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pegacorn
pegacorn asks:
Q:

504 plan or IEP?

My daughter has PDD NOS, ADHD and anxiety disorder.  Should she have a 504 plan or an IEP?  The school is pushing for a 504 but others have said that she needs an IEP.
In Topics: Special education, Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago

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Expert

LouiseSattler
Jul 1, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

I have answered this question below, however, I kept coming back to it and have added to my response as follows.  Hope this additional information is helpful to you.

Hello and thank you for writing to education.com with an important question.  Your daughter has a complex "psycho-educational" profile and that means that how she is served within her school needs to be monitored closely and frequently. I am writing the answer below under the assumption she is in a public school in the United States.

Here would be my recommendations:

First, make sure that you understand all evaluations and reports. If you don't (as they are often not written in "parent friendly" terms) then have someone explain them to you. That someone could be a school psychologist, a school parent advocate or someone else who understands these documents.

Second, ask why a 504 is requested vs. an IEP.  Frankly, if your child is struggling with her current school program, I would ask for the IEP.  But, since I don't have the reports to peruse, I would simply ask why and have it all written out for you.

Third, do not go to the meetings alone.  Bring someone else such as your spouse/significant other, friend, or a special education advocate (who should understand and help to interpret the reports for you).

Fourth, an IEP is a federal document.  504 plans are usually reserved for less serious needs within the classroom setting.  Make sure that the people at your meetings can explain clearly the difference to you.  If you were to move the IEP would "hold more weight" for transferring the accommodations ( if any) that your child has needed to be more successful within the classroom.

Lastly, anything you request needs to be in writing.  And anything that is related to your child's education needs to come to you  in writing.  Keep a file.  Make copies of all letters, etc. that you send, too.  Documentation is very, very important in special education.  Ask for two copies of every report so you can share with anyone that works with your child outside of the home (such as a pediatrician).  Send the forms yourself.  Schools sometimes get boggled down and forget (We are all human)

I am posting the National Association for School Psychologist website that has a parent section.  

Good luck and thanks again for sending an important question that I am sure will help others, too.

Regards,
Louise S.
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LDSolutions
May 25, 2009
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
I would work towards an IEP.  The reason is that this will carry on through High School.  By getting an IEP now, the school must commit to working towards the goals mentioned in the IEP as well as has a responsibility of taking care of educating your daughter.
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Additional Answers (4)

Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Here is a key difference:
"Section 504 also differs from IDEA in that it does not require a written IEP document. However, it does require a plan, although this plan need not be written."

504 protects her from exclusion from any activity that the school may have (like fieldtrip). As far as a "plan"
 goes, you may want to talk to the school about their intentions and how to they plan to work with her. Require something in writing is my best advice.
> 60 days ago

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ilovechefwilliam
ilovechefwi... , Teacher, Caregiver writes:
I agree with Loddie1  It is always better to have everything in writing.  I teach children with autism, and having an IEP is very helpful so I know specific things to work on.  I think my main question would be, is she currently successful in a least restrictive environment academically?  If so, then maybe 504 with good documentation would be okay.
Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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MissTeach
MissTeach writes:
Typically, a 504 is used at times when accommedations or modifications in class are not needed for academic success.  In my experience a 504 is in writing too, but allows for a plan to be in place for times to get meds or an action plan if there was a problem. We often use 504s for severe allergies with Epi-Pens, diabetes and maybe even asthma. If your student can perform at grade-level and complete grade-level work- but may have a condition that needs more "quiet time" or a need to work indoors inside of outside with the class or something minor like this- then this is usually when we would use a 504.

An IEP would be- like the others said- in writing modifications for academics and likely have "special education" ties. This often requires testing and qualifications into the program.
> 60 days ago

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LouiseSattler
LouiseSattler , Child Professional writes:
Parents and caregivers who have questions, concerns, need support or want to network with others who live and love someone with (possible) Autism/ PDD, etc. should check out the following websites.

Please keep in mind that all of these websites have different "takes" on the topic of Autism and it is up to each family to decide with their school and health professionals what is best for their child.
> 60 days ago

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