If you or a loved one have a disability, it can be challenging to complete daily tasks without the proper accommodations. Attending school can be especially daunting without the proper support. In Illinois, 504 plans help those with disabilities understand which steps their schools will take to help them succeed. If you’re a student with a disability or a parent of one, it can be important to understand how these plans work and what they should look like. Read on to learn more about 504 plans in Illinois and how NeuroHealth Arlington Heights can help with all your psychological service needs.
How Do 504 Plans Work in Illinois?
In Illinois, a 504 plan outlines the accommodations, modifications, and services that students with disabilities can receive to help them participate in their educational and school-related activities. The name for 504 plans comes from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities from within organizations that receive government funding. These plans are meant to help those with disabilities receive the resources they need to safely and equitably participate in all activities and programs available to students.
Who Qualifies for a 504 Plan?
504 plans can apply to students with a wide range of disabilities, some of which are covered in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). To qualify for a 504 plan, a student must have a condition that challenges their ability to perform daily functions that include walking, speaking, hearing, or caring for oneself. This can include physical, mental, and academic disabilities. A student must also be aged 3-22 and attend grades K-12. Any student who attends a school receiving government funds and meets these qualifications is eligible for a 504 plan.
Some examples of common disabilities that can provide 504 coverage include:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Blindness or visual impairment.
- Deafness or hearing impairment.
- Mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, or behavioral disorders.
- Heart disease.
Students can also qualify for a 504 plan if they have a temporary condition that might affect their ability to complete their work. Some examples of this would be students who underwent major surgery or were injured. These conditions must severely limit a student’s participation in daily activities to qualify, though. A student with a broken leg may not be eligible for a 504 plan, for example, but a student with cancer may be. The school will work with the student to determine individual level of need before beginning a 504 plan.
What Does a 504 Plan Look Like?
Although similar to an individualized education plan (IEP), a 504 plan is less detailed, especially for educational outcomes. A 504 plan will not include learning objectives, goals, and academic performance statements. It will, however, include a specific list of the ways that the school will accommodate the student and information about the services the student will receive, names of employees who will provide services, and the names of those who will ensure the plan is implemented. If you or your child doesn’t qualify for an IEP but requires accommodation, a 504 plan could be a helpful alternative.
A 504 plan’s list of accommodations can vary greatly depending on the individual student’s needs. Here are some of the areas that a 504 plan might cover:
If a student needs the help of specially trained professionals to manage their disability, a 504 plan could include information about how the school plans to train or hire employees that can meet those demands. The 504 plan may list the teachers or administrators who will be available to handle the student’s needs and offer information about the courses they took to qualify for the responsibility. This type of training can include information about the disability and how to effectively provide resources to those living with it.
If a student requires medication to maintain their health during the day, a 504 plan can provide information about how the school plans to handle the administration. This could include a medication administration schedule. It could also discuss how the school will meet any student needs or side effects that may arise from taking the medication.
If a student’s disability requires additional time to complete daily educational tasks, projects, or tests, a 504 plan can provide information about how the school will offer this accommodation. This can include logistical information about how much extra time the student will receive. It can also discuss things like testing location, proctoring, or support for students who may need to take medication or complete other tasks during class time. If a student needs extra tutoring or other support, those accommodations can also be discussed in the plan.
What Steps Are Taken To Implement a 504 Plan?
If you think that you or your child may require a 504 plan, there are a few steps you can take to begin the process. First, you may want to make a request in writing for a 504 plan. When you do this, be sure to make a copy for yourself and provide one for the case manager and whoever else may work on the case. Once you’ve submitted your request, the school will contact you to set up a meeting and discuss your needs and implementation steps. The steps can vary depending on the school district, so it’s important to voice your concerns or needs at this meeting.
Once the plan is established, you can monitor the school’s implementation of accommodations to ensure that the accommodations are working. If you have any questions, you can always schedule a meeting with teachers, counselors, or case managers. If the plan needs to be adjusted, you can discuss that as well. If you’re creating a plan on behalf of a loved one, the school isn’t required to update you regularly on their progress, so be sure to reach out to one of the school’s accommodation professionals for any concerns or questions.
Contact NeuroHealth Arlington Heights Today!
While a physical, emotional, or mental disability can be challenging, there are resources to help you or your loved one manage the daily tasks and responsibilities associated with getting an education. At NeuroHealth Arlington Heights, we want to make the process of receiving a school accommodation plan in Illinois as easy as possible. Our school advocacy, consultation, and assessment services can help you navigate this potentially complicated process with ease. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one receive the best care and accommodations possible.