IEPs Versus 504 Plans

Many children have repeated a grade in school, get poor grades, can not pass tests, and struggle to remember information despite being intelligent and making an effort to learn.  These children can often qualify for extra help or accommodations in school.  The type of extra help come from having a 504 accommodation plan and/or an individualized education plan (IEP).  Both plans can allow for extra time on in class tests and the FCAT, non-graded spelling tests, frequent breaks while working, use of a word processor, spell checker, and many more. 

In order to qualify for either plan, parents must provide the school with testing documentation that shows the child has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity which includes reading, writing, learning, and listening.  A licensed psychologist in private practice can help parents and public schools have a psychologist on staff as well.  You may be thinking, “Is one type of plan better than the other?”

The 504 accommodation plan is not considered special education.  Schools do not receive any additional money to implement 504 plans.  Schools do receive extra money if a child is in special education and has and individualized education plan (IEP).  If a child qualifies for special education, they receive extra help from a special education teacher.  Students with a 504 plan typically do not receive help from a special education teacher and parents must provide tutoring at their own expense.  School personnel do not frequently tell parents that once a child is in special education, they rarely get out.  I can help you decide which plan is best for your child.