If your child has been diagnosed with a learning disorder, you might need to create or obtain an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan for him or her. These plans help you, your child, and your child’s school work out an individualized solution to accommodate your child’s learning disorder at school.
Obtaining, strengthening, and sustaining IEPs and 504 accommodation plans can be long and complicated. Fortunately, we’re here to walk you through it. If you live anywhere in Chicago, IL—including the Arlington Heights, IL, area—we can help you understand this complicated process.
What Is the Difference Between an IEP and a 504?
IEPs and 504 plans have the same goal: to help every child succeed in school. However, the two plans have a few key differences.
By law, students with certain types of disabilities and disorders must be accommodated by their primary or secondary school. If your child is diagnosed with one or more of the disabilities listed under the Disabilities in Education Act, you have the right to create an IEP that outlines how the school will help your child learn, grow, and develop during his or her time there.
IEPs are more extensive than 504s in that if your child has a mental, emotional, or developmental disability or disorder, an IEP will give him or her more protection than a 504.
A 504 plan outlines the specific ways your child’s elementary or secondary school will ensure your child has the same access to educational opportunities as every other child in the school. 504s work best for children with physical disabilities, like partial deafness, that teachers must accommodate.
How Do You Obtain These Plans?
Before you can request a 504 plan or an IEP, you need to consult a specialist who can diagnose your child’s learning disorder or disability. You will then meet with the school and a team of professionals to create a plan for your child.
An IEP team will include your child’s special and general education teachers, a psychologist, a representative from the school district, and at least one of the child’s parents. 504 plan teams are usually smaller and include one of the child’s parents, the child’s principal, and one or more of the child’s general and special education teachers.
How Do You Maintain and Strengthen These Plans?
By law, an IEP team must look over and reevaluate a student’s IEP plan every school year. Every three years, they must reassess the student and determine if the plan is meeting the students’ needs. 504 plans are usually reviewed every year as well, but the laws about 504s differ by state.
During these times, parents can review these plans as well. A school can’t make any changes to your child’s plans without notifying you first.
These reviews are important because parents and school districts don’t always agree on what constitutes “reasonable accommodation” for students with disabilities. In extreme cases, parents can file a lawsuit, or go through a process of mediation/conflict resolution.
How Can NeuroHealth Arlington Heights Help?
At NeuroHealth Arlington Heights, we assess students and diagnose learning disorders that might keep your child from meeting his or her full potential at school. Additionally, we focus specifically on school consultation and advocacy. We’re more than happy to meet with you, your child, and any school representatives to explain the situation and recommend the right accommodations for your child.
Look through our school advocacy page to see some of the ways we can help, and get in touch with us about obtaining, strengthening, and sustaining IEPs and 504 accommodation plans in Arlington Heights at (847) 754-9343.