What is the difference between Special Education and a 504?

SECTION 504

Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees that a child with a disability has equal ACCESS to an education and that it is comparable to an education provided to those who do not have a disability.

Since it is a civil rights law, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is an educational law, a child who receives services under 504 does not benefit from the same mandates as a child who receives special education services under IDEA.

Modifications and accommodations under 504 usually refer to improving building accessibility, classroom accommodations and curriculum modifications.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

What is Special Education

Special education is a broad term used to by the law to describe specially designed instruction that meets the unique needs of a child who has a disability. These services are provided by the public school system and are free of charge. Services can include instruction in the classroom, at home, in hospitals and institutions.

What is the Goal of Special Education

Special education makes it possible for your child to achieve academic success in the least restrictive environment despite their disability. The federal law governing the system is called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. IDEA entitles all children with learning disabilities to a free appropriate education (FAPE). Examples of "appropriate" programs include:

  • A specific program or class for your child.
  • Access to specialists.
  • Modifications in the educational program such as curriculum and teaching methods.

Who to contact: