The chapter that grabbed my interest was chapter 19, specifically the part with the explanation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. What interested me at first was that the law provided flexibility for a child to qualify under 504 if others treat the child as having a limitation. As the law protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination, it is different from the IDEA 2004 because 504 does not require a child to possess a particular disease or condition. The law is open for interpretation because it requires only one body system affected by a mental or physical impairment or a mental disorder-connected disability.
To provide accommodations and modifications for a child’s needs, a 504 Plan needs to be created by the team of school administration, medical personnel, parents, and the child. However, the chapter notes that because Section 504 is not supported financially by federal governments, some schools avoid using the 504 and push on the decision to qualify the child under IDEA 2004. In this case, the school dismisses the difference between the 504 and IDEA 2004, as children eligible under 504 can use regular education classrooms with no need for special education services.
As IDEA 2004 is a developed statute that is a part of the State Department of Education, it is different from 504 in terms that IDEA 2004 is a precise and thoroughly explained law. As there was not much information provided on Section 504, I researched the matter and located a video that addresses the question of inexactness in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The video points out that 504 does not provide clarity compared to IDEA 2004, which covers every aspect of IEP.
The video stands that IDEA 2004 could be used as a guideline for creating a 504 Plan, but it needs to be adapted to the district’s requirements and be reasonable, practical, and relevant. As Section 504 implies that creating a 504 Plan requires at least one person, the weight of designing the plan is frequently designated to one person despite the need for experience and perspective (Frontline Education, 2019). The video emphasizes the need for consistency in the plan-making process and recommends using a team that includes at least the student, his parents, teacher, nurse, administrator, and guidance counselor (Frontline Education, 2019). According to Frontline Education (2019), in the approach to Plan 504, the focus should be on the student’s major life activities and not on his academic performance. As described in a video, a student with a twisted ankle could have good grades and still qualify under 504, while not every failing student qualifies under 504 (Frontline Education, 2019). Overall, the video provides valuable insight into the theme of Section 504 and adds more useful information to chapter 19.
I recommend watching the video to get more information about Section 504, the 504 Plan, and understand how the law is different from IDEA 2004. The video describes what kind of data is more suitable to consider when approaching Section 504. It adds information on essential subjects like why it is necessary to review the accommodations at least every three years like IDEA 2004 recommends, or annually. The video also touches on aspects like at which moment parental consent is needed and provides a good description of what should be included in Plan 504.
Frontline Education. (2019). Understanding Section 504 — best practices in drafting Section 504 Plans [Video]. YouTube.