504 or IEP

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101 Archives' started by hlrc102, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. hlrc102

    hlrc102 New Member

    ---Guys ,
    I need some help here---difficult child is 6yrs. 3 mos. attending first grade. Behavior problems galore, but still managing to acquire skills at a fantastic rate. I am in awe of this child for his ability to learn in this constant state of misbehavior.

    Anyway, we did a Functional Behavioral Assessment 2 weeks ago. Walked away from the meeting under the assumption that we would be developing an IEP after the holidays. Today got a call from school psychiatric. She is proposing a 504 instead. Could those of you with some experience in this please help me out with the pros and cons?
    I went to the Wrightslaw website and feel like they lean towards IEP. This may be my own misconception, but I would really appreciate any feedback you all could offer......
  2. Seeker

    Seeker New Member

    A 504 plan has, as I understand it, NO TEETH. So best to argue for an IEP. I think what you have to show to get an IEP instead of a 504 is that the disability/medical condition is causing some problems in school -- educational, behavioral, social, whatever -- that it in some way is interfering with your child getting what kids should get out of school. I got my difficult child with fine motor problems on an IEP instead of a 504 based just on the idea that if you can't write properly (she held her pencil way wrong and could only make wispy marks on the paper when she started school) you can't do written work in school, which is a necessity in those primary grades. Good luck!
  3. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Seeker is correct. The reason schools are willing to give 504 plans is tht there is NO ENFORCEMENT and most are not worth the time or effort it takes to write them.

    To qualify for an IEP, two conditions must be met: having a "qualifiable disability" (you have that--behavior problems)--AND the problem must interfere with educational progress. You are hinting at what your school district will use to try to get out of the IEP--"but(difficult child is) still managing to acquire skills at a fantastic rate." It is a mistake to let the school district define "progress" in academic terms only. Social skills count and are a big part of the curriculum in the early grades. Dollars to donuts your difficult child isn't doing so well there or an FBA wouldn't have been done.

    So I would ask the school district for a "full evaluation" of all areas of impact including social, emotional and behavior development that might impact on difficult child's ability to benefit from educational opportunities.

    There are sample letters in the Archives of Sp Ed 101 to use as models. If this gets more serious and/or if your school district is non responsive, then I would seek an outside evaluation at a major medical center with a children's psychiatric unit.

    Finally, SEND THE LETTER CERTIFIED. Only certified mail "counts." SDs LOSE other mail. You need the certification to prove when the time-line on the evaluation starts. Also, stay off the phone and if you do talk to anyone of significance, follw with a "memo of conversation" reiterating what was said. After you do this for a while, the school district will stop making vague promises which is a good thing on your road to becoming your child's best advocate.

    Would you please add a signature so we can know a bit more about your difficult child when responding? Thanks

  4. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Ditto above.

    Keep in mind that you are a member of the IEP team, therefore, eligibility determination is not solely dictated by the school district members. When the parent disagrees with-the school district, you can advise them that you want mediation.

    Based solely on your signature, your child likely needs more than behavior management in school. If the school district hasn't performed a full and initial evaluation, request they do so as Marti set out.
  5. scottd001

    scottd001 New Member

    A big ditto from me as well even though I still get resistence from the school to build an IEP that really SAYS anything. Do what ever it takes to get it and look into professional advocates in case you need them. Diane
  6. hlrc102

    hlrc102 New Member

    Thanks guys,
    I have been talking to some of the teachers that I work with in Special Education. And they all say the same thing, "a 504 has no teeth". So I guess we're going back to square one with the district although I don't anticipate much of an argument. They have been very reasonable so far so I will keep my fingers crossed that it continues. Thanks for the help.