How to Get a 504 Plan
How do you get a 504 plan? It is a much simpler process than getting an IEP, and it may be the right move for your child.
First, Document Concerns
Take notes about your child’s ability to participate at school. In what ways do they need support? Also, gather any paperwork from medical professionals who have also documented your child’s disability. Remember, if you want to get a 504 plan, you are not going to go over styles of instruction or your child’s achievement levels. This plan is all about if your child can access learning and school activities.
Next, Submit a Formal Request
Find out who is in charge of 504 plans at school – the IEP coordinator. This may be the same person who is in charge of special education. Write a formal letter that summarizes your concerns, requests a 504 and provides copies of your documentation. In the letter, make it clear that you want to be present and involved with all aspects of your child’s education – including the 504 plan.
Send this letter to the 504 coordinator, and send a copy to your child’s teacher and other school leaders. This keeps everyone on the same page.
Follow Up As Needed
If you don’t hear back within a week or so, do two things. First, send another formal request letter and send a copy to everyone who received the first. Second, reach out over the phone or in person. Document the conversation, noting whom you talked to, what was said, and when and where you spoke.
Soon, the 504 team will meet. This team includes teachers, other school professionals, and you. Note, the school does not HAVE to include you in the process, but most schools will – especially since you stated that you want to be involved.
What Does “Life Activities” Mean When You Get a 504 Plan?
You and your child’s team will determine how much your child’s disability impacts their “life activities.” This is a loose term that can include many different things. These include but aren’t limited to visible things like walking, breathing and sitting, and mental things like reading, concentrating, and learning.
The team will look at a variety of things to determine if a 504 is needed: observations, medical paperwork, teacher evaluations, etc. If it’s decided that a disability is impacting their life activities, it’s time to write the plan. Learn more about what makes a good plan, as well as your rights in the process.
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