Section 504 Plan



A “504 Plan” is a legal document that refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  This federal, civil rights, anti-discrimination law specifies that no one with a DISABILITY can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary, or post secondary schooling.
What is a Disability?
In the context of a 504 Plan, a disability refers to a “physical or mental impairment which SUBSTANTIALLY LIMITS ONE OR MORE MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITIES” including, but not limited to:
  • Walking                                   Learning
  • Seeing                                     Working
  • Hearing                                    Performing manual tasks
  • Speaking                                 Caring for oneself
  • Breathing                                                                
Examples of Disabilities
  • Physical Impairments
  • Illness or injuries
  • Communicable/Infectious diseases
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Learning Problems
  • Mental Impairments
  • Other examples: Allergies, Arthritis, Asthma, ADD/ADHD, Bipolar, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, AIDS, Cystic Fibrosis, Deaf/Hearing Impairment, Diabetes, Drugs/Alcohol, Emotionally Disturbed, Encopresis/Enuresis, Epilepsy, Hearing Impairment, Learning Disability, Leukemia, Orthopedically Impaired, Special Health Care Needs, Temporarily Disabled, Tourette's Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Tuberculosis, Visual Impairment, Weight (obesity, anorexia, bulimia)….Physical or Mental Impairment: 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; hermetic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or
What is the purpose of a 504 Plan?
  • A 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that will be needed for a student to have an opportunity to perform at the same level as their peers (ex. wheelchair ramps, blood sugar monitoring, an extra set of text books, a peanut-free lunch environment, home instructions, or a tape recorder or keyboard for taking notes).
  • This plan lets everyone know what is to be done and how to go about it as well as promotes consistency and accountability.
Who is eligible?
Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with a disability in their jurisdictions who…
  1. Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  2. Has a record of such impairment (history of, classified as); or
  3. Is regarded as having such impairment
Children who have disabilities, but whose disabilities do not interfere with their ability to progress in general education are not eligible for special education services, may be entitled to a 504 Accommodation Plan.
Common Accommodations/Services 
Examples include:
  • extra time on tests and/or a reduced distraction environment in which to take them
  • extra time on homework assignments
  • preferential seating
  • note taking assistance
  • written instructions for homework
  • assignments broken into smaller tasks
  • adaptive technology and classroom equipment (e.g., word processors)
  • textbooks and other written material in alternate formats
  • extra time to get to classes
 
**If a student requires a modified or reduced curriculum or other specialized instruction considered by the district to be special education, then the student should be served under an IEP.