Occupational Therapy (OT): GETTING OT SERVICES WITH A 504

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Debbie:  My 2nd grade son was just exited from speech and therefore no longer qualifies for OT for handwriting. The OT agreed that he still needs OT but is no longer eligible as it’s a related service. Can he get OT services and/or accommodations under a 504 plan?

  1. I am confused. My Grandson is 504 for ADHD and has fine motor skill issues why won’t the school address this. Would it change to Special Ed? He get no help in public school.

  2. If a child has cerebral palsy, can they be classified as orthopedically impaired despite their successes in class?

    • It is one of the 13 qualifying conditions, so that’s a start. The school also has to also decide if the child’s disability adversely affects their educational performance and what, if any, accommodations are needed. I think the “adversely affects” phrase is where most of the disagreements occur between schools and families…but keep in mind that the assessment must take both academic as well as functional performance into account. A child doesn’t have to fail academically to receive services

  3. My brother and his family recently moved from NY to CO.
    The school has been non compliant with his IEP, he has not received his OT or Speech from his service providers. They have delegated his direct services to unlicensed paraprofessionals. (Yet they have clocked into Medicaid for payments for both direct and indirect services)
    They have refused formal evaluations, they have not given him a proper bathroom plan for toileting, as he is non-ambulatory and in a power wheelchair.
    He has been denied the right to participate in school safety drills.
    My nephews doctors feel that the school environment was not a safe place for him so now he is on homebound services.
    My nephew has DMD
    Can my brother sue the school for financial reimbursement and discrimination?

  4. debbie im guessing that your son’s elgibility was under speech language impairment and somehow had OT as well as a related service. perhaps you should look into qualifying him under a different elgiblity.

  5. I have a question. My son is in K12 online school in California. He was evaluated threw school and needs OT services in sensory processing, motor planning, bilateral integration, sequencing, visual motor integration, fine motor coordination and gross motor coordination. The school said no IEP because his grades are great. So they set up a 504. They state they can not and will not apply OT to a 504 I have called two meetings and they said no both times. The school OT they sent us to recommend therapy twice a week for an hour. What can I do know as of now? They reply every time their school district just doesn’t do related services with 504.

    • OT cannot stand alone; he needs to have an eligible disability (e.g., autism, specific learning disability, communication disorder, OHI-ADHD, etc.) in order to receive OT. OT cannot give him an eligibility.
      A student still needs an eligibility for a 504, so I wonder what they made him eligible for?

    • i used to work at a k12 online school and they are def required to provide OT under a 504 plan. however, the school is hesitant and that typically is due to the school not being expereinced in 504 plans. the 504 coordinator is probably some counselor who is def not the most qualified with this area. i suggest you press the issue with admin or the special education dept

  6. I have the same question. My daughter is in K and has a 504. She has multiple medical dx including a form of muscular dystrophy and we really wanted an OT eval. I settled for 504 vs IEP because I was told that after her 1st month in K OT and PT would check in on her. Which really never happened.
    I asked about doing an OT eval and was told we had to do a new child study meeting and she had to be eligible for an IEP to do an OT eval.

    Is this true? Can we not do the eval to see if she even qualifies for school OT while on the 504? The comments below are kind of split, some say OT is not a related service with 504 but others say it is.


  7. Debbie –

    Yes, related services like OT can be provided through a 504 plan.

    But your post brought up several questions for me. I don’t understand the connection between the speech and OT?? Students certainly can have a need for one and not the other.

    • Speech can be a stand alone service, OT cannot. In my district, since SLPs are not certified sped teachers they can only be a case manager for speech disorders, and not related services. I’m assuming this situation is similar.

    • Yes, students can access related services (such as occupational therapy) through a Section 504 plan.

      However, I have the same question as Jill has. In an IEP, OT services are provided when a team decides that they are needed as a related service in order for the student to benefit from special education and make progress toward goals. There has to be some connection. For example, a student might require OT in order to make progress on a writing goal. I don’t see the connection between OT and development of speech skills……….

      • There doesn’t need to be any connection. What often happens is that OT will not be given if a child does not have a classification. The child mentioned above was declassified there for no longer able to get OT. That’s why the 504 plan comes in to play.

      • hi what resource can I show to educate students can access related services (such as occupational therapy) through a Section 504 plan

  8. Yes you can get any service, device, accommodation, or program on a 504 plan that you can get on an IEP.

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