Parents and Caregivers

504 Plan vs Health Plan

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Joined: September 03, 2013

Posted: Sep 3, 2013 11:34 PM
My daughter with Crohn's disease is starting 7th grade.  In 6th grade, we went to the school requesting a 504 Plan (on advice of other parents, doctors, etc).  We were denied the 504 after a meeting because esentially my daughter is a straight A student, responsible, and didn't let Crohn's effect her in the classroom.  The district nurse was very willing to write up a individual health plan that allowed bathroom breaks, seating near the doors of classrooms, etc.. - most of what we would have had in a 504.  We have switched doctors and moved from treatment with Pentasa to Remicade and she's had several bouts of severe pain including an ER visit this summer.  
I am getting a lot of push back from the school and questioned about why I need a 504 instead of just a Individual Health Plan.  From my perspective, a 504 seems more legally binding and gives us more to stand on should we ever need it.  I've also seen a 504 plan that included things like not being ineligible from things like Nat'l Honor Society due to absences for illness/doctors appointments.  Need advice on what to do - is it worth it to keep pushing the 504 or should we be satisfied with updating her Health Plan?  
BTW - we live in Wisconsin where it seems more difficult to obtain a 504 compared to nearby Minnesota.  

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Joined: September 03, 2013

Posted: Dec 29, 2013 12:25 AM
 Reply posted for momofkc.

Thank you all for your info and responses.  We were able to get the 504 this year.  It is a little less detailed than I had hoped, but we were told it needs review each school year.  Once attendance issues can effect things such as National Honor Society, etc in High School I intend to add these components.  
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Joined: December 29, 2013

Posted: Dec 29, 2013 11:35 PM
Being a former school nurse and working in the school system I can tell you that the school has to go through a lot more work to complete a 504 than an health plan. A 504 holds the school accountable by law, where the health plan does not. This is one of many reasons why schools always kind of redirect things to a health plan instead of 504.  But a health plan only covers health reasons, not the educational aspect that you would like to protect for your child. I would make another request and ask for the administrator, the 504 coordinator, school social worker, etc. to be present at the meeting.  Legally, they cannot deny you one if it affects a major life function of hers, which it does. If your daughter is a A student it is just as important, this helps to protect her grades and keeps her at that "level playing field" with everyone else. This is the purpose of a 504.  If she were to have an issue in the future to cause her to miss a lot of school, or trouble participating in PE, etc.  having this in place will help protect her future. Some things to request in a 504, and you can obtain doctor's orders or recommendations from your physician as well: unlimited BR pass, able to carry and drink water freely, able to snack if appetite desires, homework provided by instructor by the next school day, pass to visit nurse at any time, excuse from PE if experiencing pain, discomfort, weakness, or extreme tiredness, student will be exempt from attendance policy (would be important as your child enters HS and could possibly lose credit from lack of attendance, usually doctor will write you an excuse), individual instruction provided by school if make-up work is not understood, school lunch program to provide dietary needs as prescribed by physician's (low-fiber, no raw fruits or vegetables, etc). The other important component of 504's is that they follow you to college. 
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Joined: November 25, 2008

Posted: Oct 25, 2013 11:37 AM
Keep pushing to get a binding 504 plan.    It does not matter that your daughter is an A student she is entitled to a 504 plan.  The goal is to keep her there.  A 504 plan can help.  
View a sample plan at
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Joined: October 21, 2013

Posted: Oct 21, 2013 3:19 PM
 Reply posted for momofkc.


As a mother of a child who is on a 504 Plan for educational reasons I can say that you do have to "fight" to get what you need for your child.  It can be an exhaustive process, but in the end you are only doing what is best for your child.  All of the key points that you want to have included in your child's plan are to "protect" her best interests.  She should not be penalized for having this health condition.  And, unfortunately, missed school time typically leads to extra stress for the child as they progress into their high school years and are faced with college choices soon after.  The 504 Plan is a legal binding document.  Once a person has a 504 it stays with them FOR LIFE.  Being that your child is in middle school and still has a fair amount of schooling ahead I would recommend continuing to press the issue.  Hope this helps.

Regards from MA! 

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