So here’s the thing- I’ve been working on this portfolio for my Sociology of Education class all semester. It’s worth a decent part of my grade. I enjoy the class already, and I was assigned to the group focusing on special needs… Thank goodness! and hooooooray! I’m super passionate about this. I care about this. I know about this. It has so much to do with my goals in life. You had to find 10 different artifacts for it, and I did. One of those artifacts was the 504 Plan. Do you know what that is? You should. But many people do not even know about it who NEED to know about it. Actually, everyone needs to know about it. Last year in my social work class my 10 page paper was on the 504 Plan (got 100 on it. YAY.)
If you don’t want to read the “complicated part” skip to the bottom.
This is from my paper from last year-
‘Within the ADA is the 504 Plan, and this concerns children with special needs and education. “Children are determined to have special needs when their well-being, development, and learning are compromised if not given support and accommodations to address their unique needs (Moore, 2009).” The 504 Plan helps to address those needs. Other plans do exist to help with rights and aspects of inclusion for children, such as the IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, but the 504 Plan and IDEA do differ in their provisions (Miller and New Bill, 1998). The 504 Plan and the ADA make sure that students get equal treatments and fair opportunities regarding their education and needed accommodations (Peer Project).
This section in the ADA, the 504 Plan, is designed to “protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination for reasons related to their disabilities (Wright 2008).” The 504 Plan protects children’s rights while they are at school regardless of their disability. A child with a physical or mental impairment that possibly limits at least one major life activity is eligible to be placed under the protections of the 504 Plan (Wright, 2008). Under this act, educators cannot provide unequal rights to students with disabilities compared to other students, and all services, benefits, programs, must be as similar to other students as possible (Peer Project, 2008). The methods to help the student must be the least restrictive but safest way possible (Peer Project, 2008). Students have the right to participate in various activities if it does not negatively affect their disability such as field trips, events, meals, games, etc. Sometimes the school is required to make adjustments to address the needs of students (Peer Project, 2008). A team develops the specifics of the 504 Plan. The parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), the child’s counselor, the 504 coordinator, and possibly the student with the disability make up the team (The University of Washington, 2011). 504 Plans are just as specific and unique as the child with special needs. It is personalized to fit with the child’s needs’ (Bartleson. 2012)
and here’s what I wrote for my portfolio this year-
‘The 504 Plan was created by the Americans with Disabilities Act. A 504 plan provides information about accommodations, fair treatment, and needed modifications. I have chosen to go over the 504 plan because not many people know about it, and I believe there are much needed changes. I have provided an already made an example of a plan. They are difficult to find online, and I chose from the American Diabetes Association because it was the only one to appear adequate to me. Also, the 504 plan is most often used for children with Diabetes. It is not as common as it should be with other needs and disabilities. I did find a website that provides “examples” for other conditions though, but not an already made 504 Plan.
Not many children with special needs and their families actually know about these plans. They also do not know how to execute them in many cases because the plan is difficult. 504 Plans have to be created by the families of children with special needs in most cases. They also usually have to create one on their own. Creating one takes a lot of time, effort, paperwork, and information. The family has to plan and execute the 504 plan. The families must make appointments with the teachers, counselors, nurses (if there is one), principals, coaches, and other staff. Making these appointments and meetings can prove to be incredibly difficult. Getting everyone to attend rarely happens. A lot of paper work must be filled out by doctors and counselors before it is approved. It takes a long time, and it varies from student to student, even with the same need. Sometimes after a child is diagnosed with an illness or disability, it can take almost a year or more before this plan actually goes into action. A year or more is not okay. 504s are not the most effective in many cases, but they are a small step in the right direction. They could also be more effective.
The set-up of the 504 plan creates various problems for students in the education system. In order for a 504 plan to happen, the family and the school have to know about it. Even if the school knows about it, usually parents have to act first. That means that the children typically getting 504 plans are most likely going to be of higher SES (socioeconomic status) and are going to be white. Therefore, many children are not being helped. They are not getting equal treatment, and they are not receiving their rights either.’ (Bartleson. 2013)
So here’s the thing-
What part of any of this is okay? Yes- this is a step in the right direction. But it needs to be leaping! I want to change this. Probably one of the first things on my to do list for my career, maybe I should get started now? Personally, I didn’t know this existed until I got into High School. What? Many of my friends never had one. What? People I have met don’t even know what it is! What? I have met people who stopped using it because it was too difficult, and hard to actually implement. What?
In my opinion
- The process should not take as long.
- The process should not be as difficult
- schools MUST KNOW about it!
- Families need to know about it.
- it should actually be implemented and watched.
- It shouldn’t be all on the families’ shoulders- they already have things they have to deal with.
- More people need to know about it for sure.
- You shouldn’t have to create it all by yourself
- Along with other changes I feel need to happen
Yeah, I’m going to change it. That’s my plan. This is the right direction, but more needs to happen. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about this stuff along with their families because they already have to deal with so much. Education is how you make it in the world. Doesn’t everyone deserve a chance to make it?
Love, Words, Inspiration, and Insulin! -Until next time! and until there’s a cure!
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