Posted on 10/15/2018 at 12:38 PM by Blog Experts

Questions continue to surface around the topic of the evaluation and determination of a student’s eligibility for a Section 504 Plan.  Hopefully, this posting will provide some guidance that will be straight-forward and easy to understand.

  • There is no scenario where a student can be determined automatically eligible for Section 504.  Each student’s needs must be evaluated on an individual basis to determine eligibility based on a substantially limiting disability when compared to their peers.  This does not just pertain to the learning and/or academic portion of the student’s education.
  • There should not be a cookie-cutter Section 504 plan that should be used with outlined accommodations pre-written into the plan that will be provided to each and every students determined eligible for 504.  Each student’s plan must be written to address their specific needs.
  • Section 504 plans provide for accommodations – not modifications to a student’s general education courses.  Learning targets and outcomes are the same for all students.
  • Section 504 plans may not be written to provide extended time on state or national assessments.  This is not legal.  For extended time to be given, it must be an accommodation the students’ needs and uses on a weekly/monthly basis when taking any assessment within the context of their educational experience based on their need.
  • A student does not need to have a diagnosed disability to qualify for Section 504 services.  The parents are not required to provide the district with a doctor’s report or other professional diagnosis.  If a parent is asking for an evaluation, it is best practice to pull the team together to determine eligibility on the documentation and evidence you are able to find from teachers and others familiar with the student.  Again, the determining factor is that the student has an impairment that substantially limits a student’s major life activity.

    This will give us enough to consider for this month.  If we are solid on these criteria, it is a good place to start.  Hope these are helpful. 
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