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504 Accommodations: Extra Time on Tests

Brad was a third grader who has struggled with reading since first grade. His teacher shared with his parents that he is easily distracted and although he was performing at grade level he may have an attention issue. Brad was a quiet boy who did not cause problems in class but was more of a “daydreamer”. When interrupted during class he had a hard time refocusing quickly and often missed important information such as directions or learning facts. Most children when interrupted or distracted are able to refocus quickly thus only missing moments of instruction.

Brad’s parents took him for a Psychoeducational Evaluation that showed that Brad did indeed have ADHD inattentive type. His testing also identified areas of strengths and weakness. Brad’s main weaknesses were in auditory and visual processing and executive functioning skills. In other words, he had trouble listening, processing the information then integrating the information he had heard.

Brad’s parents took the report from the psychologist to his school and worked with the special education team to create a 504. A 504 is part of the 1973 Federal Rehabilitation Act and is a legal document between the parents and their child’s school, which protects and provides accommodations for their child with disabilities. The laws states that a person with a documented disability is entitled to accommodations.

Some of the accommodations that Brad is entitled to are:

  1. Extra time on tests

  2. extra homework support

  3. tutoring

  4. written directions

  5. use of a computer and tape recorder in class

  6. extra time for long term assignments

  7. a seat in the front of the class

Brad’s progress has improved due the accommodations put in place to help him. He still struggles and requires some extra tutoring and support. He is learning how to compensate for his weakness while taking advantage of his strengths.

How to get covered under Section 504?

First, your child must be determined to have a disability that substantially limits one or more major life functions, including education, learning, and behavior. Only the school can determine if your child qualifies for accommodations. Parents seeking to have their child receive services under Section 504 should take the following steps:

  1. Submit a written request to the school asking for an evaluation to determine if there is a significant impact on your child’s learning or behavior.

  2. Request a copy of your School District’s Policies and Procedures on Section 504. This document may be referred to by various names, including Procedural Safeguards, Parental Rights or something similar. This document will inform you of your and the school’s rights and responsibilities in helping your child receive the accommodations she or he needs.

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