T’is always the season when it comes to SAT and ACT with numerous test dates…
Parents, did you ever wonder, what exactly is Section 504? Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities. It requires schools to meet the needs of students with disabilities the same way they meet the needs of non-disabled students. To be eligible under Section 504 a student must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Students with disabilities such as ADD/ADHD, diabetes, asthma, allergies, seizures, and anxiety to name a few disabilities might be Section 504 eligible and also eligible for accommodations at school.
Sometimes school personnel may not be aware of Section 504 Law and the protections the law provides to students with disabilities. Here are some of the most common reasons why schools do not provide the services that students with disabilities may be entitled to.
Parents are told, “Your child is doing well academically and doesn’t need accommodations.”
Grades are just one factor that might be considered and are not enough to determine
whether a student with a disability is eligible under Section 504. The law requires that school districts draw from a variety of sources in the evaluation process. These sources and factors may include aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social and cultural background, adaptive behavior, grades, attendance records, psychological evaluations, medical evaluations, parental information. This is not an exhaustive list of what the Section 504 Team could consider to determine eligibility. If the student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity they might need accommodations even if they are getting good grades and doing well academically.
School staff tells you, “We don’t do 504 here.”
Section 504 is a federal law which all public schools in the United States must follow. It is a civil rights law to protect students with disabilities against discrimination. Section 504 eligibility is determined by the Section 504 Team at the school and then accommodations are written and provided if needed.
Sometimes schools feel giving students Section 504 accommodations will encourage more parents to come in and want accommodations for their child.
It doesn’t matter how many parents come in requesting accommodations. If the parents request an evaluation and the student has a disability the school should evaluate the child. If the Section 504 Team at the school decides the child is eligible under Section 504 and needs accommodations, the accommodations must be provided.
Parents are told, “The school doesn’t have the staff to provide accommodations for your child.”
If the Section 504 Team at the school feels an accommodation is needed, the school must find a way to provide the staff to give those accommodation(s).
Parents are told, “Unfortunately there is no money in the school budget to provide certain accommodations for your child.”
Schools can’t deny providing a student with needed accommodations. Accommodations given are not based on money or lack of money in the school’s budget. Although 504 students do not generate additional funding like exceptional education students, if the student is Section 504 eligible and needs accommodations the school and/or school district must find a way to fund and provide those accommodations.
Many families realize that to navigate the educational maze and eliminate family stress an educational consultant expert in Section 504 is essential in assisting them in the 504 process. Families should seek the services of 504 experts like Silver & Associates Educational Consulting Solutions.
Silver & Associates Educational Consulting Solutions are dedicated to guiding students and their families successfully through the 504 process and work collaboratively with parents and schools to ensure students’ needs are met.