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504 and IDEA:
Education Options for
Students with Juvenile
Selina O’Shannon, Senior Advocate for the Education Team
Over 17 years of experience in special education and her areas of interest
include training in disability awareness, Positive Behavior Support,
inclusive programming, and person-first language.
Masters Degree from the University of South Florida.
Joined Disability Rights Florida in 2003.
Former Elementary Teacher for the public school system and worked with
the University of South Florida’s Positive Behavior Support Project
providing training and technical assistance on classroom, non-classroom,
and school-wide PBS levels across the state of Florida.
Member on the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council’s Child
Development and Education Task Force and serves on the Consumer
Advisory Committee for the University Center for Excellence in
Developmental Disabilities at the University of South Florida.
Training Agenda
• Disability Rights Florida: Who we
Educational Options
• 504 plans
• ESE services
• Hospital Homebound
What’s Right for Your Child?
How To Access Our Services?
• Disability Rights Florida is the designated
protection and advocacy system for
individuals with disabilities in the State of
Disability Rights Florida has authority and
responsibility under eight federal grants.
• Established in 1987, Disability Rights Florida
is a statewide, not-for-profit corporation.
• To advance the quality of life, dignity,
equality, self-determination, and
freedom of choice of persons with
disabilities through collaboration,
education, advocacy, as well as legal
and legislative strategies.
Educational Options:
504 plans
Section 504: Federal Civil
Rights Law
• Section 504 is part of a federal
civil rights law known as the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Section 504 prohibits
discrimination against students
with disabilities and guarantees
them a free and appropriate public
education (FAPE).
Discrimination, as defined in Section 504, is the
failure to provide students with disabilities the
same opportunity to benefit from education
programs, services, or activities as is provided
to their nondisabled peers.
Schools cannot exclude students with
disabilities from facilities, programs, benefits,
activities, or services that are provided to
students without disabilities.
Schools must make sure that all students
receive equal access to educational
How does the Rehabilitation Act of
1973 define a “person with
Any person who has a physical or mental
impairment that substantially limits one or
more major life activities, has a record of
such impairment, or is regarded as having an
A major life activities include; caring for one’s
self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing,
hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and
Learning does not have to be the major life
activity affected in order for an individual to be
eligible for protections and services under
Section 504.
How are students identified as
having a disability?
If a student is struggling in school, a
parent, teacher, or other member of the
school staff may raise a concern about
a student’s unique need for special
Parents, teachers, and other staff
members will meet to discuss all
relevant information about the student.
The team will consider whether the
student has a disability that
substantially limits a major life activity.
How are students identified as
having a disability? (Continued)
If the team needs more information,
they will request the parent’s consent
to evaluate the student.
If the team determines that the student
does have a disability, they will then
identify what types of support, or
accommodations, are appropriate to
meet the student’s needs.
RtI is not required for the 504 process
A 504 plan is then drafted
What is included in a Section 504
accommodation plan?
• The 504 plan describes the
accommodations that the school will
provide to support the student’s
While Section 504 does not require a
written plan, it does require
documentation of evaluations and
What is included in a 504
plan (continued)?
A written plan is useful and provides
clarity and direction to the individuals
delivering services or making
While there is no time limit specified for
an accommodation plan. A yearly
review is recommended.
Changes to the 504 plan can be made
on an as needed basis.
What is The Parent’s
• Parents are their child’s first and most
important teachers, as well as their
If a parent believes his or her child has a
disability or is having problems in school,
the child’s teacher should be contacted to
discuss these concerns.
Effectively communicating your concerns
with your child’s teacher and/or school is
critical. Building a strong parent/school
What is the teachers role?
Classroom teachers should be flexible in their
teaching techniques and expectations for
students with disabilities.
Teachers need to be willing to modify the
classroom environment, adjust their teaching
strategies, and/or make other
Effective communication with parents regarding
student process is critical.
Clear documentation on assessing students
progress is essential in determining if the 504 is
effectively working.
Preparing for your 504
In preparation for the 504 Plan meeting
outline the issues and needed 504
accommodations in relation to your
child’s disability. Ask yourself these
• What accommodations does your child
require to make meaningful academic
• What accommodations does your child
require to access the educational campus?
• Accommodations are used to “level
the playing field.”
Do not let anyone make you feel like
asking for accommodations provide
your child with an unfair advantage.
Accommodations are required for
your child to receive a free and
appropriate public education.
Examples of reasonable
Assistive technology;
Large print
Text-to-speech technology
Touch screen
Adaptive mouse
Lap top
Word processor
Tape recorder
Books on tape
Visual aids
Interpreters (oral or sign)
Examples of reasonable
accommodations (continued)
• Extended test time
• Extended time for assignments, projects and home
Lessens broken down into smaller segments
Tests broken down into smaller segments
Study guides
Preview tests
Preview lessons
Preview vocabulary words
Preview spelling words
Assignment notebook
Note taker
Examples of reasonable
accommodations (continued)
Color-code or highlight key words
Oral responses
Lowered desk
Adaptive chair
Adaptive handles
Accessible restroom
Adaptive writing tools
Increased space between lines
Raised lines on paper
Slant board
Fewer items on a page
Paraphrase or repeat directions
Directions repeated, summarized, or clarified
Highlighter or highlighter tape
Visual cues
Whom do I contact for
information on Section 504?
• Parents and teachers may contact the school
principal or the school district’s Section 504
Florida Department of Education’s Student
Support Services office at 850.922.3727
Florida Department of Education’s Office of
Equity and Access at 850.245.0511
U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil
Rights at 404.562.6350 or e-mail
How can I protect my child’s rights and
begin to document disability
To help protect your child’s rights to a free and appropriate
public education:
• Keep a detailed journal of events pertinent to your
child’s education, which should be a chronological
written record with dates, times, places, and events.
• Be sure to note the names and titles of school officials
and others involved with school events, which may
prove to be useful if you need to document disability
• If you believe disability discrimination occurs or you
have specific concerns with school officials and the
education of your child, consider documenting your
specific concerns in writing, date the correspondence,
make a copy of the correspondence for your records,
request a written response and if possible send your
correspondence return receipt requested.
What should parents or teachers do
if they become dissatisfied with the
• Ongoing communication between parents
and teachers is needed to avoid
disagreements related to the 504 plan.
If you are dissatisfied with your child’s 504
plan you should contact the school principal
or the designated staff member responsible
for Section 504 in your district.
If the plan is not appropriate, it should be
revised following the same procedures used
to develop the original plan.
If you are unable to resolve your concerns
through a meeting with your school
administrator, you have the option of filing a
grievance with the school’s 504 coordinator.
Grievances must be submitted to the Section
504 Coordinator.
A complaint must be in writing, containing the
name and address of the person filing it.
The complaint must state the problem or action
alleged to be discriminatory and the remedy or
relief sought.
PROCEDURE (Continued)
The Section 504 Coordinator (or her/his
designee) shall conduct an investigation of the
complaint. This investigation may be informal,
but it must be thorough, affording all interested
persons an opportunity to submit evidence
relevant to the complaint.
The Section 504 Coordinator should issue a
written decision on the grievance.
The availability and use of this grievance
procedure does not prevent a person from filing
a complaint of discrimination on the basis of
disability with the Office for Civil Rights.
How can the Office of Civil
Rights help?
In addition, the U.S. Department of Education,
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has the
authority to investigate Section 504 and ADA
Title II complaints.
OCR has helpful information regarding students
with disabilities’ rights and 504 Planning on
their website at
For more information, review their fact sheet
entitled: Protecting Students with Disabilities:
Frequently Asked Questions.
504 Resources
• You can find the Code of Federal Regulation and other
Codes of Federal Regulations discussed in this web page by
going to Select the Search
function in the top right hand corner and for example, type
34 C.F.R. 104.33, and select the 34 C.F.R. Part 104.
A Parent and Teacher Guide to Section 504: Frequently
Asked Questions
District Guide for Meeting the Needs of Students Section
504 Act of 1973 of the Rehabilitation
Accommodations: Assisting Students with Disabilities
Accommodations and Modifications: What Parents Need To
Educational Options: IDEA
– Exceptional student
education (ESE)
Special Education and Florida
Children who have special learning needs
and have been found eligible for special
education services because of a disability
are called exceptional students.
Services that are provided in school are
called Exceptional Student Education
(ESE) services.
Special education is a service not a PLACE
ESE services are provided to families FREE
of charge
Purpose of ESE
The purpose of ESE is to help each child
with a disability to access their educational
services and progress in school.
These services should also help the
student prepare for life after graduation
from high school.
Special Education
ESE services can include but are not limited to
the following:
• Special teaching methods and materials
• Adaptive equipment and technology
• Therapy services (i.e., Speech, counseling,
• Special bus transportation
• Accommodations and/or modifications to the
current educational curriculum
IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act (2004)
Principal law relied upon to obtain appropriate
educational services
IDEA requires public school districts to seek out and
identify children with disabilities in all settings (Public,
private and home schooled students)
Students with disabilities in public schools who are found
eligible for ESE services are entitled to a free and
appropriate education
IDEA requires the development of an IEP
IDEA Eligibility
• Student must be found legally
eligible for services using the State
Board of Education Rules
Requires that a child have a disability
Each category of a disability has its
own legal criteria
IDEA 2004 Section 300.8(b) "Child with a Disability".
ESE Programs
Each school district is responsible for
providing services to students who are
eligible for the following exceptional
student education (ESE) programs.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing
Developmentally Delayed (prekindergarten only)
Dual-Sensory Impaired (Deaf-Blind)
Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities
Homebound or Hospitalized
ESE Programs Continued…
• Mentally Handicapped (Educable, Trainable, and
Physically Impaired with Orthopedic Impairment
Physically Impaired with Other Health Impairment
Physically Impaired with Traumatic Brain Injury
Specific Learning Disabilities
Speech and Language Impaired
Visually Impaired (Blind and Partially Sighted)
Educational Programs
• School districts and schools develop
their own programs to serve their
students in the most effective way
• Information about each districts
programs can be found in the
districts Special Programs and
Procedures Manual (S P & P)
Florida Dept. Of Education Clearinghouse
• Phone: 850-245-0476
• Website:
Florida Statutes and State Board of Education
Florida Department of Education – Parent Line
Educational Options:
Hospital Homebound
What is Hospital
Homebound Services?
Students who have been evaluated and deemed
eligible by a group of qualified professionals for the
homebound or hospitalized (H/H) program services
are considered students with a disability in Florida, in
accordance with Section 1003.01, Florida Statutes
As such, they are entitled to all the rights and
protections of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA), including a free appropriate
public education (FAPE), as identified in Section
1003.01, F.S. This section covers policy and
procedures related to eligibility and the development
of an individual educational plan (IEP).
Hospital Homebound
• Rule 6A-6.03020, Florida Administrative
Code (FAC.), identifies a H/H student as a
student who has a medically diagnosed
physical or psychiatric condition that is
acute or catastrophic in nature, or a chronic
illness, or a repeated intermittent illness
due to a persisting medical problem.
• Medical documentation is KEY!!!
The condition or illness must confine the
student to home or hospital and restrict
activities for an extended period of time.
Hospital Homebound
• The possibility of H/H services should
be explored when it is anticipated
that a student will be absent from
school for at least 15 schools days,
or the equivalent, while under a
physician’s care because of severe,
prolonged, or chronic illness.
Initiating the Process
A parent, teacher, social worker,
guidance counselor, physician, and
others may initiate the process as soon
as it is anticipated that the student
will be absent for the duration specified
in the rule.
There is no established “waiting period”
that must be met when considering
initiating the process.
Eligibility Process
A student is eligible for specially designed
instruction in the H/H program if all of the
following criteria are met:
A licensed physician certifies:
• That the student is expected to be absent
from school for at least 15 consecutive
school days (or the equivalent on a block
schedule) due to a physical or psychiatric
condition, or for at least 15 school days
(or the equivalent on a block schedule),
which need not run consecutively, due to
a chronic condition
• That the student is confined to the home
or hospital
Eligibility Process
• That the student will be able to participate in and
benefit from an instructional program
That the student is under medical care for illness
or injury, which is acute, catastrophic, or chronic
in nature
That the student can receive instructional services
without endangering the health and safety of the
instructor or other students
The student is enrolled in a public school
(kindergarten through twelfth grade) prior to the
referral for homebound or hospitalized services
The parent, guardian, or primary caregiver signs
parental agreement concerning hospitalized or
homebound policies and parental cooperation
The IEP for Hospital
Homebound services
The IEP must be revised to reflect the services
needed while on H/H.
Particular attention must be paid to the
accommodations, modifications, assistive
technology, and related services the student
was receiving prior to the referral for H/H
Changes can be made to the accommodations,
modifications, assistive technology, and/or
related services, however they may not be
discontinued simply because the student moves
from the school setting to the home or hospital
• Students in Hospital Homebound can
receive related services
There are not number hours for services in
Hospital Homebound
Hospital Homebound services should be
viewed as a temporary intervention and are
not intended to replace the classroom
Hospital Homebound services require
annual medical documentation for
continuum of services and dismissal.
What’s Best for Your Child?
• Each case is unique and
Under either plan, a child can receive
classroom modifications,
accommodations, and a free,
appropriate public education and
related services.
Ask Yourself This
• Does your child’s difficulties have little or
nothing to do with learning (medical
condition, walking impairment, severe
allergy, etc.) and your child does NOT need
specialized instruction but would benefit
from accommodations or modifications to
programs, facilities, or testing?
If you said YES, then a 504 plan may be
Ask Yourself This Question?
• Is your child is having difficulty learning
and needs specialized instruction?
Would your child benefit from specialized
instruction in order to access the general
education curriculum?
If you said YES to either of these questions,
then an IEP is probably required.
Common Concerns
Many schools will steer parents towards a
504plan over an IEP: it is less burdensome for
• The process is not as formal
A 504 plan also offers fewer rights and
protections for parents and students struggling
with a school district for an appropriate
A 504 plan holds less weight than an IEP
If a 504 plan is not working, ask for a
comprehensive evaluation
Just because you have a 504 plan does not
make you ineligible for an IEP.
• We will gather information
• Review your request
• Provide follow-up information and referral
• Discuss other possible services
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