Evaluation and Identification
Section 504 eligibility is not based on any single piece of data, nor is it determined by one individual. It is a team-based approach. The evaluation process should include individuals who are knowledgeable of the child, the evaluation data, and the placement options. Parents are encouraged to take and active role in decision-making that will affect their child. Team problem-solving and communication are crucial to any student’s success.
Members of the team may include:
Campus 504 Coordinator
Special area teacher (for example, P.E. coach)
Student if appropriate
Anyone else who may be able to provide information and feedback
Individuals who are eligible for Section 504 protections have an impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity, so the committee must gather information to support each of those components.
Major life activities
Information from the parent and from the teacher(s) helps to identify what major life activities are being affected. If the major life activities relate to learning, reading, etc. the team may need to consider whether the student may benefit from a Full Individual Evaluation under special education. Information from interventions in general education must be utilized in the determination.
The team should gather data regarding the impairment. The information may be provided by a physician, a psychologist, or by campus personnel (as with a dyslexia evaluation). With medical conditions, it is helpful to obtain signed consent for the parent or guardian to discuss the impairment with the student’s physician.
The team uses all available information to determine whether the student is “substantially limited” when compared to the average person in the general population. The team must disregard the benefits of mitigating measures in the determination. If the team determines that the limitations are minor, the student will not be eligible for protections under section 504.
Information Which Should be Gathered
Response to scientifically-based interventions
Information from parents
Any other information that may be helpful
Parent Requests for Evaluation Under Section 504
If a parent makes a request for evaluation for Section 504 for his/her child, the school will make a good faith effort to provide the evaluation within a reasonable time frame. The school will information provided by the parent(s) or guardian(s) in evaluating eligibility as well as other educational information including grades, attendance, discipline records, and other evaluation information.