View Full Version : IEP or 504 Plan


Mom2tnx
07-25-17, 03:31 PM
Hello,

I'm new to the board. My 14 year old, soon to be high schooler was just diagnosed with ADD. I initiated the testing because of his issues with focusing, organizational skills, forgetfulness etc. He's very well behaved in school, scores high on test/state exams, honor Math student and is an overall A-B student, however as the workload increased it became harder for him to keep up. Frustrations, fighting, punishments, constant following up with him, constant emailing of teachers to make sure he was turning everything in, etc. I tried to address my concerns with the school, and while they were supportive no one thought he had an issue...mainly issues with handing in homework assignments, completing projects on time, etc. So I addressed it privately. He started seeing a therapist a few months ago (feeling overwhelmed with school work, rules around the house, etc.) and both she and I felt he needed to be evaluated for ADHD. He was diagnosed by both a psychiatrist and a neurologist.

I've done a ton of research....but would love to hear some personal opinions as well. Some of my suggestions for him are for more time on tests, homework, sitting in front of class, making sure he writes down assignments, calendar of due dates in advance, regular communication with parents, etc.

Should I request a 504 plan or an IEP for him? He had an IEP for a speech delay from the age of 4 years old until 6 years old.

Thanks

sarahsweets
07-26-17, 05:12 AM
It depends on how much he struggles and what you are looking to have happen. A 504 is usually monitored by the school guidance counselor who probably has a stack of kids with 504's to monitor. They can be useful for general accommodations for tests and work but they are not as specific as an IEP. Not all schools require a school eval for 504's, sometimes they will go on the advice from the childs' doctor or therapist. In order to set him up with long term help, like accommodations for college entrance exams, modifications to how he tests and even certain standardized tests, an IEP is the best. Here in NJ a parent can request a formal school eval by writing a letter to the child study team or special services dept of school. This is the office that oversees special education here. In NJ if you request a formal diagnosis in writing, they have 60 days to respond/ do the evaluation. You should google PRISE which stands for parental rights in special education. Also google wrigthslaw dot com. I cant link to it here because commercial links are not allowed.
He may need different accommodations then just testing ones. He may need to have untimed testing, more time for homework, assitive devices, etc. My son is 21 and before laptops were everywhere, he was allowed to use one at school. He is 21 now and if you want to read my story, there is a sticky in children's diagnosis and treatment. Medication was a life saver for him and it was the key to his success. He doesnt take meds now and that is his own choice.

Caco3girl
07-27-17, 10:00 AM
I made the same mistake with my son. The school is all about IF/THEN. IF he handed in his home work, THEN there is no problem. IF he passes tests, THEN there is no problem. IF he has A/B's THEN there is not problem. They only look at the surface.

They don't realize you are spending 2 hours a day stalking teachers websites, and he is spending hours a day just trying to do the work it would take others 30 minutes to do.

We did the 504 at first, it got him extra time on tests, and "preferential seating"....but I felt he needed different classes. They have classes that are run by two teachers, one teaches and the other one focuses the kids on the teacher. They also have a study hall in high school where kids have to sit down and do their work for the other classes. Both of these were accommodations that could only be received with an IEP, a 504 didn't allow him into those specialized classes. They are reserved for Special Education.

Until I stopped stalking the websites and staying on top of him 24/7 the school didn't see a problem. You have to let him fail, THEN they see the problem.

Mom2tnx
07-27-17, 09:50 PM
I made the same mistake with my son. The school is all about IF/THEN. IF he handed in his home work, THEN there is no problem. IF he passes tests, THEN there is no problem. IF he has A/B's THEN there is not problem. They only look at the surface.

They don't realize you are spending 2 hours a day stalking teachers websites, and he is spending hours a day just trying to do the work it would take others 30 minutes to do.

We did the 504 at first, it got him extra time on tests, and "preferential seating"....but I felt he needed different classes. They have classes that are run by two teachers, one teaches and the other one focuses the kids on the teacher. They also have a study hall in high school where kids have to sit down and do their work for the other classes. Both of these were accommodations that could only be received with an IEP, a 504 didn't allow him into those specialized classes. They are reserved for Special Education.

Until I stopped stalking the websites and staying on top of him 24/7 the school didn't see a problem. You have to let him fail, THEN they see the problem.

This is all so very true!! I'm ready for the road ahead.....I'm ready to fight the pushback I can forsee. He definitely needs those suggestions I noted above.

Caco3girl
07-28-17, 11:04 AM
The pushback will be that no one at the school is required to do anything above and beyond for your kid. If you want above and beyond he would be special education, you are asking for a 504, that isn't special education and there are ZERO ramification if a teacher doesn't follow it.

IEP is a federal document. A 504 is typically a hand written suggestion document, for how to handle this disabled person.

IEP is enforceable by law. A 504 is again, a suggestion document.

IEP means you get a case holder that is assigned to YOUR child. If any teacher doesn't conform to the IEP the case holder gets into it with them. If an accommodation isn't being followed, the case holder can remove the kid from the classroom, or stand there and MAKE the teacher conform. Meetings are held often to make sure all accommodations are fitting the students needs.

A 504 is held by the guidance counselor who has 600-1000 other kids he/she is dealing with, you may or may not even get a meeting once a year.

IEP is reviewed by the state and the IEP also applies to the state mandated testing. A 504 is a document within your kids school, and only there. I'm not sure if a 504 would even apply to the Iowa testing the sate does.

Ask the questions, what does a 504 cover vs an IEP? How are they different? With a medical diagnoses of ADHD your child will be eligible for an IEP under the catagory "otherwise health impaired". The IEP has teeth, the 504 was pathetic. I don't even think half the teachers got a copy of it. Waste of time in my opinion.

Lunacie
07-28-17, 11:33 AM
My adhd granddaughter struggled with the same issues in high school ... along
with being bullied by a couple of kids and a couple of teachers.

She finally threw in the towel and asked to switch to online school, E-Academy.
She was very convincing and they finally agreed midway through junior year.

Huge difference. HUGE. No more missing assignments because they could be
turned in online. One-on-one with teachers when she was struggling to under-
stand, either on-line or in person. And less difficulty in getting extensions if
deemed necessary. Like when her daddy died in December of senior year.

And she was allowed to continue with her participation in the local school choir,
where she lettered! Woot!

It is rare to get an IEP for adhd alone, and as pointed out, a 504 doesn't work
nearly as well. Especially in our school district where you're either a star pupil
or you're a nobody to be walked all over.

Caco3girl
07-28-17, 01:17 PM
My adhd granddaughter struggled with the same issues in high school ... along
with being bullied by a couple of kids and a couple of teachers.

She finally threw in the towel and asked to switch to online school, E-Academy.
She was very convincing and they finally agreed midway through junior year.

Huge difference. HUGE. No more missing assignments because they could be
turned in online. One-on-one with teachers when she was struggling to under-
stand, either on-line or in person. And less difficulty in getting extensions if
deemed necessary. Like when her daddy died in December of senior year.

And she was allowed to continue with her participation in the local school choir,
where she lettered! Woot!

It is rare to get an IEP for adhd alone, and as pointed out, a 504 doesn't work
nearly as well. Especially in our school district where you're either a star pupil
or you're a nobody to be walked all over.

I will admit it took about a year and they asked to try a few other things first but in the end they said an IEP was what he needed for the accommodations I wanted. Has it been your experience IEP's for ADHD are rare? Or is it something you read?

Lunacie
07-28-17, 01:52 PM
I will admit it took about a year and they asked to try a few other things first but in the end they said an IEP was what he needed for the accommodations I wanted. Has it been your experience IEP's for ADHD are rare? Or is it something you read?

Her mom didn't want to push for accomodations. I still don't understand why.

I've read this on wrightslaw dot com, and a few experiences in a local parent
support group.

The IEP for my younger autistic granddaughter was pretty much worthless in
our local school. After they pushed her into horrible behaviors she was sent to
the district behaviorial school ... where she did so well she wasn't allowed to
return there. But there was no way were sending her back to the local school.
The district advocate got very busy over the summer that year and by the
start of the new school year she had a new classroom for middle and high
school kids with autism with the best teacher I've ever met. And the local
school has to provide transport, which is usually just my GD and the driver.

Ironically this is one of the wealthiest and best rated school districts in our
state. Ha. Maybe if you don't have special needs. :rolleyes:

Mom2tnx
07-31-17, 01:16 PM
It depends on how much he struggles and what you are looking to have happen. A 504 is usually monitored by the school guidance counselor who probably has a stack of kids with 504's to monitor. They can be useful for general accommodations for tests and work but they are not as specific as an IEP. Not all schools require a school eval for 504's, sometimes they will go on the advice from the childs' doctor or therapist. In order to set him up with long term help, like accommodations for college entrance exams, modifications to how he tests and even certain standardized tests, an IEP is the best. Here in NJ a parent can request a formal school eval by writing a letter to the child study team or special services dept of school. This is the office that oversees special education here. In NJ if you request a formal diagnosis in writing, they have 60 days to respond/ do the evaluation. You should google PRISE which stands for parental rights in special education. Also google wrigthslaw dot com. I cant link to it here because commercial links are not allowed.
He may need different accommodations then just testing ones. He may need to have untimed testing, more time for homework, assitive devices, etc. My son is 21 and before laptops were everywhere, he was allowed to use one at school. He is 21 now and if you want to read my story, there is a sticky in children's diagnosis and treatment. Medication was a life saver for him and it was the key to his success. He doesnt take meds now and that is his own choice.

I'm unsure of which would fall under the category of what he needs...he needs the following:

more time on tests, homework, sitting in front of class, making sure he writes down assignments, calendar of due dates in advance, regular communication with parents, etc.

He does not need smaller classes, therapy in school, etc. He's very hardworking, in math/science honors, well behaved, etc. Would an IEP typically cover these types of things? He had an IEP when he was younger because he needed speech therapy in school - it ended after 1st grade.

sarahsweets
08-01-17, 07:28 AM
I'm unsure of which would fall under the category of what he needs...he needs the following:

more time on tests, homework, sitting in front of class, making sure he writes down assignments, calendar of due dates in advance, regular communication with parents, etc.

He does not need smaller classes, therapy in school, etc. He's very hardworking, in math/science honors, well behaved, etc. Would an IEP typically cover these types of things? He had an IEP when he was younger because he needed speech therapy in school - it ended after 1st grade.

Sometimes a 504 can cover these things but without a really good monitor they can fall by the wayside. I guess I would recommend you find out how the school oversees the 504 plan kids.

namazu
08-01-17, 01:06 PM
For what it's worth, 504s can cover many kinds of academic accommodations, including accommodations for testing and standardized tests administered by the school. I had a 504 plan only (back in the day, before ADHD was explicitly considered a condition that could warrant an IEP) and received extended time on exams, including the required state testing. My 504 plan was signed off on by the school psychologist.

IEPs typically cover specialized services (speech therapy, remedial tutoring, etc.) and modifications to the educational program (like waivers to standard curriculum, or separate courses) beyond simple accommodations.

School plans (whether 504 plans or IEPs) generally do not cover college entrance exams administered by 3rd parties, which are independent of the school system. You generally have to apply for accommodations through ETS (for the PSAT/SAT) or the College Board (ACT), though they do typically consider documentation from the school in making their decisions about accommodations. (This may differ in places where the school itself gives the testing, and where it's mandatory for all students.)

It sounds to me like your son's needs could probably be met by a 504 plan, assuming they are good about implementing it. This (and even implementation of IEPs) can vary considerably by district, with some being very willing to work with you, and others being more adversarial. Hopefully yours is one of the more "enlightened" districts!

Mom2tnx
08-01-17, 10:48 PM
For what it's worth, 504s can cover many kinds of academic accommodations, including accommodations for testing and standardized tests administered by the school. I had a 504 plan only (back in the day, before ADHD was explicitly considered a condition that could warrant an IEP) and received extended time on exams, including the required state testing. My 504 plan was signed off on by the school psychologist.

IEPs typically cover specialized services (speech therapy, remedial tutoring, etc.) and modifications to the educational program (like waivers to standard curriculum, or separate courses) beyond simple accommodations.

School plans (whether 504 plans or IEPs) generally do not cover college entrance exams administered by 3rd parties, which are independent of the school system. You generally have to apply for accommodations through ETS (for the PSAT/SAT) or the College Board (ACT), though they do typically consider documentation from the school in making their decisions about accommodations. (This may differ in places where the school itself gives the testing, and where it's mandatory for all students.)

It sounds to me like your son's needs could probably be met by a 504 plan, assuming they are good about implementing it. This (and even implementation of IEPs) can vary considerably by district, with some being very willing to work with you, and others being more adversarial. Hopefully yours is one of the more "enlightened" districts!

Thanks! Yes as time goes on and I do more digging in thinking a 504 plan is what he needs. I had a consultation with his neurologist yesterday and she wouldn't recommend the IEP for him considering his test scores, grades, etc. She thinks a 504 plan would work best for him - providing that the school district stays on top of it....warrior mom here will make sure of it. ;-)

Caco3girl
08-03-17, 10:23 AM
Well as I wrote above, I wanted VERY specific things that weren't an option with just a 504. I think that is what Sarah was trying to say as well, a 504 might cover it, but it depends what all you want. If your kid continues to do well then all you will need is the 504, if he starts to struggle in class it can be a fast and slippery slope and you may want to address an IEP.

Invisibleink
11-18-17, 09:02 AM
It sounds like what you want can be done on a well written (and well Implemented) 504 plan. A special education evaluation still seems worthwhile though, and if you move forward with this consider adding a functional behavior / adaptive skills evaluation. At this age you really don’t want to miss something.

Also, if things slide over the next year or two you can re-convene the child study team if you have done the Special Ed evaluation already. Then you can advocate for why your child’s needs have changed. The eval results should be good for 3 years.

Invisibleink
11-18-17, 09:09 AM
Oh, also—no matter what happens it’s time to have your child learn to self-advocate, if this hasn’t happened already.

My son is in 6th grade and they are already wanting me to fade out and let him advocate for himself. It’s really about finding the balance between what the student is ready to do on their own, monitoring for problems, and realizing that some things still need my intervention.

Caco3girl
11-20-17, 08:58 AM
It sounds like what you want can be done on a well written (and well Implemented) 504 plan. A special education evaluation still seems worthwhile though, and if you move forward with this consider adding a functional behavior / adaptive skills evaluation. At this age you really don’t want to miss something.

Also, if things slide over the next year or two you can re-convene the child study team if you have done the Special Ed evaluation already. Then you can advocate for why your child’s needs have changed. The eval results should be good for 3 years.

My son didn't really start self advocating until 10th grade. They may have wanted him to, but it didn't happen until then.

I truly think the reason for that is that he was diagnosed in 8th grade as ADHD, so in short, he has spent his whole educational life being lost and just going with the flow, when he could even keep up. Asking a kid to self advocate that really hasn't had a clue on when his tests are, or even what the teacher said 20 minutes ago, is an exercise in futility. He doesn't know what he needs because he hasn't been keeping up. It was only when he truly began to keep up did he begin to understand HIS needs.

In his IEP meeting this year I was advocating for tests/quizzes to be given on paper. He told me taking them on the computer was causing him to glitch. He couldn't explain further, so I requested it during his IEP meeting. They were about to deny the request when they asked him why he wanted it. He stumbled a bit but finally came out with "When I take a test I mark out the answers I know are wrong, that's how y'all taught me to take tests, but I can't do that on the computer. I tried to just remember that b and c are for sure wrong, but I wound up not remembering correctly and I got the answers wrong. I can't take the test like I've been taught to take a test when it's on a monitor".....and the whole room fell silent! He had a logical reason that directly related to his IEP issue and the accommodation was approved.

Lunacie
11-20-17, 01:33 PM
Oh, also—no matter what happens it’s time to have your child learn to self-advocate, if this hasn’t happened already.

My son is in 6th grade and they are already wanting me to fade out and let him advocate for himself. It’s really about finding the balance between what the student is ready to do on their own, monitoring for problems, and realizing that some things still need my intervention.

I remember one IEP in particular where the school thought we should stop
encouraging my granddaughter's interest in a particular toy because the other
girls in her age group were interested in Barbie dolls.

I informed them that kids with autism and adhd are at least 30% behind their
peers developmentally, so of course she wasn't interested in the things her
peers were interested in ... yet. Also, kids with autism have very narrow and
very focused interests and don't give a crap about what others play with.

My older adhd granddaughter bought into the whole "be like everyone else"
pressure from the schools and failed miserably because as a 5th grader she
had the skills of a 3rd grader. That shouldn't be a surprise to educators, and
they should be willing to make allowances for differences.

Invisibleink
11-21-17, 02:10 PM
My son didn't really start self advocating until 10th grade. They may have wanted him to, but it didn't happen until then.

I truly think the reason for that is that he was diagnosed in 8th grade as ADHD, so in short, he has spent his whole educational life being lost and just going with the flow, when he could even keep up. Asking a kid to self advocate that really hasn't had a clue on when his tests are, or even what the teacher said 20 minutes ago, is an exercise in futility. He doesn't know what he needs because he hasn't been keeping up. It was only when he truly began to keep up did he begin to understand HIS needs.

In his IEP meeting this year I was advocating for tests/quizzes to be given on paper. He told me taking them on the computer was causing him to glitch. He couldn't explain further, so I requested it during his IEP meeting. They were about to deny the request when they asked him why he wanted it. He stumbled a bit but finally came out with "When I take a test I mark out the answers I know are wrong, that's how y'all taught me to take tests, but I can't do that on the computer. I tried to just remember that b and c are for sure wrong, but I wound up not remembering correctly and I got the answers wrong. I can't take the test like I've been taught to take a test when it's on a monitor".....and the whole room fell silent! He had a logical reason that directly related to his IEP issue and the accommodation was approved.

This is a really good point. Nobody can advocate for a problem that they don’t realize that they have. My son has just a few things that he does self-advocate for as a 6th grader...and each of them are for things that he knows he has difficulties with. For him, the first step was knowing where there is a problem. Then knowing it was okay to speak up about the problem. Then we worked on how to ask. I also try to explain to him some of the steps I have taken advocating on his behalf so he gets familiar with how things work.

In my mind, all of this is part of learning self advocacy, and can be introduced if they understand that a problem exists (like your computer test example). I do think middle school is a good time to lay the foundation. Then they can build on it when they’re ready :)

Invisibleink
11-21-17, 02:27 PM
I remember one IEP in particular where the school thought we should stop
encouraging my granddaughter's interest in a particular toy because the other
girls in her age group were interested in Barbie dolls

My older adhd granddaughter bought into the whole "be like everyone else"
pressure from the schools and failed miserably because as a 5th grader she
had the skills of a 3rd grader. That shouldn't be a surprise to educators, and
they should be willing to make allowances for differences.

Ugh, this philosophy drives me nuts. They’ll use the same line when a kid is being picked on for being different. It’s like saying, stop being you—and more like them—and they’ll leave you alone. Intolerance is almost never seen as the problem.