Student Support Services » 504


What is Section 504?

Section 504 is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in any program receiving federal financial assistance.

In order for schools to provide an appropriate education for students who are protected under Section 504, accommodations, modifications, and/or related services may be necessary. The vast majority of accommodations and modifications for students served under Section 504 will occur in a general education classroom.

When does a student qualify as having a disability under Section 504?

A student who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities is a disabled person for purposes of Section 504.

What is a major life activity?

Major life activities include caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working and learning.

What is the difference between Section 504 and IDEA?

Section 504 is for students with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity and requires reasonable accommodations, modifications, and/or other related services. IDEA is for students who qualify for one of 13 specific disabilities identified by IDEA and require specialized instruction to benefit from education.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications

  • A student with an emotional or mental illness may need an adjusted class schedule to allow time for regular counseling or therapy.
  • A student with a long-term, debilitating medical condition, such as cancer or diabetes, may need a class schedule that allows for rest.
  • A student who uses a wheelchair may require special seating considerations.
  • A student with significant attention issues may require monitoring of an assignment notebook and extended time for testing.
  • A student with arthritis experiencing persistent pain, tenderness, or swelling may require a modified physical educational program.

Section 504 Accommodations Guidelines

  • Referrals for potential 504 accommodation plans should be submitted using the Section 504 referral form (ADD hyperlink for form) to the school's Section 504 Coordinator (contact information for coordinators listed at the bottom of this page). 
  • If a decision is made to conduct an evaluation, the school will notify the parents or guardians, in writing, of the school's reason and intent to conduct an evaluation. 
  • The Problem Solving team will also meet to discuss possible accommodations, bodies of evidence, and recommendations for data collection as part of the evaluation.
  • Section 504 evaluations will be completed by a Section 504 evaluation team composed of individuals knowledgeable about the student and individuals knowledgeable of the impairment/disability.
  • Parents/guardians will be provided a copy of Parent and Student Rights - Section 504 upon commencement of the assessment process.
  • A Section 504 Accommodation Plan will be developed for students who are determined to have a disability under Section 504. The plan will be based upon the needs identified through the assessment process. Parents will be provided a copy of the Section 504 accommodation plan for their child.
  • The school Section 504 Coordinator will share the plan with those staff members having relevant contact with the student.
  • All staff members are responsible to follow the provisions described in the Section 504 accommodation plan. If changes are determined necessary, a meeting should be initiated to review the concern.

504 Coordinators


504 Brochure 

For more information on Section 504 Accommodation Plans, please visit the Adams 12 District website. 

Section 504 and Related Services


Under Section 504, students with disabilities are entitled to a free, appropriate public education (FAPE), which may include related services. 34 C.F.R. 104.33(b).

Related service means a service to a student with a disability that he or she needs to benefit from and/or access a school’s education program in order to receive a FAPE. 


For example, if the student is without the related service, the student with a disability would not be able to attend school, achieve passing grades, or advance from grade to grade.


Related services include, but are not limited to:

  • School health services
  • Counseling/social work services
  • Transportation
  • Audiology services
  • Speech-language services
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Psychological/behavioral services
  • Assistive technology device and/or service
  • Orientation and mobility services
  • Reading
  • Thinking
  • Concentrating
  • Communicating
Under the IDEA, related services are required in order for a student with a disability to benefit from their specialized instruction. Under Section 504, a student may require a related service to assure equal access and the same educational opportunities as those provided by their nondisabled peers. Thus, unlike the IDEA, the only service that a student may need is a related service, such as occupational therapy or counseling.

Question: How are the related services delivered?

Answer: Generally, there are two basic types of service delivery:

  1. Direct – hands on, face-to-face with the service provider; individual or small group sessions
  2. Indirect – teaching, on-going training, and/or consulting with school staff to carry out and monitor therapeutic activities.
The 504 team determines the frequency, duration and location of the related service on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, a student may receive both direct and indirect services. The circumstances in which a student on a 504 plan receives direct related services are not common, as more often than not, a student who requires an extensive amount of related services will qualify for an IEP. The key is that the 504 team should be considering all accommodations and any needed related services as it develops the student’s 504 plan.