Who can qualify for 504 plan accommodations?
The 504 plan is rooted in federal statutes, specifically the Rehabilitation Act, section 504. That act, specifically the 504 Section, protects people or students with disabilities and protects them from being discriminated against. But what exactly does this mean? Let’s understand the 504 plan’s meaning.
So, what does this look like in practice? Federal law requires schools to provide accommodations for students with disabilities, and we will go through what qualifies a disability for a 504 plan.
The 504 plan will then protect that individual with that disability from being discriminated against by providing them with accommodations within the educational institution. You can visit the official site of the U.S. Department of Education to learn more about the federal laws related to education and disability.
Who qualifies? Title 34, Part 104 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains the federal rules that implement Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (CFR).
Well, first, we can start with age. In federal law, it’s typically from ages three to 21 or 22, whenever the student leaves secondary education. State law may change this a little and may add to it. They can’t take away from that —so ages three to 21 or 22 if they’re still in secondary or preschool education. College students are protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. However, at the college or university level, that student would be allowed accommodations if they technically qualify. Usually, the school has its type of accommodation plan. It wouldn’t be called a 504 plan.
And although you have a 504 plan for your secondary education, it will not directly transfer to the college or university setting. You’ll have to be qualified again at that level. It’s called something different typically than a 504 plan, but you still get your accommodations under that section of federal law. To ensure the transition goes smoothly, it’s beneficial to understand how to get a 504 plan.
So, who qualifies? We’ve discussed age so that it can vary from three to up. But what do you have to have? I’ve said “disability” in this blog, but how is that defined?
Federal statutes define a student as having a qualifying disability if they have a physical or mental impairment substantially limiting a significant life activity. The Understood.org provides comprehensive guides on various types of disability categories under IDEA.
What does that mean, and what does that look like inside the classroom? It could be any diagnosis or disability a healthcare provider has established with that student. They would then have that type of disability. However, there’s a second part to it. It must impair the student.
What disabilities qualify for a 504 plan?
If this student has a disability, maybe a physical disability, perhaps something with their hands or something, but they can still write, There’s no significant impact on their life activities. So, therefore, just because they have a physical disability doesn’t mean they qualify. And to kind of sum that up, you have to have a disability, and that disability has to impact your life in some way within the educational facility.
504 Plan Examples
It would be best to have those accommodations so the child is not discriminated against. Let me give you a couple of examples. Again, it can be physical or mental. It’s 50-50 from the clients I have seen. It is a significant life activity if a student has an anxiety disorder that could affect them within the classroom. So, they would likely qualify for a 504 plan and receive accommodations. They could leave the classroom and go to a safe place if they’re feeling anxious, they get more time for a test or an exam, or an aide is with them to read their exam.
Those are some examples. And that would be considered a mental disability. So, a healthcare provider diagnosed them with some anxiety disorder that impairs them in the classroom. Therefore, they get accommodations under a 504 plan for that main life activity. The thing with a 504 plan is that it sometimes gets misconstrued and mixed up with the qualifications of an IEP.
An IEP is also rooted in federal law, and a student must have a disability to have an IEP; an IEP requires a disability that fits within one of the 13 categories. A 504 plan does not have any category. So, they could have any disability. It doesn’t have to fit into any of the classes. The legal language is that it must limit a significant life activity substantially, and this would be within the classroom. So, let’s talk about that. We’ve discussed some mental disabilities also.
There are physical disabilities as well. If students can’t walk and are in a wheelchair, they may need accommodations within that classroom and more space to sit, enter, and leave the classroom. They also may require an aide to assist them with classroom transitions and things like that. Again, these accommodations are just simple things in the classroom. Some people also get misconstrued and think that to qualify for a 504 plan, a student has to have some learning disability, or they need to be pulled out for special education. And that’s not the case. That’s almost more of an IEP.
A 504 does not mean that your child qualifies for special education. But they can, and that’s separate. However, a 504 plan is just for anybody in the general or special education classroom. Again, it’s a comprehensive scope of who qualifies for a 504 and what accommodations. If your student has a disability and needs any accommodations because they have limitations within the classroom, they would likely be eligible for a 504 plan.
Now, 504 plans don’t have an expiration date. Again, people misconstrue this with an IEP. IEPs are good for three years, and they have to meet every year. Typically, the team will reevaluate a 504 plan over three years to see if the student remains qualified for those accommodations.
Another thing to remember is if the student had some injury that qualified them for a 504 plan. Then, later that injury healed itself, or it no longer affected any major life activities within the classroom. The student would then lose the 504 accommodations because they no longer qualify.
What Are Some Examples of Conditions That Might Qualify One for a 504?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. To qualify for a 504 plan, a person must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Such impairments might include mobility, chronic health conditions, learning disabilities, or psychological disorders.
Which of the Following Criteria Is for a Student to Get a 504 Plan?
To qualify for a 504 plan, a student must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. It could include mobility impairments, chronic health conditions, learning disabilities, or psychological disorders. The impairment must be documented by a medical professional and must significantly impact the student’s ability to learn and participate in school activities.
Does Anxiety Qualify for 504?
Yes, anxiety can qualify a person for a 504 plan. To be eligible for a 504 plan, a person must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Anxiety is a psychological disorder that can significantly impact a person’s ability to learn, communicate, and participate in social activities. As such, it may qualify a person for a 504 plan. It is important to note that each case is unique, and a person’s eligibility for a 504 plan will depend on the specific details of their condition and how it affects their ability to function in school.
What to Ask For in a 504 for ADHD?
So, does ADHD qualify for a 504 plan? If a student has ADHD and is seeking a 504 plan, they and their parents or guardians may want to ask for accommodations to help them learn and succeed in school. These accommodations may include extra time on tests, using assistive technology, taking breaks during class, or providing a quiet space for studying and completing assignments. A 504 plan can also include accommodations for other related conditions that may impact the student’s learning ability, such as anxiety or dyslexia. Ultimately, the specific accommodations included in a 504 plan will depend on the individual student’s needs and how their ADHD affects their ability to learn and participate in school activities.
Say they no longer have that disability. If you’re concerned that your child will qualify for a 504 plan, you first want to speak to your healthcare providers and see if there’s any diagnosis for your student or your child. At that point, you can reach out to the school and discuss with them, and maybe request an evaluation or a meeting with your 504 coordinators to see if that student’s disability rises to the level where they would need accommodations and qualify for the 504 plan.
Jennifer Hanson is a dedicated and seasoned writer specializing in the field of special education. With a passion for advocating for the rights and needs of children with diverse learning abilities, Jennifer uses her pen to educate, inspire, and empower both educators and parents alike.