Good info on 504 plans? with ADHD? - Mothering Forums
Special Needs Parenting > Good info on 504 plans? with ADHD?
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 04:08 PM 12-31-2010

A friend of mine is struggling to get the school to implement an appropriate plan for her son with ADHD -- both behaviorally and educationally (he has trouble with reading comprehension).

 

They've finally arranged a meeting with the school, but a number of people have said that her son doesn't need (or doesn't qualify for) a 504 plan. Are there any good web resources that explain 504 plans and when they're appropriate?



khaoskat's Avatar khaoskat 08:19 PM 12-31-2010

The best resource around is www.wrightslaw.com

 

But simplistically a 504 plan makes modifications to accomodate the child.  Basically, if a child needs more time to take a test, that is what is put into the 504 plan and why.  Also, if the child has ADHD, and needs additional resources, like extra direction or time to comply with requests to get him back on track that is also include.  I know this is a simplistic definition and not all inclusive.  

 

What your friend needs to do is request a MFE (Multi Factoral Evaluation) of her child.  This needs to be done in writing, and sent by certified letter to the person who is in charge of special needs education at the school.  That then starts the timeline.

 

At the same time, I would also get outside assistance, since you already know they say he does not qualify for any assistance.  This way you will already have referrals in place for an independent evaluation.  You can generally get a referral for these through your pediatrician and are generally done by a Developemental Pediatrican or even a psychologist for things like ADHD.  This way, when they go to the appeal, they are one step ahead.  In the end, I believe the school district is responsible for paying for the independent eval.

 

I am not 100% certain what the criteria is for a 504 plan, but I know for an IEP they have to be so far behind a child of their age to qualify.


Emmeline II's Avatar Emmeline II 08:28 AM 01-02-2011

I would bring documentation of the disability from the doctor/psychologist. Though my son's problems were clear to his teacher (from his OT report and her own observations) it help the other members of the 504 committee to have documentation from his psychiatrist.

 

Ds diagnosis is: ADHD; Adjustment disorder w/mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct.

 

The accommodations on his 504 are:

  • Provide daily schedule (visually) so that student knows what to expect throughout his day.
  • Provide student with choices, as well as their consequences and rewards.
  • Provide student with prompting for upcoming transitions.

 

The teacher also does other things for ds, like putting him in the middle of the class line because he does not like the beginning or the end of the line.

 

Wrightslaw Discussion of Section 504, the ADA, and the IDEA. "Many parents and educators are confused about rights and benefits under Section 504 and the IDEA. This article describes the purposes of these laws and differences in legal rights in several important areas..."

 

How Can I File a Section 504 Complaint? "The parent is distressed when his child was suddenly dismissed as manager of a sports team. Sue Heath offers a plan to deal with the crisis and answers his questions about how to get an appropriate 504 Plan and ensure that the school implements the plan."

 

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/sec504.afterschool.crabtree.htm

"Notice that a person is entitled to protection under the law even if s/he is only regarded as having a disability. This means that even if the person has an impairment that does not limit a major life activity, if the program -- in this case the school or private program -- treats the person as if s/he does have a limiting impairment, s/he is protected. Finally, even if a person has no impairment, s/he is still protected if s/he is treated as if s/he has such an impairment."89w

 

Section 504 - Civil Rights Law, Protection from Discrimination ...

 

More Articles by Bob Crabtree

The Paper Chase: Managing Your Child's Documents.

 

Discipline: Suspension, Expulsions and IEPs.

 

What You Should Know About Evaluations.
 

Mistakes People Make: Parents. Because the stakes are high, it is hard for parents of children with special educational needs to advocate calmly and objectively for the educational and related services their children need. Don't shoot yourself in the foot!

 

Mistakes People Make: School Districts.

 

Mistakes People Make: Independent Evaluators.

 

Mistakes People Make: Advocates.


Kristine233's Avatar Kristine233 09:07 AM 01-02-2011
Is there a reason she is going for a 504 vs an IEP? from what I understood the 504 is for medical type stuff (accomodations for physical impairments etc) and the IEP would encompass learning stuff. (like getting extended testing time, behavior modification plans etc) At least thats how it was explained to us. There was a 8 week session offered to families in our area on how to get services for our kids, the options, and the laws around IEPs and 504s and how to ensure a good one is written and implemented.
Emmeline II's Avatar Emmeline II 10:04 AM 01-02-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristine233 View Post

Is there a reason she is going for a 504 vs an IEP? from what I understood the 504 is for medical type stuff (accomodations for physical impairments etc) and the IEP would encompass learning stuff. (like getting extended testing time, behavior modification plans etc) At least thats how it was explained to us. There was a 8 week session offered to families in our area on how to get services for our kids, the options, and the laws around IEPs and 504s and how to ensure a good one is written and implemented.


No, that is not true. Only certain classifications of disability are eligible for an IEP, and all targets in an IEP plan are supposed to be specific, achievable, and short term. Students who do not meet those classifications but still require some assistance to be able to participate fully in school would be candidates for a 504 plan. My son had ADHD and behavioral issues and has a 504 plan; he only needs minor modifications to learn.

 

http://www.help4adhd.org/education/rights/idea


Emmeline II's Avatar Emmeline II 10:14 AM 01-02-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

A friend of mine is struggling to get the school to implement an appropriate plan for her son with ADHD -- both behaviorally and educationally (he has trouble with reading comprehension).

 

I just wanted to add that my son's K teacher thought he was below grade level for reading comprehension, but we knew this wasn't the case. What had happened during testing was

 

  • he felt the questions were beneath him ("What color is Johnny's balloon?")
  • the story was boring and the questions more so (he started K reading at 2nd grade level)
  • the teacher had numerous "reading opportunities" just over her shoulder and ds was reading those instead of listening to the teacher
  • he had trouble maintaining eye contact and would get distracted by anything

 

It may be that his reading comprehension is fine and it is the testing itself that is the problem.

 

A few times in K ds' teacher thought he was not "able" in things we had already seen him do. His 1st grade teacher is aware of his reluctance to do testing and knows how to work with him.


khaoskat's Avatar khaoskat 10:21 AM 01-02-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristine233 View Post

Is there a reason she is going for a 504 vs an IEP? from what I understood the 504 is for medical type stuff (accomodations for physical impairments etc) and the IEP would encompass learning stuff. (like getting extended testing time, behavior modification plans etc) At least thats how it was explained to us. There was a 8 week session offered to families in our area on how to get services for our kids, the options, and the laws around IEPs and 504s and how to ensure a good one is written and implemented.

 

I have an IEP for my son.  IEPs generally list services and accomodations, not just accomodations, for a child with a learning disability, whereas a 504 generally only deals with accomodations for things (behavior, emotional, medical, psychological, etc).  For instances, a person with dyslexia may only need a 504, allowing them more time on tests or that the test be given to them orally rather than in writing.  Whereas a person who has a speech delay would have an IEP, setting forth the services AND accomodations that the child will receive in school.  For instance my son's IEP has Speech Therapy, extra time on tests, and transition assistance between grade levels (when he moves into an unfamiliar environment - usually only used at the beginning of the school year).

 

Again, very simply speaking again.  They are much more complex than that.


Kristine233's Avatar Kristine233 10:33 AM 01-02-2011
I guess that makes sense. I figured the OPs friend was looking for both services and accommodations, needing extra help with reading skills, not just extra time.
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 05:14 PM 01-02-2011

Thanks! I'll pass on the info to her. They're meeting with the school soon and having a bit more understanding will help.

 

Right now, as I understand it (and this is 2nd hand, and I don't want to share too much about someone else's child), the child is at the low end of grade level for reading and having trouble with comprehension because he can't focus long enough to get the whole message. His intelligence measures much higher, and he's definitely a visual learner. So he's having trouble with the teacher he's with (who's a very verbal teacher, but not very visual). So, I don't think there's enough for an IEP. There just getting a whole bunch of push-back from the school about even a 504 plan, and their ADHD psychologist reportedly said "well, if you can work out a plan between reasonable people without a 504, that might be better." While I agree that might, I also know that a plan between reasonable people isn't something that can get enforced every year and won't follow him.

 

Emmeline, the accommodations you listed are quite helpful as I suspect they would help my friend's child as well.


KCMichigan's Avatar KCMichigan 06:19 PM 01-02-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Thanks! I'll pass on the info to her. They're meeting with the school soon and having a bit more understanding will help.

 

Right now, as I understand it (and this is 2nd hand, and I don't want to share too much about someone else's child), the child is at the low end of grade level for reading and having trouble with comprehension because he can't focus long enough to get the whole message. His intelligence measures much higher, and he's definitely a visual learner. So he's having trouble with the teacher he's with (who's a very verbal teacher, but not very visual). So, I don't think there's enough for an IEP. There just getting a whole bunch of push-back from the school about even a 504 plan, and their ADHD psychologist reportedly said "well, if you can work out a plan between reasonable people without a 504, that might be better." While I agree that might, I also know that a plan between reasonable people isn't something that can get enforced every year and won't follow him.

 

Emmeline, the accommodations you listed are quite helpful as I suspect they would help my friend's child as well.


As PP stated--- there is  difference in 504 & IEPs. If he is only slightly below grade level, he may not qualify for an IEP under federal guidelines. A 504 can be used for ADD/ADH accomodations and they 'can' write in support for reading, but may not. It can be a hazy area if the student is around grade level or does not qualify for academic support (per IEP), then the need for it is subjective. Many schools will offer it, but also many wont.

 

I would NEVER work out a reasonable plan if somethings have been tried and child is still struggling. A 504 is a legal binding document that can make sure her son gets the services, a verbal plan is nothing if things are not followed through.

 

Schools have to have 504/IEP services, just some areas are much easier to implement them.

 

Good Luck to your friend. A PP posted the www.wrightslaw.com--- the best resource for parents on rights, IEPs, and 504.


Emmeline II's Avatar Emmeline II 08:51 PM 01-02-2011


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Thanks! I'll pass on the info to her. They're meeting with the school soon and having a bit more understanding will help.

 

Right now, as I understand it (and this is 2nd hand, and I don't want to share too much about someone else's child), the child is at the low end of grade level for reading and having trouble with comprehension because he can't focus long enough to get the whole message. His intelligence measures much higher, and he's definitely a visual learner. So he's having trouble with the teacher he's with (who's a very verbal teacher, but not very visual). So, I don't think there's enough for an IEP. There just getting a whole bunch of push-back from the school about even a 504 plan, and their ADHD psychologist reportedly said "well, if you can work out a plan between reasonable people without a 504, that might be better." While I agree that might, I also know that a plan between reasonable people isn't something that can get enforced every year and won't follow him.

 

That is a strange thing for the psychologist to say; a 504 is not a punishment for the teacher/school. It is documentation resulting from the 504 team meeting, detailing ways to help the child. My ds' 1st grade teacher (and school) has been nothing but cooperative and suggested a 504 plan to me the first week before I could bring it up (we had scheduled a preemptive parent/teacher conference). What good is a plan if it is not written down?

 

She should have a support person at that meeting (it can be intimidating having 4-5 school personnel facing you), and seeing as the school is uncooperative, an advocate or advice from one--I googled "special education advocate mycity" and found some.


khaoskat's Avatar khaoskat 09:05 PM 01-02-2011

Definately agree, she needs an advocate with her.  A lot of schools don't like to do them, because it is extra paperwork and they are "required" to do everything in the 504 plan and be held accountable for it.  They would much rather do a "friendly" agreement, save the paperwork, and then when they refuse to follow through there is nothing that can be done by the parents/guardians of the child.

 

Another thing your friend might want to look into is having him tested for "gifted".  My friend's daughter is "visually" gifted and like your friend's son, does much better when things are shown to her visually rather than verbally.  She also tests better when the test is on certain colors of paper vs being on white paper with black letters.

 

Those types of accomodations can be added into the 504...I think the teacher/school is reluctant because the teacher is a "verbal" person, and she would have to completely change how she teaches to accomodate your friend's son.  Something, if she is been around for a while, she is not going to want to do and can with a "friendly agreement" just pass it off with a 1/2 hearted attempt or not even attempting, and there is nothing anyone can do.  It may also mean getting special books for him, etc.  For instance, if he is a visual learning, and if his reading is better when things are printed on yellow paper, then they will have to get everything put on yellow paper (tests, homework, etc)..again extra work and possible extra costs to the school.

 

If it gets put into a 504, then she is required to do it, or they are required to move him into a classroom or put an instructor in who will/can meet his needs.

 

Have your friend go to the public library and request copies of the Education Publications by Wrights Law.  They are listed on their website.

 

And again, I would even consider asking him to be tested for giftedness.   He may do exceedingly well in all but the one area.  She may also want to look into a good psychologist who can do IQ and giftedness testing to determine what works best for him....


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