If there ever was a process within the school experience which causes more stress and worry for parents, I don’t know of one that rivals the Section 504 Plan.
From an experienced advocate perspective, I LOVE 504 PLANS! And I enjoy working with parents and staff on this path toward necessary accommodations and modifications. I say this with absolute confidence for the process is actually fairly simple. It’s just that there are a number of people who facilitate the process with a limited scope of reference or an inflexible interpretation of the laws guiding this federally mandated program.
Section 504 provides: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .” [Office of Civil Rights; Department of Education]
In a nutshell, the work I do in this area is guided by three clear questions:
- What is the disability of concern? And how do we know this?
- In what ways does the disability impact the school / learning experience: This question is not limited to “academics” alone!
- How do we know this? How is it demonstrated?
And by addressing 504 Plan requests from this perspective, it really takes the struggle out of the experience, and shifts the conversation to an evidence-based approach: no argument, minimal conflict, and most notably, less worry / fear / or self-interest that may often get in the way.
So if you are needing support in this process, give us a call or fill-out the “CONTACT US” button on the homepage.