504 Plan Basics


Many parents are encouraged to consider 504 plans when their child needs extra support. Often, this leads to questions.


What Exactly Is a 504 Plan?

A 504 plan is an outline of the accommodations a school will provide that allow your child to access education. The key word is access. The plan does not include learning goals or academic outcomes.


The name “504” comes from a piece of federal civil rights law –Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law says that no child with a disability can be discriminated against or denied education based on a disability.


Should My Child Get a 504 Plan?

This type of support may be right for your child if he or she…

  • Needs extra support in school but doesn’t qualify for special education. In other words, they do not qualify for an IEP (Individualized Learning Plan).
  • Needs help to access learning but doesn’t need individualized instruction. In other words, they have a disability but not a learning disability.
  • Has a short-term disability, like a broken leg.


Is this Better or Worse Than Special Education?

Neither. It’s just different. Getting the right plan depends on what your child qualifies for. Both 504s and IEPs offer accommodations and related services. These are the necessary extras that allow a child to access learning and school activities.


Parents have very different rights with a 504 than with an IEP. Be sure to understand your rights before any decisions are made.


Does a 504 Follow Them to College?

A 504 protects your child while in school. Once they leave K-12 school, they will continue to be protected (in the workplace and advanced education) by the ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act.


Learn more about the differences between 504s and IEPs. Also, learn how to get a 504 for your child. When you’re ready to request supports, check out our free Supports Selector. Join today for personalized suggestions for your child.





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