Dysgraphia: 504 OR IEP FOR DYSGRAPHIA?

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Richelle:  My son is 8. We easily got a 504 plan in place last school year for anxiety & ADHD- more recently he was diagnosed w/ dysgraphia, and tested as gifted. Should he have an IEP? I was told by his school there was not enough supporting evidence to include the writing disability in his current 504 plan.

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26 Comments on "Dysgraphia: 504 OR IEP FOR DYSGRAPHIA?"

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My son has Dsygraphia. Writing involves more, cognitively, than meets the eye. The act of writing involves planning, sizing, letter forming, alignment,controlling the pressure placed on & direction of the pencil+ more.Fine motor skills (&often the small muscles involved) are impacted in a neg way. Just the act of writing is hard. The writer also has to track what he is writing about, what has been written, what he will write next & filter out what might not be pertinent. When the body/brain is struggling to physically meet the demands of the task alone, writing becomes frustrating & laborious. Lightening the cognitive load by supporting the phys demands allows the thoughts to better be put on paper Priority is get thoughts out not how.

We found it helpful to remind the people in our 504 meetings of the above. We have even had to have the school psychologist attend meetings to validate this.

My son is in 7th grade and is severely impacted by his dysgraphia. I need some SMART goals for a kid who is according to Aims web test in the 4th percentile for writing. Please suggest or send me a link to where I could find some?

I can not get my son diagnosed with dyslexia or dysgraphia because he test right at the line his IQ is very high so they say he can learn. He did not qualify for an IEP but his principal finally agreed to a 504 plan. He is in 3rd grade will it follow him through high school?

I had the same problem but when my son was six, we took him to a Developmental Pediatrician who diagnosed him with dysgraphia. Once we had a medical diagnosis, the district started serving him.

504 is cradle to grave … IEP is through HS

“504 is cradle to grave … IEP is through HS” starts a good discussion for parents and students. Regardless if you are going into the workforce, college, etc., it is smart for a student to know his/her rights, documentation requirements for colleges, etc. The IEP does not close the door after after school but one needs to know what is involved if one is going to college, etc. to request accommodations etc, such as specific current evaluations and testing. There is a process involved and a need to understand expectations and rights. That is why transition planning is important and should start early. I advise students and parents to keep IEPs for a while after after school as employment specialists and other agencies may use such as a starting point for discussions.

A student can have a disability despite having a high IQ. Information on this website regarding, eligibility, twice exceptional, & child find discuss this fact. If you have not done so, involve the special ed staff. Keep records of all responses from the school. Your state parent training & information center can assist you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

Put the writing into his IEP now! My son is in 7th grade and the dysgraphia is not part of his IEP, and his 7th grade teacher refuses to accept his handwritten work if she can’t read it and she won’t let him type because she wants it in “her workbook!” Get it in now and keep it there because it will be middle and high school where he will need that protection in his classes.

How /where did you go to get dysgraphia diagnosis ? I’m having a hard time finding a testing center that will diagnose it in TX.

Go to a Developmental Pediatric Center. They are typically associated with University Medical Hospitals. Since these are medical doctors, you get a medical diagnosis and the district must accept the diagnosis.

Scottish Rites in Dallas diagnosed my son with dysgraphia.

Hirsh and associates in league city, TX

Julie, If you haven’t done this yet, suggest you get a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation of your child by a clinical psych or educational evaluator in the private sector. When a child has dysgraphia, he usually has other related problems that need to be identified.

Re: finding an evaluator, look for an evaluator who has expertise in language learning problems (dysgraphia, dyslexia, etc). The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is a good place to start. They have a Provider Directory on their site that lists evaluators and academic tutors: https://dyslexiaida.org/ida-accredited-provider-directory/

You can also check our Yellow Pages for Kids for evaluator, tutors, and others who help kids with disabilities: http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/

I’d go with the IDA Providers first.

Good luck!

School districts say that they don’t have to accept an outside psychologist’s evaluation, particularly if it contradicts the PsychEd evaluations done by the district’s psychologist. It is for this reason that we and a lot of parents do to a Developmental Pediatric Center. If the child is diagnosed by a medical center, the district immediately accepts the diagnosis without further challenge.


Good to know because I am currently going through this with my 3rd grader. He has been diagnosed with dysgraphia and is on a 504. I am in the same boat because I have been told to do it while they are in elementary because it is difficult once they reach middle. His teacher now believe he is just not trying and wanting to get out of his work. I have a psych eval and OT eval stating the facts that his writing is non-functional. Do you know what I would have to do to request and IEP for SLD instead of a 504 so he could receive more services or should I keep him on a 504?

Thank you!

Send a written request for special ed testing to the principal, & the district special ed office. They need to respond in writing yes or no, & give reasons for a no answer.

Thank you for the advice!! So glad I found & joined this site – very helpful information!

Well, you can accept things as they are (sounds like this is not your top option)!

You could request a due process hearing under Section 504, to dispute the appropriateness of the current plan. The school should give you info on how to do this (it varies widely by location).

Or you could request an initial evaluation for special education eligibility. The school could refuse – and you could request a hearing. The school could conduct it and find him ineligible – and you could request an independent evaluation and/or hearing. Or they could find him eligible and it’s on to IEP development!

It’s hard to say which is the best option for you. It really depends on how you think your son will best be served.

Good luck!!

Thank you for responding. We had an outside psych. evaluation done, and the report was very detailed – plus notes from previous year teacher and my option which all indicated he needed accommodations for writing. At the time of the meeting his current teacher of only 2weeks stated he was doing fine -And that is what they sided with, and I was beside myself.

My daughter also was accused of not trying. The principal called her “defiant” and I told her she wasn’t qualified to make that diagnosis (in front of the whole child study team), You have to put the request in writing specifying that you believe you child may have a learning disability. I honestly was happy with the 504 plan for my daughter. Academically, I was told she didn’t meet the eligibility for an IEP. Her writing was low C to high D, the rest was As. I knew that was too big of a valley and that she needed help. She got OT and 3 days a week of pull out services just for writing. She also got extra time for writing assignments and tests which took the pressure off her. By 4th grade she was done with OT and extra help outside the mainstream classroom and 504 was gone by 7th.

Go on up the chain of command to the school district Special Education Director. If all else fails go to the State Board of Education. After 10 years of advocacy for my child I will tell you that unless you are very lucky to be working with a local 504/IEP Team that truly follows the law to provide for the unique needs of your child, you will be swimming up stream. There is a letter dated 10/23/15 from the US Department of Education. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services signed by Michael York that focuses on ensuring that a high-quality education is provided for children with unique educational needs with specific learning disabilities (SLD), i.e. dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia. If your child has been diagnosed with a SLD he qualifies for services under IDEA.

I would start with a list of the ways your son is adversely affected by insufficient supports, and a list of the supports you think would be helpful for him. (By the way, you can help him learn to touch type at home, with, for example, http://play.bbc.co.uk/play/pen/g8s4pb547b. That will help tremendously in the long run.) Read your state’s guide to testing accommodations to get some good ideas.

Try to get the teacher to try some of these ideas out informally.

If that doesn’t work, you might want to request an IEP, as a bargaining move. But the ideal would be to simply strengthen his 504 plan. Yes, an IEP would give you greater protections and state oversight, but it can be difficult to get with these diagnoses.

Thank you so much, that is very helpful!!

If the school did not assess, you have a few more options. If you think a 504 plan will meet his needs, you can ask that they assess his need for dysgraphia-related supports.

If you think he needs more support than a 504 plan will provide, ask for the special education evaluation. This route provides you with more procedural protections. You will still have a right to a due process hearing, but also have the right to publicly-funded independent evaluations and parental participation in plan development.

If you’re not sure which way to go, ask for the special education evaluation. Again, this will provide you with more procedural protections. And if your son is found ineligible, the results can be used to update the 504 plan.

Richelle –

What info did the school use to decide not to include dysgraphia in the 504 plan? Did they assess your son in this area, or did they simply rely on evidence provided by you?

To be eligible for an IEP, a student must have a need for specially designed instruction (i.e. modifications). This is a higher standard than for a 504 plan, where students must only have a need for accommodations and/or related services.

If the school DID assess for dysgraphia, asking for an evaluation for special education eligibility will not likely do much good. You can ask for a due process hearing if you disagree with the results of the assessment or the content of 504 plan.