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  • Writer's pictureGina Wurfel

Are 504s really "consolation prizes"?

Updated: Apr 19

Here's a tip no one ever tells you.

504s *also can include related services*

I'll repeat it for those in the back...

You can have, and have the right to, related services under 504.

I know the old timer advocates will come for me about this (they always do), because for some reason nobody seems to think it's true, but it is in black and white on a paper I didn't write!

Schools will, of course, try to tell you it's not possible. That's because of money. IEPs have dedicated funding streams under IDEA. 504s have no federal funding. So any student on a 504 is using district money to fund their services. They are on the hook for the cost.

But just because your child doesn't need specially designed instruction (the root of special education), doesn't mean they can't (or shouldn't) get related services like speech or OT if they need those supports to access a free, appropriate public education.

Disabilities can exist in kids who are gifted, kids who are academically strong, kids who get straight A's in the general curriculum. It is never a reasonable excuse to not provide support services to a child just because they are doing well academically. Every disability is different, and even 2 people with the same disability may have 2 completely different presentations and issues.

Would you ever say "every person who has had an amputation is the same and they all have the same needs"?

Of course you wouldn't.

Because someone missing a toe is obviously in a different space than someone who is missing their whole foot. So why do we try and say this for the invisible cognitive disabilities?

Each of us has different needs. Some will need specially designed instruction. Some may need OT, or speech, or reading intervention to meet the general curriculum. Section 504 requires these to be provided, if needed.

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