504 Plans In Different States


"We just moved to a new state, and my son’s school has been slow to implement his 504 Plan. Don’t all states have to recognize 504s? What should we do to get him accommodations?"


504 Plans are authorized under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This is a federal law, so your son is entitled to receive services no matter where you live. The fact of the matter, however, is that states, and even school districts, differ in their interpretations of the law and the extent to which they must comply with its provisions.

States aren’t bound to accept evaluations conducted elsewhere, so you may have to take your son for a thorough neuropsychological evaluation in your new state. A local educational advocate or special education attorney who knows the ins and outs of your school system can be very helpful. Write to the special-education director to request a 504 meeting. Assemble as much written documentation as possible, including your son’s evaluation for ADHD and/or learning disabilities, as well as his prior 504 Plan, to bring to the meeting.

Tell the team the specific services your son received at his old school, and why they were so helpful. Whatever happens, try to tone down your emotions and remain diplomatic. Your goal is not to win a fight with the school district. It’s to make sure that your son receives the services and support he needs.

Since Robert Tudisco was diagnosed with ADHD, he has researched and written extensively on the subject of special education law and disability advocacy, and now specializes in the area as a practicing attorney. He is a former Executive Director of the Edge Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides specialized coaches for students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Impairment. He has served on the National Board of Directors of CHADD and is a former Vice President of ADDA. He is a frequent resource for the media, including CBS News, New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, ABC News, The BBC, The Today Show, CNN, USA Today, and The Seattle Times.
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