What is an IEP or Section 504?

What is an IEP?

The IEP is the written plan that describes a child's abilities and needs, and the placement and services designed to meet the child's unique needs. The child must have an IEP before he or she receives special education services. The child's IEP must be implemented as soon as possible after the IEP meeting. In addition, the child's IEP must be reviewed and, if necessary, revised once a year or more often upon request. If the child is found to be eligible for special education services, the IEP will contain:

  1. Annual goals and short-term objectives focusing on the child's current level of performance;
  2. The services that the child will receive;
  3. When services will begin, how often they will be provided and for how long;
  4. The instructional program(s) where these services will be delivered;
  5. The amount of time the child will spend in general education if the child is not educated completely in general education, it should state why, and; 
  6.  How the school will measure the child's progress.



What is Section 504?

Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met.

Section 504 states that: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 706(8) of this title, shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal funds”.

Who is covered under Section 504?

To be covered under Section 504, a student must be “qualified ” (which roughly equates to being between 3 and 22 years of age, depending on the program, as well as state and federal law, and must have a disability) [34 C.F.R. §104.3(k)(2)].

Who is an “individual with a disability”?

As defined by federal law: “An individual with a disability means any person who:

(i) has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity;

(ii) has a record of such an impairment; or

(iii) is regarded as having such an impairment"