Talk with your child's school and consider an evaluation

If you think your child needs more support than they get from the 504 plan, here's what you can do: 

  • Write down some specific ideas about why your child is not making progress under the current plan or why it will not support their transition goals (like finding a job, or preparing for college or independent living.)  You'll have to show that the 504 accommodations are not meeting their needs for transition planning.  (Use that wording!)

  • Talk to your child's 504 coordinator. Tell them why you think your child needs more support and ask what they suggest. They may be able to add more accommodations or interventions in the classroom. If you feel your child needs more, you have the right to start the process of qualifying for an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  The first step is to get an evaluation.

  • Gather your child's medical records and evaluation results if you have any.  Anything that will help prove they need more support in order to make progress or prepare for their transition goals.  Ask their teachers or school counselors to write a note explaining why they may need more services. For example: students with autism may do very well in classes, but will need some extra support to prepare for the social aspects of getting a job or being in college. Having an IEP can make sure they get this other support as they transition to adulthood!

  • If your child's 504 coordinator is not helpful, or if you don't know who they are, call your school district's Special Education Department. Explain your situation and say that you may want to have your child evaluated for special education services.

  • Your child will get an evaluation from the school district to see if they qualify.  This must confirm that they have a disability that affects their learning.  Even though you may know this is true, the school needs to document it.

  • The school district should pay for this evaluation.  If you don't agree with the results, you can choose to get a different one (called an IEE).

NOTE: If your child goes to a private school, that school is NOT required to provide special education services.  They can still help if they choose to, but for official services from your town you must go through the public school department.

 

See our Special Education Guide to learn more about this whole process! (Click on the title to open it in a new tab on your screen.) 

 

Sources: Mass Department of Education (MA DOE), IDEA

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