FREE GUIDE for COACHES: The 5 Languages of Children

504 or IEP?

“I’ve been looking into getting support for my child at school but I don’t know the difference between a 504 Accommodation Plan and an IEP… Do you have more information for me?”

 This is an ongoing conversation we have with our client’s parents, especially right before and during the school year. Parents are seeking support and collaboration on how to best help their child succeed in school and yet, the school itself hasn’t always done a great job of partnering with them. As a coach, you can be the one who helps parents in this journey. But to be able to do this, you must know the difference between a 504 Accommodation Plan and an IEP (Individualized Education Plan).

The reality is that uniquely wired kids do sometimes need support above and beyond that of good teacher practice but what are the options? 

Let’s look at Mark and Abby, who are the same age, in the same school and both have ADHD and dyslexia. One has an IEP and one has a 504 Accommodation Plan. What makes the difference between the two plans? Why would one qualify for a 504 Plan but not an IEP or vice versa? 

There are a couple factors in play here. For one, Mark is two grade levels below the average in reading and although Abby struggles with reading and spelling, she is still at grade level. Mark requires an IEP where he can attend the general education classroom most of the time but also attend a special education classroom to give him that extra support and help in reading. Abby doesn’t require any special education but does require extra accommodations in the general education setting such as chunking assignments into smaller sections, no deduction of points for misspelled words, taking tests orally, etc which qualifies her for a 504 Accommodation Plan.

A 504 and IEP are similar and yet also vastly different. See the table below for further clarification on both.

For kids,

Kayci and Diane
Uniquely Wired Kids, LLC
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