Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination, and assures that students who are disabled with a physical or mental impairment have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to non-disabled students.
What is the purpose of Section 504?
Section 504 ensures equal educational opportunity, which is mainly accomplished by providing appropriate classroom accommodations to eligible students.
What are the physical and mental impairments listed under Section 504?
Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory or any mental or psychological disorder such as autism, emotional or mental illness, and learning disabilities.
What is a substantial limitation?
A major life activity is substantially limited when a person is “unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform” (The Council of Education for Students with Disabilities, Inc.). Major life activities affected include but are not limited to: concentrating, thinking, breathing, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, performing manual tasks, reading, and/or learning.
What is the Section 504 Process?
Parents or staff may refer any student for consideration for 504 Services by contacting the Section 504 Coordinator and/or administrator at their local campus. Once the 504 Committee is convened and determines the student has an impairment that substantially limits that child in one more major life activities, the student becomes eligible for 504 Services. The 504 Committee creates an Individual Accommodation Plan that is shared with staff. Meetings are convened at least every three years to re-evaluate the need for accommodations. Students’ accommodation plans are renewed annually through a meeting or communication between the 504 Coordinator, teachers, parent, and/or student.
Requesting Accommodations on College Entrance Exams
You must have a current 504 plan at Austin High to request accommodations on college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT. Please note that requests must be made well in advance of testing dates. Jessica Mitchell and Laura Luddy, our testing accommodations coordinator, are not on contract during summer months, so requests need to be made during the school year.
College Board--PSAT, SAT, and AP exams--contact Jessica Mitchell via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know you would like to apply for accommodations on College Board exams. She will submit the request on your behalf. Requests must be made eight weeks prior to your scheduled test date.
ACT--register for a test date online and indicate in the registration process that you need testing accommodations. The ACT will send you an e-mail with steps to follow to be approved for accommodations. This e-mail will include a unique ACT ID#. Forward that e-mail to Jessica Mitchell at email@example.com for processing.
**The ACT requires current medical documentation or a neuropsychological evaluation from the past three years to prove eligibility for testing accommodations.