What is Section 504?
Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Section 504 ensures that a child with a disability has equal access to an education. A child may receive accommodations and modifications.
How does Section 504 define "disability?"
A person is disabled within the definition of Section 504 if the following conditions are met:
The child must have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities.
"Major life activities" include functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. When a condition does not substantially limit a major life activity, the individual does not qualify under Section 504.
The child's disability must impact their education in order to qualify for educational accommodations.
This determination is made by a school team of individuals who are familiar with the child and the child's parent.
If the school has reason to believe that, because of a disability as defined under Section 504, a student needs accommodations or services in order to participate in the school program, the school must evaluate the student. If it is determined that a student is disabled under Section 504, the school must develop and implement the delivery of all needed services and/or accommodations.
What Does Making Accommodations Mean?
Accommodations are adjustments made by the classroom teacher(s) and other school staff to help students benefit from their educational program. In some cases a plan should be developed outlining services and accommodations.
Examples of Common Accommodations:
Modify assignments and tests.
Provide an extra set of textbooks for home.
Adjust student seating.
Use study guides/organizing tools.
Provide a peer tutor/helper.
Provide school counseling.
Have the student use an organizer – train in organizational skills.
Provide preferential seating.
Use necessary health care procedures.