As this blog has discussed in the past, sometimes, children with impairments do not qualify as disabled. But, they may nonetheless, need some accommodation to achieve educational success and parity. This is where a Section 504 accommodation can be useful.
What is Section 504?
Section 504 refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This section mandates that schools provide reasonable accommodations to children that have some impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Major life activities include learning, walking, hearing, seeing or speaking. And, all New York school districts must provide these 504 accommodations.
Short-term impairments qualify too
Of course, our Cedarhurst, New York, readers know that impairments that affect a child’s ability to learn, walk, hear, see or speak qualify. However, what many parents may not know is that other impairments also qualify. These include short-term impairments, like broken bones, surgery recovery, etc. Similarly, episodic impairments also qualify. These include disorders that “flair up,” like asthma.
The New York procedure
A parent need only fill out the correct form, and then submit it to the child’s school. It is then individually reviewed, and a 504 Coordinator will contact the parent to schedule a meeting with the school-based 504 Team. This team meets and discusses the request to determine eligibility and the appropriate accommodation.
The 504 Team
Of course, the parents of the child are included. After all, they know the child’s abilities and needs. The team also includes at least one person that can talk about the child’s skills and abilities, like their teacher or guidance counselor. Another team member will interpret reports and evaluations, like a social worker or school nurse. The 504 Coordinator will discuss possible accommodations that will meet the child’s needs. And, if health services are needed, then a medical provider will be included in the 504 Team as well.