- Unlike an IEP, Section 504 defines "disability" in broad terms.
- Has a physical or mental impairment that “substantially” limits one or more major life activity (such as reading or concentrating).
- Has a record of the impairment. Typically the record consists of a medical diagnosis.
- Is regarded as having an impairment that isn’t temporary. For example, a food allergy or diabetes may be considered a chronic condition.
Not everyone that has a medical condition or disability qualifies for a 504 plan. First a team, including school staff with input from the parent, has to do an evaluation to decide if a child’s disability “substantially” limits his ability to learn and participate in the general education classroom.
When doing an evaluation for a 504 plan, the school considers information from several sources, including:
- Documentation of the child’s disability (such as a doctor’s diagnosis)
- Evaluation results (if the school recently evaluated the child for an IEP)
- Observations by the student’s parents and teachers
- Academic record
- Independent evaluations (if available)