The IDEA, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, requires that an individualized education program be developed for students with disabilities who have been found eligible for special education services. The law requires that a written plan must specify how education, related services, and support will be delivered to a student with disabilities. That written plan is called an IEP, or Individualized Education Program. The IEP identifies special education and related service supports needed for a student with a disability.
A 504 plan
For the most part, when a student has a physical disability that does not directly interfere with his ability to learn a 504 plan is required. However, it is often the case that students who qualify for a 504 plan also must be provided with an IEP.
What is the difference between an IEP and a Section 504 Plan?
Sometimes a student will need both an IEP and a Section 504 plan. Parents and school districts must focus on the specific needs of the child. When a student’s disability is cognitive, emotional, intellectual, or developmental, however, a 504 plan will likely not be legally sufficient for the child. In those cases, the district must modify the student's curriculum and provide “specially designed instruction”.
• Student must receive appropriate individualized instruction in order to make meaningful progress.
• Requires an impartial hearing by a neutral hearing officer appointed by the state if parents disagree with the identification, evaluation or placement of the student.
• Protects students with behavioral issues by requiring schools to perform a functional behavior assessment (FBA) and develop a positive behavioral support plan (PBSP) to teach appropriate behavior.
• Student must be re-evaluated once every three years or sooner if needed or requested by a parent or teacher.
• Requires a special hearing for discipline procedures to decide if the child’s disability caused the misconduct. If so, most disciplinary transfers cannot take place.
• Parents must receive ten days notice prior to any change in educational placement.
Chart information appeared in 11/2012 Metro Kids magazine.
• Only requires “equal access,” not individualization; no requirement to monitor the student’s progress.
• Provides for impartial hearing but the hearing officer is appointed by the school. Parents can file a complaint with the federal Office of Civil Rights for violations. These can be very effective.
• Students must not be punished or discriminated against based on their disability, but no FBA or positive support plan is required.
• Requires a “periodic” re-evaluation but law does not specify any time frame for that evaluation.
• Similar protections.
• Similar protections.