Does a Child Need an IEP AND a 504 Plan?

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

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I have twin boys one has an iep and the other has a 504. The one with the iep the school has managed to get rid of him from shcool although they are paying to send him to a private much smaller setting. the one with a 504 is allways being suspended and they never give me any proof of what they say he has done. Now they are talking expullsion I need help. He is failing all of his classes and I have requested several times for him to be retested and they refuse saying not until I take him to the doctors to see if has add or adhd. PLEASE HELP he is only 15


My son’s teacher has suggested ending his IEP because he is only receiving consultative services and doing well. I prefer that he keep it because you never know what the future brings. Can the IEP be removed if he doesn’t go to resource?

Kevin, This is a very valuable resource. Thought you might want to check it out.

I agree that this makes no sense. It is double work. Parents do need to understand that eligiblity for sp ed is defined by the states interpretation where as 504 is federal, there is some interpretation but sp ed has specific legal requirements.One is not better than another (504 is recognized by college tho). I think it also needs to be made clear that outside evaluations must be considered but do not create eligibility. One parent had a child that had a 3 hr eval in a dr’s office (actually done by an assessment specialist paid by them and he signed it even though he was the nueropsych) and it is very different from the one completed by the school. Why? Because the school evaluator took breaks and broke it up over 2 days. Cost $3k for a third party. The school cost nothing;the parents thought it was a better picture. Go figure.


I would never assume that all schools operate the way that our son’s school has.

There is an interesting study in this site below that represents the opinion of numerous schools.

Parents that are educated about their child’s rights and educational needs will be able to recognize if they have the luck of the draw and have landed in a school environment that will allow their child to make measurable educaitonal progress.

If more schools practiced compliance of IDEA, most of us would have never heard of Pam or Pete Wright.

Thank you very much. I just refuse for my son to slip through the cracks because he is high functioning and that seems to me to be the reason for this. I am learning and strive to learn more to help my son and maybe in the future others. Again thank you and I have now become the biggest book worm devouring anything I can get my hands on. Someone stated,” Parents are the biggest advocates for their children!” how true that statement is and beleive when I say they lit a fire under this mother one- they might regret!!!!

You have obviously had lots of bad experiences. The comments that you make in the first 3 paragraphs do occur, but to say that this is true of all schools is not correct.

Parents who assume that your child’s school has your child’s best interest in mind, do not understand the negotiation process that they are in.

Schools are budget driven and staff will be coached to say what they need to say to keep cost at a minimum.

Regardless of diagnosis, staff will have you believe that an IEP and 504 are one and the same. Our school did the ASDS to measure the likelihood of Autism for my son. It was off the chart.

The “structured” environment that they offered was an E.D. placement in an alternative class. (portable that is fenced and locked gate).

They do not consider this to have been a punishment for having a disability.

Learn your child’s rights and Exercise them……