How Do I Get a 504 in Arizona?
How does one get a 504 plan for their student in Arizona? A 504 plan is different from an IEP. One major difference is how you go about getting a 504 plan. So, a 504 plan is for students K-12 and even in some public university settings.
Who Can Apply? Parents or Teachers
To get a 504 plan, a parent or guardian will likely initiate the process. I always recommend giving written notice to the school that you would like your student to be evaluated for the 504 plan. Teachers can also initiate this, but it’s a little bit rare. It’s usually a parent. So, I always say put it in writing and send it to the school.
Difference Between IEP and 504 Plan Requirements
A 504 plan does not have the same time requirements as an IEP. You can check out my blog on how to get an IEP for your child.
But once the parent initiates the process for an IEP, the clock starts ticking, and the school has a specific time period they must adhere to for your student to receive the IEP. A 504 plan does not have that.
So, sometimes parents should keep reaching out, advocating for their students, and pushing for that. Once you give written notice that you would like your child to be evaluated for a 504 plan, the school must do some evaluation.
The purpose of the evaluation is to collect data to assess the student. Suppose the school already has enough data, teachers’ and parents’ observations; they’re already going to different types of therapy or medical health providers, and they’re all providing data—in that case, an additional evaluation may not be needed.
The process would be that the 504 team would decide if an additional evaluation would need to happen. Once that evaluation has taken place where they feel like there’s already enough data, they’ll determine whether the student is eligible for a 504 plan.
Again, a 504 plan is different from an IEP. In an IEP, you need a specific category of disabilities to qualify. For a 504 plan, that’s not the case.
Who Can Qualify?
The standard is that the student must be physically or mentally impaired, substantially that it limits major life activities. So, if that’s the standard that they’re looking at, it can be physical and mental, but it must substantially impair them. If the school finds it, then they will write the 504 plan. And it will address accommodation for the students.
Accommodations for 504 Plan Students
It’s typically going to look like some accommodations within the general education setting. It may mean students are receiving specific services from the school, such as therapy. Or, more commonly, it will be like exams and instruction.
So, a student may be able to leave the classroom and go to a quiet area to take an exam or be given an extended period to take an exam. Or the teacher might read the exam out loud to that student.
Those are all standard accommodations in a 504 plan. Then once the 504 plan is in place, periodic evaluations will need to occur. The school is responsible for setting those parameters and policies.
So, again, to summarize, for a student to get a 504 plan, the parent or guardian can initiate the process. They’ll have an evaluation to determine if they’re eligible, they’ll write the plan with the accommodations, and then a periodic review or evaluation will happen.
Other Blogs of Interest
- Arizona Individual Education Program: How Arizona IEP Attorney Can Help
- Arizona Special Education Attorney | AZ Special Needs Advocate Attorneys
What is a 504 Plan in Arizona?
What is a 504 plan in Arizona? A 504 plan is codified in federal statutes within the Rehabilitation Act, specifically section 504, which addresses civil rights and non-discrimination against people with disabilities. And so, the 504 plan protects people who have a disability that affects their ability to learn.
Difference Between IEP and 504 Plan
A 504 plan is very similar to an IEP. Sometimes, parents and guardians get confused. A 504 plan just allows the school to give accommodations to a student who may have a disability that affects their ability to learn. It’s unlike an IEP because you can have any disability. In IEP, there are specific categories that you would have to qualify for.
Students Qualify for 504 Plan
In a 504 plan, your student is potentially more easily able to qualify for it. A 504 plan also outlines accommodations for the student. It’s not special education, so that is a misconception there. That’s more of an IEP.
A 504 plan simply gives the student accommodation. Let me give you some examples of the most common accommodations.
Examples of Common Accommodations
Usually, it would be like a quiet place for the student to take an exam. So, they could go to a quiet place, have an extended period to take an exam, or maybe their exam is read aloud to them. It is just within the academic setting.
It can go further if your student needs therapy and medications, and the accommodation list is endless. Whatever your student needs to learn.
And if they have a disability hindering that, then the 504 plan is a great way to provide accommodations. It will not give your student a special education, so the type of instruction will be the same as everybody else’s general education. It is not special education services—that would be more of an IEP.
504 plans, as I said, are generally easy to obtain. If a parent or the guardian wants that, it’s best to have it in writing, requesting the school for the student to have an evaluation. Or if they currently already have a medical diagnosis, you can use that, and that can start the process. So, a 504 plan is a much faster process than an IEP.
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