What is an accommodation plan? What is a 504? You’ve probably heard these terms thrown around from time to time. We want to provide you with a bit more information that will help you better understand the 504 accommodation plan and what it’s for.
What is it?
Thanks to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 states that students with disabilities are to be given the same opportunity to federally funded programs as their peers without disabilities. That’s it in a nutshell. What defines a disability may be a bit more complicated.
What defines a disability?
If a school official has reached out to you about a 504, then it has been determined that there is a problem academically, one that may be limiting the student from succeeding in critical elements needed for major life activity. If you have been contacted, do not take this as an insult. The school officials are doing their best to help your child succeed. It’s imperative that you as a parent get involved and give consent to have your child evaluated. If a disability is found through evaluation, a 504 accommodation plan will be produced that outlines the type of support your child will receive.
As a parent, you are the most crucial piece in this process. You are not only your child’s advocate, but also their first teacher. It’s important to stay in close contact with the school officials as you navigate this together. If at any time you are not satisfied, reach out and schedule a meeting. At times, you as a parent may be the first to inquire about getting your child a 504 plan. And, that’s okay. Do what’s best for the child.
The role of the classroom teacher is to accommodate the student’s learning or behavior with the plan set in place. Not only does this include learning strategies and teaching style, but also assessments. By law, the teacher is required to adhere to the accommodations in the Section 504 plan.
The Big Idea
If you feel like your child is struggling, become involved. Ask the tough questions and work the problem. If the conclusion is your child needs a Section 504 accommodation plan, get one. Once the plan is in place, monitor it is being followed through teaching and assessing. When you have questions, don’t be afraid to reach out to your school officials.