SECTION 504 - AN OVERVIEW
Sometimes it is easy to add special services
for your child via a 504 Plan or an IEP
(Individualized Education Plan). Sometimes,
however, it proves to be very difficult.
The following is a brief overview of the
least restrictive and most flexible special
service available to children with ADHD,
who exhibit significant impairment in
their functioning - the 504 Plan.
What is Section 504?
Section 504 is part of a federal law that prohibits
discrimination against individuals with a
disability (e.g. ADHD) in any program or
activity receiving federal financial
assistance (i.e. school).
When does a student qualify as a “Handicapped
Individual” under Section 504?
The law states that a student who 1) has a
“physical or mental impairment which substantially
limits one or more major life activities”
(e.g. learning), 2) has a record of such an
impairment, or 3) is regarded as having such an
impairment, is a handicapped individual protected
by Section 504.
What does “substantially limits” mean?
Unfortunately, this term has not been clearly
defined and as a result often contributes to
disagreement between parents and school systems.
In our experience grades, which are failing,
or consistently below a child’s measured
IQ/ability level and/or behavior, which are
obviously disruptive or maladaptive, are
good reasons to pursue a 504 Plan. This
doesn’t mean that a school will agree with
your desire to implement such a plan,
sometimes you must do some significant
convincing of the “powers that be”.
So, what if your child gets approved to be
on a 504 Plan, now what do you do?
The next step is to develop a set of appropriate
accommodations for your child to succeed in
school - this is easier said than done. Then
these accommodations must be appropriately
implemented and monitored for effectiveness -
easier said than done again.