Does my child need an IEP or 504 Plan?

As another school year begins, you may have questions about your child’s education and performance in the classroom. Here is a look at IEPs and 504 Plans to help you better understand their purpose and benefits if your child may require intervention.

Do you think that your child may have a learning disability, serious emotional disturbance, or may qualify for special services? The website for the National Center for Learning Disabilities ( has a plethora of information detailing the different types of learning disabilities, warning signs, your child’s rights, and information about Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans.

In order for your child to get qualify for an IEP they must have a formal evaluation. Parents may request an evaluation through a letter, and a sample of this can be found on the NCLD website. If your child qualifies, they are entitled to a formal plan that describes how the school will support your child’s needs. There is often confusion regarding the differences between IEPs and 504 plans. A 504 plan can be given to a child who has an identified learning disability or Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder but does not meet the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for special education services and supports (an IEP). In other words, the 504 Plan is a way that needed accommodations can still be given to help your child succeed in school, even when they did not qualify for an IEP. A detailed comparison of IEPs and 504 plans, including funding, requirements, services, and who is protected, can be found here

Speak with your child’s school if you have any concerns and see specifically how they handle testing, IEPs, and 504 plans. Every parent has the right to request that their child be evaluated if they have concerns. Again, for much more information, please look to