504 Plans In Different States

Q:

"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?"

A:

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.

Robert Tudisco is a lawyer who specializes in ADHD. He lives in White Plains, New York.
 
 
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