What is a 504 Plan?

A 504 plan is an alternative method of offering accommodations to students who do not qualify for an IEP. This type of plan falls under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities who are able to learn from and participate in the general education curriculum. A 504 plan outlines measures taken to accommodate children and remove barriers to learning for children who need accommodations but can still perform in a general education setting.

Because Section 504 defines “disability” in very broad terms those who don’t qualify for an IEP may qualify for a 504 plan. Section 504 defines a person with a disability to be a person who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that “substantially” limits one or more major life activity
  • Has a record of the impairment
  • Is regarded as having impairment or a significant difficulty that isn’t temporary.

Qualification for a 504 plan requires an evaluation which can be initiated by the parent or the school. Before the school can initiate the evaluation they must receive permission from the parent to conduct a 504 evaluation.

With no standard 504 plan required by law each school district handles these plans a little differently from each other. The following should be included in a 504 plan in order to ensure the child will be able to succeed and have their needs met:

  • Specific accommodations, support or services
  • Names of the school professional that will provide each service
  • The name of the person responsible for ensuring the 504 plan is implemented

In general a 504 plan can provide a wide range of accommodations and services including specialized instruction, physical accommodations, speech therapy, occupational therapy or counseling. As a much less detailed plan than an IEP, a 504 is much simpler to implement and works to give parents a peace of mind their child will be accommodated as needed.