to provide accommodations for students with various disabilities or medical conditions. They are similar to IEPs and can provide many of the same accommodations an IEP would. 

The main difference is students with 504 plans don't generally recieve ESE services. For example a student with 504 plan wouldn't go to a resource class for instruction or work with the speech pathologist at the school. But a student with a 504 could have extra time to finish work or be allowed to do work in a quiet setting.

The process for qualifying for a 504 plan is usually much faster than the IEP process. But students with 504 usually have known or formally diagnosed conditions that have been documented. In order for a student to qualify for an IEP more time is needed because the student's needs are being evaluated during the process.   

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LADYxGHOST
by on Feb. 17, 2013 at 7:27 PM

A 504 plan is a catch all for anything that isn't covered by an IEP  or before an IEP is made.  It can be for any accomadation needed that the teacher, parent and principel agree is for the best interest of the academic and development of a child based on a specific need of the child that is related to a disability. An IEP only cover specific disabilities, not all, it only covers disabilties that make the child eligible for special education, learnig disabilites and delays and the like.  All others are covered under the 504 plan.

A more intese look is listed below:

What is Section 504?

Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met.

Section 504 states that: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 706(8) of this title, shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...” [29 U.S.C. §794(a), 34 C.F.R. §104.4(a)].

Who is covered under Section 504?

To be covered under Section 504, a student must be “qualified ” (which roughly equates to being between 3 and 22 years of age, depending on the program, as well as state and federal law, and must have a disability) [34 C.F.R. §104.3(k)(2)].

Who is an “individual with a disability”?

As defined by federal law: “An individual with a disability means any person who: (i) has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity; (ii) has a record of such an impairment; or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment” [34 C.F.R. §104.3(j)(1)].

What is an “impairment” as used under the Section 504 definition?

An impairment as used in Section 504 may include any disability, long-term illness, or various disorder that “substantially” reduces or lessens a student’s ability to access learning in the educational setting because of a learning-, behavior- or health-related condition. [“It should be emphasized that a physical or mental impairment does not constitute a disability for purposes of Section 504 unless its severity is such that it results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities” (Appendix A to Part 104, #3)].

Many students have conditions or disorders that are not readily apparent to others. They may include conditions such as specific learning disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy and allergies. Hidden disabilities such as low vision, poor hearing, heart disease or chronic illness may not be obvious, but if they substantially limit that child’s ability to receive an appropriate education as defined by Section 504, they may be considered to have an “impairment” under Section 504 standards. As a result, these students, regardless of their intelligence, will be unable to fully demonstrate their ability or attain educational benefits equal to that of non-disabled students (The Civil Rights of Students with Hidden Disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973—Pamphlet). The definition does not set forth a list of specific diseases, conditions or disorders that constitute impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the comprehensiveness of any such list. While the definition of a disabled person also includes specific limitations on what persons are classified as disabled under the regulations, it also specifies that only physical and mental impairments are included, thus “environmental, cultural and economic disadvantage are not in themselves covered

maxswolfsuit
by Max on Feb. 17, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Seizures would most likely fall under a 504. 

Down Syndrome would require an IEP because the student would probably need specialized instruction and modifications to curriculum that wouldn't be covered in a 504.

Quoting amy1will:

Would the 504 cover like Down Syndrome or seizures?

Quoting maxswolfsuit:

BTW, it's not a silly question at all. Many people don't much about either. 


amy1will
by Member on Feb. 17, 2013 at 7:31 PM
Okay thank you. We already have a iep for him. Never heard of the 504 was wondering

Quoting maxswolfsuit:

Seizures would most likely fall under a 504. 

Down Syndrome would require an IEP because the student would probably need specialized instruction and modifications to curriculum that wouldn't be covered in a 504.

Quoting amy1will:

Would the 504 cover like Down Syndrome or seizures?



Quoting maxswolfsuit:

BTW, it's not a silly question at all. Many people don't much about either. 


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maxswolfsuit
by Max on Feb. 17, 2013 at 7:36 PM

I'm going to disagree on a couple of details. 

504 plans are just as legally binding as IEPs.  So they aren't any harder to carry out than an IEP would be. 

And I agree that evaluation needs to be done when the parents requests it. But evaluation and an IEP are not the same thing. Many parents are under the impression that they can require the school to write an IEP for their child. That's just not the case. The RTI process is the most common form of assessment used. It takes months or even years to fully assess the child to determine the best way to meet their needs. This time period is often perceived as wasted time. But in fact, the child is getting one on one help and individual instruction to determine the best way to catch them up. I guess I'm not really disagreeing here, just clarifying. 

Quoting MsLogansMommy:

I just asked my friend who is a teacher and here was her response:
Here's my input as an upper elementary teacher. A 504 is generally for someone who can not qualify for an IEP. Typically they are classroom accommodations - like kid A needs to sit in the front row, etc.
I would push hard for the IEP. Sometimes 504s can be hard to carry out and your experience could vary depending upon the teacher.
 
 
Another friend in the education field had this to say:
 
504's are not just for mental health and they only allow for accommodations. IEP's allow for Accommodations, Time lines, Assessments, Eligibility, Program, Least Restrictive Environment, Related Services (DIS), Goals and Objectives,
Complaints and Disagreements.

The district can not deny an IEP before assessments are done as the assessments determine eligibility. If you sent in your request for evaluation, the district has to schedule whatever it is that they need to do for the evaluations. If they require the SST, then they should schedule it.

The law about the requirement to evaluate if requested by the child's parent is clear and unambiguous:

"A State educational agency, other State agency, or local educational agency [school district] shall conduct a full and individual initial evaluation ... either the parent of a child, or a State education agency, other State agency, or local educational agency may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability." 20 USC 1414(a)(1)
IEP's are for students that qualify for special education but IDEA (The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) states that this is for students with disabilities. A disability does not have to be academic related but can be autism, visual impairment, hearing impairment, mental health issues, etc. There are 13 categories total that are covered by IDEA and ADD/ADHD is not on the qualifying list. The disability has to adversely affect the student's academic performance though. Once a parent has requested that the school district do the assessment, the district has X amount of days to respond and then X amount of days to do the evaluations. If a parent doesn't agree with what the school district personnel has to say, then they can request an independent evaluation that the district has to pay for.

In my research, I do not see anything in IDEA, FAPE or Wright's Law that say anything about the SST process. So I'm thinking that this is a local district procedure, which is fine but they still have to follow the law and do the evaluations as requested.


maxswolfsuit
by Max on Feb. 17, 2013 at 7:37 PM

If you have an IEP there's no reason to look into the 504. The IEP covers everything the 504 would and more. 

Quoting amy1will:

Okay thank you. We already have a iep for him. Never heard of the 504 was wondering

Quoting maxswolfsuit:

Seizures would most likely fall under a 504. 

Down Syndrome would require an IEP because the student would probably need specialized instruction and modifications to curriculum that wouldn't be covered in a 504.

Quoting amy1will:

Would the 504 cover like Down Syndrome or seizures?



Quoting maxswolfsuit:

BTW, it's not a silly question at all. Many people don't much about either. 



jamianne
by Silver Member on Feb. 17, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Wow, a lot of great info!  Thanks, ladies!  :)

I'm going to make certain to bookmark some of these links just in case I need them later down the road.  Though our school has been great so far in giving us a ton of information and moved very quickly to get him evaluated and get the IEP in place once it was determined he had an LD.

MomofSCMJJA
by on Feb. 17, 2013 at 9:42 PM

A 504 plan is a medical accomodation plan. 

Usually it is used to make necessary accomodation for medical issues, such as providing a sign language interpreter, allowing a service animal in the classroom, having a para to assist with classroom work, or allowing extra time to reach classes for a child on crutches for instance.  I've never known an Autistic child who didn't have one.  Sometimes the level of accomodation can be quite extreme.  In my children's school in our old state, there was a child who used to have seizures and they determined that florescent lighting (the old long tube style) was a huge trigger for him.  They actually changed out the light fixtures in his classroom to incandescent lights to help.  My son has some sensory problems, and the school provided a pair of noise cancelling headphones for him to wear for tests and stuff because he couldn't concentrate with the commotion of a classroom.  The school was so understanding that we didn't have to make formal demands.  If they hadn't been willing to help, we could have asked for a 504 for him to force them to help.

My daughter was hospitalized in the psych ward after becoming suicidal.  When she was discharged, she continued in a day treatment program for several weeks, then transitioned over to regular school with a 504 plan that allowed her to seek help when she needed it-not necessarily when it was lunch time.  For example, if she was feeling overwhelmed and felt like an anxiety attack was coming on, she could just get up and walk out of class and go to the office for her meds, or sometimes to just check in with the counselor for a few minutes.  At first going to the lunchroom with a couple hundred other kids was just too much for her and she was allowed to eat in the resource room.  As she got better, she made less and less use of the available acomodations and the next year we did not feel like we needed to renew it.  Still, when we moved to a new place and she was enrolled in a large high school, she couldn't handle it.  We ended up moving her to a smaller school with only about 200 students.  We discussed reestablishing her 504, but the school is being so cooperative with her that at this point we don't feel like we need anything formal right now.

saltycoqui
by on Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:10 AM
Hi, I was just passing by and wondered what that was too. So I googled and found this:

"A 504 Plan helps a child with special health care needs to fully participate in school. Usually, a 504 Plan is used by a general education student who is not eligible for special education services. A 504 Plan lists accommodations related to the child’s disability and required by the child so that he or she may participate in the general classroom setting and educational programs. "

Here is the link with the rest:

http://www.pcdfoundation.org/pcd-at-work-and-school/what-is-a-504-plan
ZsMommy
by on Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:11 AM

IEP's have to be followed...504's are more like "suggestions" and do not have to be followed by educators.

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