Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, but is closely aligned with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Amendment Act (ADAAA). Section 504 provides that students with disabilities are provided with accommodations or supports which allow them equal access to the facilities and instruction of a school. Under ADAAA, a disability is defined as a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. If you have further questions about Section 504, feel free to contact the Office of Special Services at (559) 924-6823.
If you suspect that your child has a mental or physical impairment which may limit a major life activity, a referral can be made by contacting the school principal or teacher at your child's school to schedule a Section 504 Team meeting.
At the Section 504 Team meeting, all members of the team will come prepared to discuss your child's present performance in the school setting, such as academic, social and behavior. Using this information and any information you bring regarding your child, the team will determine if your child has or is suspected of having a mental or physical disability and if so, whether or not that disability is impacting a major life activity as compared to his or her classroom/school peers. If your child is found eligible for Section 504, an accommodation/support plan will be created to allow your child to access the facilities and instruction of the school.
Once your child is eligible for a Section 504 plan, a meeting will be held once a year to determine if the accommodations and supports continue to meet your child's needs.
It is important to recognize that a medical diagnosis of a mental or physical impairment does not automatically make your child eligible for a Section 504 plan. There are many children with diagnosed conditions who are able to access the environment and instruction of the classroom as do their classroom peers. If your child is not found to be eligible for a Section 504 plan, the school will still utilize the instructional techniques that have already been successful with your child and will continue to monitor his or her progress.