Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.  This law applies to public elementary and secondary schools, among other entities.

No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . .

Eligibility Under Section 504

Children with disabilities may be eligible for special education and related services under Section 504. That’s because Section 504′s definition of disability is broader than the IDEA’s definition. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to:

  • have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or
  • have a record of such an impairment; or
  • be regarded as having such an impairment.

Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Under Section 504, FAPE means providing regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student’s individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.

As explained in Protecting Students With Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities:

What is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity?

The determination of whether a student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity must be made on the basis of an individual inquiry. The Section 504 regulatory provision…defines a physical or mental impairment as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The regulatory provision does not set forth an exhaustive list of specific diseases and conditions that may constitute physical or mental impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the comprehensiveness of such a list.

Major life activities, as defined in the Section 504 regulations…include functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. This list is not exhaustive. Other functions can be major life activities for purposes of Section 504.  In the Amendments Act…Congress provided additional examples of general activities that are major life activities, including eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, and communicating.  Congress also provided a non-exhaustive list of examples of “major bodily functions” that are major life activities, such as the functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions… the Section 504 regulatory provision’s list of examples of major life activities is not exclusive, and an activity or function not specifically listed in the Section 504 regulatory provision can nonetheless be a major life activity.

Office for Civil Rights
Protecting Students With Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities


Section 504

Sample Accommodations and Modifications

 This Appendix contains examples of 504 accommodations and modifications.  An accommodation is any technique that alters the academic setting or environment in some way, but does not change the content of required work.  A modification is any technique that alters the work required in such a way that it differs in substance from the work required of other students in the same class. Teams must assess when modifications are implemented in a plan whether or not student grading must also be adjusted.  Some intervention tools might be seen as either an accommodation or a modification, depending on the situation or on the implementation.

 This is intended to be a staff document.  The following examples are not offered as check lists and should not be considered as all-inclusive or mandatory listings.  The examples are intended to serve as “starters” for 504 teams designing accommodation plans that meet a student’s specific need(s).  The best 504 plans incorporate teacher expertise and available regular education resources.  The Team process involves schools in identifying the resources they (and outside agencies) have to support various student needs.  Obviously, the kinds of accommodations schools can provide will vary based on school configuration, age of student, etc.  The 504 evaluation team decides the accommodations that will best support a particular student.  The following examples are organized into two groups.  The first group includes general environmental, organizational, behavioral, presentation, and assessment strategies.  The second group includes possible examples of accommodations that might be valuable when dealing with specific disability profiles.

 Examples of General Accommodations

•     Environmental Strategies

•     Organizational Strategies

•     Behavioral Strategies

•     Presentation Strategies

•     Evaluation Methods

Examples of Accommodations for Specific Disabilities

Allergies Arthritis Asthma ADD/ADHD Bipolar Cancer

Cerebral Palsy


Cystic Fibrosis Diabetes Drugs/alcohol Emotionally Disturbed Encopresis/Enuresis Epilepsy

Hearing Impairment Learning Disability Leukemia

Orthopedically Impaired Student with health needs Tourette’s Syndrome Traumatic Brain Injury Tuberculosis

Visual Impairment

Weight      (obesity,      anorexia, bulimia)

Examples of General Accommodations

General program accommodations/adjustments or services are always made on a case-by-case basis and individualized. Accommodations are to be reasonable and are intended to provide persons with disabilities compensation for their functional limitation(s) due to a mental or physical impairment.  Where Section 504 is concerned, accommodations are made to bring a student with a disability to the same starting point as a non-disabled student.  Consequently, the accommodations defined in a Section 504 plan are those interventions that are not typically available to all students.

Environmental Strategies

•     Provide a structured learning environment

•     Make separate “space” for different types of tasks

•     Possible adapting of non-academic times such as lunch, recess, and physical education

•     Change student seating

•     Utilize a study carrel

•     Alter location or personal or classroom supplies for easier access or to minimize distraction

•     Provide sensory breaks

•     Provide a written or picture schedule

Organizational Strategies

•     Model and reinforce organizational systems (i.e. color-coding)

•     Write out homework assignments, check student’s recording of assignments

•     Tailor homework assignments toward student strengths

•     Set time expectations for assignments

•     Provide clues such as clock faces indicating beginning and ending times

•     Teach study/organizational skills

•     Schedule before or after school tutoring/homework assistance

Behavioral Strategies

•     Use behavioral management techniques consistently within a classroom and across classes

•     Implement behavioral/academic contracts

•     Utilize positive verbal and/or nonverbal reinforcements

•     Utilize logical consequences

•     Confer with the student’s parents (and student as appropriate)

•     Establish a home/school communication system for behavior monitoring

•     Post rules and consequences for classroom behavior

•     Put student on daily/weekly progress report/contract

•     Reinforce self-monitoring and self-recording of behaviors

Presentation Strategies

•     Tape lessons so the student can listen to them again; allow students to tape lessons

•     Use computer-aided instruction and other audiovisual equipment

•     Select alternative textbooks, workbooks, or provide books on tape

•     Highlight main ideas and supporting details in the book

•     Provide copied material for extra practice (i.e. outlines, study guides)

•     Prioritize drill and practice activities for relevance

•     Vary the method of lesson presentation using multi-sensory techniques:

a) lecture plus overhead/board demonstration support

b) small groups required to produce a written product

c) large groups required to demonstrate a process

d) computer-assisted instruction

e) peer tutors or cross-age tutors

f) demonstrations, simulations

g) experiments

h) games

•     Ask student to repeat/paraphrase context to check understanding

•     Arrange for a mentor to work with student in his or her interest area or area of greatest strength

•     Provide peer tutoring

•     Simplify and repeat instructions about in-class and homework assignments

•     Vary instructional pace

•     Reinforce the use of compensatory strategies, i.e. pencil grip, mnemonic devices, “spell check”

•     Vary kind of instructional materials used

•     Assess whether student has the necessary prerequisite skills.  Determine whether materials are appropriate to the student’s       current functioning levels

•     Reinforce study skill strategies (survey, read, recite, review)

•     Introduce definition of new terms/vocabulary and review to check for understanding

•     Be aware of student’s preferred learning style and provide matching instruction materials

•     Pre-teach and/or re-teach important concepts

•     Prepare advanced organizers/study guides for new material


•     Modify the amount of homework

•     Use written directions to supplement oral directions

•     Reduce paper and pencil tasks

•     Allow for assignments to be word processed

•     Lower reading level of assignments

•     Break assignments into a series of smaller assignments

•     Use highlighted texts

Evaluation Methods

•     Limit amount of material presented on a single page

•     Provide a sample or practice test

•     Provide for oral testing

•     Provide tests in segments so that student hands in one segment before receiving the next part

•     Provide personal copy of test tools and allow for color-coding/highlighting

•     Adjust time for completion

•     Modify weights of tests when grading

Examples of Accommodations for Specific Disabilities

What follows are some examples of accommodations and services that might be considered for specific disability profiles.  Please keep in mind that these examples are not intended to be all- inclusive or mandatory. Do not use these examples as a “checklist” as accommodations are to be made on a case-by-case basis specific to individual need.   Also remember that the mere presence of these conditions does not automatically qualify a student for a Section 504 plan. The disability must significantly limit one or more life functions before a 504 plan is to be considered.  Additionally, this disability must impact the student so that he or she is not afforded access and benefit of programs and services equal to that of non-disabled students.


EXAMPLE: The student has severe allergic reactions to certain pollens and foods.  For purposes of this example the condition substantially limits the major life activity of breathing and may interfere with the student’s ability to get to school or participate once there.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•    Avoid allergy-causing substances: soap, weeds, pollen, food

•     Inservice necessary persons: dietary people, peers, coaches, laundry service people, etc.

•     Allow time for shots/clinic appointments

•     Use air purifiers

•     Adapt physical education curriculum during high pollen time

•     Improve room ventilation (i.e. when remodeling has occurred and materials may cause an allergy)

•     Develop health care and/or emergency plans

•     Address pets/animals in the classroom

•     Involve school health consultant in school related health issues

•     Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects


EXAMPLE: A student with severe arthritis may have persistent pain, tenderness or swelling in one or more joints.  A student experiencing arthritic pain may require a modified physical education program.  For purposes of this example, the condition substantially limits the major life activity of performing manual tasks.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•    Provide a rest period during the day

•     Accommodate for absences for doctors’ appointments

•     Provide assistive devices for writing (e.g. pencil grips, non-skid surface, typewriter/computer, etc.)

•     Adapt physical education curriculum

•     Administer medication following medication administration protocols

•     Train student for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

•     Arrange for assistance with carrying books, lunch tray, etc.

•     Provide book caddie

•     Implement movement plan to avoid stiffness

•     Provide seating accommodations

•     Allow extra time between classes

•     Provide locker assistance

•     Provide modified eating utensils

•     Develop health care plan and emergency plan

•     Provide for accommodations for writing tasks; a note taker, a computer or tape recorder for note-taking

•     Make available access to wheelchair/ramps and school van for transportation

•     Provide more time for massage or exercises

•     Adjust recess time

•     Provide peer support groups

•     Arrange for instructional aide support

•     Install handle style door knobs (openers)

•     Record lectures/presentations

•     Have teachers provide outlines of presentations

•     Issue Velcro fasteners for bags

•     Obtain padded chairs

•     Provide a more comfortable style of desk

•     Adjust attendance policy, if needed

•     Provide a shorter school day

•     Furnish a warmer room and sit student close to the heat

•     Adapt curriculum for lab classes

•     Supply an extra set of books for home use and keep a set at school

•     Let student give reports orally rather than in writing

•     Provide an awareness program for staff and students

•     Monitor any special dietary considerations

•     Involve school health consultants in school health related issues

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning 


EXAMPLE: A student has been diagnosed as having severe asthma.  The doctor has advised the student not to participate in physical activity outdoors.  For purposes of this example, the disability limits the major life activity of breathing.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•    Adapt activity level for recess, physical education, etc.

•     Provide inhalant therapy assistance

•     Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications;  monitor for side effects

•     Remove allergens (e.g. hair spray, lotions, perfumes, paint, latex)

•     Make field trips that might aggravate the condition non-mandatory and supplement with videos, audiotapes, movies, etc.

•     Accommodate medical absence by providing makeup work, etc.

•     Adjust for administration of medications

•     Provide access to water, gum, etc.

•     Adapt curriculum expectations when needed (i.e. science class, physical education, etc.)

•     Develop health care and emergency plans

•     Have peers available to carry materials to and from classes (e.g. lunch tray, books)

•     Provide rest periods

•     Make health care needs known to appropriate staff

•     Provide indoor space for before and after school activities

•     Have a locker location which is centralized and free of atmosphere changes

•     Adapt attendance policies or school day length if needed

•     Place student in most easily controlled environment

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) EXAMPLE: The student does not meet eligibility requirements under IDEA as emotionally disturbed, learning disabled or other health impaired.  A doctor regards the student as having ADD, and for purposes of this example, the disability limits the major life activity of learning.  The student, because of his disability, is unable to participate in the school’s programs to the same degree as students without disabilities and therefore is substantially limited by the disability.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•    Seat the student away from distractions and in close proximity to the teacher

•     State classroom rules, post in an obvious location and enforce consistently

•     Use simple, concise instructions with concrete steps

•     Provide seating options

•     Tolerate (understand the need) excessive movement

•     Provide a peer tutor/helper

•     Teach compensatory strategies

•     Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

•     Monitor for stress and fatigue; adjust activities

•     Adjust assignments to match attention span, etc.

•     Provide supervision during transitions, disruptions, field trips

•     Model the use of study guides, organizing tools

•     Accommodate testing procedures; lengthy tests might be broken down into several shorter administrations

•     Provide prompt feedback on both successes and areas needing improvement

•     Initiate frequent parent communication

•     Establish a school/home behavior management program

•     Provide training for staff

•     Have the student use an organizer; train in organizational skills

•     Establish a nonverbal cue between teacher and student for behavior monitoring

•     Assign chores/duties around room/school

•     Adapt environment to avoid distractions

•     Reinforce appropriate behavior

•     Have child work alone or in a study carrel during high stress times

•     Highlight required or important information/directions

•     Provide a checklist for student, parents, and/or teacher to record assignments of completed tasks

•     Use a timer to assist student to focus on given task or number of problems in time allotted. Stress that problems need to be correctly done

•     Have student restate or write directions/instructions

•     Allow student to respond in variety of different modes (i.e. may place answers for tests on tape instead of paper)

•     Give student opportunity to stand/move while working

•     Provide additional supervision to and from school

•     Adapt student’s work area to help screen out distracting stimuli

•     Grade for content integrity, and not just neatness/presentation

•     Schedule subjects which require greater concentration early in the day

•     Supply small rewards to promote behavior change

•     Avoid withholding physical activity as a negative reinforcer

•     Allow for periodic, frequent physical activity, exercise, etc.

•     Determine trigger points and prevent action leading to trigger points

•     Provide for socialization opportunities, such as circle of friends

Bipolar Disorder

EXAMPLE: The student was diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder. The severity (frequency, intensity, duration considerations) of the condition/behaviors did not qualify the student for IDEA. A properly convened 504 committee determined that the condition did significantly impair the major life activity of learning and developed a 504 plan for the student. Here are some possible accommodations for this scenario.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•    Break down assignments into manageable parts with clear and simple directions,given one at a time.

•     Plan advanced preparation for transitions.

•     Monitor clarity of understanding and alertness.

•     Allow most difficult subjects at times when student is most alert.

•     Provide extra time on tests, class work, and homework if needed.

•     Strategies in place for unpredictable mood swings.

•     Provide appropriate staff with training on bipolar disorder.

•     Create awareness by staff of potential victimization from other students.

•     Implement a crisis intervention plan for extreme cases where student gets out of control and may do something impulsive or       dangerous.

•     Provide positive praise and redirection.

•     Report any suicidal comments to counselor/psychologist immediately.

•     Consider home instruction for times when the student’s mood disorder makes it impossible for him to attend school for an extended period.


EXAMPLE: A student with a long-term medical problem may require special accommodations. Such a condition as cancer may substantially limit the major life activities of learning and caring for oneself.  For example, a student with cancer may need a class schedule that allows for rest and recuperation following chemotherapy.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•    Adjust attendance policies

•     Limit numbers of classes taken; accommodate scheduling needs (breaks, etc.)

•     Send teacher/tutor to hospital, as appropriate

•     Take whatever steps are necessary to accommodate student’s involvement in  extra- curricular activities if they are otherwise qualified

•     Adjust activity level and expectations in classes based on physical limitations; don’t require activities that are too physically taxing

•     Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

•     Provide appropriate assistive technology

•     Provide dietary accommodations

•     Provide a private area in which to rest

•     Shorten school day

•     Arrange for home tutoring following treatment

•     Send additional set of texts and assignments to hospital schools

•     Tape lessons.  Accept the fact that the lessons and content-area tests may not be appropriate; the student is learning many life lessons through this experience.

•     Adjust schedule to include rest breaks

•     Provide counseling; establish peer group support

•     Adapt physical education

•     Provide access to school health services

•     Provide awareness training to appropriate staff and students

•     Develop health care emergency plan to deal with getting sick at school

•     Furnish a peer tutor

•     Provide student with a student buddy for participation in sports

•     Initiate a free pass system from the classroom

•     Provide lessons using mastery learning techniques

•     Provide individual school counseling

•     Begin friendship groups for the student

•     Provide teachers with counseling, emphasizing positive attitudes

•     Plan ongoing communication about school events

•     Notify parents of communicable diseases in school

•     Designate a person in school to function as liaison with parents as a means of updating changing health status

Cerebral Palsy

EXAMPLE: The student has serious difficulties with fine and gross motor skills.  A wheelchair is used for mobility.  For purposes of this example, the condition substantially limits the major life activity of walking.  Cognitive skills are intact.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•    Provide assistive technology devices

•     Arrange for use of ramps and elevators

•     Allow for extra time between classes

•     Assist with carrying books, lunch trays, etc.

•     Adapt physical education curriculum

•     Provide for physical therapy as appropriate.  Such therapy needs to relate directly to “life skills.”

•     Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distributed medications; monitor for side effects

•     Adapt eating utensils

•     Initiate a health care plan that also addresses emergency situations

•     Train paraprofessionals in the case of this student (i.e. feeding, diapering, transporting to and from the wheelchair)

•     Adapt assignments

•     Educate peers/staff with parent/student permission

•     Ensure that programs conducted in the basement or on second or third floor levels are accessible

•     Ensure that bathroom facilities, sinks and water fountains are readily accessible.

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Chronic Infectious Diseases: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

EXAMPLE: The student frequently misses school and does not have the strength to attend a full day.  For purposes of this example, the student has a record of a disability, which substantially limits the major life activities of thinking, learning and working.  Please review applicable District policies.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•    Inservice staff and students about the disease, how it is transmitted and how it is treated (Consult appropriate District policies)

•     Apply universal precautions

•     Administer medications following medication administration protocols, train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

•     Adjust attendance policies

•     Adjust schedule or shorten day

•     Provide rest periods

•     Adapt physical education curriculum

•     Establish routine communication with health professionals, area nurse, and home

•     Develop health-care and emergency plan

•     Consult with doctor, parents, teachers, area nurse and administrators

•     Train appropriate teachers on medical/emergency procedures

•     Provide link between home and classroom via computer, etc.

•     Arrange for an adult tutor at school or home

•     Adapt assignments and tests

•     Provide an extra set of textbooks for home

•     Provide staff training on confidentiality

•     Provide education and support for peers regarding issues of death and dying

•     Provide transportation to and from school if needed as a related service

•     Tape books or provide a personal reader

•     Arrange to communicate with a home computer with e-mail

•     Notify parents of communicable disease in the classroom

•     Arrange for participation in a support group

•     Provide for post-secondary employment transitions for secondary students

•     Develop and promote a nondiscriminatory classroom climate and supportive student attitudes

•     Promote the most supportive, least restrictive educational program

•     Videotape classroom teaching

•     Provide a peer support group to encourage communication

•     Involve school health consultant in school-related health issues

Cystic Fibrosis

EXAMPLE: This student is a new enrollee at your school and has an extensive medical history. He has significant difficulty breathing and will often be absent due to respiratory infection.  While medical needs can be easily documented on a health plan, his educational needs also need to be accommodated. For purposes of this example, learning is the major life activity that is substantially impaired.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•    Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

•     Create a health care plan for management of acute and chronic phases

•     Promote good communication between parents, hospital, home and school on school assignments

•     Shorten the school day

•     Adapt physical education activities

•     Apply universal precautions, correct disposal of fluids

•     Recognize need for privacy for “good coughing”

•     Educate staff and peers


EXAMPLE: A sixth grader with juvenile diabetes requires accommodation to maintain optimal blood sugar.  His mom provides the crackers and juice to be used at “break” time and before physical education class.  She asks that teachers remind him to eat at a certain time of the morning if he does not pay attention to the beeper on his watch.  The youngster is very self-sufficient; while he is able to monitor his own blood sugar now, he prefers to do this privately. Therefore, mom asks that the equipment and a notebook/log be stored in a nearby file cabinet and the youngster be allowed to go into the hall with the equipment to check his blood sugar twice a day.  She also asks that his teacher allow him to use the bathroom as needed.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•    Health care plan for management of condition in the school setting and in emergencies

•    Educate staff to signs/symptoms of insulin reaction/hypoglycemia: hunger, shakiness, sweatiness, change in face color, disorientation, drowsiness

•    Never leave the child alone if he/she is feeling poorly; walk to the office or clinic with the student.

•    Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications;

monitor for side effects; communicate systematically and frequently with parents

•    Adapt physical education activities

•    Store equipment and documentation in a readily accessible location for student, parent and area nurse or clinic aid

•    Accommodate food access/meal schedules

•    Allow access to bathroom facilities

Drugs and Alcohol

EXAMPLE: The student has used drugs and alcohol for many years.  This problem has affected the major life activities of learning, concentrating and caring for oneself.  The student is currently not using drugs or alcohol and is in a rehabilitation program.  If the student is not using drugs or alcohol, he or she may qualify for accommodations or services under Section 504.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Provide copies of texts and assignments to treatment facility

•     Arrange for periodic home-school contacts

•     Establish daily/weekly assignments monitoring system

•     Communicate with treatment facility; pursue transition services available through the treatment facility

•     Establish peer support group

•     Dismiss from school for treatment

•     Ensure strong link with school counselor

•     Integrate a student assistance program into the classroom

•     Inservice faculty/staff with parent/student permission

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

•     Provide ongoing support around chemical dependency in conjunction with other agencies

•     Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

Emotionally Disturbed

EXAMPLE: An emotionally disturbed student may need an adjusted class schedule to allow time for regular counseling or therapy. For purposes of this example, the condition substantially limits the individual’s major life activity of learning.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

•     Maintain weekly/daily journals for self-recording of behavior

•     Establish home-school communication system

•     Schedule periodic meetings with home and treatment specialists

•     Provide carry-over of treatment plans into school environment

•     Assist with inter-agency referrals

•     Utilize behavior management programs

•     Develop contracts for student behavior

•     Post rules for classroom behaviors; teach expectations

•     Provide counseling, social skills instruction

•     Reinforce replacement behaviors

•     Educate other students/staff/school personnel

•     Foster carryover of treatment plans to home environment

•     Reinforce positive behavior

•     Schedule shorter study/work periods according to attention span capabilities

•     Be consistent in setting expectations and following up on reinforcements/consequences

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning


EXAMPLE: A student who will urinate or defecate in clothes.  Not to be confused with physical incontinence, but only to a needed behavior change (i.e. toilet training, bowel/bladder retraining).

Possible Accommodations:

•     Maintain low key responses

•     Have a change of clothes available at school in the clinic or alternative location

•     Plan a consistent response to events; send student to clinic or alternative location for clean-up and change of clothes; while wearing latex/rubber gloves, place soiled clothes in a plastic bag; call parent and make arrangements for soiled items to be returned home

•     Observe for consistent trigger events

•     Support bowel/bladder retraining program that is recommended by the physician


EXAMPLE: The student is on medication for seizure activity, but experiences several petit mal seizures each month.  This condition substantially limits the major life activity of learning.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Call parent and document the characteristics of each seizure

•     Assess breathing after seizure

•     Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

•     Train staff and students and prepare an emergency plan

•     Anticipate recovery process should a seizure occur.  Move seating and clear space during a seizure.  Do not insert objects into the student’s mouth during seizure; administer no fluids if student is unconscious.  Turn the unconscious student on his or her side to avoid aspiration of vomit.  Provide rest time and return to academic considerations following seizure. Arrange a buddy system, especially for field trips

•     Avoid portable chalk boards or furniture that would topple over easily

•     Provide an alternative recess, adapt activities such as climbing and/or swimming

•     Plan for academic make-up work

•     Alter door openings to allow access from the outside (i.e. bathroom stall doors that swing both ways)

•     Observe for consistent triggers (e.g. smells, bright light, perfume, hair spray)

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Hearing Impairment

EXAMPLE: A parent is hearing impaired and requests, access to school sponsored activities. The District makes accommodations by providing interpreter services for the parent to participate effectively in school-sponsored events or meetings about the student.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Provide an interpreter for those school events where accommodations may be necessary/are requested

•     Make alternative arrangements for home-school contacts/communication

•     Assist with locating peer or support groups

•     Use written notes for communication

•     Arrange with phone company for assistive devices on public phones

•     Provide information on assistive technology; acquire assistive equipment for school use

•     Provide in-house TDD or relay services to receive/communicate efficiently

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Learning Disabilities

Individual profiles of learning strengths and weaknesses will vary.  THE EXAMPLE: The student has a learning disability that impacts her ability to read.  She has more difficulty with word decoding and spelling than reading comprehension.  Thus, completing reading tasks is difficult and slow.  She is currently not eligible to receive special education under IDEA.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Provide lower-readability materials covering course context

•     Provide extended time on tests

•     Allow access to spell checkers and/or word processing

•     Provide information on accommodations for college-entrance/qualifying exams (i.e., PSAT)

•     Clearly sequenced instruction

•     Provide lecture notes/overheads

•     Visual graphs/charts/diagrams to support instruction

•     Provision of computer access

•     Seating toward the instructor

•     Support/suggestions relative to post-secondary/career options

•     Support in the use of organizational/time-management  strategies

•     Support in the use of strategies to assist memory and problem-solving

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

•     Provide training in self-advocacy


EXAMPLE: The student has recently been diagnosed with leukemia and requires frequent hospitalization.  The condition substantially limits the major life activity of learning and caring for oneself.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Involve school nurse in assessing current limitations and development of health plan

•     Provide homebound instruction if needed

•     Provide the student with an adjusted school day

•     Make needed accommodations during physical education/recess

•     Provide rest periods

•     Have medical services and medication available at school. Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

•     Support the proper diet as per physical recommendation

•     With parent/student permission, have area nurse to educate teachers/staff/peers

•     Notify parents of existing communicable diseases at school (i.e. chicken pox, flu, strep throat, etc.)

•     Consult with medical staff about individual needs and/or concomitant factors

Orthopedically Impaired

EXAMPLE: The student has limited mobility and uses a wheelchair.  This condition substantially limits the major life activity of walking.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Develop a health care and emergency plan

•     Implement an adaptive physical education program

•     Provide physical therapy at school

•     Correct problems with physical accessibility of facilities/pathways between buildings

•     Provide extra time to get to class

•     Provide bathroom assistance

•     Supply a set of textbooks for home

•     Provide a copy of class notes from a peer

•     Practice emergency exit from school building

•     Ensure that access to programs held in the basement or on upper floors is handicapped accessible

•     Ensure that bathroom facilities, water fountains, sinks, etc. are readily accessible

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Student with Special Health Care Needs

EXAMPLE: The student has a special health care problem and requires clean intermittent catheterization twice each day.  This procedure empties the bladder and helps prevent urinary tract infections and possible wetting.  The school is required to provide trained personnel to perform the procedure or to provide the student a private location to perform the procedure. The condition is substantially limiting in the major life activity of caring for oneself.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Apply universal precautions

•     Provide trained personnel to perform special medical procedures.  Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

•     Provide student with private location and time to perform procedures

•     Involve area nurse, parents, teachers, and staff in periodic review

•     Allow preferential seating as indicated by need

•     Adapt recess, physical education, and transportation

•     Adjust classroom environment

•     Develop health care and emergency plan

•     If necessary, adapt attendance policy

•     Establish health alert system whereby every staff member involved with this student is aware of the health problem and of proper procedures

•     Provide a beeper/paging system for trained personnel

•     Make available homebound services/instruction if needed

•     Arrange for inservice to other students and staff with parent/student permission

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Tourettes Syndrome

EXAMPLE: The student exhibits inappropriate gestures and sounds in the classroom and hallways.  The condition is substantially limiting in the major life activities of learning and caring for oneself.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Provide student with a means of catching up on missed lessons

•     Pair with a fellow student for study if indicated

•     Educate other students about associated outbursts/gestures/tics

•     Arrange for frequent parental interaction if indicated

•     Monitor administration/side effects of medication

•     Implement a behavior management program if indicated; cue student about inappropriate behaviors

•     Provide supervision for transition activities, during periods of “acting out”

•     Provide alternative/larger work-space or appropriate space for the child to act out if indicated

•     Teach compensatory strategies

•     Adapt assignments if indicated

•     Provide peer/teacher inservice with parent/student permission

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Traumatic Brain Injury

EXAMPLE: The student sustained a brain injury in an automobile accident.  Many academic and motor skills have been lost from the injury, but the prognosis is for full recovery with rehabilitation supports.  The student does not qualify for special education under IDEA.  The condition is substantially limiting to the major life activities of learning, thinking, concentrating and performing manual tasks.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Provide extended school year/time

•     Furnish memory/organizational aids

•     Provide alternative testing

•     Initiate tutoring program if medically unable to attend school

•     Arrange an emergency plan

•     Monitor for seizure activity

•     Inservice staff and peers with student/parent permission

•     Monitor fatigue/mental exhaustion

•     Provide frequent short breaks during periods of intense concentration

•     Shorten the instructional day if indicated

•     Provide strategies for organizing/sequencing tasks

•     Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning


EXAMPLE: The student is suspected of having active tuberculosis and must stay home until diagnostic tests are completed.  The disease is no longer infectious, but the student is still weak. The condition is substantially limiting to the major life activity of learning.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Provide home tutor, as necessary

•     Inservice staff on the need for confidentiality to limit the stigmatization of him or her

•     Have the medical evaluator provide feedback to staff

•     Train for proper dispensing of medications; monitor and/or distribute medications; monitor for side effects

•     Inservice staff and students about the disease, how it is transmitted and how it is treated

•     Work with community agency or health department to provide medication and health education materials

•     Work with community agency or health department to test students and staff for exposure and/or infection and to determine when the student can return to school

•     Provide therapy and dispense medications if student is diagnosed with active TB; observed for side effects; arrange for parents to give medication on holidays and weekends

Visual Impairment

EXAMPLE: A student has a progressive medical disorder, which results in increasing loss of visual acuity.  He now requires both enhanced lighting and enlarged print materials in order to read.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Preferential seating

•     Adaptations to the physical environment (i.e. consistent room arrangement, removal of obstacles to path of entry)

•     Copies of text/reading materials for adaptation

•     Modified writing tools (i.e. dark felt tip pens)

•     Dark lined writing paper

•     Lighting aids

•     Low vision devices including magnifiers, monocular glass, closed-circuit TV

•     Desktop slant board

•     Enlarged print materials; textbooks, workbooks, worksheets

•     Books on tape

•     Audiotape recorder, tapes and organizational location (headphones if needed)

•     Oral instead of written tests

•     Standardized tests (i.e. CAT, SAT) in large print or Braille

•     Tactile maps

•     Computer with enlarged print screen/adaptations

Weight:  Diagnosis of Obesity, Anorexia, and Bulimia

EXAMPLE: A student has an extreme eating disorder that may require special accommodations.  Obesity may be considered a disability under Section 504 where it substantially impairs a major life activity such as walking.

Possible Accommodations and Services:

•     Provide special seating modifications or furniture

•     Make dietary modifications per physician recommendation

•     Adapt physical education program per physician recommendation

•     Allow extra time to get to classes

•     Educate peers

•     Adapt rest rooms

•     Provide opportunities for socialization and peer counseling/interaction

•     Ensure privacy for self-care

•     Provide counseling involving the area nurse

•     Provide for elevator privileges per physician’s recommendation

•     Arrange for counselor/area nurse to supervise peer counseling to deal with esteem issues, peer attitudes, teasing, etc.

•     Address busing concerns to ensure room on buses for seating

•     Arrange to provide opportunities for the individual to participate in intramural and extra- curricular events

•     Make any class location changes that may be needed