Prepping for a 504 Review

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It’s that time of year again. The weather’s heating up, and the end of the school year is in sight. For many schools, this is the time when the 504* or IEP is up for review. Seemingly obvious questions like “What worked?” and “What didn’t work?” need to be answered.504 study

As a parent, it helps to have an arsenal of new ideas to try. New accommodations or modifications don’t have to be complicated. Here are some ideas that may jumpstart your child’s productivity and your own creativity:

Home to school:

1. Keep one copy of textbooks at home.
2. Mandate that the school use a homework planner – or the school website if that’s in use at your school.
3. Build in a weekly communication between each teacher and you. Email is probably easier for each of you.

In School:

1. Seat the student at the front of the class. In the front row, fewer distractions come between a student’s line of vision and the black board.
2. Give priority access to after-school tutoring sessions or learning programs.
3. Allow different tools to accomplish goals. For example, if copying the assignment from the blackboard is tedious, take a picture instead. (Many cell phones have camera apps.) If note taking is a challenge, tape the lecture, or use the Livescribe Smartpen
4. Have tests administered orally.
5. Allow typewritten assignments.
6. Cue a child to stay on task (This could be as simple as making eye contact. )
7. Limit a student’s copying assignments from the board.
8. Monitor student’s homework planner.
9. Allow exemption from notebook checks.
10. Assign an individual to daily help with organization.
11. Provide copies of homework assignments and notes.

Of course, our favorite list of resources is Focus Pocus – 100 Ways to Help Your Child Pay Attention. Take your copy to your 504 or IEP meeting. And if you and your child’s teachers have something we’ve left out – let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

*504 – what’s that? Before I had children, I thought 504 referred to a type of button-fly jeans. It wasn’t until Leslie was in 6th grade that I learned that a 504 refers to a law mandating that children with disabilities receive “accommodations” to help them learn, even if they don’t qualify for special education.

The 504 is for children with physical – non-learning disability disorders like ADHD, physical impairments, chronic illnesses such as asthma and sometimes for temporary conditions like broken limbs. To qualify, a student must have “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities…caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.”*

*See Eric Digest


  1. http://Megan says

    I’m so happy to have stumbled on this website. I have a question, and I’m not sure if this is a good place to post it or not but why not?? My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD-I at age 7. She’s now 8. We met with the 504 team at our school shortly after the diagnosis to talk about a 504 for her, and we were told she could not have one because her grades are too good–she’s not struggling enough. Also, any of the accommodations we would ask for area already being done, so she doesn’t need one. Is this possibly legal??

    • Actually, that is how it works. (I THINK. I’m not a lawyer or an educator.) If I’m understanding it right, her grades do need to be bad, or the disability does not “substantially limit” as defined below:

      The definition of disability under Section 504:

      1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities,
      2. has a record of such an impairment, or
      3. is regarded as having such an impairment.

      So – keep plugging away, and each year ask for the 504. In the 3rd or 4th grade, if she’s like lots of ADHD-Inattentive kids, her grades probably WILL start suffering. And that’s when you can get one.

      Not ideal, I know.

      Go to or and read/learn more about it. Keep us posted!!