We have experience on all sides of the table: representing students, faculty members and schools. Whether you or your child is facing allegations in the criminal justice system or a school disciplinary proceeding, we get it; no matter the allegation, it can affect a student forever. Our team has defended students across Missouri, including students at Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University, the University of Missouri, local high schools and others. Our experience also includes Title IX matters.
IEPs and 504 Plans
Navigating your way through the IEP process is no easy feat. Whether you are negotiating an appropriate IEP, 504 plan or other accommodation for your child, we have extensive experience in helping families like yours prepare for and participate in meetings with school officials, where critical decisions are made.
A 504 plan is a document that outlines accommodations and support services for students with disabilities, as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The plan is designed to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to educational opportunities and can participate fully in school activities. Accommodations and support services outlined in a 504 plan may include things like extra time on tests, assistive technology, or modifications to the physical environment of the school. It is developed by a team that includes the student, parents or guardians, and school staff.
An IEP, or Individualized Education Program, is a document that outlines the educational plan for a student with a disability. The plan is developed by a team that includes the student’s parents or guardians, teachers, and other school staff, as well as the student (when appropriate). The IEP outlines the student’s current level of performance, as well as the student’s goals and the specific services and accommodations that will be provided to help the student meet those goals. These services and accommodations may include things like special education instruction, related services (such as speech and language therapy), and assistive technology. The IEP is reviewed and updated on an annual basis, or more frequently if needed. The IEP is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to ensure that students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
The main difference between a 504 plan and an IEP is the laws they are governed by and the type of students they serve.
A 504 plan is governed by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and applies to students with disabilities who do not meet the eligibility criteria for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These students are not considered to have a severe or significant disability but may require accommodations in order to have equal access to educational opportunities. 504 plans are designed to provide accommodations and support services that enable these students to participate fully in school activities.
An IEP, on the other hand, is governed by the IDEA and applies to students with disabilities who have been determined to need special education services in order to benefit from their education. These students are considered to have a severe or significant disability, and the IEP outlines the specific services and accommodations that will be provided to help them meet their educational goals.
In summary, the main difference between the two is that a 504 plan is a document that outlines accommodations and support services for students with disabilities to have equal access to education and IEP is a document that outlines specific services and accommodations for students with severe or significant disabilities to benefit from their education.
Unfortunately, the IEP and 504 process is all too often used to deprive students of what they need in an effort to spare resources—but state and federal law mandates otherwise. We are here to help make sure that does not happen.