Can kids with disabilities who get good grades (or passing grades) be eligible for 504 plans and IEPs?
Yes. We address these questions in Chapter 5 (IDEA), Chapter 7 (Section 504), and n Chapter 10: Special Topics about “Grades” (page 451) of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 3rd Edition.
Never assume that the school team members have read the laws. Most have not. That’s why we include references in our articles – so you and the team can “look it up” – like this:
“I can’t go to a meeting and interpret the law as it applies to my student on a particular subject unless I want that to be my last meeting . . .
“But I can open the book to the page in Selected Topics and let someone read how you interpret that law for my student on that subject . . . It’s SO helpful, bulletproof, and quick.” – Special Education Advocate
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reiterated this fact about Section 504 Plans in the “Parent and Educator Guide to Section 504” (see page 5, page 14, and page 21). To parents of children with disabilities and teachers, you need to download and study this (free) Guide packed with helpful info.
If you are running into roadblocks from school staff, bring an extra copy of two of this Guidebook for members of your child’s 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 with dyslexia and is substantially limited in reading finds it challenging to read the required class material promptly.
The Guide 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 the assumption that a child who performs well academically cannot be substantially limited in major life activities, including reading, learning, writing, and thinking. A child who performs well academically may also be a person with a disability.
- Must evaluate children with behavioral difficulties and children who seem unfocused or distractible as they may have ADHD.
- Must provide parents and guardians with due process and allow parents and guardians 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: Know Your Rights – This two-page summary of student and parent rights under Section 504 contains valuable information for a parent or an older child with a disability.