Can a 504 plan help your child?

If your child needs educational support, you may be looking for options. Your child may be eligible for a 504 plan, which would require your child’s school to provide additional support. 

Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects students with qualified disabilities in public schools. The U.S. Department of Education mandates that a student must meet the following requirements to be considered for special education, these:

  • Have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; 


  • Have a record of such an impairment; 


  • Be regarded as having such an impairment. Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”

Let’s define these terms. First of all, what constitutes an impairment? Section 504 defines an impairment as:

  • Physical or mental impairment as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

Major life activities have been defined by both Section 504 and the Amendments Act as:

  • Caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning…working…eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, and communicating. 

Congress also provided a non-exhaustive list of examples…such as the functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Students with a qualified disability are entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). This education consists of special education that may involve aids and services  that meet the goals of the child’s Individual Education Program. Additionally, their accommodations must be provided as adequately as students without disabilities. To read more about FAPE and student rights, click here

There are many differences between 504 plans and IEP’s. Check out this video to learn more about it. If you are ready for an IEP, contact a Parent Guide and IEPready today! 


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