Special Education Attorneys, IDEA Attorneys, Children's Civil Rights Attorneys, Attorney for Child, Juvenile Law Attorneys - Law Office of Veronica Reed

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The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) writes that these “Red Flags” should prompt a school to consider possible accommodations under Section 504:

  • When a student is evaluated and does not qualify for special education services under the IDEA
  • When a parent frequently expresses a concern about their child’s performance.
  • When suspension or expulsion is being considered for a student
  • When retention is being considered for any student
  • When a student shows a pattern of not benefiting from research-based instruction
  • When a student returns to school after a serious illness or injury
  • When a student exhibits a chronic health condition
  • When a student has been identified as having attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • When substance abuse is an issue and the student is in, or completed, rehabilitation
  • When a disability of any kind is known or suspected
  • When a new building or remodeling is being considered for a student

If you see any of these red flags, it may be time to request a referral for a Section 504 evaluation. We have a template letter you can use or we can initiate proceedings on your behalf. For more information, call or send us an email through our Contact page or directly to veronica.reed@kidsworklife.com 

Will Your College Provide the Accommodations in Your 504 Plan?

How Do I Know My Child Might Need a Section 504 Plan?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 4 million students will disability are enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Over 50% of these students have a hidden disability,

Hidden disability are physical or mental impairments that are not readily apparent to others, such as specific learning disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy, food allergies, and other allergies.

Students with hidden disabilities may be protected under Section 504 if they are substantially limited in one or more major life activities as a result of the hidden disability. To learn more about Section 504 and severe food allergies, visit our website here. We are also available to answer your specific questions through our Contact page or by phone or email.

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Your child may benefit from a Section 504 Accommodation Plan if he or she has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

“Major life activities” include functions such as caring for one’s self, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning, breathing, sleeping, standing, lifting, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working, helping, eating, bending, or operation of a bodily function. It may also include performing manual tasks, and operations of a major bodily functions such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

If the major life activity is learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, speaking or communicating, the child should be referred for a Full Individual Evaluation (FIE) to determine eligibility for special education under the IDEA. If the student requires specially designed instruction due to impairment of any major life activities, the school must refer the student for a FIE to determine eligibility under IDEA.

Because Section 504 and the ADA fail to provide a specific definition of the term “substantially limits”, its determination made on a case-by-case basis by a group of knowledgeable persons relying on a variety of information sources. In general, "substantially limits" can be understood to mean an inability to perform or significant restriction in performing a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform.

When determining whether an impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities, the effects of mitigating measures cannot be considered. Mitigating measures might be medication, medical equipment, hearing aids, mobility devices, assistive technology, reasonable accommodations auxiliary aids or services, or learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications. 42 U.S.C. 12102(4)(a)(4)(E)(i). If a student or employee has a physical or mental impairment that would substantially limit them in a major life activity if they were not taking advantage of mitigating measures, then they are disabled under Section 504.

Temporary impairments do not, generally, constitute a disability under Section 504 unless the severity results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities for an extended period of time. Whether or not this is the circumstance is resolved on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration the duration or expected duration and the extent to which there is a limitation of a major life activity.

Would My Child Benefit From a Section 504 Plan?

Are Hidden Disabilities Protected Under Section 504?

U.S. colleges and universities (postsecondary institutions) are subject to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (Title II) or Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. These laws prohibit discrimination based on disability. Postsecondary institutions have no legal obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which results in significant differences between the rights and responsibilities of special needs students in pre-through-12 education settings and the rights and responsibilities in postsecondary education settings. For more information on those differences, read our blog at: ​https://veronicareed2.tumblr.com/post/156129064834/ieps-section-504-plans-and-higher-education