Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act requires public schools to offer services and accommodations for eligible students with disabilities. These services help students with special health needs fully take part in school.
Your child may be eligible for health services, educational accommodations, or both.
- Health services are for students who need to take medicine (like insulin) or receive a special nursing treatment at school. Find out more on our Health Services page:
- Educational accommodations are for students who need building, classroom or testing accommodations. For example, students with trouble hearing may need to be seated close to the blackboard. Other students may need breaks, or extra time to take tests. For these accommodations, please submit the Request for Section 504 Accommodations, Medical Review for 504 Accommodations and the HIPAA form (provided below) to your school’s 504 Coordinator:
Return completed forms to your school’s 504 Coordinator. Any medication or medical treatment forms will go to the school nurse/medical professional in the building. For Educational Accommodations, the 504 Coordinator will contact you to schedule a meeting within 30 days of your initial request. At the meeting, the school’s 504 Team will review your request and other relevant information about your child. The 504 team will decide if your child is eligible for accommodations. They will also decide which accommodations are most appropriate.
Students qualify for 504 Accommodations if:
- They have a physical or mental impairment, and do not have an IEP.
- The impairment substantially limits at least one major life activity.
Physical or Mental Impairments
Some examples of physical or mental impairments are physical disabilities, health conditions, mental disorders, and learning disabilities.
- Short term impairments (like a broken leg) may qualify a student for 504 accommodations. This depends on the type of the impairment, how long it lasts, and how severe it is.
- Episodic impairments (like asthma) may qualify a student for 504 accommodations. Students are qualified if the impairment substantially limits a major life activity when it is active.
Examples of Major Life Activities:
Caring for oneself, communicating, bending, breathing, doing tasks with one’s hands, eating, focusing, hearing, learning, lifting, reading, seeing, sleeping, speaking, standing, thinking, walking, working.
Does your child have an impairment that prevents him from doing any of the life activities listed above? If so, your child may qualify for accommodations under Section 504. Once the correct forms are submitted to the school, each student case is reviewed individually.
Paraprofessionals (“paras”) help students with physical and mental disabilities. Paras work with students to make sure their learning and health needs are met at school. Paras work in the classroom, under the general supervision of a certified teacher.
Can a Para Help My Child?
Paras can provide your child with extra teaching support if they have a mental disability. Some examples of qualifying disabilities are attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia and depression.
Paras can also help your child if they have a physical or medical disability. Some examples of qualifying disabilities are asthma, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDs, limited eyesight and severe allergies. Under the guidance of the school nurse, a para can check for signs and symptoms of a specific disease, help students with disabilities eat and move, and help students get to the school nurse.
To Apply For a Para
- Fill out the 504 Accommodations form with HIPAA Consent for Parents:
- Have your child’s health care provider fill out the Medical Review for 504 Accommodations:
- Bring the completed form to your child’s school.
- The request will be reviewed by an Office of School Health physician. Your school will contact you about next steps.
Medicine at School Resources
If your child needs to take medicine at school, make sure to also bring a completed Medication Administration Form to your school. Learn more about how to apply for medicine at school on our Health Services page:
Please reach out to the 504 Coordinator and Health Director for your child’s school.
Testing and Classroom Accommodations
Classroom accommodations are changes to the classroom setting so that students with disabilities may fully participate in school. For example, students with trouble hearing or seeing might be seated close to the blackboard. Other students may need to use the school elevator, assistive technology devices or special furniture. Some students may receive extra breaks, or longer time for activities.
What are Testing Accommodations?
Testing accommodations are changes to the way tests are given, or to testing format. Some students with disabilities may need these changes to be able to show their understanding of class material. The testing changes are to prevent students’ test results from being affected by their disabilities. Testing accommodations do not change the skills or content that tests measure.
There are four types of testing accommodations. They are:
- Method of Presentation
- Examples: Test directions or questions may be read, repeated and explained by school staff. Tests may be also be given in braille.
- Method of Response
- Examples: Students may use assistive technology devices. Students may write answers directly in answer booklets, or type their answers using a computer.
- Test Timing
- Examples: Students may receive breaks or have more time to take tests.
- Test Setting
- Examples: Students may take tests in separate locations, in a small group, or with special lighting or furniture.
How do I apply for Testing and Classroom Accommodations?
Follow these steps if your child has a disability but does not already have an individualized education plan (IEP).
- Fill out the 504 Accommodations form with HIPAA Consent for Parents.
- Have your child’s health care provider fill out the Medical Review for 504 Accommodations.
- Bring the completed forms to your child’s school.
- Your school will contact you with the results of the review.
Your child may be eligible for student transportation to and from school by yellow bus or Metro Card. Your child may be eligible if they are within a certain age range, and a distance range from the school. Check the Office of Pupil Transportation to see if your child is eligible for a yellow bus or Metro Card.
If your child does not meet the age and distance ranges for general education transportation, but has a medical condition where they require transportation, you may apply for a transportation accommodation.
If your child is approved for a transportation accommodation, they will get a bus ride to school even if they do not meet the general education age and distance requirements.
How to apply for a Transportation Accommodation:
Learn how to apply for a transportation accommodation on the Office of Pupil Transportation website. Bring completed forms to your child’s school.
Please contact your school’s 504 Coordinator.
Home instruction is a program to prevent students from falling behind in classes during a long-term absence. If your child will be out of school for at least 4 weeks because of a serious emotional or medical condition, your child may be eligible for home instruction. If you are a student who is a parent, you may be eligible for home instruction if your child has a medical condition and cannot attend day care or the LYFE Program (Living for the Young Family through Education).
- Home instruction students receive one-on-one instruction at home from a licensed teacher.
- Students in grades K – 6 receive 5 weekly hours of instruction.
- Students in grades 7 – 12 receive 10 weekly hours of instruction.
- Your school will provide your home instruction curriculum.
- Home instruction is an interim program that does not grant diplomas.
- An adult chaperone must be present during home instruction lessons.
How to apply for Home Instruction:
Notify your school’s guidance counselor and school of your child’s situation. Go to the Home Instruction website to learn how to apply.
Next Steps and Review Process
Educational Accommodations Meeting
Your child’s application will be reviewed at a 504 meeting. The 504 meeting is attended by people who know your child’s abilities. They understand the information that is being reviewed and know the types of accommodations that may meet your child’s needs. Parents are always invited to take part in the meeting.
The 504 meeting must include at least two people who can:
- Talk about your child’s abilities and skills. (Your child’s teacher or guidance counselor may attend.)
- Interpret reports or evaluations. (The school social worker or nurse may attend.)
- Share information about the accommodations that may meet your child’s needs. (The 504 Coordinator may attend.)
What Information is Reviewed at the Meeting?
The 504 team will review information that describes your child’s abilities and needs. The information will come from a few different sources. The team may review your child’s tests, observations, work samples, report cards, and medical records. This will help the team understand your child’s abilities, achievement, behaviors, and health needs. Parents and school staff may bring any information they believe best describes the child’s abilities and needs.
Diagnosis and Suggestions from Your Child’s Doctor
Your child’s doctor must complete the Medical Review for 504 Accommodations. The doctor may suggest that the school provide certain accommodations. The 504 Team will decide if the suggested accommodations are appropriate, and how to provide them at school.
How is Eligibility Determined?
The 504 Team will consider if your child’s impairment substantially limits a major life activity. They will make this decision based on information reviewed at the meeting. The 504 Team will consider if your child’s impairment has a significant impact on your child’s performance or participation in school.
Can my child get Related Services with a 504 Plan?
No. Your child can not get related services through a 504 plan. Examples of related services are physical therapy, speech therapy, and counseling services. If your child appears to need any of these services, the 504 Team will refer your child to the school or district Committee on Special Education.
504 Plans and Medical Accommodations
Not all students who need health services at school need a 504 Plan. If your child’s health service does not affect his ability to fully take part in school, then he does not need a 504 plan.
- Example 1: a student with diabetes checks his insulin levels two times per day in the nurse’s office. He does not need any other supports or accommodations.
- This student does not need a 504 Plan.
- Example 2: a student with diabetes needs to take insulin at certain times during the school day. This overlaps with class time, so she sometimes needs to do make-up work. She also needs to take bathroom breaks, and have access to snacks.
- This student does need 504 Plan.
Yearly Review of Accommodations
504 Plans must be renewed each year by the 504 Team. This typically occurs at the end of each school year. During the yearly renewal, your child’s 504 Plan may be changed as needed.
If your child’s impairment continues to substantially limit your child’s participation in school, your child will remain eligible for accommodations. If it is decided that your child’s impairment no longer substantially limits his or her ability in a major life activity, your child is no longer eligible for accommodations (the 504 Plan is ended).
Schools will communicate with you about NYC DOE Section 504 policies. All schools post and share the Notice of Non-Discrimination under Section 504
If you are approved for a 504 plan, you will also receive:
- A Notice of Eligibility and 504 Plan. The 504 plan will tell you which accommodations your school recommends for your child. You will have ten days to review and agree to the 504 plan. If you do not agree with your school’s decision, talk to your school’s Field Support Center Health Director. Contact information will be provided by the school.
- An Annual Notice of Reauthorization. This letter will tell you the steps that you must take to have your child’s 504 plan renewed for the next school year.