When should I contact a school to get summer support services for my child's 504 plan?

We are moving into the area from Maryville. My daughter attends Eugene Field Elementary. She is in pre-K and she has a TBI from when she was about 2 months old. How soon should I contact the school if I want her to have services during the summer? She is having Speech and Occupational Therapy through the school right now.

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Jules Csillag, learning specialist & speech-language pathologist

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Great question! The US Department of Education states that, "Section 504... requires a school district to conduct a re-evaluation prior to a significant change of placement." Switching to a new school may count as a "significant change." In addition, it is in your and your daughter's best interest to have the receiving school know about the 504 plan so that an appropriate accommodation plan can be developed.

Unlike an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which specifies whether services will be provided for 10 months or 12 months, 504 plans are not required to include the length of services. They are required to specify the frequency, duration, and location or related services, just like on an IEP (for example: twice per week,for 30 minutes, in a small group outside of the classroom). Unless it is stated in your current 504 plan, obtaining summer services may require some jumping through hoops since a "504 does not force states or school districts to create special programs for children with disabilities" when no summer programs exist for all students. It simply protects students with disabilities from being discriminated against by an existing summer program. You are your daughter's best advocate, though, so as Will Carington suggests, contact the school directly to discuss what the support plan will be for your daughter.

To learn more about your rights (including what to do if you do not agree with a 504 plan), please review the following sites:

Will Carington, works for Noodle

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My advice would be to go ahead and get in touch with your daughter's new school. They'll be able to answer any questions about enrollment and can explain what steps to take in order to ensure that your daughter continues to receive special education services over the summer.

You can reach the North Nodaway Elementary school office at (660) 927-3322 or email Carla Vore, who is listed in the district's faculty directory as the Elementary Special Education administrator.

Hope this helps!

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