Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by julierose24, Oct 31, 2012.
It would certainly be a good idea if she struggles in any way at school, academics and/or behavior. A 504 is similar to and IEP. They are documents used for special education services. The only difference between the two is that the IEP is enforceable by Federal law. What it does is specify areas she struggles in and puts into writing a plan to help her in those areas. In order to request one, you need to send a Certified Letter with Return Receipt Requested telling the school that you want her "evaluated for special education services including, but not limited to, thorough academic, psychological, Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), behavioral, and emotional assessments." By doing it this way, the request is in writing and the signed return receipt is your proof of the Federally mandated timeline they have to complete the assessments.
It can always be changed to an IEP later on if her needs in any area become greater or if the school is not following through with the plan. Hopefully they will be helpful but be prepared for the school to either 1)not find any problems or 2)not be willing to provide the supports she needs.
There are many nice links to explain a 504 plan. A huge difference between that and an IEP (other than that its not enforceable in terms of holding funding back etc...you can take them to court because not following the plan violates civil rights, however, because there are no rules for documentation etc...it's very hard to prove they didn't do what they should have done )...
Anyway a big difference is there is no standardized testing required to qualify. She just needs to have a legal condition that can impact her ability to access school in any way.
Some schools literally have one person who writes the plan with you and depending on the school everyone may really step up or it can just get buried and teachers barely know it's there. Still other districts have a full system with hoops to jump through ....still then, it may be followed and may not. Many fight for an IEP for that reason. You have many more protected rights and legislated procedures to handle issues. Staff licenced in your child's disability area are then assigned to work with her. So a 504 is an option but be open to maybe needing to push for an IEP. (Which is harder to qualify for of course, sigh)
What do you want to achieve with the plan? In other words, what does she need? Does she need unlimited time to do tests and a private testing room to reduce anxiety? Does she need recorded books or the ability to take a break in a specified area or room if overwhelmed? Does she need extra sets of books at home so she can't forget them? ....these are random thoughts but the idea is to think of her strengths and needs and then you (and we can help give ideas) can suggest what you want on your plan.
Some schools will say no, she doesn't need it if het grades are ok. But we all know there's more to school and by law behavior and social aspects must be considered.
So, what are your wishes for her in school? What are the struggles?
Ask the psychologist for recommendations on what to include, too. Professional recommendations often carry "some" weight in school (not always). Here, a parent request is ignored... but professional requests they at least attempt to do something about.
504 was written to help children with disabilities and hidden disabilities. Some of it's key points are. 1. If the child attends a pulic school. The parent notices signs of a learning disorder. They have a right to ask the school to test them. Because public schools are federaly funded they are under section 504 by law required to do so. 2. If the child is proven to have one. The school is also required to provide what ever is necissary to enable them to learn. Just the basic parts. I know because my daughter has Adjusment Disorder with Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct Disorder. She also has allergies which she takes medicine for nightly. I'm currently fighting with her school because both her counciler and I believe she also shows signs of A.D.D. and they are giving me a hard time. I was told "We don't test for that here." something by Law they aren't allowed to do.
This is a mix of accurate and inaccurate information.
1. The school is not required to test a child suspected of a disability. They are required to consider a request from a parent or teacher that a child be evaluated but they can decline to do so. They must decline in writing with their reasons for not feeling that the child is a child with a disability as defined by IDEA.
Section 504 has nothing to do with testing. It has to do with non-discrimination and reasonable accomodations.
2. The school is required to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment for a child identified with a disability that has a negative impact on their education. The services for each child are spelled out in their IEP.
3. Your school is absolutely, 100% correct that they should not be testing for ADHD. That is a medical diagnosis that must come from your child's doctor. Once the child has been diagnosed, you can take that information to the school and they can evaluate and determine if thenADHD is having a negative impact on her education.
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