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philamom

504 Sample Letter?

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Hi PhilaMom!

 

I've not responded up until now 'cause I was hoping someone else would actually have what you're looking for. Meanwhile, I don't think that I do, but maybe I could help out somehow.

 

Are you looking for a letter as a parent directed to the school requesting a 504? Or are you looking for a sample letter to be signed by a caregiver (pediatrician, psychologist, whatever) that you could prepare for their signature supporting your request for a 504? Or are you looking for ideas for the content of a 504?

 

My DS was granted a 504 in 3rd grade and, unlike what I see with many kids in other parts of the country, it was actually the school that approached us and suggested we try a 504, rather than the other way around. So we didn't have to supply a whole lot of back-up or gear up to do battle to get the accommodations or anything. I'm coming to understand that's somewhat unusual, and we were very fortunate.

 

That being said, we had a 504 Plan for 3 years and then transitioned to an IEP, so I feel as though we have a good bit of experience in terms of coverage, inclusions, etc., so if I can be of any help in that regard, let me know!

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Hi PhilaMom, I too am not sure I have what you are looking for but I would be more than happy to send you what I have if it would help. My ds attends a private school so our process had some differences from what the usual process is typically, but the public district did have to be involved when we transitioned from accommodations to an IEP. Initially ds's neuropsychologist suggested accommodations and we brought them to the school and they were more than willing to institute them. His teacher also added some accommodations as the year progressed. We did not have an official 504 plan, through the public district, at this time--it was a list of accommodations that we all sort of collaborated on together. The accommodations worked well, but the neuropysh suggested that we go through the process of getting and IEP, mostly for the paper trail. For this I had to write a letter to the public district requesting that ds be referred for and IEP. This is the letter that I can send you. There might be some language that would be helpful?? I can also share any accommodations that might be useful if they are grade or age-appropriate. Last year my ds was 8 and in 2nd grade. For 3rd grade this year I added several things and re-organized the whole list. There are things that aren't really grade-specific that might help too.

Edited by JJMom

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I have one somewhere. It is from the Neurologist. Usually doctors do have them. Did you ask the doctor? It does not have to be anything really formal, just something the school can see that shows a medical diagnosis and that your child may need certain accommodations, such as longer test times, leaving the room to take a test, etc. Do you know what you would like in the 504 plan? It may also help to ask the school for a form, to see if the doctor can just fill it out.

 

I do have one, if you want me to scan it and email it to you - just let me know.

 

Rachel

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To be honest, I have no knowledge of what 504 plan is other than knowing it helps with accomodations. I assumed you had to have a doctor write it up. Someone here was kind enough to forward me a copy but I wouldn't mind seeing some others as well. It was recommended that I start with a letter signed by a doctor as a first step, and I agree. I plan to address it with my daughter's Immunologist. As far as how to handle the accomodations, do I need to list them in the doctor's letter? Or should I draft another letter? Do I work with the school to determine the accomodations? Yes, I'd really appreciate any advice!

Edited by philamom

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Sorry to hear your daughter seems to be experiencing some increased anxiety. Can you get her back on some abx or some other medical intervention.

 

You known, I know what you mean about this year's teacher . . . that she seems strict and not encouraging, "coach-like," etc. Does your DD feel the same way? I'm only asking because I know in the past that I've taken an exception to some of DS's teachers, only to find that he, whether out of necessity or pure choice, seemed to find something to like about them! So, only to say that it is still early in the school year and perhaps the structure provided by this strict teacher will, in the end, help your DD out and feel secure in the school environment. Another thing I know because both my sister and my mom are elementary school teachers: the rule of thumb is you start out the school year in a "no-nonsense" and "all business" tone, and THEN you can lighten up as you get to know your students and they get to know you. The problem is that if you start out in reverse . . . easy-going and humorous and "open," some students will take advantage, and you can't go from "soft" to "hard." It's much easier to go from "hard" to "soft." Just a thought.

 

I think you're on the right track to get a doctor's letter to begin the 504 process, especially if your district is at all sticky about it, or if your DD can appear to be self-sufficient and capable during the school day, without a lot of obvious need for interventions. My DS was so overcome with anxiety at points that the school approached us about the 504. But let's be honest; they wanted him to have it so that he could have extended time on standardized testing so that he could help them keep their Every Child Left Behind testing scores higher rather than lower! <_< Still, I do know some people have to fight for the 504 Plan rights, so best to have that doctor's note on your side!

 

In general, 504's are less formal and entail less paperwork and requirements than do Individual Education Plans (IEP's). You don't necessarily need to have any neuropsych testing, etc., but if you DO have any of that in hand, definitely include it in a submission request. I don't think you need the doctor to list the accommodations your DD will need; just have him/her state what the condition is, what the general manifestations may be, and that he/she sees a need for some additional assistance in the school environment. Since some of the others here have doctor's letters to offer, that should be a good start.

 

As for accommodations, they should be specific to your DD's needs and, to the extent possible, lead to as little inconvenience to the teacher and the other students as possible; that way, the school can't complain about how what you're asking for your DD is imposing on the rest of the students. Some of the 504 accommodations we had included: extra time to get from one class to another without being marked tardy; opportunity to keyboard written assignments instead of handwriting them; extra time on homework assignments and quizzes/tests; more frequent bathroom breaks; assigned seat in the cafeteria (where our DS knew the staff would be sure it was clean and "ick-free" when his lunch period was after another class').

 

In the end, if your DD qualifies for the 504 in your district without any real pushback from the school, and the teacher, in the end, matches up to your take on her as strict and not especially nuturing, if your DD continues to struggle with school, you might consider an IEP. An IEP is more formal and has a higher bar for entry, plus it technically designates your child as "special ed." But it can be very beneficial in that it also requires the district to give your DD an in-house case worker who is there to be her advocate, her sounding board, her coach, etc. And it permits for a broader and deeper array of accommodations, should your DD need them at times (like during exacerbations). Plus, despite the "special education" classification, assuming your DD is capable, she will remain in general education classes with her peers, just like always, so it doesn't cause any stigma to her in that regard. Just another thing to consider.

 

Good luck! Feel free to PM if I can offer anything further!

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Thanks a bunch Nancy! I'm praying with some medical intervention that we won't need much in accomodations. If not, I'm afraid we are heading to a repeat of second grade when we had to pull her out for more than half the year due to school & work refusal, along with PANDAS (or PANS in our situation).

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Your letter needs to state a diagnosis and that this condition is resulting in "significant negative academic and social impacts.". Legally, your district will have to do something if this phrase is included, particularly if you put something in there like "that access to typical classroom/curriculum activities is limited or restricted by this condition." It also helps if you suggest what help might be needed, ie, tutors/special classroom accomodations, additional time, etc.

 

In our case, I wrote it myself, and asked the doctor to sign it, which he did. The district didn't give me any problem......

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