Help for 504?

Posted on: Mon, 04/07/2008 - 3:50am
KSLaru's picture
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Joined: 03/28/2008 - 10:08

So I just spoke with my DD school about her allergies for the second time. A few weeks ago I spoke with the RN, who gave me their policies on peanut allergies, and I'll list some of them later. Overall I'm happy with what he gave me, but I'm still not too sure about the separate lunch table since no one else can sit there unless they have PA also. He pretty much indicated she would be separated from her class, and possibly by herself. :(

Anyway, this time I had other questions, some of which were answered fairly well. At the end of the conversation I mentioned "MDs I've communicated with have indicated that she would qualify for a 504" and left it at that. Then I got the whole 504s are for educational needs only, and we take it very seriously and do everything we can, and we have others with PA also. Here's my problem: I can't get in to see the allergist for 2 weeks - I don't know his position for sure, and I haven't spoken with my ped yet because I'm not sure he would go for supporting the 504. What do I do if they won't support me? Who from the school should I go to now to get more information/persist in my quest? The time I spent last night reading the VERY long 504 post, and links to documents supporting food allergies and qualifications for 504, convinced me I should persue this. Does anyone know if anything is different if the school is a charter school?

Posted on: Tue, 04/08/2008 - 4:25am
Krusty Krab's picture
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Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

As long as the school receives federal funding, for books, lunch program, what have you, then they must comply with federal anti discr. laws.
If I were in the situation, I would not address or speak to anyone at the school about 504 right now. If you wish to pursue a 504 for your child, I would formally request in writing a 504 eligibility meeting for your child. Keep all communication in writing. ALL of it.
Obviously your school is erroneous in their belief that learning must be affected in order for 504 to apply. It may be a battle, maybe not. Prepare yourself with all things 504, what it is, why children with LTFA's are covered and all of the supporting documentation. And be prepared to ask the school to put all of their (erroneous) beliefs [i]in writing[/i]. Don't discuss ANY accomodations you will be seeking. Your first step will be to simply get your child an evaluation meeting and see to it that he or she is appropriately evaluated. Accomodations come after the fact--you don't need to even hint at what you will be asking of the school, you don't want that coloring their views.
If they deny you [i]a meeting [/i]to determine your child's eligibility under 504, then they are already violating your child's rights. If that's what they do, get their denial of a meeting in writing (even an email). Every child has a right to be evaluated for 504 protection.
As far as your allergist, some people have never mentioned 504's IF they feel that the doctor may be less than an advocate. If your allergist is willing to stipulate to the facts of your child's allergy and the severity of it (***sig. limiting the major life activity of breathing*** most importantly) then you may still have the support you need to get the job done.
Good luck and keep reading.

Posted on: Wed, 04/09/2008 - 3:08pm
KSLaru's picture
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Joined: 03/28/2008 - 10:08

Thanks Krusty Krab for your input. Yes, obviously the school is incorrect in their interpretation of 504. To whom should I send the letter requesting a 504 eligibility meeting? I don't want to jump the chain of command, but I also don't want to get lost in a run around.
I'm feeling pressure about her summer school since they take multiple field trips and the coordinator basically said they can't control what the other/older kids might bring for snacks, and the nurse told me he doesn't train the additional summer staff on the epi-pen, and there will be a different nurse for the summer. They have a decent start on a peanut allergy plan, but I can see sooo many cracks where accidents may happen!
If I shouldn't communicate with the staff, what do I do until the 504 is approved? I would be shocked if the process was completed before the middle of June!

Posted on: Thu, 04/10/2008 - 3:02am
Krusty Krab's picture
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Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

The letter could be sent to the principal, the 504 coordinator or coordinator of special services (whatever the title is of the person in charge of 504's). If it were me, I would send it to the attention of all of those people.
I'm saying if it were me, I would not discuss 504 matters with your school unless it were in the context of a formal meeting. I am talking about things like-- why your child is eligible for services, what accomodations you would write into the 504, etc. Of course you would still need to continue to speak to your teacher about day to day dealings to keep your child safe.
You need to get educated in all things 504. Seriously. You need to understand the law and how it applies to those with LTFA and what agencies also believe this. Anything you can learn will help you. Here is a great site to understand 504, and even a sample outline for a 504 plan:
[url="http://allergysupport.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=1"]http://allergysupport.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=1[/url]
Good luck.

Posted on: Thu, 04/10/2008 - 3:05am
Krusty Krab's picture
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Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

Oh ya, I forgot to mention that NO school can make a child sit [i]anywhere[/i] because of their disability. That would be as wrong as making a separate table for those of a different skin color or sex.
Get used to the term 'disability'.

Posted on: Thu, 04/10/2008 - 4:47am
KSLaru's picture
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Joined: 03/28/2008 - 10:08

I think you hit a sensitive subject right on...use of the term "disability".
Funny how in my job, I work with disabled people the entire day trying to overcome their physical disabilities, and I don't even bat an eye at it. But it's hard to wrap my head around my kid being labeled as such when it doesn't "appear" that she fits the category. (Which she obviously does based on the letter of the law.)

Posted on: Sat, 04/19/2008 - 9:51am
Krusty Krab's picture
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Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

Check this out from the US Dept of Educatio's Office of Civil Rights, entitled:
[i]The Civil Rights of Students with Hidden Disabilities Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973[/i]
[url="http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq5269.html"]http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq5269.html[/url]
here is an excerpt:
[i]WHAT ARE HIDDEN DISABILITIES?
Hidden disabilities are physical or mental impairments that are not readily apparent to others. They include such conditions and diseases as specific learning disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy, [b]and allergy[/b]. A disability such as a limp, paralysis, total blindness or deafness is usually obvious to others. But hidden disabilities such as low vision, poor hearing, heart disease, or chronic illness may not be obvious. A chronic illness involves a recurring and long-term disability such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver disease, high blood pressure, or ulcers.
Approximately four million students with disabilities are enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Of these 43 percent are students classified as learning disabled, 8 percent as emotionally disturbed, and 1 percent as other health impaired. These hidden disabilities often cannot be readily known without the administration of appropriate diagnostic tests.[/i]

Posted on: Fri, 05/02/2008 - 12:09pm
mom1995's picture
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Joined: 11/09/2004 - 09:00

Nearly every school dist has a 504 cordinator now. As I sure you know 504 protects anyone for any reason that effects a "vital life function". Last time I checked breathing qualifies. Also by seperating your child the are violating more laws. Inclusion is not an option. You can also let them know in your 504 meeting that none of the requests you ask for are costing them any money, while you could very well require an aid for you child to clean every surface they come in contact with. That would cost them aprox 20,000 to 28,000 per school year. The choice is theirs.

Posted on: Sun, 05/04/2008 - 2:53am
Krusty Krab's picture
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Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

[b]504 protects anyone for any reason that effects a "vital life function".[/b]
[i]Substantially limits [/i]and major life activity are the terms you're looking for, legally speaking. And it is not just for [i]any reason[/i], rather [i]impairment, handicap[/i], that substantially limits one or more major life activity. Achieving 504 status means you were evaluated, and a conclusion was made that said impairment was indeed [i]substantially limiting[/i]. Just to clarify.
The US Dept of Ed explains it so much better than I:
[url="http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq5269.html"]http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq5269.html[/url]
[i]The ED Section 504 regulation defines an "individual with handicaps" as any person who (i) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (ii) has a record of such an impairment, or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment. The regulation further defines a physical or mental impairment as (A) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or (B) any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The definition does not set forth a list of specific diseases and conditions that constitute physical or mental impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the comprehensiveness of any such list.
The key factor in determining whether a person is considered an "individual with handicaps" covered by Section 504 is whether the physical or mental impairment results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities. Major life activities, as defined in the regulation, include functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.[/i]

Posted on: Sun, 05/04/2008 - 2:55am
Krusty Krab's picture
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Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

Now, when are they going to add [i]eating[/i] to the list of major life activities and make it much easier for children to have 504 protections?

Posted on: Sat, 05/10/2008 - 1:17pm
maysmom's picture
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Joined: 05/10/2008 - 20:08

Hello. I am getting ready to send my daughter to kindergarten in the fall and I am having trouble getting the school to cooperate with me. She has anaphylaxis to peanuts. I am hope to go forward with a 504 plan, but I am not too familiar with how to go about it. Do I have to have her evaluated and who does the evaluation?

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