504 Plan vs IEP
A 504 plan refers to a plan which has been developed to make sure that a child identified under the law as having a disability is receiving accommodations in elementary school or secondary school which will ensure his/her access in the learning environment and also academic success. An IEP, or Individualized Education Plan, is a program or plan developed to make sure that a child identified under the law as having a disability is receiving individualized instructions and services related to his/her disability.
A 504 Plan is considered a Federal civil rights law and protects persons with disabilities under the Rehabilitation Act. It does not guarantee or mean that the plan is designed in a way that a child receives individual educational needs thus not necessarily qualifying under the IDEA or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
One is eligible for Section 504 after an evaluation which is drawn from various sources. For eligibility under a 504 Plan, the child should have a mental or physical impairment which impairs at least one life activity. These major activities are: hearing, seeing, walking, breathing, speaking, reading, writing, learning, and caring for oneself, math calculation performance, and manual tasks.
A child under the 504 Plan receives fewer rights than a child who receives special education services, but a child receiving special education services is already protected under the 504 plan.
Children under a 504 Plan receive accommodations and modifications like:
- Tests being conducted in separate locations; time limits of tests either extended or waived.
- More frequent breaks than other children to release tics.
- Usage of a word processor due to visual or fine motor deficits.
- Reports/tests given orally.
- Tests written directly in a booklet.
- Shorter assignments.
There are many other modifications and accommodations allowed and given. Basically, in a 504 Plan the child is identified as requiring special accommodations and modifications by schools but does not need a specialized education plan for becoming self-sufficient and independent. A child under a 504 Plan is not protected under the IDEA as an IEP child is protected.
IEP (Individualized Education Program)
IEPs are designed to help an individual child with his/her needs in school. Children identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, are eligible for an IEP.
The child identified under the IEP receives more rights than a child identified under a 504 Plan. The IEP is designed to help a child individually to reach his/her educational goals. It involves many things like: developing objectives and goals for students, helping the teachers in understanding the student’s disability, and most importantly, choosing placement for the student in an environment which is the least restrictive for the student.
- An IEP, or Individualized Education Plan, is a program or plan developed to make sure that a child identified under the law as having a disability is receiving individualized instructions and services related to his/her disability; a 504 Plan does not require a child to receive an Individualized Education Plan.
- IEP recipients receive more rights than under a 504 Plan.
- Children identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, are eligible for IEPs; children identified under the 504 Plan are not eligible for an IEP.