Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's the Law: IEPs, IDEA, Section 504 and Interventions

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What are the difference between and IEP and a 504? Do general education interventions include modifications? How does this all include FAPE and IDEA? What does FAPE and IDEA mean for my child? There are lots of questions when you start discussing interventions for you child in school. Here are some of the answers.
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We should cover some definitions to understand the differences between plans so you can get the best education for your child.
IEP: Individual Education Plan; it outlines special education goals and services for your child as well as providers for those services.
Section 504 - This a section of a civil rights law, The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that insures equal access to education, the disabilities can include physical and neurological disabilities. For examples of what kinds of disabilities are covered by IDEA and Section 504 refer to this link:
This is not the same as an IEP and the school doesn't get reimbursed for any measures outlined in the 504 plan.
IDEA is Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It includes what must be in a child's IEP.
FAPE is Free Appropriate Public Education, and again is a part of  IDEA's disability law.

The simplest explanation I have found defining the differences between an IEP and a 504 plan is the following from the University of Kansas Medical Center website:
"A 504 plan is a legal document that outlines the accommodations needed by a student with a disability in order to have equal access to education. An IEP is an individualized, legal document that describes necessary accommodations, modifications and services for students with disabilities. IEPs provide the most intense and comprehensive support because schools receive additional funding to implement them. No funding is provided for general education interventions and 504 plans." - from:

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The above handy flow chart is to help guide you through the process of getting your child's needs met in school. If given the option between your child having an IEP and a 504 plan, choose an IEP. A child with an IEP is covered by section 504 of the disability law. Know that your child has the right to a free and appropriate education under the law no matter what kind of accommodation or modification is needed.



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