I thought you might like to see an example of a child with a disability and whether a 504 or IEP was chosen for the student. Enjoy!
Case Study: A Child With Dyslexia and Dysgraphia
Michael has been formally identified with dyslexia and dysgraphia and is in the third grade. He is struggling to read and write on grade level. However, in order to receive special education services under IDEA, the school district requires that Michael must 1) have LD and 2) be at least 1.5 to 2 grade levels behind in school. Although Michael has two diagnosed LDs, he is only functioning .5 grade levels behind his third grade peers and therefore does not meet the school district’s requirements.
Michael’s parents and the school know that letting him fall further behind—just to qualify for special education services under IDEA—is not a practical plan for ensuring his success in school. So, because Michael has identified disabilities that “substantially limit” the major life activities of reading and writing, they write a 504 plan that gives him several important supports and accommodations throughout the school day and during test taking. These supports are:
providing a computer for all writing assignments and test taking
dividing reading and writing assignments into smaller parts
providing a note-taker when class notes or daily planning demand writing for a prolonged period
reading test items aloud (when reading skill isn’t being tested)
giving extra time to read during class and test taking
Because the 504 plan must be reviewed at least once per year to ensure it’s working, Michael’s parents can partner with the school to monitor his progress. If he continues to fall behind, their options include:
Revising the 504 plan
adding special education services (although rare, this is allowed under 504 law)
re-evaluating for IDEA eligibility
hiring outside educational support (e.g., tutor)
seeking professional advocacy support
Note: Michael’s parents do have some legal rights under Section 504, although different than those offered under IDEA.
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