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504 Plan

Does anyone have any background in dealing with a 504 plan for grade school level? Have lots of questions, have checked online but would love to talk with someone who is dealing with it now. Thanks

Tue. Sep 11, 2:17pm

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I'm a school counselor and can probably answer a lot of your questions. Fire away.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 3:02 PM

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Okay here it is in a nut shell. My son's 504 plan was to start this year. He's in 6th grade. The gal who started the ball rolling is now not available, she is on leave for persoal reasons. I would guess they fired her...so I have read up on what a 504 is. But the school is giving us a hard time following the guide lines that are already signed and set in motion. The person I am trying to help us get around this is saying really it's only between our family and the school. The equity person who was helping in the past really didn't need to be there anyways.
We were to have a meeting with her the gal that is no longer, the school and us. Now it's us and the school. He was again suppose to see how things are going in Nov. Now when I ask who will be the person to step in she again says know one it's up to just us vs the school. Is this true? Is it once a year or every 3rd are they to look into how things are again?
Our son is dyslxic, has visual perception problems. His big down fall is writing. It is very difficult for him. One of the things we are working on is giving him extra time on written tests, and written notes in class. We don't want him to be pulled out so the class knows anything but the teachers have a problem with this. And ideas to make it a win/win deal? How he can get his extra time without the class knowing everything? Is it wrong for us to want to keep as much under wrap as possible? I could go on and on...I will add more later..
Thanks for anything you can help with!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 3:24 PM

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Another question...is it true that we the parents should of been the ones to have figured out in past years he needed this? We were told by his 1st grade teacher that she saw problems w/writing and reading. We had him tested over the summer and brought the info back to his school...never did they make any major changes for him. It wasn't until the end of the year last year that a friend told us we should look into doing a 504 for him. If she wouldn't of told us we would be in the same boat as 5th grade where he wasn't getting any help from school at all. I was told from the new lady who is taking calls for the Equity person, that the school doesn't have to pass on the information of a 504 to a parent.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 3:33 PM

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re: "Is it true that we the parents should be the ones to have figured out in past years he needed this (504)?"
As a parent of a 2nd grader and having just signed a 504 for my son in March - My opinion - parents should problem solve with the teachers, principal and counselors when there is a problem with reading and writing. Meet often until you feel satisfied as the parent that your child is getting the help that he needs. No - 504 is not common knowledge to parents nor should it have to be but it should certainly be one of the solutions that the teaching professionals offer in the problem solving sessions. By the way, I am still not fully aware of all of the legal ease surrounding the 504 process but I still approach my son's education as my husband and I being his one-and-only advocate AND we need solutions when we see or hear of problems he's having in the classroom or at home with homework.

My son is in 2nd grade this year. He has shown problems since he left the infant room for the toddler room in pre-school and long story short - when he was in kindergarten I stumbled on a list of symptoms online for something called: Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) aka Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) that described him to a tee. My Motherly instinct told me to have my son evaluated for this disorder and yes - it turns out that was his problem. By the time the 1st grade teacher was concerned about my son - we were already sending my son to weekly Occupational Therapy for SPD. My son had a 504 by March of his 1st grade year. All school districts are different - ours is good because they have meetings with the parents of children that are showing learning or behavior problems. I didn't know about the 504 either until one of my girlfriends told me about it BUT at the very meeting that I was going to bring it up to have him evaluated the Principal suggested it for me. My personal opinion is that had my husband and I sat back and waited for the school to take initiative we'd probably still be sitting here wondering why my son was such a tyrant in the classroom. Instead we took it upon ourselves to get him some help on our own and then when the school approached us we had hard evidence that we were trying to address the problem and we all worked together as a team to try different things for my son. I think they took us more seriously because we were addressing the issue on our own and with outside professionals. I know financially it may be hard for some parents but if your child has learning or behavior issues the truth of the matter is that the schools do not have the resources to get your child the help that he/she probably needs. I treat my son's therapy like it's "college education" - it's HIS college education because he's not going to progress in school without the outside help he's getting now. I'm confident that he would HATE school and everything associated with learning if I didn't nip this in the bud early - he probably would have been lucky to graduate and/or I would have killed him before he got there.

So....please, get your son some help with some outside professionals (Occupational Therapists?) and keep those lines of communication open with the school. Don't get hung up on the legal ease with the 504 - the fact of the matter is that you want your son to succees in school. Start small - take it one problem at a time and work with the teachers they'll pull others in if they think others need to be involved.

As far as you not wanting your son "pulled out" because the rest of the class will know. I had similar thoughts with my son until my mother-in-law pointed out that he's already different and kids are very perceptive and probably already perceive him as being different. My son would have tantrums becasue of the frustrations he was having with too much noise and his perfectionism. The other kids in the class were scared of him and also thought he was a "bad" kid - my son thought of himself as a "bad" kid. In 1st grade maybe it's easier than 6th grade for a child to leave the classroom but I think as parents we should be ok with it. If that's what it takes for your son to do well academically and be on a fair playing field than that's what you sould allow. Instead, he's probably thinking pretty bad of himself because people see him finish last on a test or he rushes through and doesn't do as well as he could have.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 9:15 PM

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3:02 poster again

I worked as a middle school counselor for several years, and have since moved on to high school. 504 plans are fairly common, especially for problems like your son's. Basically, it is a legal document that guarantees your son classroom accommodations to level the playing field so he can access the curriculum the same as other students. The writing of the plan comes down to what the teachers think is reasonable, which I have found parents have the hardest time with. The parents actually don't have to sign the plan to put it into effect - just the teachers. So, you may disagree with something a teacher will or will not do in the classroom, and a lot of time you don't have any leverage to push for what you think works better.

As far as your son being pulled out of the room for tests and things, I would check with the teacher directly to see how this would be implemented. If other students are leaving the room too, which often happened at my old school, then your son will feel less of a target. Or, perhaps your son can get extra time to finish the test after school or during a different time period. Teachers can get pretty creative with these things.

A 504 plan is revised once a year. I always found that meeting in October was helpful because the teachers have had the student in their room long enough to assess their needs. If there is someone higher up in the school system to talk to about this, I would also go that route. Each school system handles these a little differently, so even if the person who got the ball rolling for you is no longer there, there is most likely someone above her who can help.

The other alternative to a 504 plan is an IEP, which gets a student special education services. This plan allows for parent input and you have the right to sign off on any accommodations you want. These are reviewed every 3 years. Your son would have to be tested and meet qualifications for this though.

Hope that helps!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007, 8:36 AM

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