You may have heard that a student has a 504 plan or an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) at school. What’s a 504 plan?
The term “504” refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
This is a federal civil rights law that aims to protect students who have any type of disability from being discriminated against or not getting the educational assistance they need. The law applies to all public schools but also to any other educational institution (college, private school, etc.) that receives any funding from the federal government.
There is no standard format for a 504 plan, so each school district has its own format.
While input from parents is not mandated by the law, almost always the school district will involve parents in the process.
504 plan versus IEP
A 504 plan is a plan for additional services that will be provided in the regular classroom for the student with disabilities. But, in a 504 plan, the regular curriculum is followed and not changed. What is provided are accommodations that allow the student to succeed with the regular curriculum. For example, if a student needs a wheelchair in the classroom or extra time to take tests or an extra set of books to keep at home, these would be covered by a 504 plan.
On the other hand, an IEP covers specialized or individualized education that a student with disabilities will receive.
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