Law Office of Michael Tonder, P.C.

65 Pineville Road, Suite 2
Monroeville, AL 36460

P.O. Box 337
Excel, AL 36439‎


Education / IEP / 504

Student 504 Plans

What is a 504 plan?

A 504 plan is a creation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which states that no one can be excluded from federally funded programs, including elementary, secondary, or postsecondary schooling due to a disability.   Section 504 attempts to level the playing field for students with disabilities.   A Section 504 disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Diabetes is a prime example of a disability under Section 504. Section 504 applies to all schools that receive federal assistance.

A 504 Plan is a contract between the student/parents and the school that states the accommodations the child will receive.

Please be aware that a 504 plan is not the same as an IEP. An IEP is for children whose disabilities adversely affect educational performance and is much more proactive in that it states services available to the child.  A 504 plan is used when the child’s disability does not affect educational performance.

Take the example of a child with diabetes.  If the condition does not adversely affect educational performance, then a 504 plan would be utilized.  The 504 plan could state that the school would have trained personnel on site at all times who could administer medication to the child, state that the child is able to administer medication to herself if needed, state that the child will have access to food/drink if experiencing a drop in blood sugars, etc.

If your child suffers from a disability, you should speak with the school to see if accommodations are available.  If you cannot resolve the issue with the school, please feel free to contact me to discuss your rights.


What is an IEP?

What is an IEP?

An Individual Education Program is defined in 20 U.S.C. § 1414 (d)(1)(a).   An IEP is basically a contract between the school and a child who is identified as having a disability under the IDEA who needs special education. Usually this comes about because the child has a condition that interferes with the ability to learn and the parent or teacher notices the child is having trouble keeping up with their peers.  After the condition is identified and it is noted that the child qualifies for help, an IEP is created.  The IEP sets goals for the child and details the services the school will provide.  An IEP meeting will take place to determine the needs of the child and how to meet those needs.  School staff, teachers, other professionals, and the child’s parents are usually present at the IEP meeting and a plan is created.

As the name indicates, the IEP is individualized for the child.  Once the IEP is in place, the school follows the plan to help the child excel.    If your child is struggling in school and has a condition you believe is the cause of his or her struggles, please bring it to the attention of your child’s teachers.  I’m sure your child’s teachers would be more than willing to help.