Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires public schools to offer accommodations for eligible students with disabilities. These accommodations help students with special health needs to participate in New York City Department of Education (DOE) programs and activities on an equal basis with their peers who do not have disabilities.
Your child may be eligible for health services and/or other types of accommodations.
Students qualify for 504 Accommodations if:
- They have a physical or mental impairment.
- The impairment substantially limits at least one major life activity.
Physical or Mental Impairments
Some examples of physical or mental impairments are physical disabilities, health conditions, mental disorders, and learning disabilities.
- Short term impairments (like a broken leg) may qualify a student for 504 accommodations. This depends on the type of the impairment, how long it lasts, and how severe it is.
- Episodic impairments (like asthma) may qualify a student for 504 accommodations. Students are qualified if the impairment substantially limits a major life activity when it is active.
Examples of Major Life Activities:
Caring for oneself, communicating, bending, breathing, doing tasks with one’s hands, eating, focusing, hearing, learning, lifting, reading, seeing, sleeping, speaking, standing, thinking, walking, working.
Does your child have an impairment that substantially limits them in any of the life activities listed above? If so, your child may qualify for accommodations under Section 504.
Once the correct forms are submitted to the school (described below), each student’s case is reviewed individually.
The 504 Coordinator will contact you to schedule a meeting. As explained below, you will be part of the school-based 504 Team that meets to discuss your request and other relevant information about your child and decides if your child is eligible for accommodations and if so, which accommodations are most appropriate.
If you would like interpretation services at the 504 meeting, please inform your school's 504 Coordinator.
For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, review the 504 Accommodations Student & Family Guide.
Steps After Parent Submits 504 Accommodation Request, and Review Process
Who goes to the 504 accommodations meeting (504 Team meeting)?
The 504 Team meeting is attended by the parent, and people who know your child’s abilities. They understand the information that is being reviewed and know the types of accommodations that may meet your child’s needs.
The 504 meeting must include at least two people who can:
- Talk about your child’s abilities and skills. (For example, your child’s teacher or guidance counselor may attend.)
- Interpret reports or evaluations. (For example, the school social worker or nurse may attend.)
- Share information about the accommodations that may meet your child’s needs. (For example, the 504 Coordinator)
If you would like interpretation services at the 504 meeting, please inform your school's 504 Coordinator.
What Information is Reviewed at the Meeting?
The 504 team will review information which comes from different sources, such as your child’s tests, observations, work samples, report cards, and medical records. This will help the Team understand your child’s abilities, achievement, behaviors, and health needs. Parents and school staff may bring any information they believe best describes the child’s abilities and needs.
Diagnosis and Suggestions from Your Child’s Doctor
Your child’s doctor must complete the Medical Accommodations Request Form. The doctor may suggest that the school provide certain accommodations. The 504 Team will decide if the suggested accommodations are appropriate, and if so, how to provide them at school.
If your child is determined eligible for accommodations, the 504 Coordinator fills in the 504 Accommodation Plan Template (504 Plan) with 504 Team (including parent) input and based upon the relevant documentation described above. The 504 Plan is a roadmap that describes in detail the services and/or accommodations your child will receive at school and, as relevant, in other DOE programs and activities.
No 504 Plan may be implemented without written parental consent, which is typically provided at the 504 Team meeting where the Plan is completed or soon thereafter.
If you would like translation of the 504 Plan and/or notices, please inform your school's 504 Coordinator.
For students with diabetes: visit the Diabetes webpage, which includes the Diabetes 504 Plan Template.
Please reach out to the 504 Coordinator and/or Health Director
for your child’s school. If you have additional questions about DOE Section 504 policy and procedures, please contact Neil Somerfeld, Section 504 Program Manager at 718-310-2429 or 504Questions@schools.nyc.gov
To request 504 accommodations, complete the Request for Section 504 Accommodations Parent Form with HIPAA, have your child's health care provider fill out the Medical Accommodations Request Form, and submit both forms to your school’s 504 Coordinator.
Health services are for students who need to take medicine (like insulin) or receive a special nursing treatment at school. Find out more, and relevant forms, on our Health Services page.
How to Apply for Health Services: Submit the relevant Medication Administration Form (MAF), or Medically Prescribed Treatment Form (for treatment other than medication) to the school nurse/medical professional in your child’s school building.
Review the Guidelines for Provision of Health Services (see below) for more details on how to apply.
Not all students who need health services at school need a 504 Plan. If your child’s health service does not affect their ability to participate in school and other DOE programs and activities, then they do not need a 504 Plan and you do not need to submit the 504 accommodation request forms in addition to the MAF or Medically Prescribed Treatment Form. Contact your school’s 504 Coordinator for guidance.
- Example 1: A student visits the nurse's office periodically for pain relievers for headaches. They do not need any other supports or accommodations.
- This student does not need a 504 Plan.
- Example 2: During the school day, a student with diabetes must have their blood glucose levels monitored throughout the day, takes insulin at certain times, and needs bathroom breaks and access to glucagon and snacks to manage their diabetes care.
- This student does need 504 Plan
Educational accommodations are for students who need building, classroom or testing accommodations. For example, students some students may need a barrier-free building, assistive technology, special furniture, or breaks or extra time to complete activities or take tests.
Classroom accommodations are changes to the classroom setting to enable students with disabilities to participate in school. For example, students with disabilities that impact their hearing or vision might be seated close to the teacher or blackboard. Some students may receive: modifications to their class schedule, the setting for class activities, and/or the method in which directions for class activities are presented; and/or extra breaks or longer time for class activities.
Testing accommodations are changes to the way tests are given, or to testing format. Some students with disabilities may need these changes to be able to show their understanding of class material. The testing changes are to prevent students’ test results from being affected by their disabilities. Testing accommodations do not change the skills or content that tests measure.
The four types of testing accommodations are:
- Method of Presentation
- Examples: Test directions or questions may be read, repeated and explained by school staff. Tests may be also be given in braille.
- Method of Response
- Examples: Students may use assistive technology devices. Students may write answers directly in answer booklets, or type their answers using a computer.
- Test Timing
- Examples: Students may receive breaks or have more time to take tests.
- Test Setting
- Examples: Students may take tests in separate locations, in a small group, or with special lighting or furniture.
Paraprofessionals (paras) help students with physical and mental disabilities. Paras work with students to make sure their learning and health needs are met at school. Paras work in the classroom, under the general supervision of a certified teacher.
Can a Para Help My Child?
Paras can help your child if they have a physical or medical disability. Some examples of qualifying disabilities are asthma, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and severe allergies. Under the guidance of the school nurse, a para can check for signs and symptoms of a specific disease, help students with disabilities eat and move, and help students get to the school nurse.
Paras can also provide your child with extra teaching support if they have a mental disability. Some examples of qualifying disabilities are attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia and depression.
Your child may be eligible for student transportation to and from school by yellow bus or Metro Card if they are within a certain age range, and a distance range from the school. Check the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) eligibility webpage to see if your child is eligible for a yellow bus or Metro Card.
For requests for transportation accommodations (for example, limited travel time or paraprofessional support to provide one-to-one supervision on the school bus), complete the accommodation request forms described above (Request for Section 504 Accommodations Form with HIPAA, have your child's health care provider fill out the Medical Accommodations Request Form), and submit both forms to your school’s 504 Coordinator.
If your child is approved for a transportation accommodation, they will be transported to school in a bus even if they do not meet the general education age and distance requirements.
If your child requires transportation as an exception to OPT’s eligibility rules because of a temporary medical condition or short- or long-term limited mobility, the parent must submit the Medical Exception Request forms to OPT instead of the request for accommodation forms described above.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my child get Related Services with a 504 Plan?
Typically at the DOE, students who require related services receive them through an Individualized Education Program (IEP), and not a 504 Plan. Examples of related services are physical therapy, speech therapy, and mandated counseling services. If your child appears to need any of these services, generally the 504 Team will refer your child to the school or district Committee on Special Education.
Once my child is determined to be eligible, are they always eligible for accommodations?
504 Plans must be reviewed before the end of each school year or more often if necessary, and amended at the time of review, if necessary.
If your child’s impairment continues to substantially limit their participation in school, your child will remain eligible for accommodations. The 504 Team will meet before the end of the school year, to the extent possible, to create a new Plan for the upcoming school year.
If it is decided that your child’s impairment no longer substantially limits their ability in a major life activity, your child is no longer eligible for accommodations (the 504 Plan is ended).
Schools will communicate with you about DOE Section 504 policies and procedures. All schools post and share the Notice of Non-Discrimination under Section 504.
If you would like interpretation services at the 504 meeting, and/or translation of the 504 Plan and/or notices, please inform your school's 504 Coordinator.
If the 504 Team decides that your child qualifies for 504 accommodations, you will also receive:
- A Notice of Eligibility. If you do not agree with the eligibility determination, talk to your school’s Borough/Citywide Office Health Director. Contact information will be provided by the school or can be found on the Section 504 webpage. You may also request an Impartial Hearing to challenge the determination of the Health Director and must submit the written request within 10 days of receiving the determination.
- 504 Plan. If your child is determined eligible for accommodations, the 504 Coordinator completes the 504 Plan with the 504 Team’s input and based upon the relevant documentation.
- An Annual Notice of Reauthorization. This letter will tell you the steps that you must take to have your child’s 504 accommodations renewed for the next school year. See Chancellor’s Regulation A-710 for more information.
Home instruction is a program to prevent students from falling behind in classes during a long-term absence. If your child will be out of school for at least 4 weeks because of a serious emotional or medical condition, your child may be eligible for home instruction. If you are a student who is a parent, you may be eligible for home instruction if your child has a medical condition and cannot attend day care or the LYFE Program (Living for the Young Family through Education).
- Home instruction students receive one-on-one instruction at home from a licensed teacher.
- Students in grades K – 6 receive 5 weekly hours of instruction.
- Students in grades 7 – 12 receive 10 weekly hours of instruction.
- Your school will provide your home instruction curriculum.
- Home instruction is an interim program that does not grant diplomas.
- An adult chaperone must be present during home instruction lessons.
How to apply for Home Instruction:
Notify your school’s guidance counselor and school of your child’s situation. Go to the Home Instruction website to learn how to apply.
Questions Regarding Home Instruction?