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As mentioned in my post 504 Plan vs IEP, I stated that the main key to a 504 Plan is that you are providing accommodations for the child.
To start the process, I contacted the school psychologist at Blake’s school.
We discussed the options and what we were looking for. Initially, I wasn’t sure if we needed a 504 Plan or an IEP so talking with her helped me determine what would be best for Blake and his needs.
It was determined that a 504 Plan would be most beneficial and while the school psychologist could do the meeting, the principal at our school was the one who normally wrote these up.
I contacted the principal’s assistant to schedule our 504 Plan meeting. (You will need to find out who the contact person is for your school. Does the principal do the 504 Plans or does the school psychologist or someone else? They are who you will need to schedule the meeting with.)
We scheduled our meeting with the principal and were asked to bring any documentation from his doctor or therapists that would be helpful in the meeting. (I would suggest assessments, reports, etc.)
On the day of the meeting, the principal was out and we ended up meeting with the school psychologist and Blake’s teacher from this school year. The meeting should include the parents, the child’s current teacher, and the individual responsible for writing the plan.
The 504 Plan was being created (in our situation) to be used for the next year and the next teacher Blake would have.
1. Eligibility. First business was determining if Blake was eligible for a 504 Plan.
There were three areas that Blake had to meet certain elements to be considered eligible. I can’t recall them in their entirety, but in short; does the child have a mental or physical impairment, does the impairment affect one or more area of their life (social, work, education, etc.), does the impairment limit major life activities.
For us, Blake met all three of the eligibility requirements and therefore, was eligible for a 504 Plan.
2. Accommodations. As a team, we discussed what accommodations would be most beneficial to Blake; who was in charge of ensuring the accommodations; and how the accommodations would be done.
For example, Blake takes medication at lunch time. One of the accommodations was that Blake takes medication at lunch time and that the nurse is responsible for providing him the medication.
There are days that Blake has issue with going to school and after speaking with his doctor and therapist, it is believed that the days he does not want to go to school are the days that are different than the norm. They are days where something else is happening so his routine is off and this is causing him anxiety. (We do not know this 100% for sure, but this is a hypothesis at this time.)
To try and curb his refusal to school, one of the accommodations on his 504 Plan is that his teacher will email/text us at the end of the day to provide us a schedule for the following day. This will allow us to prepare him for an “off” day so that he will still be okay with going.
Blake has trouble sitting still so another accommodation is that he can get up in class. The teacher will allow him to do this.
Remember, the 504 Plan is making accommodations that will make the day easier for Blake. We aren’t changing behaviors or trying to change him. We are providing him with things that will make his day easier while managing his diagnosis.
Once we had all the accommodations we felt Blake needed, we all (the teacher, the school psychologist, hubby and I) signed the document.
The document will be kept in his file at school and will be provided to his teacher next year so that the 504 Plan can be executed.
At any time we need to alter or make changes to the 504 Plan, we can call the principal’s assistant and set up a 504 Plan meeting to make the necessary changes.
Additionally, the 504 Plan must be reviewed annually.
I feel much better having a 504 Plan in place for those “just in case” moments.
Fortunately for us, Blake’s diagnosis has not yet impacted his school or educational life and we hope it stays that way, but it is reassuring to know that we have options and a plan in place if needed.
Have you gone through the IEP or 504 Plan process previously? Feel free to shoot us an email or leave us a comment with your experience!