Overview of 504 Accommodation Plans
A 504 Accommodations Plan is a legal document falling under the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act. This is a civil rights law to protect people with disabilities by eliminating barriers and allowing full participation in education. A 504 Accommodations Plan is designed to articulate and implement a program of instructional services, including general classroom modifications, to assist students with impairments who are educated in the regular education setting. A 504 plan is not an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is required for services in special education.
Teachers accommodate all the time for students: It is only when a qualified student with a disability needs a systematic, consistently implemented battery of modifications in order to have his needs met as adequately as nondisabled children that a 504 Accommodations Plan becomes necessary. Some may say that schools always took care of these situations informally in the past, and that the 504 process just adds bureaucracy and paperwork to the school’s efforts to address the problem. Although it may be true that schools informally addressed these situations without 504 in the past, using the 504 process helps ensure consistency, accountability, and better decision making.