Kids with Passing Grades Eligible for 504 Plans, IEPs? YES!

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Did you know that kids with disabilities who get good grades may be eligible for 504 plans? Yes!

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) restated this fact AGAIN in their “Parent and Educator Guide to Section 504” (see page 5, page 14, and page 21).

Parents of children with disabilities and teachers — you need to download and study this (free) Guide, packed with useful info.

If you are running into roadblocks from school staff, bring an extra copy of two of this Guidebook for members of your team.

Re “passing grades”

The Guide says:

School staff should note that a student may have a disability and be eligible for Section 504 services, including modifications, even if the student earns good grades. This is because the student’s impairment may substantially limit a major life activity regardless of whether the student performs well academically… For example, a student who has dyslexia and is substantially limited in reading finds it challenging to read the required class material in a timely manner.

The Guide also covers special education under Section 504 and the IDEA.

The Resource Guide provides an excellent overview of the rights of students with ADHD and describes school districts’ legal obligation to evaluate and provide educational services to students with disabilities. For example, the school:

  • Must evaluate a child when the child needs or is believed to need special education or related services.
  • Must provide services based on the child’s needs, not on generalizations about disabilities or ADHD.
  • May not rely on assumption that a child who performs well academically cannot be substantially limited in major life activities, including reading, learning, writing, and thinking. In fact, a child who performs well academically may also be a person with a disability.
  • Must evaluate children who have behavioral difficulties and children who seem unfocused or distractible as they may have ADHD.
  • Must provide parents and guardians with due process and must allow them to appeal decisions regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of their children with disabilities, including children with ADHD.

If you have questions about getting services for your child or student with a disability, this Guide is a must read.

Students with ADHD and Section 504: A Resource Guide

Students with ADHD: Know Your Rights – This two-page summary of student and parent rights under Section contains useful information for any parent or older child who may have a disability.

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3 Comments on "Kids with Passing Grades Eligible for 504 Plans, IEPs? YES!"

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My 11th grade “twice gifted” son with dyslexia (documented learning difficulties from grade 1 to 11) had an IEP grades 6-10, then it was terminated because of his good grades. The school psychologist (also the district 504 coordinator) said that he was not eligible for a 504 plan for the same reason. After seeing the OCR guidance, we requested that the school consider his eligibility for a 504. His teachers provide informal accommodations (extra time on tests), but we fear that a teacher in the future could choose not to provide extra time and then he has no speedy recourse. I cited the OCR report at today’s 504 meeting, but it was ignored because “all students could benefit from extra time” and his performance is not enough below average.

I have a student with PTSD who is passing all subjects. The student will be testifying at court hearing (several) in the near future. To provide academic protections as well as time for the student to be absent for counseling, etc. to get themselves together emotionally again for school would it be wise for the school district to support this students needs under a 504 Plan?

Hi Whitney,

You asked a great question. Yes it is wise for the school to support this students needs with a 504 plan. However, from what I am reading it sounds like your student would do better with an IEP. An IEP is going to give hime more and its federally mandated so the school has to follow it. Also no changes can be made without the IEP team. A 504 plan can be changed and all the school has to do is give the parents/guardians writing of the changes. Hope this helps.