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Section 504

Section 504

Students who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity may be protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Students who qualify under the law may receive reasonable accommodations to allow them to access the educational environment.

Teachers accommodate all the time for students:  It is only when a qualified student with a disability needs a systematic, consistently implemented battery of modifications in order to have his needs met as adequately as nondisabled children a 504 Accommodations Plan becomes necessary. 

A 504 Accommodations Plan is a legal document falling under the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act.  This is a civil rights law to protect people with disabilities by eliminating barriers and allowing full participation in education.  A 504 Accommodations Plan is designed to articulate and implement a program of instructional services, including general classroom modifications, to assist students with impairments who are educated in the regular education setting.  A 504 plan is not an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is required for services in special education.

In order to be eligible for a 504 Accommodations Plan, the student must be identified as disabled.  Section 504 regulatory provision at 34 C.F.R. 104.3(j)(2)(i) states the determination of whether a student has:

  1. a physical or mental impairment which
  2. substantially limits
  3. a major life activity

 The Section 504 defines a physical or mental impairment as any physiological disorder or condition; cosmetic disfigurement; anatomical loss affecting one or more major bodily functions; or any mental or psychological impairment. 

Major life activities, as defined in the Section 504, include functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.  Other functions can be major life activities for purposes of Section 504, including eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, and communicating 

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