504 Plans in Georgia

Instructor: Alyssa Kominsky

Alyssa has taught middle school and high school English and has a bachelor's degree in secondary English education with a minor in creative writing.

To comply with Section 504, Georgia public schools use Student Support Teams to develop 504 plans for students with disabilities. Keep reading to learn how these are developed, explore eligibility requirements and accommodation types, and find online resources to help you learn more about teaching students with disabilities.

504 Plans in Georgia Schools

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, students with disabilities who attend public schools, or any other school receiving federal funds, are protected from discrimination. This law states that all students with disabilities must have their needs met, just as children without disabilities do.

The procedures that Georgia's public schools use to comply with this law vary from school district to school district. However, all schools work to develop 504 plans so that students with disabilities get the accommodations they need to access classroom instruction and participate in any extracurricular activities.

Eligibility Requirements

Disabilities covered by Section 504 include mental and physical conditions ranging from ADHD to asthma and epilepsy. Ultimately, students' eligibility for a 504 plan depends on whether or not their disability severely impacts activities that can include:

  • Breathing
  • Self care
  • Hearing, seeing, or speaking
  • Eating or sleeping
  • Lifting or bending
  • Thinking, concentrating, or learning
  • Walking or standing

Development Processes

Schools across the state of Georgia use Student Support Teams (SST) to ensure students get the help they need to overcome obstacles that prevent them from becoming successful in the classroom. When evaluating students' eligibility for accommodations and developing 504 plans, the SST follows this basic process:

#1. Information gathering and assessment: Staff who have been working with the child (including a school's 504 coordinator, teachers, guidance counselors, and/or administrators) obtain as much information as needed regarding the student's past academic and behavioral performance.

#2. Creation and implementation: A student's team will create a plan designed to meet his or her needs. Any decisions made must be agreed upon by all parties involved, including a student's parents. Once a plan has been established, teachers and other school staff will implement any necessary accommodations.

#3. Evaluation: After a predetermined amount of time, the child's team will meet to discuss his or her progress, determine the effectiveness of the 504 plan, and make changes to the plan if needed. Progress continues, and the team meets regularly to check in on the student.

Accommodation Types

While accommodations vary for each student, guidelines for choosing them stipulate that accommodations should relate to a student's disability, reflect his or her individual needs, and offer the student opportunities for participation equal to their non-disabled peers, rather than provide an advantage. In Georgia, accommodations are broken down into four categories. Accommodations for each category include:

Presentation Accommodations Response Accommodations Setting Accommodations Scheduling Accommodations
*Highlighted textbooks
*Large print or Braille materials
*Access to listening devices or magnifiers
*Access to word processors and calculators
*The use of a scribe
*Preferential seating
*Access to adaptive furniture
*Instruction in small group settings
*Extra time to complete homework or tests
* Frequent breaks
*Adjustments to class schedules

Additional Resources

For more information on Section 504 and teaching students with disabilities, check out these lessons. Resources for Teaching Special Education offers sample 504 plans, accommodations, and instructional activities for students with a wide range of disabilities. You can also get a refresher on the differences between 504 plans, special education services, and Response to Intervention with these Special and Inclusive Education lessons or explore assessment and instructional strategies alongside symptoms of common learning disabilities with this Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities course.

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