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Section 504

Read this page to learn about the ideas behind section 504.

What is Section 504?
Section 504 is a law that says that schools have to treat children with disabilities the same as other children.

How can it help my child?
If your child has problems learning in class because of his hearing loss, but can't get help under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), then Section 504 may still be able to help your child get help and special services in school.

Does every school have to follow section 504?
Yes. Section 504 is a part of a law that all schools throughout the country have to follow.

The law says schools have to give your child a 504 plan. The plan will help make sure your child has the same chance to learn as other children.

How can we get help?
If your child has problems learning, ask the school for help under Section 504. Your school will then test your child to see what kind of help he needs. But YOU have to ask for help first. If you don't, your school may do nothing.

How is 504 different from IDEA?
Section 504 and the IDEA are both laws that say that children with disabilities can't be treated worse than other children in school. When you talk to your child's school about your child, they may talk about Section 504. When talking with school teachers and staff about section 504 and IDEA it is important to remember these things:

  • If your child is covered under IDEA, then he's also covered under Section 504. However, if the child already has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) under IDEA, then he won't get an education plan under section 504.
  • If your child is covered under Section 504, he may not be covered under IDEA. Why? This is because the IDEA lists specific disabilities that it covers. Section 504 covers more disabilities.

Here are some other ways Section 504 and IDEA are different:

  • Section 504 says that all children have to be treated fairly in school. IDEA says that children with disabilities must get a "free appropriate public education".
  • Under Section 504, your child can't get speech therapy or counseling. But your child can get help like longer test time and interpreters.
  • Under Section 504, schools don't pay for more than "reasonable accommodation and academic adjustments". But under IDEA, the school has to give your child the help that's written into his IEP. The IEP lists the help your child needs to get a "free appropriate public education"
  • Under IDEA, the school sets goals to measure how well your child is doing. Then the school checks to see if your child reaches those goals. Under Section 504, the school doesn't have to check to see if your child is doing better. The school decides on its own how far it will go to help your child.
Which is better for my child?
For the most part, your child may get more help under the IDEA than Section 504. But there are some good points to having a Section 504 plan:
  • Under Section 504, your can change your child's education plan at any time. That means you can add new help you want your child to have. But under the IDEA, your child gets exactly what's in his IEP, not more or less.
  • Section 504 can be put into place quicker. But under the IDEA, your child's IEP could take up to 2 months to go into effect.

Read more about Section 504:

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