Does a Child Need an IEP AND a 504 Plan?

“Can a child have an IEP for speech and a 504 for academic interventions?”

There is nothing in the law that says a child with a disability should have an IEP for some needs and a 504 plan for others. It’s confusing, it’s more work, and it’s unnecessary.

A school that does not understand the requirements for educating children with disabilities may prepare both forms. If the school prepares two plans, they are just making more paperwork.

It makes no sense to have two different plans to meet the needs of the same child – the IEP will cover everything.

There is no reason to have an IEP for speech (or OT or academic remediation) and a 504 plan for other needs that are related to a child’s disability.

If your child has a disability and an IEP, he is automatically covered by Section 504. If your child has an IEP and needs academic interventions, this should be included his IEP. The IEP is required to address ALL of a child’s needs that are related to the disability.

In addition, an IEP also provides the child and the child’s family with more rights and protections than 504 plans.

Read more about the Key Differences Between Section 504, the ADA, and the IDEA. (

Key Differences Between Section 504 and IDEA. (

Considerations for Senior Year

Parents should consider having a 504 plan from the public school in the last two years prior to attending college, since college disability offices recognize 504 and ADA, but not IDEA.

Read this outstanding article by Marilyn Bartlett, Transitioning from High School to Post-Secondary Education.

Dr. Bartlett explains why transition from the IEP to a 504 plan in the freshman or sophomore year can be very important.

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115 Comments on "Does a Child Need an IEP AND a 504 Plan?"

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04/28/2016 12:30 pm

My son has bilateral cochlear implants. He is a straight A second grader. He has an IEP the state is about to make him lose his hearing impaired ruling because he is doing well in school. Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?

04/22/2016 9:40 am

I have a student with autism who qualifies for special education in the areas of language and math but not reading. Because of his disability he has trouble focusing, following directions, and finishing work. He is in a high stakes state testing grade and receives no modifications on his reading test. After all, he did not meet the criteria of a learning disability in reading.

Obviously, his autism disability makes testing difficult, but because he has an IEP for math and language, I’m told he cannot have a 504 to make accommodations to meet his needs on his reading test.

In this type of situation, it seems to hurt the child not to have both in place.

04/13/2016 12:57 pm

My child has been in special education for speech only needs for 5 years. Last year he was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease. Where should his Celiac needs be documented since they are not Speech related? 504 or IEP and if the IEP what part of the IEP?

08/08/2015 3:06 pm

My daughter has abdominal migraine which caused her to miss many days of school in pior school years she was tested for an IEP in 2014 her scores qualify her but her attendance disqualified her she has ADHD and was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. she has a chronic illness form a 504 and diabetes management plan but they will not give her an IEP. she missed so many days last year in and out of the ER then she couldn’t come back because they didn’t have a nurse for 2 weeks and all absences were excused by her doctors. they refuse to retest her even though she is taking many medications to prevent her illnesses they say I have to wait 6 months with perfect attendance

07/29/2015 7:35 pm

my son is 7 going into second grade in Texas they said hes too young to get speech therapy and we have to requalify. Is this true

03/23/2015 12:56 pm

My son is in the end of his eighth grade year. He is ADHD. Is it typical for a school to recommend an IEP now, so late in his education. They say they’ve done more than a 504 Plan for him the last year and a half. Is that something I should have been notified about? They also say in some of his classes he is only at a third grade level. Is this something that should have been recognized long before the eighth grade? He goes to school of choice and they don’t get funds for him because we live in a different ISD. Should I sign this IEP or get a second opinion? I feel like they are just trying to get rid of him.

04/22/2016 9:50 am

We need to remember that special education is actually very expensive for a school district. No district gives a child an IEP because, “they are trying to get rid of him.”

05/13/2015 3:45 pm

You need to make sure that the services they are proposing can close his achievement gap. Have you seen his special education evaluation? A 5 year gap would suggest intensive remediation. I would take this evaluation to a private psychologist before you sign.

04/24/2015 2:01 pm

Amber you can ask for an Advocate to walk you through some good questions to be asking OR come with you to the meetings with teachers so they can help you with concerns. I have never needed an Advocate but hear it can be very helpful to the patent. The school often doesn’t look forward to Advocates because they know they are well versed in these matters! Good luck!!

03/22/2015 9:06 am

My grandson has an 504 Plan. He is ADHD and bipolar. His has two long terms substitutes who has high school education in core subjects. They are not following his 504 and giving him zeros. I was informed when I complained that The Special Education Director said, “give zeros and they can fail”. I need help, he is successful when his plan is followed. He was passing before his certified teachers left. Because his plan is not followed he often gets in trouble. His psychiatrist wrote a letter to the school but nothing changed. Where do I go for help?

05/13/2015 3:42 pm

You need to call the Office for Civil Rights in your state. Not following 504 plans is discrimination and you can make a complaint online. Make sure that you have a paper trail, emails etc so that you can prove he is not getting his accommodations

03/09/2015 12:41 pm

My daughter has a 504 plan in place at the school she attends, however there are schools that are closer to our home but are out of the district. Can she go to a school out of our district?

02/26/2015 8:09 am

My son has an iep at his school in Indiana i was told a dr. Had to diagnose him for him to keep his iep that the school would not do that. I had to go to psychiatrist and pay for that through Medicaid. shouldn’t the school have done that? And how do I get his school to do assessments and get a positive behavior plan set up? he is still failing 5 out of 7 classes and the social worker tells me, well, “that’s natural consequences!” I find failing not acceptable. when I am doing my part they should do theirs and have a plan. if homework needs to be done, I also need to know what homework there is. my son will ALWAYS say he has no homework.

12/16/2014 12:12 am

My son’s high school is insisting that he switch from an IEP to a 504 because he is receiving only accommodations (use of a computer for dysgraphia, time and a half on tests, etc.) but no services. His IEP mandates OT services for dysgraphia, but a previous OT as well as a reevaluation determined that OT to improve his handwriting at age 14 was pointless because he would never be able to write quickly enough as well as legibly enough to take notes in class, write essays, take tests, etc. He has typed everything since 6th grade. I don’t trust the school because they have already refused several requested reasonable accommodations that were not explicitly spelled out in his IEP. Can he keep his IEP without receiving services? The school says he can’t and must switch to a 504 to get accommodations without services. Is this correct?

11/21/2014 6:33 pm

If a parent isn’t aware of the 504 plan, yet their kids have chronic health conditions that the school was aware of. Should the school tell the parents about the 504 plan?

11/20/2014 11:13 am

I am divorced and would like a 504 plan for my daughter, does her father have to approve of a 504?

10/10/2014 9:38 am

In the article above you state “The IEP is required to address ALL of a child’s needs that are related to the disability”. If the issue in the 504 plan is NOT related to the learning disability is the IEP still going to address it? They seem like separate issues.

10/06/2014 4:18 pm

I have a friend whose daughter broke both arms over the weekend on a moped like motorized bike.

She can’t write with her writing hand for about 3 months, does that qualify her for a 504 in school?

She also can’t do basic things as feed her self, dress herself, etc.

Thank You, Barb

09/09/2014 1:59 pm

I have a 14 year old son in 7th grade with IEP. Is the school and teachers required to follow accommodations for all subjects even BAND?? My son has ADHD, ODD, and Autism-Aspergers. He is failing band because he forgot to turn in assignments and received zero. Teacher told me that he gives all student reminders to turn in assignment on Friday. Dustin is not like all students. You can tell him to do something and a second late he has already forgot what you told him. What does the IEP laws allow with accommodations for all subjects? What is the school required to follow?

04/21/2014 8:43 am

Veronica, You are in a tough spot. I have always felt that teachers and their SLD kids are treated very differently by the district/staff when trying to get their child help — not in a good way! If you can afford a good tutor then get one — don’t wait for the school. What an amazing mother you are to teach/work all day and then come home and teach your dyslexic son. Ultimately, having you in his corner is what will make all the difference. We have a local dyslexia help group that I joined and it was very helpful. They provided lots of advice about nurturing your child’s self-esteem. It helped my son to fully understand dyslexia, how it affects him, and know others (famous) have it, too. He didn’t then feel so alone — and he met kids in the help group which provided time for them to be mentored by an older dyslexic kid.

04/17/2014 5:08 pm

Do all my son’s teachers have to be at the 504/IEP meeting? Do all the therapies in the school district have to be there? His school district won’t give him a plan even though I have evidence from outside sources. He has multiple diagnoses. They keep bring up FAPE. I disagreed with them because his grades have gone down.

02/26/2014 11:26 pm

My son was just diagnosed with both a mood disorder NOS and a learning disorder NOS (slow processing speed and executive dysfunction) by an idependant neuropsychologist that I found due to his major behavioral and academic declines in past several months. I’ve asked school to do their own district neuropsych evaluation, in case they gave me a hard time accepting mine. They have gotten back to me suggesting implementing a section 504, while they perform any additional testing and a FBA so they can accommodate my son in the meantime. He has started medications as well from his psychiatrist/neurologist and there seems to be some improve my in school. I would like to stipulate not signing a 504 unless thry agreeing paper that IEP will be started once testing is complete. I’m unsure if I trust school at this point and want to ask you direction

01/28/2014 12:14 am

My son is 11 yrs. old and has tourettes/ADHD/OCD the school put him on a 504 plan that has just been destructible because 1 out of 4 teachers used it. While he had tourette tics it was easy to have him leave classroom as 504 said he could. When he didn’t have Tourettes they thought they weren’t educated on all 3 Neurological disorders, like all 3 being impulsive and intrusive on daily activity nor were hyperactivity, anxiety, no organization skills. Even though I supplied information and had many, many meetings 3 out of 4 teachers didn’t come to meetings. When curriculum suppose to be broken up, 2 teachers added MORE. No one followed 504 plan, 1 when felt like it. My son struggled and they failed him education. He is at home awaiting ” testing ” for an I E P and haven’t got to do homeschooling due to his school stating behavioral problems.

10/29/2013 8:17 pm

First, thanks for all the great resource, including your books and the articles on this web site. I have found them to be invaluable. My question: I understand that IDEA provides many substantive and procedural protections that are not provided by Section 504. However (and correct me if I’m wrong) isn’t is possible to go straight to a federal court to enforce a Section 504 violation? With IDEA you have to go to a state administrative proceeding first, and in the administrative hearing officers can be more “pro-school district” than what you’d see in federal court. If I’m correct about this distinction, wouldn’t that be a reason to have both a section 504 plan and an IEP, so you have a greater choice of remedies?

10/23/2013 9:36 pm

I’m desperate for help. I work in the education system and year after year I see students with learning disabilities fall through the cracks. There is no possible way that a regular education teacher can provide the one on one help most ESE students need. No matter what the IEP or 504 plan says. The system and label does very little for students. Well, my son is one of those students and it kills me to see his self esteem and academic frustration. I literally come home from school and reteach 70% of the skills taught to him in class all over again.The school system says that dyslexia is not a word used in Broward County. They don’t even test for it. Year after year they tell me he’s fine, but the work samples I have gathered throughout the years are alarming. I don’t know what to do. I know the system is ignoring my son’s needs and others

10/16/2013 11:04 am

Can a child with 504 modification in Texas, be held back, if they do not pass the STARR test?

10/11/2013 9:24 pm

My 11 year old son struggles with th and l sound. In 2nd grade I asked for him to be assessed, nothing. In 3rd I asked again and the teacher hand delivered it to speech pathologist and again nothing. In 4th grade again I asked and his teacher finally got a new speech teacher to assess him and qualify him. Now in 5th grade the old speech teacher comes back and tells us out of the blue at his parent teacher conference which we had no idea she was attending that our son does not qualify for speech because the previous speech teacher messed up and didn’t do her job right by qualifying him ugh so frustrating. The new and returning teacher from the past told us his issues are cosmetic because he is now in 5th grade and this speech issue should of been assessed in his earlier years. Hello.we tried to have an assessment but both years nothing 🙁

Nance B
08/18/2013 4:34 pm

Would a young child ( 8 yr old male) recently diagnosed with Tourette’s qualify for an IEP or 504 accommodation at school?

05/03/2013 10:40 pm

I heard Pete Wright told attendees at a Wrightslaw seminar recently that every student with an IEP should also get a 504 in their junior year because colleges only accept 504s. This seems to go counter to what is stated in the Wrightslaw books, that an IEP is all-encompassing and there is no reason to have both an IEP and a 504. Clarification?

04/07/2013 12:04 pm

When parents are divorced and have joint custody in everything. Can the school pick and choose which parent to invite to the meeting when both have equal and joint custody.

03/12/2013 2:29 pm

my child is 14 year old in 9th grade. he doesn’t have IEP but he has a 504 plan. He is ADHD. They won’t do an IEP. Can you help me please. The School District will not write an IEP, he tests out of IEP. IEP meeting in which he does not qualify for special ed. Can I get IEP done with a 504 plan?

03/06/2013 12:23 am

Does the 504 Plan and IEP apply to a child in a private school?,Thanks

03/05/2013 8:11 pm

My child was premie. He received gross motor services during 1-3 years. He was followed at Children’s hospital. Their OT evaluation determined that he was in normal range at age 3 and school district wanted to write an IEP for motor skills. When we questioned the difference in evals we were told by school that he was not in mood. We rejected their proposal for IEP. After that he was frequently hospitalized with pneumonia and fell behind in his studies. His teacher proposed a 504 plan and his doctor agreed for medical reason of frequent hospitalizations. They did evaluations in Children’s hospital that showed that he is in normal range for motor skills and needs help with handwriting and focusing. The school is now saying he is due for special educaton and they do not accept evaluation from Children’s and we do not trust school district.

01/11/2013 6:49 pm

My son is 7 yrs old and in the 2nd grade. He receives Speech and APE at his school. I had an IEP meeting today with his speech, APE and regular teachers. I requested a 504 plan for my son because he has a speech impairment and needs some extra help at school. His speech teacher told me at the IEP meeting that my son cannot receive the 504 plan because he receives Speech at school. Is this true? If not, what do I need to do next to see about my son getting the 504 plan?

01/08/2013 11:09 pm

I did not go through my school for diagnosis, per a reccomendation from a friend who writes up 504s. I went through my own doctor. I took my child to a respected ADHD clinic who did disgnosed him. In the final report they reccomended a 504 and even gave an example. I took it to the school, and by law, with the evaluation from the center, they had to provide my 504. It was much easier a process than going throught the red tape of the school. It has been three years since his diagnosis and I am always in constant contact with his teachers. I meet once a year to tweak the 504 according to any needs that may arise, ex, he started state testing last year and needed some modifications. However, by law, you can tweak that 504 anytime during the year if needs arise. Bottom line, we are our kids personal warriors and advocates, educate yourself 🙂

Sharon L.
12/16/2012 5:11 pm

Did your son have a multifactored evaluation? I am assuming that some sort of testing took place in order for the team to evaluate whether he belonged in spec ed or not. You can write a letter to the school stating that you do not agree with the results of the test & would like an outside evaluation in which the school must pay for. The school must give you sources to get the test from but you do not have to use any of these sources. You can use your own psychologist/physician, etc. AFter you get the test results you may have more info to work with. We have done this 3 times with our sons & either kept them in spec ed or got them into spec ed. ON 504 the school does not have to put your son into spec ed at your request. The only way is through the testing,evaluation,legal system.

12/08/2012 6:34 pm

My son is in 6th grade he is really struggling in math barley passing with a D. He has a current 504 plan & i jus had an IEP meeting in which he does not qualify for a special ed math class. I am upset because he needs extra help in math or to be in a smaller class because he gets easly destracted. The school is telling me there is nothing they could do. My question is under his 504 plan does the school have to offer extra help or put him in special ed math class upon my request?

11/01/2012 4:32 pm

HI! My son is profoundly deaf in one ear and prior to kindergarten I worked with his school to develop a 504 plan. Then, half-way through his year in kindergarten, he developed a severe fluency disorder (stutter), and I worked with his school to write an IEP for speech therapy. At the time I asked if his hearing-loss accommodations could be added to his IEP, but the speech pathologist told me he would need to qualify separately for an IEP for his hearing impairment, and I would need to demonstrate that his hearing loss is negatively impacting his educational outcomes. So my question is slightly different from the original question. I want to consolidate everything onto his IEP, but the district is resisting. His disabilities are unrelated in their cause. Is the SLP right that he has to qualify separately?

09/14/2012 10:22 am

I have a son that has a IEP but I want him to have a 504 too. He was 3yrs oldand got burned on his arm and have to surgeries, we have to go to Galveston Tx for them. But the school is telling me he can not have a 504 with a IEP.

My son has been having problems with the SED teacher and he has her again this year. I have asked very day to move him, but they tell me that is the only teacher they have. I know that is wrong, they can put him in the mayflower class. They tell me that he can notgo in there because he does not have a behavior problem. But it is on his IEP that he does. Please help me….

There is nothing in the law that says a child with a disability should have an IEP for some needs and a 504 plan for others. It’s confusing, it’s more work, and it’s unnecessary.

06/19/2012 11:57 am

i have a 6 year old son who has asthma and chronic environmental and food allergies. i am requesting an IEP within our school district. he attends a private school and i wonder how to find out if they receive federal funds? there’s no school lunch program but i know they have a speech therapist and other therapists come in to help some of the children with autism.

06/14/2012 10:24 pm

if a student is having trouble in math and qualifies for language does his math need have to go back to a SAT? What I am reading I see no, however I work with someone who is pushing this, also clarification graduation EXIT IEPS are required right?

06/03/2012 10:29 pm

I have a child categorized as LD for dysgraphia, who also is known to be diagnosed as ADHD. My school doesn’t want to make any accommodations for testing for the ADHD, because his IEP lists his disability as dysgraphia “and since the IEP is for dysgraphia, it cannot address the ADHD.” Should I try to get a 504 separately to address the ADHD, if I can get them to accommodate him at all? With the big SOL tests in the coming year, this issue needs to be resolved soon. 🙁

05/18/2012 10:05 am

My second grade son has a “speech and language” IEP. He has language processing deficits, but has done very well academically in second grade. Next year, for the first time, he will take the state standardized tests and the work will be much harder. I would like him to have extra time given processing issues. If he is performing well in school thus far, can I get him a 504 for extra time on timed tests given identified processing delay? Can it be included in the speech and language IEP (I thought not)? Thanks!

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