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504 Plans in Maine

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Learn about the purpose of 504 plans in Maine with this article. You'll also find out the process for getting a 504 plan set up and how it can help children get the education they need.

How Does Maine Use 504 Plans?

504 plans are part of a federal act to ensure that individuals with disabilities are given the help they need in public schools. It's not a special education law, but does help children receive the accommodations and help that they need to take part in a public school education. Most students who use this plan receive their education in a regular classroom.

The plan is designed to help students with an impairment that restricts some kind of major life activity. These impairments can be physical or mental. There are many activities that can be affected to qualify a student for help under the 504 plan, but a few include:

  • Walking
  • Speaking
  • Learning
  • Reading
  • Communicating

You can find a complete list of activities on the website for the U.S. Department of Education (www.ed.gov). A student's ability to manage certain bodily functions may also entitle them to help under a 504 Plan.

How Can a Student Get Help through a 504 Plan?

In order for a student to receive aid through the 504 process, a referral must be made on the student's behalf. This referral goes to the 504 Coordinator, who will set up a meeting to evaluate the needs of the student. This team includes the:

  • 504 Coordinator
  • School staff who have knowledge of the child, including the school nurse, if applicable
  • Parent or guardian of the child

The child's needs may be evaluated through testing or other forms of assessment. If the child is to be tested, permission from the parent or guardian is needed. Any decisions made for the child must be achieved by consensus, or by the 504 Coordinator.

After a decision is made about the accommodations that will be made, a 504 Accommodation Plan will be created. This plan will detail what accommodations the student should be provided with. All 504 Plans should be checked annually to ensure that students are still getting the help that they need.

How Do Accommodations Work?

Depending on the needs of the student, different accommodations will be supplied. Ensuring the child gets the help he or she needs will determine the nature of these accommodations. You can learn more about these options by checking out this course on teaching students with learning disabilities. The lessons on special and inclusive education can also help you get familiar with 504 plans and the educational options available for students with disabilities. These short video lessons can be viewed anywhere. Each lesson focuses on specific information, making it easy to learn more about possible educational considerations for children with special needs.

How Do You Handle a Complaint?

If there is a disagreement regarding the way a 504 plan is handled an impartial hearing can be requested. Parents may also follow the Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure to get help. Finally, there is the option to contact the Office for Civil Rights directly, if other options for resolving this issue fail.

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