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504 Plans in Virginia

Instructor: Fola Rae
Students with disabilities may be eligible for 504 plans in Virginia. Read on to find out how students are placed in classrooms and learn how schools prepare to meet the needs of students.

Overview of 504 Plans in Virginia

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, students who have a documented mental or physical impairment that hinders their ability to engage in major life activities, like reading or communicating, are guaranteed equal access to education.

The law stipulates that these individuals be placed in an environment with children who aren't disabled whenever possible, and section 504 plans outline the accommodations needed for them to learn in this integrated classroom environment.

Section 504 plans are created for children at the request of their parents or physicians. Teachers or other school staff who suspect that a student might suffer from an impairment of some sort can also refer a student.

Student Evaluations

Students with disabilities are evaluated to determine where they can be placed and what services they will need in order to be taught in a regular classroom. Parents have to give their consent for these evaluations, and the children have to be tested using assessments that are suitable for evaluating children with disabilities.

After being assigned to a regular classroom, it must be possible to continue to meet students' educational needs in this setting. As a result, students are re-evaluated every three years.

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations included in a 504 plan make it possible for students with disabilities to learn with others and to be able to participate in school activities and programs. To learn more about how these accommodations are implemented, check out these lessons on special and inclusive instruction along with this course on Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities. Here are some examples of reasonable accommodations:

School Modifications to Procedures

In some cases, schools may have to notify staff members of any procedural changes needed to help students access services outside of school and avoid being penalized for any health-related issues:

  • Allow more health-related excused absences than normal
  • Adjust parking arrangements and school transportation services
  • Allow students to be dismissed early so they can attend appointments at service agencies

Adjustments Made by Teachers

Teachers may have to make the following adjustments to their teaching methods to follow a Section 504 plan:

  • Create individual assessments for students
  • Make changes to procedures used for testing
  • Choose teaching materials that fit the way some students learn
  • Change the level of difficulty of reading assignments
  • Get other students to help with taking notes
  • Provide extra copies of textbooks for the student to use at home
  • Give oral exams instead of written exams
  • Have lectures taped so they can be reviewed after classes
  • Give extra time to complete assignments or tests

Adjustments to the School Environment

To ensure that the environment in the school is suitable for learning and that facilities are easy to access, schools may have to make the following changes:

  • Alter the temperature in classrooms and in the school building
  • Make modifications to the building for students using wheelchairs
  • Schedule classes in places where students with disabilities can attend
  • Make changes to meet the special dietary and medication needs of students

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