IDEA vs. Section 504

IDEA vs. Section 504

The IDEA and Section 504 are both laws that provide Special Education services and related services for qualified children with disabilities.

All About IDEA: 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a funding statute that requires all states to follow specific conditions for special education funding. Under IDEA, there are 13 categories of disabilities. A child must be eligible under at least one category to qualify for services. Most often, students with ADHD will be eligible under the categories of  “other health impairment,” “emotional disorder,” or “learning disability.” 

There are very specific guidelines under the IDEA to ensure that a special education child qualifies and receives a true Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP team follows federal guidelines which include:

  • Identification of the child
  • Evaluation (these results will be used to make appropriate decisions for the IEP)
  • Determination of Eligibility 
  • IEP meetings to discuss accommodations, modifications, placement, related services, etc.
  • Services are provided 
  • Progress is monitored (progress reports monitor annual goals and growth)
  • IEP is reviewed (the IEP team meets at least once a year to discuss suggestions/ changes to the IEP) 
  • Child is re-evaluated within 1-3 years. 

All About Section 504: 

Section 504 is guided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This guideline ensures that a student with a physical or mental disability has a free and appropriate education. For a student with ADHD, this might mean that their ADHD diagnosis restricts them from a major life activity, the ability to learn. (Ex: ability to participate in class, ability to pay attention, etc.) 

A 504 plan is meant to give accommodations so a student with a disability can access their learning like every other student. It is important to note that a 504 plan does not fall under the umbrella of Special Education. 

Accommodations under a 504 plan might include:

  • Extended time on assessments
  • Short breaks throughout the day
  • Speech-Language Therapy
  • Study Skills Class
  • Seating at the front of the class
  • A modification in responses (ex. A student who struggles with handwriting, might have the accommodation to type up responses)  

Both IEPs and 504 plans are formal documents covered by law that describe the accommodations a child with Special Needs is receiving. Often times a child could qualify for both an IEP and 504 plan, but it is not necessary to have both. 

For more specific information or assistance with evaluations and diagnosis, please contact the Children’s Wellness and Developmental Center

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Wednesday 11am - 7pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 2pm

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Children’s Wellness & Developmental Center
2006 State Highway 71 Suite 4
Spring Lake Hts, NJ 07762 Monmouth County
T: 732.919.1335
F: 732-782-0353

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