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English Language Learners
General Education Services
SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT
What is Section 504?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a civil rights act prohibiting discrimination based on a disability.
Who is a student with a disability under Section 504?
To become eligible for services and protection against discrimination on the basis of a disability under Section 504, a student must be determined, as a result of an evaluation, to have a “physical or mental impairment” that “substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Examples of major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, or working.
How are students eligible under Section 504?
Evaluations to determine 504 eligibility are different than evaluations required by Special Education law. For purposes of Section 504, evaluation means reviewing information from a variety of sources. This typically includes teacher reports, grades, standardized test scores, attendance and discipline reports, information from parents and medical providers. The 504 Team must include individuals who are knowledgeable about the child, the type of disability, the evaluative data being reviewed, and accommodation options. While the school always considers recommendations of doctors or other professionals who work with the child, it remains the school’s responsibility to review multiple sources of information to determine 504 eligibility and to implement any necessary accommodations for the student. Simply having an impairment does not automatically qualify a student under Section 504.
How are accommodations and services determined?
If a student is found to have a disability under Section 504, the team will make an individualized determination of the student’s educational needs and an accommodation plan will be developed. The 504 Plan will identify the individual(s) responsible for implementing accommodations. Eligibility status, and 504 Plans are reviewed annually.
What is an accommodation?
Accommodations are “adjustments” that are designed to minimize the impact of a disability and meet the unique needs of the student. There is no “list” of approved accommodations. They are determined individually for each child. Examples might include preferential seating to minimize distractions for children with attention/concentration difficulties or assisting a student with diabetes in monitoring his/her blood sugar levels.
What do I do if I have a concern about my child’s progress?
When a parent has concerns about a child’s progress in school, the first step must be to contact the child’s teacher or teachers. Classroom teachers are the professionals who are most intimately involved in the child’s education. Close collaboration between home and school is essential for student success. By raising concerns and working together, teachers and parents lay a foundation for a working relationship that will help children experience success.
If you have additional questions regarding Section 504, please contact: