If your child has a 504 Plan, then they are already getting accommodations to help them.
If your child needs specialized instruction in addition to the changes that you get from the 504 Plan, you may want to try to get an IEP, or Individualized Education Program.
How is an IEP different from a 504 plan?
A 504 plan involves adjusting the regular class conditions, but an IEP describes specialized instruction or services. Often the student with an IEP comes out of class to work with a learning specialist or therapist of some kind. In high school, this can include special classes to learn better study skills, or prepare for getting a job.
An IEP provides more support, including specialized instruction, and more in-depth transition planning. For example:
A transition coordinator
Job training classes
Internships and supported employment during high school
These two types of plans are governed by different laws:
- A 504 Plan is governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which provides equal rights of people with disabilities to access public programs.An IEP is governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which guarantees all students a Fair and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
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An IEP is an Individualized Education Program.
It's a legal contract between you and the school that describes specialized instruction and support that the school will give your child.
This includes Transition Planning: how to prepare your child for working, learning and living as an adult.
There is a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This gives children with disabilities the right to an education that meets their unique needs. So if a child needs special help in order to learn at school, the school system has to give them extra services.
An Individualized Education Program, or IEP, is a document that describes these extra services under IDEA that the school agrees to give your child to help them meet their educational needs.
These services may be calledSpecial Education services orExceptional Student Services (ESS).
How it works:
You the parent, and the rest of the IEP Team work together to define your child's goals and develop a unique plan to help address and achieve these goals.
What kinds of services might be in the IEP?
Extra learning help from a special educator
Therapies like speech, or occupational therapy (OT) to help your child with specific skills
Study skills and job-readiness training
Transition services to help them prepare for their goals for adult life
Sources: LA DOE, Louisiana Workforce Commission
Some students can succeed in school without the special services from an IEP, but they still need some kind of support service or accommodation.
504 plans describe accommodations to help the student in the classroom. These are usually small changes that help the child follow the normal curriculum.
How is a 504 Plan different from an IEP?
A 504 Plan involves adjusting the regular class conditions, but an IEP describes specialized instruction or services. Often the student comes out of class to work with a learning specialist or therapist of some kind. In high school, this can include special classes to learn better study skills or prepare for getting a job.
An IEP provides more support for transition planning. This includes a transition coordinator, job training classes, internships and supported employment during high school.
The 504 Plan gets its name from Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act law.
504 accommodations might include:
Support in non-academic and after school activities
Assistive technology devices
An aide (classroom helper)
Help with health needs
Extra time for taking tests
Click here for a 504 accommodations checklist and to see examples of what could be included in a 504 plan. (It will open in a new tab or window on your screen.)
Sources: Federation for Children with Special Needs, Louisiana Department of Education, Casey Family Programs
Sources: Federation for Children with Special Needs, Casey Family Programs