My child is not doing well in school. Does my student need a 504 Plan or an IEP?
If a student is not doing well in school due to a disability, the student may need accommodations through a 504 Plan or special education services through an IEP.
If a student has a physical or mental disability that affects their school day, that student may need accommodations documented in a 504 Plan. Accommodations could be a wheelchair ramp, a sign language interpreter, and extra breaks for a student with ADHD. These types of accommodations should be recorded in a 504 Plan, a legal document created by a team at the school that must include the parent. If a school does not follow the 504 Plan, a parent can file a complaint through the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. The Cleveland office of the U.S. Department of Education can be reached at 216-522-4970.
If you believe your child’s disability requires special education services at school, you can ask that your child be tested for special education. If the student qualifies, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be created for the student. An IEP records the plan for helping a child meet their individual goals. Examples of IEP goals are learning math facts, improving speech skills, and developing coping skills. The IEP will also include the services the school will provide to help the student meet their goals. The IEP is a legal document created by a team that includes the parent. If a school does not follow an IEP, a parent can file a complaint with the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children which can be reached at 877-644-6338.
How do I request a 504 plan or IEP?
A parent can request that a student be tested for a 504 Plan or IEP by asking the school. It is best to ask in writing so put your request in a letter to the school. Date the letter and state that the child has a disability which causes them to struggle in school so you would like them tested for a 504 Plan or an IEP. Give the letter to the school, but be sure to keep an additional copy of the letter.
If the school does not respond or denies the request for a 504 Plan, contact the Cleveland office of the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights at 216-522-4970.
If the school does not respond or denies the request for special education, contact the Ohio Department of Education at 1-877-644-6338. For more information about requesting special education, see https://lasclev.org/i-think-my-child-needs-special-education-classes-what-is-the-process/