What is a 504 Plan?

A 504 plan helps children with atopic dermatitis

By National Eczema Association

Published On: Feb 3, 2016

Last Updated On: Jul 15, 2021

A 504 plan falls under the provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights law that protects the right of all people with disabilities to participate fully in society. The law applies to any program or activity offered by an agency or organization that receives federal funds, including schools. The law requires that schools provide reasonable accommodations for children with disabilities so that they can fully participate in regular education classes with their peers. A 504 plan ensures that all children receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The 504 plan is a written document prepared by a child’s school that outlines the school’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodations for a student.

Who is entitled to a 504 plan?

Any student whose day-to-day activities are affected by one of the following disabilities: learning disabilities, medical conditions, emotional or behavioral disorders, developmental delays, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, intellectual or developmental disabilities, physical disabilities or impairments, auditory disabilities or impairments, or visual disabilities or impairments.

What is the process for getting a 504 plan started?

Each school district’s procedure for initiating a 504 plan differs slightly, but generally speaking,the process starts out with a referral. A teacher, staff member, physician, or parent can make a referral if they feel there is evidence of issues that adversely affect the student’s educational well-being. Any one of these individuals may contact the school psychologist, counselor or principal and inform them about the difficulty the student seems to be having. Next, the school psychologist, counselor or principal goes about:

  • Setting up an initial meeting,
  • Developing a plan for the student (along with the assistance and input of the individuals listed in the following section, hereafter referred to as “The Team”),
  • After the initial meeting, setting an annual review date to update, report, and/or revise recommendations from the plan.

Who is involved in the 504 Plan Process?

The individuals (“The Team”) that are involved include but are not limited to parents or legal guardians, teachers, a principal, other school administrators, support staff nurse, counselor, psychologist, speech therapist), a physician, and the student.

Evaluation accommodations

Examples include but are not limited to extended time on assessments, having assessments read to them, and use of four-function calculator.

Environmental accommodations

Such as changing a student’s seating assignment because they can’t focus in a certain area.

Content accommodations

Such as notes from the teacher, books on tape, use of assistive technology, and extra guided practice when necessary.

Physical accommodations

Such as allowing a student to go to the nurse’s office to take medication at a certain time each day regardless of student’s class schedule.

Excerpted from WikEd, CTER program, an online Master of Education degree program in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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