IHP vs 504 Plan

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My son is 8 yrs old and in 3rd grade. This is his fourth year at school. He has a peanut allergy (diagnosed as peanut anaphylaxis on medical records).

Today we met with the school to move forward with a 504 plan for him. I had originally requested it back in June of 2006. Because it was near the end of the school year, the counselor (and 504 Coordinator at the school) suggested I wait until after the summer. I agreed.

In August, I met with the (new) school nurse, counselor and school psychologist. They felt that my son needed a IHP rather than a 504 plan (no IHP had ever been in place). I reluctantly agreed because they said that it was unreasonable to jump to a 504 if no IHP had been in place.

One of the IHP parts is that a note was to be sent out to parents in the classroom that there was a child with a life threatening peanut allergy and asking that they consider that when sending in food. I must state that up until this year, my son's classrooms were "peanut free" but this year the school decided that the district's policy did not allow for that. BTW, they eat their lunch in the classroom as there is no cafeteria at the school. The new school nurse would not draft up the letter because apparently the school district was working on a "standard" letter. I followed up for weeks and the letter was never sent out.

In November when it was becoming apparent that the letter was not going to be sent out, and so the IHP was not being followed, I requested a 504 meeting. It was postponed from two weeks ago due to bad weather and was held this morning.

The nurse, psychologist, principal, vice-principal, teachers (last year's and this year's) as well as the special ed and SLP (why the SLP? I have no idea other than it was a guidance meeting). They told us that a IHP and 504 offered the same protection so our school district considreed them to be the same so they will not write a 504 plan. I disagreed and said my son was eligible for 504. I asked them directly to please go ahead and evaluate him. They have decided that my husband and I need to meet with the head of Special Services. Presumably this is so we can be told the same thing (that IHP is as good as a 504).

So, I need help finding documentation and with our argument that our son is eligible for a 504. Incidentally, the long-awaited note from the school district was sent out on Friday of last week (3.5 months after I requested it), but it said that someone in the class had a "nut allergy" and would react to any "nut product". Aargh! I told them today that the letter was wrong since he has a PEANUT allergy and that the credibility was gone due to the inaccurate letter.

Thanks for any input or advice and direction you can offer.

Kindest Regards, Pez

On Dec 12, 2006

I'm short on time, but wanted to point you to FAAN's website which now has a statement that children with LTFAs 'generally' qualify under Section 504:

scroll down to "Schools and the Law":

[url="http://www.foodallergy.org/Advocacy/advocacy-schools.html"]http://www.foodallergy.org/Advocacy/advocacy-schools.html[/url]

On Dec 12, 2006

Gail, thanks for the link. I see though that it also says "Sometimes, the written management plan takes the form of an Individualized Health Care Plan (IHP), recommended by the National Association of School Nurses." which is what the school wants. I have read where the 504 Plan can say things like "see IHP" and I did mention that today to the school officials.

BTW, I am very thankful for this site in helping me get to the point of asking for the 504 plan for my son.

On Dec 12, 2006

Yes, that's correct. Students who are eligible under Section 504, such as my daughter, may have an IHP.

[b]My daughter's 504 plan is about 1.5 pages long [/b]and lists 10 accommodations (that are pretty general) and also lists the staff person who is responsible for overseeing each accommodation. Almost all the accommodations are essentially referring to the need for the admistering of another specific document. These documents are attached to the 504 plan and listed as an appendix (A through F).

The accommodations listed are 1.) IHP (appendix A) 2.) staff training, 3.) epi-pens accessible to all staff, 4.) designated adult mentor to assist planning and self-advocacy, 5.) provisions for Mariah to participate in the food services program, 6.) Emergency Plan (Appendix B) , 7.) Cafeteria Plan (Appendix C), 8.) Planning Activity Sheet (Appendix D), 9.) Student Responsibility Sheet (Appendix E), 10.) Asthma Action Plan (Appendix F).

[b]Our IHP is 4 pages long. [/b] It's very detailed and signed by the school principal, the school nurse, the school counselor, the Director of Food Services, and the Director of Student Services (district administrator). It is meant to be a stand-alone document shared with the teaching staff.

Does that make sense?

My DD is in Middle School (7th grade). There are many different ways to write 504 plans. There are many examples posted here. Ours is pretty detailed, and this has worked well for us.

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited December 12, 2006).]

On Dec 12, 2006

Pez,

Only have a moment as well, but if you haven't already done so, go through this post with a fine tooth comb.

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001854.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001854.html[/url]

See Gail W's post from 5/18/05 (page 2); it discusses the different legal implications of IHP versus 504.

A 504 plan is based on Section 504 of the Rehab Act of 1973 (not ADA as many mistakenly believe - although ADA subsumed this earlier law). Anyway, Section 504 is civil rights legislation...it's all about ensuring access for the disabled...and those with peanut allergy generally are regarded as having a "hidden" disability.

The FAAN link provides the basis for this argument...there is also the link from the US Dept of Ed, Office of Civil Rights, which points out allergy can be regarded as a hidden disability.

[url="http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq5269.html"]http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq5269.html[/url]

On Dec 14, 2006

Quote:

Originally posted by Gail W: [b]Yes, that's correct. Students who are eligible under Section 504, such as my daughter, may have an IHP.

[b]My daughter's 504 plan is about 1.5 pages long [/b]and lists 10 accommodations (that are pretty general) and also lists the staff person who is responsible for overseeing each accommodation. Almost all the accommodations are essentially referring to the need for the admistering of another specific document. These documents are attached to the 504 plan and listed as an appendix (A through F).

The accommodations listed are 1.) IHP (appendix A) 2.) staff training, 3.) epi-pens accessible to all staff, 4.) designated adult mentor to assist planning and self-advocacy, 5.) provisions for Mariah to participate in the food services program, 6.) Emergency Plan (Appendix B) , 7.) Cafeteria Plan (Appendix C), 8.) Planning Activity Sheet (Appendix D), 9.) Student Responsibility Sheet (Appendix E), 10.) Asthma Action Plan (Appendix F).

[b]Our IHP is 4 pages long. [/b] It's very detailed and signed by the school principal, the school nurse, the school counselor, the Director of Food Services, and the Director of Student Services (district administrator). It is meant to be a stand-alone document shared with the teaching staff.

Does that make sense?

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited December 12, 2006).][/b]

Yes, that does make sense, Gail. I guess that is what I am looking to do - have the IHP with a 504.

On Dec 14, 2006

Quote:

Originally posted by Nutternomore: [b]Pez,

Only have a moment as well, but if you haven't already done so, go through this post with a fine tooth comb.

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001854.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001854.html[/url]

See Gail W's post from 5/18/05 (page 2); it discusses the different legal implications of IHP versus 504.

A 504 plan is based on Section 504 of the Rehab Act of 1973 (not ADA as many mistakenly believe - although ADA subsumed this earlier law). Anyway, Section 504 is civil rights legislation...it's all about ensuring access for the disabled...and those with peanut allergy generally are regarded as having a "hidden" disability.

The FAAN link provides the basis for this argument...there is also the link from the US Dept of Ed, Office of Civil Rights, which points out allergy can be regarded as a hidden disability.

[url="http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq5269.html"]http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq5269.html[/url] [/b]

Nuttermore, thank you for your post. I knew that you guys would have the info that I wanted. I am feeling more and more confident about our upcoming meeting with the school district.

You guys ROCK! [img]/peanut/boards/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif[/img]

Pez

On Jan 9, 2007

I wanted to say thanks again to everyone here for providing me with information on 504's and the differences between 504's and Health Plans.

We have been waiting for the school to call with the time/date to meet with representatives from the school district in regards to them not wanting to give my son a 504 plan. Out of the blue today, the school psychologist called and said they were going to go ahead with the 504 plan and it will basically say to see the health plan. I don't know what changed their mind but I am excited and happy although a little disappointed that I could not go in with all my research to show them that they were WRONG! [img]/peanut/boards/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif[/img]

Anyway, this is also a relief because on Sunday, my 3 yr old son had a serious allergic reaction to WALNUTS (we did not know he was allergic to them - he also has a milk allergy) so I am well armed to begin the 504 process when it comes time for him to start school.

Thanks again! Pez

On Jan 9, 2007

That's great news. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

But hold off celebrating for just a moment:

Quote:

Originally posted by Pez: [b] . . . the school psychologist called and said they were going to go ahead with the 504 plan and it will basically say to see the health plan. [/b]

Make sure that this is what you want. Is it enough? Do you want any additions to it? Do you want your Emergeny Plan as a separate document? Same for Asthma Action Plan?

The 504 law states that the decisions are to be made by a 'group' of individuals who are 'knowledgeable about the child' and the disability. As the child's parent, you are certainly a 'knowledgeable individual' and should therefore be included in the decision-making process. Don't hesitate to press forward with your concerns about specific accommodations. Now is the best time to do it.

On Jan 18, 2007

Thanks for your concern. I think we have everything in the health plan covered (other than a peanut-free classroom which we know we will never get). I was really pushing for a 504 plan because the school had not yet followed everything in the health plan and I wanted them to comply. I knew if the health plan was a 504, they would have to do so. However, they remedied the situation just before they gave word that they would approve the 504.

I appreciate all of the information and experience on this site. And I know it will all continue to help my keep my son safe at school. And also, it will help now that we just found out two weekends ago that my 3 yr old is allergic to walnuts!

On Jan 19, 2007

Quote:

Originally posted by Pez: [b]Thanks for your concern. I think we have everything in the health plan covered (other than a peanut-free classroom which we know we will never get). I was really pushing for a 504 plan because the school had not yet followed everything in the health plan and I wanted them to comply. I knew if the health plan was a 504, they would have to do so. However, they remedied the situation just before they gave word that they would approve the 504.

I appreciate all of the information and experience on this site. And I know it will all continue to help my keep my son safe at school. And also, it will help now that we just found out two weekends ago that my 3 yr old is allergic to walnuts![/b]

I am curious, why don't you think you will get a peanut free classroom? If you have a 504, can't this be negotiated? If you think it's necessary, I would push for it. Some of the stories I read here about food coming into classrooms is very scary.

Luckily, my school WILL provide a peanut/treenut free classroom (even without a 504), so I'm curious why some schools are so stubborn.

On Jan 25, 2007

I have spoken to many people at the school and school district and they are firm about no "peanut free" classrooms. This was a new change for us this year. Their excuse was that in the past the school did not understand district policy.

I considered pushing the issue with help from our allergist but she said that since ds was in 3rd grade, was able to carry his epi pen, he was ready to live in the "real world" (God, how I hate that term!). She said that it was not like in preschool or K. when kids are forever putting their hands in their mouths or not being careful with handwashing, etc.

So, since I did not have the support I was counting on there to push for a peanut free classroom, and I knew that by pushing for it there would be a huge delay in the 504 (as it was, I initially requested in at the beginning of June 2006 and we finally had it signed January 18, 2007), we decided to fight the fight we can and manage as best as we can.

We did finally get a letter sent home from the principal that had to be approved by the district (again, this took 3.5 months) informing parents that there was a child with a "life threatening" allergy. I was insistant that the term "life threatening" be in the letter. There are also signs posted outside the doors to the classroom which state "Peanut Allergy Present. Thank you for your consideration". People pretty much consider the classroom peanut free even though technically it is not. My son has the right to remove himself from any situation where he feels uncomfortable if peanuts are present (can you believe the nurse fought me on that point?!).

Anyway, so those are my reasons for not pursuing the peanut free classroom. Until the signs were up and the health plan was in place, I was pulling my son from school everyday at lunch (the first two weeks of school). Again, the sticking point then was the nurse agreeing that my son could take control of his own safety and remove himself if he felt he needed to. It finally took a call from the allergist to the head of nursing services at our district to understand that managing a peanut allergy included being able to excuse yourself from a potentially unsafe environment.

On Jan 26, 2007

Wow.

So where are you in the process? Do you have a final written 504 plan now? Or are you still in discussions?

On Jan 26, 2007

Quote:

Originally posted by Gail W: [b]So where are you in the process? Do you have a final written 504 plan now? Or are you still in discussions?[/b]

The 504 has been signed and filed (I hope). The 504 coordinator did not actually show up at the last meeting but the school psychologist did all the paper work anyway. When I left the meeting on Jan. 18th, all we were waiting for was the 504 coordinator's signature. I do have a copy of the paper work with that missing signature and they are to send me a copy of the completed form.

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