Why NOT obtaining Section 504 for your child is a DISSERVICE to your child...

508 replies [Last post]
By Gail W on Sat, 05-14-05, 15:16

... a disservice to YOU, YOUR SCHOOL, and, above all else, YOUR CHILD.

Having just been through the process of obtaining a Section 504 Designation for my 5th grade daughter, I have developed very strong opinions about why this designation is vital for my child. In retrospect, I wish I had requested this protection for my child before she started kindergarten. And I have learned that having NOT requested the Designation upfront created a different set of problems that I had to inevitably address.

I hope this thread will address the fears of parents who are considering whether or not to go the "504 path". I hope that parents will share their experiences in order to help other parents who are wrestling with whether or not to pursue a Section 504 Designation for their child... or those parents who are beginning the 504 Designation process... to help them better understand that a 504 designation might not be easy, but it is not to be feared.

I came to my school district with the idea that 504 was a confrontational process, and this was confirmed by my conversations with my School District. So I waited six years to request this protection to avoid this (for us, inevitable) confrontation. This was a mistake and my child ultimately suffered because of it.

I hope others will chime in to help explain the beauty and service of a Section 504 Designation for our children. It might be helpful to write our testimonials in a consistent format if possible. I will write my comments in the format of my mistaken "myth" about 504, and why/how the reality of 504 better serves my child.

I try to add to this over time, as I hope others will too. Please add your experience if you also bought into a myth that has already been stated. And please also add to the myth(s) you experienced.

[b]Myth #1: Requesting a Section 504 will label me as a "difficult parent" and the School District won't want to work with me. [/b]

I found the opposite to be true. Having the 504 Designation made it clear to everyone why the school district needed to address accommodations. It provided the correct motivation for the school to proactively address accommodations and removed the onus of responsibility from me (parent) to the school district. By squarely defining the school district's accountability, it [i]liberated me [/i]from the my repeated requests to the SD. When the responsibility was mine to identify and advocating for specific accommodations, I felt like a "pest" and I was much [i]more [/i] llikely to be labeled "difficult". Now that the SD has acknowledged that their student has a legal right for protections, they take more responsibility to identify and address accommodations. I am viewed from a completely different light.

I realized rather late that by not having the Section 504 Designation, I also was left to negotiate with other parents directly. Before the SD understood that 'related services' applied to ALL activities, they directed me to coordinate activities with the other parent volunteers. This will always put you/me in the terribly awkward position of negotiating with other parents. THIS WAS A HUGE MISTAKE, and I find it impossible for a parent to not to have some sort of negative fall out by having been placed in this erroneous position.

A Section 504 Designation allows a parent to foster healthy interactions with other parents and staff. You become the "supportive, cooperative" parent that assists other parents in implementing [i]the School District's accommodations[/i].

[b]Myth #2: It is better if the school staff find me to be cooperative and likeable. It's better to avoid conflict with staff because if the staff doesn't like me, my child may not be treated as well by the staff.[/b]

Again, I fund the opposite to be true. Sorta. I think it is important to cooperate with staff. But what happened was that by not having the 504 Designation, I was placed in the incorrect position of directly [i]negotiating[/i] with school staff and parents. This is just a losing position for any parent to be in.

The better and appropriate position is for the SD to acknowledge to its staff that this child is legally entitled to accommodations, and that these are not directly negotiated between school staff and the parent, or parent/parent. They are accommodations are created by a "504 Team", are implemented and enforced by the school administration. It removes you from on-going negotiations directly with your teacher/principal, and again liberates you to a more appropriate role of supporting the teacher/school/parents in [i]the School District's accommodations [/i]for your child.

[b]Myth #3: My School (School District) is cooperating with me and I have the accommodations that I want. A 504 is not necessary.[/b]

Again, I found this not to be true. My school staff cooperated and had a very good IHP in place. I always felt the uncomfortable strain that they "were doing so much already" and that I somehow didn't appreciate this because I was asking them to address other new accommodations as they became apparent. I always felt beholden for the attention and the good accommodations that I had negotiated with them to provide. They seemed to want to create an IHP and then they "were done".

The 504 Designation maintains the School District's [i]accountability[/i] to proactively create the accommodations. This accountability and ownership is necessary for you to have a good, healthy relationship with your school community.

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By Momcat on Sat, 05-14-05, 16:50

Wow, Gail! What a great post! Thank you for sharing your valuable and hard-won experience. Reading this makes me feel sure I am on the right path in applying for a Section 504 evaluation.

__________________

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By saratopia on Tue, 06-02-09, 00:39

My son daniel is now 12 going to be 13 soon and I don't think he takes his allergy very seriously.I would really like some ideas on how to drive into him that it is only because we are so careful with him that he has stayed healthy.I would also like more info on how to go about section 504.

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By ryan's mom on Sat, 05-14-05, 18:08

Gail,

Just adding to your post.

Myth: Things have been going great. Why rock the boat with a 504 request?

Just because things are fine now, doesn't mean they will be fine tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. Teachers change, principals change, retire, die, etc. One new person can make your "wonderful" plan a nightmare. If you do not have a 504, you have no backup to continue with a great plan.

A child with no 504 is on the same playing field as any other "normal" child. They do not have any special guaranteed rights. Some people don't like to kiss their rights goodbye, but they don't even think about this when the decision is made to not pursue a 504.

You say adios to a 504? Then you might be saying adios to your child's rights when they need them the most.

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By qdebbie1 on Sat, 05-14-05, 19:15

Thank you. I am just now working a ihp and it is a stuggle enough. The school keeps putting me off and I am trying to be seen as agreeable. I will now spend my summer pushing for the 504 so I have that accountibility in place for years to come. Is it necessary to use a lawyer for a 504?

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By Gail W on Sat, 05-14-05, 19:30

Yes! Great one, ryan's mom. I also experienced that one and would like to add to it.

[b]Myth #4: Things have been going great. Why rock the boat with a 504 request?[/b]

Maybe you'll find that the 504 Designation really didn't make any difference in the accommodations that your School District provides. But maybe during the 13 years of your child's education you'll find out, as I did, [i] it does. [/i] In our particular case it happened to be that my School District did not believe that they needed to provide any accommodations in their extra-curricular programs "that were fee-based." As my DD enters Middle School, these types of activities are very important to her. Obtaining the 504 Designation showed the SD that they indeed were required to provide the necessary accommodations that would allow her to participate.

And I absolutely agree with ryan's mom excellent point regarding the permanency of school staff. Not only is it inappropriate to base your child's accommodations on your ability to forge a good personal relationship with individual staff members, [i]they leave.[/i] During our 6 years at the K-5 elementary school, we've had 7 primary teachers (one left before the end of the year and a new replacement teacher was hired in her place), 4 school counselors, 3 school nurses, 2 Assistant SuperIntendents, and 2 Superintendent of Schools. Our school principal was the only consistent player.

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 14, 2005).]

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By Gail W on Sat, 05-14-05, 19:45

Quote:Originally posted by qdebbie1:
[b]Thank you. I am just now working a ihp and it is a stuggle enough. The school keeps putting me off and I am trying to be seen as agreeable. I will now spend my summer pushing for the 504 so I have that accountibility in place for years to come. Is it necessary to use a lawyer for a 504?[/b]

Our IHP is the major component to our 504 plan. Personally, I would become very familiar with 504 before requesting it. That way, you can include the key pieces of information to the District within your request. There's lots of help here on the boards to do this. And if you'd like, I'll help you.

I definitely wanted to be seen as "agreeable" by the school district, so I can completely relate. I really had to think about this, and why it was so important to me. I realized that I had it backwards: It doesn't make any difference at all if the school district administrators don't like me. What matters to me is that I am liked by fellow parents, because I needed the social relationships enjoyed by myself and my family. [i]It is healthy to have good social relationships within your school community.[/i] A 504 can help you have that.

Whatever you do (504 or not), don't let yourself get caught in the trap of having to negotiate necessary accommodations directly with another parent. Never ever. I think it can the kiss of death regarding you and your child's ability to have healthy social relationships. And that's exactly what can happen if the school district doesn't make the accommodations themselves with accountability to their own accommodations (i.e. a 504).

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By Gail W on Sat, 05-14-05, 19:53

Quote:Originally posted by Momcat:
[b]Reading this makes me feel sure I am on the right path in applying for a Section 504 evaluation.[/b]

I actually had thought about you, Momcat, as I contemplated starting this thread. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

I'm not sure about this one, but I'm going to throw it out there for others to comment on:

[b]Myth #5: If a School District is really resistant to a 504 Designation, the fight might not be worth it.[/b]

I almost think the exact opposite is true: if your School District is resistant to considering a Section 504 for your child, consider it a red flag. I think that if your SD is reluctant or outright objects to a Section 504 designation for your child, then you will encounter problems down the road no matter what. You need to ask yourself: why is the School District not wanting to be accountable?

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By Darkmage on Sat, 05-14-05, 20:25

My PA son will start kindergarten in the 2006/07 school year. I would really like to get up to speed on this 504 thing.

Does anyone have links to a good web site that would teach us in a step-by-step fashion? Also someone else asked, but got no answer that I could see: Do we need a lawyer for this?

Thanks!

------------------
[i][b]Peanut Slayer[/b][/i]

__________________

[i][b]Allergy Eliminator [/b][/i]

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By Gail W on Sat, 05-14-05, 22:52

Quote:Originally posted by Darkmage:
[b]Does anyone have links to a good web site that would teach us in a step-by-step fashion? [/b]

There are several threads here where parents have shared their process. And there are lots of good links within the 'Schools' threads. [url="http://www.allergysupport.org"]www.allergysupport.org[/url] is one of my personal favorites.

Quote:Originally posted by Darkmage:
[b]Also someone else asked, but got no answer that I could see: Do we need a lawyer for this?[/b]

I will offer my personal opinion on this: No, I don't think you [i]need[/i] an attorney. Not initially anyway. An attorney [i]could[/i] be helpful, but an attorney who isn't really familiar with special ed law and food allergies could also potentially add to frustrations.

Anyone else wish to comment?

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By Gail W on Sat, 05-14-05, 23:23

Quote:Originally posted by Darkmage:
[b]My PA son will start kindergarten in the 2006/07 school year. I would really like to get up to speed on this 504 thing. [/b]

My suggestion to anyone who is considering formally requesting an Eligibility Meeting to determine a Section 504 Designation for their child is to first [b]read the full text of the law.[/b] I think this is the link:

[url="http://www.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/ocr/edlite-34cfr104.html#S3"]www.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/ocr/edlite-34cfr104.html#S3[/url]

Read it. Read it again and again. Get familiar with it. Do other reading about 504. Go back and read the law text again. Become comfortable with the language and the meaning. Google phrases like "significant limitation Section 504" or "Section 504 procedure manual" and read and read. Read the posts here. Read, read, read!

Several statements that my School District administrators made to me regarding the Section 504 law were incorrect. They don't know this, and it's very helpful to be knowledgeable about the law before engaging in conversation with your SD about it. It's not exactly 'fun' reading, but I think it's really important that a parent feel very comfortable with the language and meaning of the original text of this law.

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By Gail W on Sun, 05-15-05, 00:15

Okay that leads into

[b]Myth #6: School Districts are familiar with Section 504. My School District has an administrator who is the District's '504 Compliance Officer'. This person knows all about how Section 504 works, handles complaints in the school district about 504 violations, and will help me regarding Section 504 for my child with food allergies.[/b]

This one was really, really hard for me. It infuriated me that the administrator (Assistant Superintendent of Schools) assigned by the School District to assist parents/students regarding their [i]rights [/i]under Section 504 was the very person who told me erroneous information. [i]The 504 "compliance officer" wasn't in compliance with the 504 law. [/i] I still have a hard time getting my mind around this, and can't help but feel anger still.

I truly hope that your school district is familiar with how Section 504 applies to children with life-threatening food allergies. I know of other moms locally who breezed through the process with their school districts and are shocked by my experience. I even remember reading a School District policy (can't remember which state or school district) that stated that any child identified with anaphylaxis to foods was [i]required[/i] to have a Section 504 plan.

[b]Myth #7: There are lots of experts who will help you with obtaining a Section 504 Designation for your child.[/b]

The very hardest thing in all this for me was that I realized I had to do this myself. I didn't want to do this. I was far more comfortable using my time to try to find someone else, an expert of some kind, an undeniable authority who I'd hire to do this for me. A parent advocate, an attorney, my DD's allergist, another expert allergist, a school board member who would take it on. There had to be someone out there who would knew what to do, and I spent tons of effort trying to find that person.

Then, when I couldn't find that 'expert authority' to represent and work on my behalf, I turned to my husband. For a long time I wanted him to be equally as involved in this process as I was, or better yet, take the leadership role so that I didn't have to. I made piles of materials to read/review so that he could help me connect the dots. He is a physician, and I wanted him to become the 'expert' I was searching for. It caused some friction in our marriage.

I felt very frightened that there was no one who would do this for me.

Thank God for 2 people I 'met' here on pa.com who acted as my coach. One in particular was a God send.

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By ajas_folks on Sun, 05-15-05, 17:08

IMHO, this is one of the best posts on the subject of 504 designation.

[b] THANK YOU! [/b]

FWIW, we currently homeschool our 6 year-old for PA reasons as well as educational. But 2 nights ago, after attending a Dinosaur Day at a local museum -- complete with 200+ other delighted kids from local schools -- he came to me and asked, "Mom, I wish you could let me go to school, you know, out in public." My heart is breaking for him.

I just don't know if I have the fight in me to get him the level of safety he deserves.

Elizabeth

__________________

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Posts NOT to be used by anyone w/o my written consent.

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By ryan's mom on Sun, 05-15-05, 22:33

When I worked as a high school teacher, the only time I ever heard of a reference to the 504 coordinator was when we were getting monitored by the state. I think most of us were thinking, "504 what???"

We really didn't know what the 504 coodinator did, who he was, until we were specifically informed about it for monitoring. Then it was just knowing the 504 coordinator was the principal at our school.

Believe me, there are many schools with administrators that don't have a clue who the 504 coordinator is. To this day, I still don't have clarification who it is in our district, but I told the principal it was probably him.

And as far as "knowledgable" 504 coordinators, since many districts don't know who it is, can it be expected that the coordinator knows anything about Section 504 and how it applies to students with food allergies??? I don't think so...

Just my two cents. Most of us here know far more about food allergies and 504's than district administrators.

But hey...that's my opinion.

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By Nutternomore on Mon, 05-16-05, 06:13

Gail W,

What a fabulous topic you've started here - you've pulled together so many key thoughts re:504 plans. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Quote:Originally posted by Gail W:

[b]Myth #6: School Districts are familiar with Section 504. My School District has an administrator who is the District's '504 Compliance Officer'. This person knows all about how Section 504 works, handles complaints in the school district about 504 violations, and will help me regarding Section 504 for my child with food allergies.[/b]

The 504 compliance officer often doesn't have a clue how to handle a food allergy scenario. When we were going through our initial efforts to obtain 504 designation for DS's entry into Kindergarten, our stress was multiplied because we were taking the lack of progress personally.

A few years later, I've reflected on my experiences and those shared by others, and realized that there was nothing personal to it at all. As I discussed in another recent post, my sense is that the practical application of 504 plans to food allergies is still a relatively recent phenomenon. Some schools are only just encountering this issue, coinciding with the increased prevalence of food allergies combined with the increased awareness on the part of parents to be able to use this tool to protect their children's rights and keep them safe. So, the reality is that schools are often facing a novel situation when presented with a request for 504 for food allergies.

Quote:[b]Myth #7: There are lots of experts who will help you with obtaining a Section 504 Designation for your child.[/b]

The very hardest thing in all this for me was that I realized I had to do this myself.[/B]

For me, it meant spending every evening at this site for about 3 months (this was in 2002) to read [i]every[/i] historical post on 504 plans, in order to learn about the law, gather key links to related resources, and pull sample 504 plans to jumpstart development of DS's first plan for kindergarten. I will say, though, that in the last couple of years, we've started capturing some awfully good 504 information at this site, so it's here for the taking....

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By Nutternomore on Mon, 05-16-05, 06:29

[b]Myth #8 - 504 plans are only for those who want significant risk reduction accommodations, like having the school go peanut-free. Also, they are a static document that once signed, is cast in stone.[/b]

I have found that using a 504 plan has been extremely flexible in meeting the changing needs of DS as he has grown older. In kindergarten, we instituted a [b]grade-wide[/b] restriction on peanut/tree-nut products for the classrooms, and he was assigned a full-time aide. In 1st grade, we scaled back to a peanut/tree-nut free classroom, plus a class-wide peanut/tree-nut free table in the cafeteria, with wipes upon exit. For 2nd grade, we plan to scale back use of the aide to just the highest risk times (entering school, recess, and lunchtime), and DS will begin to take responsibility for passing his Epi-pack to his specials teachers (e.g. Music, Art) when he leaves the classroom.

The 504 plan is adjusted to meet these yearly changes in accommodations, yet is also perserves the ability to keep DS safe - there is also an accommodation that states that if the plan isn't working (i.e. he is having reactions at school during the year), that the 504 team must meet at that time to review incidents and determine what adjustments should be made to the plan. So, a 504 plan is really a [i]living document[/i], that can be changed as needed to ensure that equal access to education is achieved.

Along the lines of what Ryan's Mom mentioned - just like school administration staffing, the thing about food allergies themselves is that they are unpredictable; also, children can develop additional food allergies as time goes on. By having a 504 plan in place (thereby protecting your child's civil rights), I believe it makes it easier to adjust for changing medical circumstances.

[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited May 16, 2005).]

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By ryan's mom on Mon, 05-16-05, 11:13

I truly feel this is one of THE most important, pertinent thread topics to hit the boards in a long time.

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By MommaBear on Mon, 05-16-05, 11:33

Quote:Originally posted by Nutternomore:
[b]
The 504 plan is adjusted to meet these yearly changes in accommodations, yet is also perserves the ability to keep DS safe - there is also an accommodation that states that if the plan isn't working (i.e. he is having reactions at school during the year), that the 504 team must meet at that time to review incidents and determine what adjustments should be made to the plan. So, a 504 plan is really a [i]living document[/i], that can be changed as needed to ensure that equal access to education is achieved.

[/b]

Although we don't have a 504, we have an OHI (Other Health Impaired) designation under IDEA in his IEP, and we don't have a specific, written point detailing the possible need to revisit his plan in order to effect necessary changes, [i]it is my understanding that such a need is already a principle of IEP plans.[/i] As a matter of fact even tho [i]we have revisited the plan several times this last year[/i], we are to attend what I understand to be a [i]mandatory[/i] yearly review meeting this week. (*We* don't have to attend, certain staff [b]do[/b], but, obviously, we will be attending. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] )

It's just the way I understand it, and I could be wrong. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

General Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. Just describing my own personal, highly individual, and unique situation.

__________________

"Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity."

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By Gail W on Mon, 05-16-05, 12:40

Nutternomore! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] I had so hoped you'd add to this thread! Think up some more, will you? I'm going to try to read through some threads to find examples. Care to join me?

The more experience that posters can add to these and other myths, the more helpful it can be for readers. I welcome more posters to feel free to add here.

Sorta related to Myth #8 and with a twist of Myth #6 added:

[b]Myth #9: My school has made some accommodations already and says that they have already provided all the accommodations that they can. So a 504 plan won't provide any added benefit for my child because my school has already made all the "reasonable accommodations" a 504 plan would require them to do anyway.[/b]

This is why it is so important to be very familiar with the actual law. Read, read, read it. The concept of "reasonable accommodations" applies to the Employment Section of the law, [i]not the Education Section.[/i]

This came up with us in a roundabout way, before our Eligibility meeting, when my School District pointed to a statement in their "Section 504 Policy and Procedure Manual" that stated, [i]incorrectly[/i], that they were required to make "reasonable" accommodations. They began making statements indicating that they'd already done this (created reasonable accommodations), and that a 504 plan wouldn't provide my DD with any added benefit. [i]"Why?"[/i] and [i]"What will a 504 plan give your DD that we haven't already provided?"[/i] became the focus, and put me in a defensive position. The school's response was pretty much: "We have been very reasonable, and now you're asking for [i]more?[/i] You're being unreasonable, and we don't have to do that".

As pointed out in various other threads like this one:

[b]Quote from Momcat from another thread:
[url="http://www.reedmartin.com/zirkel.htm"]http://www.reedmartin.com/zirkel.htm[/url]

This letter is from the Office of Civil Rights and explains what is meant by "reasonable accommodations" in the context of elementary and secondary education.[/b]

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 16, 2005).]

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By MommaBear on Mon, 05-16-05, 12:56

[b]Myth #11:

My school district and community are educated, progressive, and wealthy. Therefore, I will not need IDEA or 504 protection. They will know what to do, do it with compassion and out of moral/ethical obligation. They probably are very familiar with needs such as ours and if they haven't already, will set a precedent for other institutions.[/b]

[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited May 16, 2005).]

__________________

"Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity."

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By ryan's mom on Mon, 05-16-05, 13:01

Yes, IEP's are updated annually, and from my experience, parental involvement is strongly encouraged.

504's are implemented from starting date (X) to ending date (X) of services, usually being a school year.

Plans may be modified during the year as needed. And, as Nutternomore pointed out, 504 plans have flexibility. Same with an IEP. With educational growth and maturity, these plans are meant to change with the specific needs of the student.

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By Gail W on Mon, 05-16-05, 14:08

Is it okay to change it to #10?

[quote]Originally posted by MommaBear:
[b]Myth #10: My school district and community are educated, progressive, and wealthy. Therefore, I will not need IDEA or 504 protection. They will know what to do, do it with compassion and out of moral/ethical obligation. They probably are very familiar with needs such as ours and if they haven't already, will set a precedent for other institutions.[/b]

Thank you, MommaBear. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] This is also very relevant to my experience.

We selected our public school like many shop for a private school. We toured schools and interviewed at least a dozen principals face to face. We wanted not only strong academics, but a FULL TIME school nurse, and a quick '911' response time. Plus, we wanted a relatively small school and a strong school community.

We found it. Bonus: The principal was/is fabulous with a strong background in Special Ed. Then we targeted our home-buying in the one area for our school. We acquired an enormous mortgage... an investment we embraced.

All the right factors were there. My school district and community [i]are[/i] educated, progressive, and wealthy. The elementary school staff are tops and very compassionate.

Our problem wasn't with the elementary school staff. We had 'bumps' and we worked them out. We did this based on [i]a personal realtionship.[/i]Our problem was with the School District administration who resisted 504 designations. The administration created a culture that opposed 504s, the benefits that a 504 plan can provide fro both student [i]and staff. [/i]

As I posted in another thread,
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/006108.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/006108.html[/url]
the scary thing wasn't that we were faced with stupid or dispassionate people who were not provided the resources to do their job. It was frightening that intelligent, compassionate people who had ample resources failed us.

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 16, 2005).]

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By Gail W on Mon, 05-16-05, 14:58

Quote:Originally posted by ryan's mom:
[b]Myth #4: Things have been going great. Why rock the boat with a 504 request?[/b]

You say adios to a 504? Then you might be saying adios to your child's rights when they need them the most.

I was thinking about this more. (And I completely agree, BTW.) Mentally, I substituted the words "504 request" with "marriage":

[i]"Things have been going great. Why rock the boat with... marriage."[/i]

ryan's mom (and everyone), Do you find any similarities between formalizing the relationship between your child and the School District with a Section 504 Designation, and, say, formalizing a relationship between two adults with a legal marriage?

I wonder because the reasoning (a.k.a. excuses) seem very similar. Maybe it's just me?

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 16, 2005).]

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By MommaBear on Mon, 05-16-05, 15:44

Quote:Originally posted by Gail W:
[b]Is it okay to change it to #10?

[/b]

whoops! (vacation lag)

sure.

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

now............[b]Myth #11

The school my child attends is a private school, and therefore does not need to adhere to ADA legislation.[/b]

and..........

[b]Myth #12

A private school, particularly one of my family's faith, or one that is affluent, is always a better choice for a child with disabilities or special needs. They will be more flexible and compassionate. They will try harder to accommodate. They have [i]values[/i].[/b]

__________________

"Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity."

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By ryan's mom on Mon, 05-16-05, 16:44

The biggest misconception people (more specifically addressing "newbies" to 504's or the education field) have is that people in education (well, that includes ANY profession, but I'm addressing education because of this thread) will be moral and ethical. That includes public and private education.

Gail W,

When I first started out creating a 504 and dealing with the school, I considered myself more of a legal advocate for my son. Trying not to address feelings, but in doing what needed to be done to keep Ryan safe.

One major difference between formalizing a relationship between a 504 and marriage, is well, love and intuition. Marriage shouldn't be considered as rocking the boat, rather let's get the boat rockin'. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Same with the 504.

The intangibles (love, intuition, trust, friendship) are good reasons to obtain a 504. A 504 is a tangible document. You don't have to trust, it doesn't consider friendship, it's a legal document plain and simple which spells things out on what is to be accomplished to keep a child safe in the educational environment. (Hmmmm...perhaps marriages should come with a "504" too? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] )

So let's consider this aspect. Many, many marriages end in divorce because of failed expectations. Many 504's are reasonably successful because of good planning.

Groups: None
By Gail W on Mon, 05-16-05, 16:56

Thinking about meadow... I hope meadow will add to this thread....

Carefulmom, too. You've had some excellent experience about how a 504 plan is administered. I'm think about this experience and how you handled it (so well) in the context of a 504 plan:

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/005996.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/005996.html[/url]

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By Jimmy's mom on Mon, 05-16-05, 17:37

I must be so lucky. Before my son started kindergater, I hadn't yet found PA.com, and had certainly never heard of a 504. To top it off, we moved from one state to another days before the start of school. The school knew about Jimmy's PA because when I went in to register him, I spoke to the nurse about that as well as his other health issues. The school actually initiated the 504. They have been great.

__________________

[url="http//www.the3day.org/boston07/deedaigle"]http//www.the3day.org/boston07/deedaigle[/url]

Groups: None
By Gail W on Mon, 05-16-05, 17:54

Quote:Originally posted by ryan's mom:
[b]One major difference between formalizing a relationship between a 504 and marriage, is well, love and intuition. Marriage shouldn't be considered as rocking the boat, rather let's get the boat rockin'. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Same with the 504.

The intangibles (love, intuition, trust, friendship) are good reasons to obtain a 504. A 504 is a tangible document. You don't have to trust, it doesn't consider friendship, it's a legal document plain and simple which spells things out on what is to be accomplished to keep a child safe in the educational environment.
[/b]

Yes! Exactly. You obtained your 504 Designation before your son began kindergarten, yes? Same as Nutternomore?

My experience was that we started school without any plan at all. The only thing we had were some of those intangibles that you spoke of: intuition, trust, friendship. And I'll add to that: mutual respect and [i]good faith. [/i] nod to MommaBear [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Our relationship with the school was much like a courtship:

"First comes love": we "chose" our school based on our DD's situation and needs. DD was the first PA child in their district, and they said they would work with us. In conversations, they responded with a sincere desire to make the accommodations that she needed. It was a verbal agreement based on the intangible factors of compassion, trust, and good faith. It was "love at first sight". [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

"Then comes marriage": in our case, after some "bumps in the road" resulting from the misunderstandings of not having a plan in writing, we formalized some accommodations by creating an IHP. Again, we took the next step together: were the very first to have an IHP in our district. I don't really consider this [i]marriage,[/i] more like our formal "engagement": a tangible document that formalized our intangible feelings of 'love, trust and friendship.' [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

But we still ran up against limitations with the tangible IHP document. They didn't see how issues of segregation as a problem using the perspective of the IHP. The IHP was great at addressing safeguards, but not leveling the playing field. It failed us particularly in 3rd grade when DD sat a a very small table in the cafeteria that, unlike the other cafeteria tables, only allowed for 5 other spots. This table filled up quickly with kids who for various reason didn't want to sit with their class, and consequently, DD never was able to eat lunch with her friends. It was heart-breaking to her.

A Section 504 plan would have helped the school see how this particular accommodation was implemented in a way (a "peanut free" table with very limited seating) was not appropriate because it did not provide her the same "access" as her "non-disabled peers".

So for us, we did it somewhat the opposite of you~ our relationship with the school was for 6 years based our on the intangibles... good faith, love, trust, etc. Then the IHP added some tangible documentation, but not enough. The accountability for "access" was still missing and not acountable. It was the 504 Designation that consummated the relationship because, IMO, it is the only manner that the School District is accountable for our DD's rights ([b]LRE, access[/b]) under the law.

I won't continue any further with this 'marriage' analogy. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] It's too tempting to MommaBear to not make any further analogous statements about how I got into bed with my school partners before getting 'married'. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] She could have a field day! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img] [i]And I would agree with them all![/i]

Groups: None
By Gail W on Mon, 05-16-05, 18:03

Quote:Originally posted by Jimmy's mom:
[b]I must be so lucky. Before my son started kindergarten, I hadn't yet found PA.com, and had certainly never heard of a 504. To top it off, we moved from one state to another days before the start of school. The school knew about Jimmy's PA because when I went in to register him, I spoke to the nurse about that as well as his other health issues. The school actually initiated the 504. They have been great. [/b]

[i]"I think that if your SD is reluctant or outright objects to a Section 504 designation for your child, then you will encounter problems down the road no matter what. You need to ask yourself: why is the School District not wanting to be accountable?"[/i]

Jimmy's mom made a great point of how the reverse is also true: a School District that embraces 504 understands its accountability to the law and proactively addresses your child's rights under the law.

Groups: None
By Gwen 5 on Mon, 05-16-05, 18:51

I guess I have been pretty lucky as well. My dd is currently in 1 st grade and I always knew that we would need a 504 plan- and so did my school.

They had all the forms and poilicies in place. What I had to do was tell them what SPECIFIC accomodations would have to be made to make the environment safe for dd.

I studied these boards, and a huge thumbs up to Nutternomore becuase he was and is an excellent resource. I read all his posts and that made me realize that it was OK to ask for what I wanted.

K was pretty easy as the environment is a little more controlled, with the shorter day etc but as we move on, it gets a little tougher.
Thankfully, we have a new pricipal who is so amazing. She really gets it and knows that she can learn from me.

Our school is NOT nut free. We have instituted handwashing, wipes after eating, a nut free table outside and a table where children who may have nut products have to eat so that table can be monitored a little closer.

I feel very lucky that my dd has an aide during snack, lunch, and recess. this woman carries her fanny pack and watches out for my dd (the way I would). Her teacher, and all the teachers are trained annually with the Epi pen and signs and symptoms of a reaction.

I just had my 504 meeting for 2nd grade and mostly everything will stay the same. We revisted some of the issues- again as Nutternomore said- the 504 is a living document or maybe a liquid one. It may need to be looked at and possibly changed during the year if it has problems.

My principal takes this "problem"on. She wants the school community to embrace this and recognize that people are different but should be treated the same. She wants to put out notices to families from her about allergies and reducing the risk.

I used to feel and sometimes still do, that I am asking for too much, I'm a trouble maker, or feel they must all be saying "Can't she just go away" but I have decided it doesn't matter. My dd deserves to participate in school and feel like she belongs. She loves school so much and thankfully feels fully accepted.

Anyways, not sure I have said anything important except that every child deserves to be safe at school and as Nutternomore pointed out, we may be the first parents at a school who are asking for a 504 plan and that is ok. the school has a legal responsibilty and i say go for it. the fight is a good one and in the end, everyone will be happy!

Don't get me wrong... I had to work my A@# off to get where we are. It was not put in my lap, but my message is, It was worth it and I have done a service to my child and the school.

Good Luck to you all and read every bit of these borads because their is so much help here.

[This message has been edited by Gwen 5 (edited May 16, 2005).]

__________________

Mom of dd age 10- allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame

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By Gwen 5 on Mon, 05-16-05, 18:58

erased double post

[This message has been edited by Gwen 5 (edited May 16, 2005).]

__________________

Mom of dd age 10- allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame

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By MommaBear on Mon, 05-16-05, 19:56

Quote:Originally posted by Gail W:
[b]
I won't continue any further with this 'marriage' analogy. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] It's too tempting to MommaBear to not make any further analogous statements about how I got into bed with my school partners before getting 'married'. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] She could have a field day! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img] [i]And I would agree with them all![/i][/b]

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]

[i]Say it isn't so.[/i]

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

[b]At the least[/b], I consider our [i]formalized[/i] plan (in our case "OHI" under IDEA) [b]a two carat diamond set in platinum.[/b]

That [i]good faith[/i] thing. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

[i]Bling bling.[/i]

[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited May 16, 2005).]

[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited May 16, 2005).]

__________________

"Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity."

Groups: None
By ryan's mom on Mon, 05-16-05, 20:25

Gail W,

I informed our principal two years before he started Kingergarten that a severely-allergic child was headed his way.

Then a year before he was to attend Kindergarten, I met with the principal, superintendent, and asst. to the superintendent to get together, formally announce it is likely he would attend the school in 13 months, generate ideas, and give them a general idea of his needs.

In January I got the ball rolling with a 504 meeting set for (among other things!)for the meeting to be tailored to the curriculum at the elementary school. By June, the plan was finalized with everyone on board. The 504 was signed by all parties two weeks before school started for Ryan's Kindergarten year. We're now already planning for 3rd grade! A 504 has let things progress smoothly from year to year. Rarely do I have to talk with the principal about some misunderstanding. Everything is down on paper in black and white.

Now what are we up to as far as myths are concerned. Because this is another one, Gail, and I'll let you number it.

Myth #?: School will work as promptly as possible to order to accelerate the 504 plan process.

I've worked in a public school. Things get processed S L O W L Y. Don't wait until July if your child is starting school in September. That IS too late. You must start early. The 504 process doesn't take days or weeks, it takes months, and the sooner one gets started the better. Give the principal advance notice a year before that your child will be starting school. The PARENT must call to set up a meeting with the principal (and any other parties involved.) Don't leave things up to the school to get things done. For a successful plan, take charge early and keep everything moving. In a way, you must consider your position as more of a "lawyer" for your child, not a parent. You are responsible for making sure your child is given the rights he/she is entitled to. And this is also important: PUT EVERYTHING IN WRITING!!! Leaving a paper trail is one of the single most important things you can do for your child.

[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited May 16, 2005).]

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By Gail W on Mon, 05-16-05, 20:26

Quote:Originally posted by MommaBear:
[b]At the least, I consider our [i]formalized[/i] plan (in our case "OHI" under IDEA) a two carat diamond set in platinum.[/b]

Indeed. So do I. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

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By MommaBear on Mon, 05-16-05, 20:31

Quote:Originally posted by ryan's mom:
[b]
Myth #?: School will work as promptly as possible to order to accelerate the 504 plan process.[/b]

[b]HA![/b]

Quote:[b]I've worked in a public school. Things get processed S L O W L Y. [/b]

[i]insanely so.[/i]

__________________

"Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity."

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By ryan's mom on Mon, 05-16-05, 20:31

You can't put a price on a 504, because a child's life is priceless! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By Gail W on Mon, 05-16-05, 20:33

Quote:Originally posted by ryan's mom:
[b]Myth #13: School will work as promptly as possible to order to accelerate the 504 plan process.[/b]

I've worked in a public school. Things get processed S L O W L Y. Don't wait until July if your child is starting school in September. That IS too late. You must start early. The 504 process doesn't take days or weeks, it takes months, and the sooner one gets started the better. Give the principal advance notice a year before that your child will be starting school. The PARENT must call to set up a meeting with the principal (and any other parties involved.) Don't leave things up to the school to get things done. For a successful plan, take charge early and keep everything moving. In a way, you must consider your position as more of a "lawyer" for your child, not a parent. You are responsible for making sure your child is given the rights he/she is entitled to. And this is also important: PUT EVERYTHING IN WRITING!!! Leaving a paper trail is one of the single most important things you can do for your child.

Good one!!

In first grade, DD had 9 contact reactions which lead us to requesting a more formalized written plan. That was in April. It took over 20 follow up inquiries and we FINALLY got a draft IHP in March of THE FOLLOWING YEAR. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]

A school district definitely operates on a different clock.

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 16, 2005).]

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By MommaBear on Mon, 05-16-05, 21:20

Quote:Originally posted by ryan's mom:
[b]You can't put a price on a 504, because a child's life is priceless! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img][/b]

aww, I'm not putting a price on a life, just looking for a [i]hint [/i]of committment. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Nothing makes me prickle more than cold feet. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]

__________________

"Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity."

Groups: None
By Gail W on Mon, 05-16-05, 22:20

Quote:Originally posted by Jimmy's mom:
I must be so lucky. Before my son started kindergartner, I hadn't yet found PA.com, and had certainly never heard of a 504. To top it off, we moved from one state to another days before the start of school. The school knew about Jimmy's PA because when I went in to register him, I spoke to the nurse about that as well as his other health issues. The school actually initiated the 504. They have been great.

and

Quote:Originally posted by Gwen 5:
I guess I have been pretty lucky as well. My dd is currently in 1 st grade and I always knew that we would need a 504 plan- and so did my school.

They had all the forms and policies in place.

Yes, I think you are [i]very fortunate [/i]to have not needed to fight for your child's rights.

[b]Why do you think that is? [/b] Who fought before you? I'm sure someone did.

Someone else before you fought for their PA child's rights... and now, fortunately, you and your child are benefitting from their hard-won fight. Thank goodness! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 16, 2005).]

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By Gail W on Mon, 05-16-05, 23:03

[b]Myth #5: If a School District is really resistant to a 504 Designation, the fight might not be worth it.[/b]

I cut/pasted this from another thread called "How do I get started?" regarding resistance and confrontation: [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001705.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001705.html[/url]

Quote:Originally posted by Greenlady:
I would like to chime in on everyone's advice about having a 504 plan. We decided not to have a 504 plan because it seemed too confrontational. When I met with the principal I had a great feeling about the school - she has a nephew that is allergic to bee stings and witnessed an anaphylatic attack, and really seemed to "get it." A 504 plan didn't seem necessary.

BIG MISTAKE! Our troubles began with my son's teacher planning a class exercise that required them to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When I suggested an alternative of cream cheese and jelly, she sent the following email:

We are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches next week because of
reading/ language arts lessons that we will be doing all week. We will
be reading a book called peanut butter and jelly. We will be working on
sequencing of the story. I have several lessons in which the
students sequence how to make peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches. I
am willing to change it to the soy peanut butter but using anything
else takes away from the story, song, and sequencing that we will be
doing all week. If [ds] has a problem with even using soy peanut
butter, [another teacher] is willing to take him at the end of the day so that
he doesn;thave to be around the peanut butter.

Long story short, we ended up switching classes and getting a 504 plan. A well-crafted plan is helpful to everyone because it lays out expectations and helps avoid misunderstandings.

Groups: None
By ryan's mom on Tue, 05-17-05, 00:29

Now where can this thread be placed so the information is "in your face" so to speak. IMO, this is must-read information for parents planning a food-allergic child's entry into public school.

I do not want to see this thread get buried in a myriad of other issues.

I am VERY pro 504, and this thread has compelling reasons for those parents still in a quandary over whether to choose or not choose the 504 designation.

I will add that the 504 has been the basis of mutual respect between me and the principal. I would like to think that I (as a parent) have been clear and thorough in how my son's food allergy is managed in and outside of school. What I say is what I mean, and what I mean is what I say. We have a very open and honest relationship, in which we are not afraid to ask questions, nor question something that is being done or proposed. The 504 has been the basis for good communication AND a good relationship.

[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited May 16, 2005).]

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By Nutternomore on Tue, 05-17-05, 05:34

Quote:Originally posted by ryan's mom:
[b]Now where can this thread be placed so the information is "in your face" so to speak. IMO, this is must-read information for parents planning a food-allergic child's entry into public school.

I do not want to see this thread get buried in a myriad of other issues.

[/b]

Ryan's Mom: I'm with you; too bad Chris hasn't updated these boards to the newer version of Infopop; I've seen boards that have [i]sticky posts[/i] (i.e. posts that always stay at the top of a page).

Best to just keep re-raising periodically, but especially every winter for planning purposes!

[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited May 17, 2005).]

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By Nutternomore on Tue, 05-17-05, 05:55

[b]Myth #14: A 504 plan is a tactical tool I need to use to help my child be safe this year.[/b]

While this can be true, especially if you're shifting to a 504 at some time other than upon entry into the public schools (usually kindergarten), when used correctly, a 504 plan is a [b]strategic[/b] tool that can be used to support your child's educational journey through adulthood.

Most of what we've been talking about falls under Subpart D of the 504 legislation [url="http://www.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/ocr/edlite-34cfr104.html#D"]http://www.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/ocr/edlite-34cfr104.html#D[/url] , covering preschool, elementary, and secondary education. However, there is also a Subpart E that relates the post-secondary education [url="http://www.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/ocr/edlite-34cfr104.html#E"]http://www.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/ocr/edlite-34cfr104.html#E[/url] .

That section of the 504 law, combined with Title II of ADA provides good support all the way through the college years; see OCR's Q&A for some interesting information: [url="http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/qa-disability.html"]http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/qa-disability.html[/url]

All things being equal, it is easier to make a case for 504 eligibility when children are younger, since they are less self-sufficient in general.

[This message has been edited by Nutternomore - thanks Gail W! (edited May 17, 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited May 17, 2005).]

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By Gail W on Tue, 05-17-05, 16:14

Quote:Originally posted by Nutternomore:
[b]All things being equal, it is easier to make a case for 504 eligibility when children are younger, since they are more self-sufficient in general.[/b]

Typo? I think you mean, [i]"All things being equal, it is easier to make a case for 504 eligibility when children are younger, since they are [b]less[/b] self-sufficient in general."[/i]

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By doreen on Wed, 05-18-05, 05:15

You know I guess I "shopped" for the district with a full-time nurse, fast response time too. I wasn't happy with how they handled the peanut allergy this year, but I wasn't particularly upset over it either. It was there lack of contact prior to school's start (kindergarten) that bothered me. This thread has motivated to contact a few other mothers with PA kids to see if we could approach together to get the district to initiate a 504 plan. I forgot how nervous I'm going to be next year sending her there for lunch (full day now). She's also going to have a new teacher who might not be as amenable. I do think it's smart, but, even after all this time and reading, I am still afraid to "rock the boat." Thanks, Doreen

Groups: None
By Nutternomore on Wed, 05-18-05, 10:02

Doreen,

My one caution in contacting other parents with PA kids is that sometimes, that effort can be like herding cats.

You've probably seen some of the historical posts from others that speak to the issues of having different comfort zones or different levels of understanding re:PA, and the challenge that it can present when you're trying to advocate for [i]your child[/i]. Not saying you shouldn't make contact - it's just that you want to be cautious to prevent the approaches/attitudes of other PA parents from somehow derailing your efforts....

In our school, we've seen two different situations. During original 504 plan development, the school constantly threw back in our face that other PA kids didn't have the kind of accommodations that were were asking for. We politely reminded the school that we were there to lay out the individualized accommodations for [i]our child[/i], so we had to keep them on topic. Also, there has been another family at our school that rides our coattails every year. They make no effort to institute any 504 activity (there are just very low key about it - in fact child doesn't even wear a medical bracelet [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img], but they at least have enough common sense to request that their child be placed in the same class as DS...

[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited May 18, 2005).]

Groups: None
By Nutternomore on Wed, 05-18-05, 10:19

Quote:Originally posted by doreen:
[b]I wasn't happy with how they handled the peanut allergy this year, but I wasn't particularly upset over it either. It was there lack of contact prior to school's start (kindergarten) that bothered me. This thread has motivated to contact a few other mothers with PA kids to see if we could approach together to get the district to initiate a 504 plan. I forgot how nervous I'm going to be next year sending her there for lunch (full day now). She's also going to have a new teacher who might not be as amenable. I do think it's smart, but, even after all this time and reading, I am still afraid to "rock the boat." Thanks, Doreen[/b]

Doreen, I can relate. When we were grappling with our school initially, there was a lot of tension in our house and spirited discussion w/DW over whether we were pushing too hard; were we rocking the boat too much...In the end, I looked at DS and realized that he was totally depending on us to do what we had to do to keep him safe.

I've probably beaten this quote to death, but I've often quoted Jack Welsh (former CEO of General Electric) on this board who said [b]"Control your destiny...or someone else will"[/b]. I have found that with the knowledge of 504, it is very empowering. I certainly wish to maintain a positive relationship with my school to the extent possible, but at the end of the day, DS and his safety comes first...

[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited May 18, 2005).]

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By ryan's mom on Wed, 05-18-05, 11:10

I second Nutternomore's thoughts on contacting the other parents of students with PA.

My viewpoint (especially in what I've seen and my experiences in dealing with other parents) is that it will likely hurt your cause.

Excellent quote, Nutternomore. One in which I firmly believe in!

Groups: None
By Gail W on Wed, 05-18-05, 12:38

Doreen,

Your concept of 'power in numbers' is a really good one, and I agree w/ Nutternomore and ryan's mom yet again.

Quote:Originally posted by doreen:
[b]This thread has motivated to contact a few other mothers with PA kids to see if we could approach together to get the district to initiate a 504 plan. [/b]

[b]Myth # 15: Getting all the PA families together and approaching the School District as one collective will be more effective. There is power in numbers. [/b]

Risk-Benefit analysis: This [i]could[/i] work, but it's [b]very risky [/b]because there will be disagreement on accommodations (and thus whether or not 504 is appropriate). Personally, I never want to be in the situation where I am or feel like I am negotiating with other parents. [i]That social thing.[/i] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

We have hosted a picnic for 3 years... actually a picnic twice at a nearby park and then another family hosted a Halloween party.... for all the PA kids and their families in our school district. Our goal is 1.) for Mariah to meet other kids in the District (they will all eventually go to the same Middle School), 2.) "chit chat" socially with these parents.

There is an enormous range in how these parents approach their child's situation. I met a mom (from a different Elementary school in our district) who looks at things very similarly as DH and I do, and we've helped one another. But with that one exception, I go [i]out of my way [/i]to promote the idea that 'we all have different comfort zones' [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] and the general concept of respecting and supporting one another. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

We like having "social gatherings" with other PA families in our School District. But we never wanted it to be more than that, and I think, in retrospect, this was a very good judgment. [i]I want them to say 'good things' about me because I support them... no controversial statements.[/i] (I save that for the School District administrators. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] )

The last thing you want for this to become a divisive issue within your school district's community of PA/FA families. This could very easily become a polarizing issue, and how would that help your situation/goals?

Per Myth #7 ....Originally posted by Gail W:
[i]"I felt very frightened that there was no one who would do this for me."[/i]

You might find another family or two that will support you. I completely understand that it's a scary prospect to realize that this is something that you probably have to do all on your own. You can do it, Doreen. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 18, 2005).]

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By bethc on Wed, 05-18-05, 16:03

I'm sorry, but I'm still confused. What is a 504 plan, really, in plain language? I've read lots of posts on this, but I need a beginner's explanation. My PA DD is starting school this fall.

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By Gail W on Wed, 05-18-05, 16:23

Quote:Originally posted by bethc:
[b]What is a 504 plan, really, in plain language? ... I need a beginner's explanation. [/b]

Anyone else out there want to take a crack at this?

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