As we have discussed in previous blog posts, independent education plans (IEPs) rely on individualized goals to help children learn. However, children with disabilities may also qualify for a 504 plan.
Those plans provide accommodations, but they implement goals as well. There are two goals of 504 plans in particular that parents should understand.
1. Eliminating barriers
504 plans aim to ensure access to education, regardless of a child’s ability. The overall goals of this plan generally include:
- Leveling the playing field, as the U.S. News & World Report puts it; and
- Doing so by removing barriers.
504 plans aim to provide students with physical or mental disabilities with accommodations to eliminate the barriers students may face. They concentrate on meeting the child’s needs in the classroom and the school environment. These accommodations commonly include:
- Technology aids in the classroom
- Adjusted classwork or homework
- Standing permission for school nurse visits
- Elevator access
The goals of these accommodations and plans are not often as structured, specific or as measurable as those in IEPs. Even so, 504 plans provide critical accommodations all the same. That way, students can overcome these barriers and learn effectively – just like any of their peers.
Keeping students with disabilities in the general education classroom has been a goal for many years now. In fact, both IEPs and 504 plans maintain this goal.
504 plans fall under The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which primarily works to prevent disability discrimination. Therefore, these plans are designed specifically for inclusion and accommodation within the general education setting. As Nemours Children’s Health states, 504 plans:
- Adjust the general education program to fit the child’s needs in the general classroom
- Usually require supervision only by the classroom teacher, instead of an IEP team
- Increase accessibility in the classroom and school
Of course, the overall goal is to provide children with education. However, these two goals are critical to accomplish that and protect children’s rights at school.