IEP and 504 Plan Differences in Arizona
What’s the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan? First, they come from different federal statutes. IEP comes from Individuals with Disability Education Act, and the 504 plans come from section 504 of the rehabilitation act.
A 504 plan focuses more on accommodations. Students who qualify for a 504 plan can have any disability that interferes with their ability to learn within the classroom. 504 plans are valid not only during K-12 education but also in college education settings. Parents are also involved less in a 504 or plan legally. However, most schools do include parents in the 504 processes.
What is a 504?
A 504 plan is a legally mandated, individualized support plan designed to accommodate students with disabilities in the United States under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This federal law prohibits discrimination based on disability and ensures that students with disabilities have equal access to education and receive the necessary accommodations to succeed academically.
The 504 plan is specifically tailored to the student’s needs and may include accommodations such as:
- Modified testing conditions, like extended time or a separate testing environment.
- Adjusted seating arrangements or preferential seating in the classroom.
- Access to assistive technology, like audio recorders or screen readers.
- Additional support services, like counseling or tutoring.
- Adjustments in teaching methods or materials to accommodate learning challenges.
The development of a 504 plan involves collaboration between the student, their parents or guardians, educators, and any relevant school professionals. The plan is reviewed and updated periodically to ensure it continues to meet the student’s needs as they progress through their education. By providing tailored support and accommodations, a 504 plan helps to ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential in the educational setting.
504 Eligibility Checklist
To qualify for protection under Section 504, a student must meet the following eligibility criteria: (1) Possess a physical or mental impairment that significantly restricts one or more major life activities, such as walking, learning, or communicating; (2) Have a documented history of such an impairment; or (3) Be perceived as having such an impairment. This 504 eligibility checklist provides a comprehensive understanding of the requirements and ensures that students with disabilities receive the appropriate accommodations and support for their unique needs.
Difference Between IEP and 504
The primary differences between an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and a 504 plan lie in their eligibility criteria, legal foundations, and the types of support provided to students. Both IEPs and 504 plans aim to ensure that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations and support in their educational environments, but they serve different purposes and populations.
- Eligibility: IEPs are designed for students who have a specific disability that adversely affects their educational performance and requires special education services. 504 plans, on the other hand, are meant for students with disabilities who do not require special education but need accommodations to access the general education curriculum on an equal basis with their peers.
- Legal foundation: IEPs are mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which is a federal special education law. 504 plans are established under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination based on disability.
- Scope of support: IEPs involve a comprehensive, individualized program that includes specialized instruction, related services, and accommodations tailored to the student’s needs. IEPs also set specific, measurable goals and objectives, and the student’s progress is regularly monitored. In contrast, 504 plans focus solely on providing accommodations and modifications to ensure equal access to education, without the specialized instruction or related services that IEPs provide.
- Documentation and process: IEPs require a formal, written plan developed by a team of educators, parents or guardians, and relevant professionals. This team meets at least annually to review and update the IEP. 504 plans also involve a written plan, but the process is typically less formal and may not include specific goals or objectives. The 504 plan is reviewed periodically to ensure that it continues to meet the student’s needs.
Understanding the differences between IEPs and 504 plans is crucial for parents, educators, and students in determining the most appropriate support and accommodations for a student with a disability, ensuring their success in the educational setting.
IEP and 13 Disabilities Listed in the IDEA Act
In IEP, however, to qualify, a student must have one of 13 disabilities listed in the IDEA act. If they don’t have one of those disabilities, unfortunately, they do not qualify for an IEP. An IEP addresses accommodations and specific services such as special education that the child may need during their education process. And parents are more involved in an IEP. Parents are also required to attend annual meetings. Parents must be notified if students are evaluated for an IEP or a 504 plan.
Lastly, IEPs are different than 504 plans. It is because IEPs have specific goals and benchmarks that students are monitored if they’re reaching those. A 504 plan just simply gives accommodations to the children within that setting. And they’re not monitored. There are no goals that they must be hitting. Both create legally binding plans. And both creations of an IEP and a 504 have multiple team members and staff at the school. As I said, most of the time, parents are involved.
Other Blog of Interest
What is Special Education Law in Arizona?
Hi, I’m Attorney Renee Osipov with Chelle Law in Scottsdale, Arizona. And today, I’m answering the question: what is special education law?
Who Benefits From the Special Education Law?
Special education law originates in the United States constitution. There are also Supreme Court case laws and federal statutes. An example is section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. There might also be state statutes or regulations addressing special education laws within your state. This large body of law mandates that any student ages 3 to 21 with a disability are provided free and appropriate public school education that provides special education. It includes any services needed to meet those students’ individual needs.
The Purpose of Special Education Law
The purpose of this is to integrate students with disabilities into society and not to segregate them in any way. At the district level, this typically looks like students can be screened or tested for certain learning disabilities. They may already have a disability diagnosed by a physician and within the school district. They receive special schooling or other services in response to their particular needs. Instructions can be given in a typical classroom setting. In place of taking notes, the students are provided a test-taking outline. They can take the test in a quiet place, with extra time, or by having the test read to them. They might be taken for things like occupational therapy. An IEP or a 504 plan may address specific discipline concerns. So, this can get a little bit overwhelming.
Contact Us if You Need Legal Services to Help With Your Assessment
There are a lot of laws out there. There are IEPs, and there are 504s. What’s the difference? It can get a little confusing and overwhelming for parents. Call us and set up a consultation, especially if you are in the Phoenix or Scottsdale area. We are happy to set up a consultation with you here at Chelle Law. We’re here to address all of your rights within special education. I was also a teacher for eight years before becoming an attorney. So, I am well versed in special education and what this looks like at the district level.
What is a 504 Plan in Arizona?
What is a 504 plan in Arizona? 504 plans fall under a federal statute, specifically, section 504 of the rehabilitation act. Schools can develop a 504 plan to give students with disabilities the support they need. 504 plans also focus more on accommodations. To create a formal 504 plan, students do not need to participate in evaluations or screening processes. And these students might not even qualify for special education.
Regular School Classroom
504 plans, as I said, focus more on accommodations, which can be within the regular classroom. This might mean accommodations to the environment. How do they present the curriculum to the students? And the list just kind of goes on from there. Whatever the student needs to participate in the classroom setting. Also, underneath the 504 plans, parents are not mandated to participate in the process. So, they might not get invited to the meetings or the creation of the 504 plans. Nevertheless, they must inform parents whether their child will participate in any kind of evaluation. If you’d like more information on this process, we’re happy to help.
What is an IEP in Arizona?
What is an IEP in Arizona? An IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. Students to be eligible to receive an IEP must attend public school or charter schools. A federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act covers IEPs.
How is IEP started?
The process of getting an IEP starts with either the parents of the student or the school district themselves. They may require or request that the student be screened or tested. After that testing process, there’s a clear picture of the student’s strengths and challenges. Once they have gathered that information, creating an IEP begins. An IEP is a legally binding document that finds all parties to the terms of the agreement. IEP addresses any programs, services, or support needed for that student or to meet any of their unique needs.
Parents can also get involved in this process. They can ask for services or an IEP, or they can ask to have their child screened. They can sit in on the annual IEP meeting. Also, they can advocate for their child regarding what services need to be provided. Also, attorneys and special education attorneys may sit in on those meetings and can advocate for parents and their children. Call us and set up a consultation, especially if you are in the Phoenix or Scottsdale area. We are happy to set up a consultation with you here at Chelle Law. We will explain your rights to not only parents but also children. And then also explain the whole IEP process. If you also disagree with the school district’s findings or the programs they have put in place. You also have rights underneath federal law to fight the findings from the school.
When is a Parent Entitled to an Individual Educational Evaluation in Arizona?
As a parent, you have the right to request an Individual Educational Evaluation for your child if you disagree with the school’s evaluation of your child. However, you need to know that the public school is only obliged to pay for one IEE per disability per student.
You also have the right to choose the professional conducting the IEE. However, this professional must not be employed by the public school that your child attends. Once the IEE is complete, the results will be shared with the IEP team, who will use it to make decisions about your child’s education.
How Do I Write a Letter Asking for an IEE in Arizona?
As highlighted above, as a parent, you have the right to request an IEE at any time. If you want to write a letter asking for an IEE, you need to include certain information in the letter. This includes:
- Your child’s name
- The name of the school they attend
- Your contact information
- A description of your child’s disability
- The reason why you are requesting an IEE
You must also send this letter to your school district’s Director of Special Education. You can find the contact information for this person on your school district’s website. The goal of this letter is to give the school district notice that you are requesting an IEE. It is important to note that you do not need to state a reason for requesting the IEE in this letter.
What is the Child Finding Process in Arizona?
The Child Find process is a continuous effort by the public school system to locate, identify, and evaluate children who may have disabilities and need special education services. This process applies to all children aged 3-21 who reside within the state of Arizona. The evaluation team responsible for carrying out this process is known as the Multi-Disciplinary Team or MDT.
If you believe that your child may have a disability and requires special education services, you should contact your school district’s Special Education Department. The school district will evaluate your child’s eligibility for special education services. Make sure to ask for a copy of the evaluation report to keep it for your records.
What is the Multidisciplinary Team in Arizona?
The MDT is the team of professionals responsible for conducting the Child Find process in Arizona. This team is made up of a variety of experts, including:
- School psychologist
- Speech-language pathologist
- Occupational therapist
- Physical therapist
- Special education teacher
- General education teacher
- Parent or guardian
The MDT will use a variety of assessments to determine if a child has a disability and requires special education services. These assessments may include observations, interviews, and academic and behavioral testing. Once the MDT has completed their evaluation, they will meet with the child’s parent or guardian to discuss their findings. If the MDT determines that the child does not have a disability, the child will not be eligible for special education services.
What is Proper Restraint and Seclusion of Arizona Students?
The proper restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities is a hot-button issue in Arizona. The state legislature has passed a law requiring all public schools to have a policy regarding the proper use of restraints and seclusions. This policy must be reviewed and updated every year.
The law defines restraints as any manual or physical technique that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move their body or head freely. This includes, but is not limited to, holding a student in a seated position or against a wall. Seclusion, on the other hand, is the involuntary isolation of a student in a room or space from which they cannot exist.
There are a few circumstances where restraints and seclusions can be used on students with disabilities. First, it can be used if the student poses an imminent threat of serious bodily injury to themselves or others. Second, it can be used if the student’s behavior is significantly disruptive and other de-escalation techniques have failed. Also, restrain and seclusion can be used if the student is engaging in self-injurious behavior, and restraint is necessary to prevent them from harming themselves.
Special Education Attorney
As a parent, you must understand your child’s rights under the Disabilities Education Act. This will ensure that you can make informed decisions about their education and ensure that they receive the best possible education. If you have any questions or seek legal advice about your child’s rights or need assistance in ensuring that they receive the best possible education, contact an experienced Arizona special education attorney.
At Chelle Law, we understand the unique challenges parents of children with disabilities face. We are here to help you navigate the special education process and ensure that your child receives the best possible education. Contact us or visit our office today to schedule a meeting.
Arizona Student Questions?
IEPs, School Discipline, Hearings and more!