As families around the country are getting their kids ready for the upcoming school year, whether in the traditional classroom or an e-learning platform, it is imperative to make arrangements for kids who are suffering from digestive health concerns. The preparation process consists of meeting with your student's school administrative officials to make sure they are aware of the gastrointestinal (GI) issues impacting your child. Taking preparatory steps before school starts also allows for the chance to start a 504 plan for your student.
What does a 504 plan do?
A civil rights law, Section 504 was legislated to protect the rights of people with disabilities who participate in programs and activities that obtain federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Under this regulation, a school district has to supply a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each eligible student with a disability within the school district's jurisdiction, no matter the manner or scope of the disability.
The Section 504 regulation applies only to public educational establishments and other programs that qualify for federal financial support; the ADA (American with Disabilities Act) extends coverage of Section 504 to all local and state entities, including private schools, whether they obtain financial aid from the federal government. Furthermore, this regulation includes academic-based, nonacademic-based (lunch, assemblies, and recess), and after-school programs. In general, a 504 plan makes certain that all students have the same access to activities and learning, despite any qualifying handicap.
Tips to follow when submitting a 504 plan for your student
When a child experiences long-standing digestive problems, it's important that the school's administrative staff be informed of the student's health condition. Establishing a 504 plan allows instructors to also be aware and appropriately equipped in the event that your child stays home from school for several days at times or modifies the times they arrive at or depart from school due to their GI health issues.
- The initial step is to collect the necessary documentation detailing your child’s needs. This includes written information or documentation pertaining to the nature of your child's handicap and necessary accommodations, like medical assessments, records, evaluations, and further medical-related details. Furthermore, it's ideal to collect any progress reports or other types of academic-related assessments or documents.
- Once you've compiled the relevant documentation outlining your student's disability and accommodations, you can write and submit an official letter or request in writing regarding the 504 plan to the school's administrative team and the person in charge of 504 plans. Oftentimes, this is also the staff member who manages IEPs (Individual Education Plans), which are detailed educational plans developed specifically for a student with a disability. This letter should detail the health diagnosis and any related arrangements your student may have surrounding the GI condition. It should also contain examples of the types of circumstances they may experience throughout the school day and the recommended actions.
- After you've submitted this documentation to the school administrative team, the 504 plan evaluation proceedings will start. To complete this process, the school officials will examine the information you provided, such as medical files, previous classwork, previous assessments, and other details. The school administrative team might also want to schedule a conference with you, your child, your child's instructor, or additional administrative officials throughout the course of the Section 504 plan assessment process.
- When the Section 504 plan evaluation proceedings are complete, the school administration team will most likely ask to meet once again with you and your child to determine their qualification. Parents or guardians can also request to schedule a meeting at this juncture as well. If your child doesn't qualify for a Section 504 plan or you feel as though the plan does not fully meet your child's needs, you may wish to move forward with a dispute resolution approach. In the event your student does qualify for a 504 plan, you'll work closely with the administrative officials at your child's school to develop your child's custom plan.
GI concerns can cause various challenges for school-aged kids. However, a 504 plan can help make sure their needs are met. At GI Associates & Endoscopy Center, our board-certified gastroenterologists are passionate about helping parents increase the health of their little ones. To learn more about managing digestive problems, please contact our Jackson, MS digestive health specialists today https://gi.md/
- Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools
- Parent Toolkit: Strategies for Maximizing your Child's Health
- Emotional support for children with medical conditions
- CoachArt offers free, high-quality arts and athletics activities to chronically ill children and their siblings
- Sample letter requesting a 504 plan
- Example of a Section 504 plan
- How to devise an optimal 504 plan for your child