504 Plans in Arizona

Instructor: Bill Sands
504 plans refer to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which forbids public schools from discriminating against students with disabilities. Learn how this law applies to Arizona public schools and discover what a 504 plan entails.

Arizona & 504 Plans

As required by law, Arizona offers support services and accommodations to help students with mental or physical disabilities participate with their peers in a school's general education curriculum. A student's individual needs and the strategies (including classroom modifications, access to course materials in alternative formats and other adjustments) used to ensure that his or her ability to learn is not impeded by disability are outlined in 504 plans.

These plans are developed by committee and usually involve both general and special education instructors as well as school administrators and the parents of the student in question. In select cases, students of a sufficient age and maturity level may be allowed to help design their own plans.

Given that 504 plans are part of a federal mandate, the rules and regulations do not vary from state to state. The requirements in Arizona are the same as any other state in the country.

504 Plan Eligibility

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 offers a very broad definition of the word 'disability.' Rather than provide names of specific issues, the section lists the traits of disorders that may qualify students for 504 accommodations. According to Section 504, students with disabilities are defined as those who:

  • Have a documented mental or physical impairment.
  • Are substantially restricted by their disability from performing essential life activities, including but not limited to concentrating, walking, seeing or reading.
  • Have a permanent or reoccurring disability. Students with injuries may also qualify if they will be impaired for more than six months.

As expected, this loose definition means that many disabilities and learning disorders fall under the 504 umbrella and can include impairments ranging from ADHD and asthma to diabetes and tuberculosis.

504 Plan Requirements

504 plans vary greatly based on a student's individual needs, though Section 504 does call for certain events. Students must undergo an initial evaluation to determine their eligibility for 504 plans as well as periodic reviews to assess their plan's effectiveness. Additionally, parents must be notified, in writing, that their child is being evaluated; they also have the right to be informed of the results and formally challenge any eligibility decisions made by a 504 committee.

School districts are free to create their own procedures for 504 plans, so long as they do not violate these and other federal regulations. Some school districts, such as the one in Tempe, AZ, publish guidelines that contain an overview of Section 504 provisions and advice for school officials attempting to create and implement these plans.

Additional Resources

Study.com offers a handful of resources that can help you navigate the various intervention strategies available to students with disabilities and brush up on related terminology. These resources also include sample 504 plans as well as activities designed to help students of all abilities participate in general education classrooms:

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