Navigating the world of 504 plans and IEPs can be confusing, so it makes sense to understand the definitions and differences.
Let’s start with 504 plans. Named after Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 504 plans are designed to “level the playing field” so that disabled students can participate in school and extracurricular activities with equal access. The 504 plan focuses on accommodations like additional time to take a test, preferential classroom seating, or the ability to leave the classroom.
A 504 plan is often used to help children with ADHD.
The Individualized Education Program, or IEP, was created by special education law to provide equal access to education for students with learning differences. An IEP is usually short, structured, and specific in determining what a child needs to be a successful learner at school.
The IEP process is based on eligibility requirements set up by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act). To be eligible, a student must have one of 13 disabilities, listed in the categories below.
IDEA 13 ELIGIBILITY DISABILITY CATEGORIES
- Specific Learning Disability (SLD) – dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia
- Other Health Impairment – conditions which impact attention and executive function like ADHD
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – developmental disabilities that affect a child’s social, behavioral, and communication skills
- Emotional Disturbance – anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, schizophrenia
- Speech or Language Impairment – stuttering and other language problems that make it difficult for students to understand words or express themselves
- Visual Impairment, Including Blindness – partial sight or blindness – if corrective lenses can fix a vision problem, then it doesn’t qualify
- Deafness – children with a diagnosis of deafness
- Hearing Impairment – hearing loss not covered by the definition of deafness; this is not the same as have trouble with auditory or language processing
- Deaf-Blindness – severe hearing and vision loss
- Orthopedic Impairment – students with a loss of function of ability in their bodies like cerebral palsy
- Intellectual Disability – students with below-average intellectual ability, including poor communication, self-care, and social skills – Down syndrome is a condition that qualifies
- Traumatic Brain Injury – a brain injury caused by an accident or physical force
- Multiple Disabilities – students with multiple disabilities
A diagnosed disability, or disabilities, must significantly and adversely affect a child’s ability to learn and progress.
Whatever path is needed for educational support, you can be your child’s best advocate by learning all you can about their unique learning challenges and then working with educators to find the right solutions.
To learn more about an Arizona private school that has the right tools and therapists on staff to guide your student, contact Rockwood Prep with your questions.