Learn about reasonable classroom and/or program accommodations
Section 504 (C.F.R. 104) of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights law. It states that no qualified individual with a disability, shall on the basis of that disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives or benefits from federal financial assistance (e.g., public schools).
A person qualified as disabled under Section 504 is an individual who has a physical or mental impairment, and/or is regarded as having or being regarded as having such impairment, which thereby substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, talking, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, working, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and learning.
In a school setting, if it is determined a child warrants identification under 504 eligibility standards and does not require specialized instruction, a 504 Plan is developed listing the need for reasonable classroom and/or program accommodations that do not fundamentally alter or lower the standard or expectation of the course, standard or test. The goal is for the student to have access to the same level of education offered to the non-disabled student. An accommodation is no longer reasonable when it substantially or materially alters the program or constitutes an unreasonable burden on the district or the child.
Accommodations take place in three areas: physical accommodations; instructional accommodations; and behavioral accommodations. Some examples are: giving the student extra time to respond to an oral request or oral information; having a student utilize an alpha-smart for lengthy writing tasks; providing the student periodic breaks for improved attention to task; using positive reinforcement behavioral charts; etc. The accommodations are derived by teacher, specialists and parent input.
A 504 Plan is the tool whereby the district provides a summary of accommodations that the student will need in order to have equal access to the learning process, as well as the district’s other programs, activities and services. A case manager is assigned by the District 504 Coordinators. The Case Manager will oversee the student’s 504 plan and is the parent’s primary contact. All teachers working with the student will have a copy of this plan to follow. The Plan is updated on an annual basis and re-evaluation is conducted at least triennially.
For further information you may preview the Department of Education-Bureau of Special Education Website .