A student that does not qualify for special education services under IDEA (an educational law) still may qualify for services under Section 504 (a civil rights law) if the disability is shown to substantially limit his or her educational performance.
A child with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities, such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working. Accommodations often refer to building accessibility, classroom adjustments and curriculum modifications and may be updated or revised as the need changes.
34 CFR § 104.3 (j) defines a handicapped person with rights under the Rehabilitation Act as any person who:
- Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities,
- Has a record of such an impairment, or
- Is regarded as having such an impairment.
Examples of disabilities under Section 504 include:
- Student breaks their arm in 5 places and cannot write; the district provides someone to take notes or write the homework
- Student is deaf and plays sports. The district provides an interpreter for the classroom and any school sports activities they are involved in
- Student has cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, migraines, allergies or asthma; the student is allowed to obtain treatment or medication, as needed
- Student uses a wheelchair; student is permitted to leave classes early to avoid hall traffic
- Student is under a doctor's care for depression or anxiety, frequent behavioral problems, ADHD; the student is given additional time for completing assignments and allowed to sit in the front of the classroom
Both federal and state conditions exist for a 504 plan: