What is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973?
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states, "no otherwise qualified individual with a handicapping condition in the United States shall solely by reason of her or his handicap be excluded from the participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
- Section 504 broadens the definition of a "qualified handicapped individual: any person who 1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; 2) has a record of such impairment; and 3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
- Conditions which may be handicapping (including but not limited to): Aids, allergies, asthma, recovering chemical dependent, ADHD, congenital defects, diabetes, the formerly handicapped, Hepatitis B, hemophilia, obesity, pregnancy with medical problems, schizophrenia, retinitis - pigmentosa, temporary conditions, tourettes syndrome, tuberculosis, dwarfism, epilepsy, and communicable diseases.
How does the School District of New London meet the needs of children with a Section 504 handicapping condition?
- Referral: Parents may consult with the teacher, principal, or school psychologist regarding the need for a Section 504 referral and assessment. Parent permission in writing is required before an assessment can be completed.
- Assessment: The assessment is a formal evaluation completed by the Building Consultation Team. This team includes the principal, school psychologist, and guidance counselor. The classroom teacher and other participants will be included when necessary. Information is obtained from both home and school by a variety of professions. The parents may be encouraged to explore the services of a pediatrician, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or medical specialist to obtain a diagnosis for any medical conditions. Parents are invited to participant in the 504 eligibility meeting.
What happens once a child has been determined to have a Section 504 handicapping condition?
Section 504 accommodates:
- Plan: Once the child is determined by the team to have a handicapping condition, the committee will write an accommodation plan for the student. This plan is individualized for the student and will identify the desired goals along with the teaching strategies, parent initiatives, and student initiatives which will be implemented to achieve the goals.
- School Counseling Services: If the team determines that the student may benefit from individual or group counseling services, this will be included on the accommodation plan. Issues of the group may include self-esteem, social skills, anger control, and others.
- Parent Permission: Parents are encouraged to participate throughout the Section 504 referral process. The Section 504 accommodate plan will be implemented upon receipt of parent permission.
- Year End Review: By May 1st of each school year the teacher(s) will review the strategies and interventions they used with the student. They will write comments on the accommodation plan indicating what strategies worked, what did not work, and recommendations to the receiving teacher.
- Revised Accommodation Plan: In the following school year, the receiving teacher(s) will write a new accommodation plan by October 1st and discuss with the parents how the needs of the student will be met.
Is this a special education program?
- No. Most handicapping conditions found under Section 504 do not require special education services. That is why the School District of New London developed procedures to meet the needs of these children in the regular education setting.
- If the child meets the criteria for Learning Disabilities, Cognitive Disabilities, Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities, Other Health Impaired, or any other programs, they may receive special education services.