Section 504: 504 ISSUES AND CONCERNS

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Lysherille:  My son was tested and has a specific learning disability in math. His teacher says he doesn’t need an IEP, he just needs a 504 that will allow him extra help with the teacher and he gets it. The school is trying to force him into Special Education and doesn’t want to give him the opportunity for a 504. What should I do?

  1. I would go with the IEP. The law is more specific with more parental safeguards. 504 is less specific. You can put the same goals (extra help etc) and many more items for your son.

  2. Lysherille –

    If I was in your place, I would agree to the IEP.

    Why? There is nothing that a 504 plan can provide that an IEP cannot. On the other hand, having an IEP brings you and your son significant procedural protections that Section 504 does not provide.

    Probably the most significant of these is the right for you to participate in the IEP development. Believe it or not, Section 504 does NOT guarantee the right for parents to participate in the development of the 504 plan.

    IDEA (the federal special education law) also offers more options for resolving disagreements regarding the IEP – state complaints, mediation, and hearings (Section 504 only offers hearings). Your state may have even more options.

    IDEA also affords the right to publicly-funded independent evaluations.

    I encourage you to connect with your local parent center ( They can provide you information and support, whether your child has an IEP or a 504 plan.

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