Did you know that, effective January 2009, eligibility for protection under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act became broader? Some students who did not qualify for Section 504 in the past, or who were not eligible for services and supports under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), may now qualify for Section 504 plans. Students with such plans may now qualify for additional supports, services, auxiliary aids and/or accommodations in public schools. For many students with learning disabilities (LD) and/or AD/HD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), this is good news! These positive changes are the result of recent amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), a broad civil rights law that also impacts Section 504.
You’ll be especially interested in these developments if:
- Your child was evaluated under IDEA but was found ineligible.
- Your child was previously evaluated for Section 504 but was found ineligible.
- Your child is currently receiving informal accommodations in school.
- Your child has a Section 504 plan in place. (If your child has an IEP, he is automatically considered to have a 504 plan.)
- Your child needs accommodations on the SAT or ACT.
- Your teenager is getting ready to go college.
Why do you need to know about these changes?
While the ADAAA is already in effect, don’t assume your school district fully understands how it applies to Section 504. To advocate effectively for your child, you’ll want to understand:
- How the law has changed
- How the new law may apply to your child
- What steps you can take to ensure your child is properly evaluated and/or accommodated under Section 504.