I need help responding to the questions in the attachment.  EQUITY 10 – Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

  I need help responding to the questions in the attachment. 

EQUITY 10 – Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Objective: Learners will compare and contrast 504 with IDEA.

There are times when a student may go through the special education referral process and not meet the legal requirements outlined in IDEA, therefore making that student ineligible for services under that umbrella.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act could provide another avenue for services.  


What is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act?   

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of persons with handicaps in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Section 504 protects the rights not only of individuals with visible disabilities but also those with disabilities that may not be apparent.

Section 504 provides that: 
“No otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance….”



The Section 504 regulation defines an “individual with handicaps” as any person who

(i) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities

(ii) has a record of such an impairment

(iii) is regarded as having such an impairment.

   The regulation further defines a physical or mental impairment as:

        (A) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or

       (B) any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The definition does not set forth a list of specific diseases and conditions that constitute physical or mental impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the comprehensiveness of any such list.

The key factor in determining whether a person is considered an “individual with handicaps” covered by Section 504 is whether the physical or mental impairment results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities, defined as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.  Frequently occurring examples are persons with histories of mental or emotional illness, heart disease, or cancer.

However, in some cases Section 504 also protects individuals who do not have a handicapping condition but are treated as though they do because they have a history of, or have been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. For example, if you have a history of a handicapping condition but no longer have the condition, or have been incorrectly classified as having such a condition, you too are protected from discrimination under Section 504.



Hidden disabilities are physical or mental impairments that are not readily apparent to others. They include such conditions and diseases as specific learning disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy, and allergy. A disability such as a limp, paralysis, total blindness or deafness is usually obvious to others. But hidden disabilities such as low vision, poor hearing, heart disease, or chronic illness may not be obvious. A chronic illness involves a recurring and long-term disability such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver disease, high blood pressure, or ulcers.

Students with hidden disabilities frequently are not properly diagnosed. For example, a student with an undiagnosed hearing impairment may be unable to understand much of what a teacher says; a student with a learning disability may be unable to process oral or written information routinely; or a student with an emotional problem may be unable to concentrate in a regular classroom setting. As a result, these students, regardless of their intelligence, will be unable to fully demonstrate their ability or attain educational benefits equal to that of nonhandicapped students. They may be perceived by teachers and fellow students as slow, lazy, or as discipline problems.



The following examples illustrate how schools can address the needs of their students with hidden disabilities.

· A student with a long-term, debilitating medical problem such as cancer, kidney disease, or diabetes may be given special consideration to accommodate the student’s needs. For example, a student with cancer may need a class schedule that allows for rest and recuperation following chemotherapy.

· A student with a learning disability that affects the ability to demonstrate knowledge on a standardized test or in certain testing situations may require modified test arrangements, such as oral testing or different testing formats.

· A student with a learning disability or impaired vision that affects the ability to take notes in class may need a notetaker or tape recorder.

· A student with a chronic medical problem such as kidney or liver disease may have difficulty in walking distances or climbing stairs. Under Section 504, this student may require special parking space, sufficient time between classes, or other considerations, to conserve the student’s energy for academic pursuits.

· A student with diabetes, which adversely affects the body’s ability to manufacture insulin, may need a class schedule that will accommodate the student’s special needs.

· An emotionally or mentally ill student may need an adjusted class schedule to allow time for regular counseling or therapy.

· A student with epilepsy who has no control over seizures, and whose seizures are stimulated by stress or tension, may need accommodation for such stressful activities as lengthy academic testing or competitive endeavors in physical education.

· A student with arthritis may have persistent pain, tenderness or swelling in one or more joints. A student experiencing arthritic pain may require a modified physical education program.



 (Links to an external site.)

Date of Document 01/01/1995, *U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1995-0-396-916


Implications for the Classroom

When a student has a disability that falls under the Section 504 Rehabilitation Act, they have  a substantial limitation to a major life activity.  These limitations can create barriers to learning and success, so it is necessary to create a plan that puts academic supports in place for students to be successful.  Parents are not 
required to participate in the 504 Plan development process, but it is important to have them participate to assure success.  Once a plan is developed, teachers work to implement accommodations that lead to success.  Examples of some of the most common accommodations:

· preferential seating

· extended time on tests and assignments

· reduced homework or classwork

· verbal, visual, or technology aids

· modified textbooks or audio-video materials

· behavior management support

· adjusted class schedules or grading

· verbal testing

· excused lateness, absence, or missed classwork

· pre-approved nurse’s office visits and accompaniment to visits

· occupational or physical therapy

Understanding the Differences Between IDEA and Section 504

Resource Link to the U.S. Department of Education IDEA website if you are interested. 

Retrieved From: 

Since 1975, every child with a disability has been entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) designed to meet his individual needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This federal law governs all special education services. It provides some funding to state and local education agencies to guarantee special education and related services for those students who meet the criteria for eligibility in several distinct categories of disability, each of which has its own criteria.


According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 5.5 million children with disabilities receive special education and related services and are protected by IDEA. However, some kids with special needs do not receive services under IDEA but are served under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504, a civil rights law, prohibits discrimination based on disabling conditions by programs and activities receiving or benefiting from federal financial assistance. This statute does not require the federal government to provide additional funding for students identified with special needs. Schools must provide these children with reasonable accommodations comparable to those provided to their peers under the rulings of Section 504. Although not a financing statute, Section 504 provides for enforcement of the mandate: A school found by the Office of Civil Rights to be out of compliance with Section 504 may lose its federal financing.


For some children, providing the appropriate modifications and accommodations is the only way they will be successful in their school experiences. A thorough understanding of these two laws’ provisions will help you determine the most appropriate education for the child.


An Overview of the Differences

The criteria for identification, eligibility, appropriate education, and due process procedures under IDEA and Section 504 vary.  The major differences between IDEA and Section 504 are in the flexibility of the procedures. There are fewer specific procedural criteria for a child to be identified as eligible for services under Section 504. Schools may offer a student less assistance and monitoring with Section 504 because there are fewer regulations by the federal government to instruct them, especially in terms of compliance.


In contrast, a child identified for services under IDEA must meet specific criteria. The degree of regulation is more specific in terms of time frames, parental participation, and formal paperwork requirements. IDEA also addresses students with disabilities special education from preschool to graduation only (from ages 3 to 21). Section 504 covers the lifespan and safeguards the rights of persons with disabilities in many areas of their lives, including employment, public access to buildings, transportation, and education.

adapted from: Council for Exceptional Children (2002)


Identification and Eligibility    

For children with disabilities to receive services, they must be identified and determined to be eligible for these services. Under IDEA guidelines, school districts are required to identify and evaluate all children suspected of having a disability whose families reside within the district. Section 504 does not have this requirement.


• Covers all school-aged children who fall within one or more specific categories of qualifying conditions (i.e., autism, specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, emotional disturbance, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment, hearing impairment, and other health impairments).

• Requires that a child’s disability adversely affects her educational performance.


Section 504

• Covers individuals who meet the definition of qualified “handicapped” person — for example, a child who has had a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity or is regarded as handicapped by others. (Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks).

• Does not require that a child need special education to qualify. Note: Students who are ineligible for services or are no longer entitled to services under IDEA (e.g., kids with a learning disability who no longer meet IDEA eligibility criteria) may be entitled to accommodations under Section 504.



 A child with a disability is assessed to determine what services, if any, are needed.


• Requires that a multidisciplinary team fully and comprehensively evaluates the child. 

• Requires informed and written parental consent.

• Requires a reevaluation of the child at least once every three years, or if conditions warrant a reevaluation, or if the child’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation.

• Provides for independent evaluation at the district’s expense if parents disagree with the first evaluation.

• Does not require reevaluation before a significant change in placement.


Section 504

• Many sources of documented information are used for evaluation.

• Knowledgeable individuals evaluate data and placement options and make decisions about the child. Such decisions do not require the written consent of the parents, only that the parents are notified.

• Requires “periodic” reevaluation.

• No provisions are made for independent evaluation at the school’s expense.

• Requires reevaluation before a significant change in placement.


Responsibility to Provide FAPE  (Free and Appropriate Education)


• Requires an individualized education program (IEP).

• “Appropriate” education means a program designed to provide “educational benefit” for a person with disabilities.

• Placement may be any combination of special education and general education classrooms.

• Provides related services, if required. Related services may include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling services, psychological services, social services, and transportation.


Section 504

• Does not require an IEP but does require a plan.

• “Appropriate” means an education comparable to the education provided to those students who are not disabled.

• Placement is usually in a general education classroom. Children can receive specialized instruction, related services, or accommodations within the general education classroom.

• Provides related services, if needed.


Due Process Procedures   

Sometimes parents and school districts disagree on how a child with disabilities should be educated. There are procedures in place to handle these disagreements.


· Must provide impartial hearings for parents who disagree with the student’s identification, evaluation, or placement.

· Requires written consent.

· Describes specific procedures.

· An impartial appointee selects a hearing officer.

· Provides “stay-put” provision (the student’s current IEP and placement continues to be implemented) until all proceedings are resolved.

· Parents must receive ten days’ notice prior to any change in placement.

· Enforced by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education.

Section 504

·  Must provide impartial hearings for parents who disagree with the student’s identification, evaluation, or placement of the student.

· Does not require parental consent.

· Requires that parents have an opportunity to participate and be represented by legal counsel — other details are left to the discretion of the school.

· The school usually appoints a hearing officer.

· No “stay-put” provisions.

· Does not require prior notification to parents of a student’s change of placement, but they still must be notified.

· Enforced by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights


adapted from: From Understanding the Differences Between IDEA and Section 504, Teaching Exceptional Children, v.34(3). Copyright 2002 by the Council for Exceptional Children. Reprinted with permission.

theme=print ©2015 WETA. All Rights Reserved.



Access your GO TO Page.  Complete the Venn diagram using the identified letters and assign the letter to the correct section of the Venn diagram. Reminder – some definitions are a part of both 504 and IDEA and will go in the middle of the diagram.   


Once complete, save your GO TO Page in your Canvas Tool Box Folder to show the similarities and differences between Section 504 and IDEA. 



Share This Post


Order a Similar Paper and get 15% Discount on your First Order

Related Questions

I need help completing the assignment in the attachment. R1 – What is Reading?

I need help completing the assignment in the attachment. R1 – What is Reading? Objective: Learners will describe themselves as a reader, the meaning of “reading,” and strategies they employ to ensure comprehension.   Go to your text, First Year Teachers Survival Guide > Read “Strengthen the Skills that can Make a Difference