3 steps to getting a 504 plan for your child

Download a letter template and find out what details to include when you request a 504 plan.

For a child who is having trouble in school, a 504 plan can offer a lot of support. The plan can put in place changes to how your child is taught, like using audiobooks or taking frequent breaks. These kinds of changes are called accommodations.

How do you get your child a 504 plan? One common way is to get an evaluation for . Schools often suggest a 504 plan for kids who don’t qualify for specially designed instruction but need other kinds of school supports to remove barriers to learning.

Another common way to get a 504 plan is by asking the school for one. If that’s you, here are three steps to get your child a 504 plan.

1. Send a written request for a 504 plan.

An email is a good way to submit your request because it will include the date and time you sent it. In your request, be specific about why you’re asking for a 504 plan. Be sure to include:

  • The name of your child’s disability or health condition

  • Any records of your child’s diagnosis, which you can include as an attachment in your email

  • One or more daily activities that your child is struggling with, like learning, reading, or concentrating

For example, you might say: “I would like a 504 plan for my child who has and needs frequent breaks throughout the day to be able to learn like his peers.”

Download this letter template to request a 504 plan. Open the file, customize it with details about your child, and save it. (This letter was adapted from The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education [Adams Media, 2014]).

Letter template: Request a 504 planPDF - 6.9 KB

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You can send the request to the school’s 504 coordinator. This may be the same person who is the special education coordinator. Check the school website for the coordinator’s name and contact information. If you can’t find it, you can send the letter or email to the principal.

If you don’t get a response within a week, follow up with another email or a phone call.

2. Go through the school’s review process.

The school has a process for determining if a child qualifies for a 504 plan. This process may include:

  • Reviewing your child’s medical records and evaluation reports

  • Looking over your child’s schoolwork, report cards, and other performance data

  • Observing your child in a classroom or other school setting

  • Talking with you, your child’s teacher, and other school staff

In some cases, your child may need more testing. This often depends on how much time has passed since your child’s most recent evaluation.

3. Work together to create the 504 plan.

If your child qualifies for a 504 plan, the school will work with you to create the plan. A written 504 plan isn’t required. But it’s a good idea to ask for the plan to be in writing. A written plan makes it easier for the team to review and refer to it. Most schools will create one.

If your child doesn’t qualify, it may be time to look at your options for 504 plan dispute resolution.

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