Parents will come to me loaded with terms that are only partially understood.
Let’s look at one of the common ones – “504’s.”
I will hear things like,
“We just need to get him a ‘504.’ We just want to get him the help that he needs so he can start reading better.”
Even if you are able to obtain a 504 Plan, that does not result in giving the child the “help that he needs.”
A 504 provides some accommodation, such as extended time, support with directions, sitting the child near the front of the room, but it does not provide any service or intervention.
504 Plans originated from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The law provided workplace accommodations to those with a disability in an effort to help, “level the playing field.”
In effect, a 504 minimized handicapping conditions in the workplace.
Since the mid-1990s 504 legislation increasingly found its way into the schools.
The notion of the 504 is that the child identified by an outside professional as having a disability necessitated developing reasonable accommodations so that the child could function as free as possible of the handicapping barriers in the mainstream setting.
In other words, the 504 provided the handicapped child with equal access to the mainstream.
The fact of the matter is, that the vast majority of 504 plans in the schools are written for children “diagnosed with ADHD. In most states ADHD is not a classification in special education code. In other words, even if a physician or some other such professional has identified ADHD this does not generate an Individualized Education Plan (i.e., IEP) in special education.
(OK, I can feel your eyes rolling over already, so I will stop here and continue with Part II next week.)
504 Plans do not offer services. A 504 provides accommodations, not interventions.
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