What To Know About Getting A 504 Plan In Florida Schools
Federal law recognizes that every child deserves an education that’s appropriate for their needs. A landmark federal law – specifically, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – provides important rights for students with disabilities, including the right to appropriate accommodations and services, free of charge.
At Bilello & Soowal, PLLC, our lawyers have devoted their careers to education law. We are passionate about helping every student get the education they deserve. We possess in-depth knowledge of all aspects of special education law, including 504 plans.
What Is A 504 Plan?
A 504 plan is an individualized agreement between publicly funded schools and students who have special needs. It outlines the services and accommodations the school will provide to meet those needs. It’s available to children from preschool through postsecondary education who have disabilities that impact their education.
What’s The Difference Between A 504 Plan And An Individualized Education Plan?
While they are similar in many ways, an individualized education plan (IEP) is limited to certain disabilities. A 504 plan covers a much broader range of disabilities, which is defined to include any physical or mental impairment that limits a major life activity. Students who don’t qualify for an IEP may still qualify for a 504 plan.
There are also nuances to the different rights and benefits afforded under each plan. IEPs generally have more detailed plan requirements.
Steps For Getting A 504 Plan
Obtaining a 504 plan can be daunting. There are many steps in the process and numerous details to consider. The laws and regulations pertaining to 504 plans are confusing even for attorneys who aren’t familiar with them.
The general steps involve:
- Submitting a written request to the school’s 504 coordinator
- Providing documentation such as medical records or psychiatric evaluations
- Obtaining a draft 504 Plan worksheet
- Attending a 504 Plan meeting, which may include the coordinator, teachers, administrators and school counselors
It’s important to understand all of your student’s rights so that they receive the benefits they deserve.
We Can Help You Navigate The Process
Our role is to serve as an advocate for parents and students with special needs. We can help you:
- Determine whether a 504 plan or individualized education plan (IEP) is right for your student
- Take the right steps to put an effective 504 plan into place
- Ensure that your student’s rights aren’t violated
- Review all the details of the plan
- Challenge any wrongful denials of 504 services
- Advocate for you in manifestation evaluations
We make sure that parents’ and students’ rights are upheld through all stages of the process.