Sometimes I think of school 504 meetings somewhat like what I imagine goes on in the preparation for an NFL football game. The coaches (apart from the players) come up with a game plan. Then the team has to play the game and carry out the plan.
The plan may work beautifully. Then again, the plan may blow up. It may not work.
What’s the link between the NFL pregame strategizing and a 504 planning meeting?
Just like in the NFL pregame strategizing, in a 504 meeting the parents and teachers (usually apart from the child) put their heads together and come out with what they think is a plan that will work.
Ideas are tossed around in the 504 meeting. Things like:
“I think he should have extra time.”
“Let’s put him in the front of the room.”
“We’ll let him use this high-tech spell checker.”
“We’ll sign his homework planner.”
On and on it goes. (I’ve seen 504 evaluation reports from outside professionals that have over 20 accommodations.)
Sometimes the plans are effective. Sometimes they are not.
Another problem comes in that sometimes the kid doesn’t want what is being plotted in the meeting. There aren’t too many kids that I know with ADHD, for example, who want more time, which is the single most recommended 504 accommodation. If anything, they want less. They want to be done with the tasks that they detest – like reading.
The takeaway point is that the plots hatched in the pregame strategizing or in the 504 planning session may not work. Adjustments may need to be made.
What sounds good on paper, may not be so great in real life.