Individualized Educational Plans and 504 Plans

1. Marie and Mary had such different situations because they grew up at different times. We know Marie grew up before Mary because the writer said the school district was not required to educate her. Marie’s parents had no real choices for their daughter. When the one school appropriate for her closed, the school district did not have to do anything further. They tried custodial placement for Marie but clearly that was not good for her. So they brought her home and did the best they could. Marie did not learn any real life schools. She never went to a regular school, didn’t participate in social activities or clubs, and did not learn a skill so she could be self-supporting.
By comparison Mary was born after federal laws requiring education for all children was passed. She had early intervention. She also had parents who understood the law and Mary’s rights. They joined a support group, which probably encouraged them to fight for a normal education for Mary. When the school wanted to put Mary into a self-contained class, her parents asked instead for her to be placed in a regular classroom. The school district did this well, providing support for Mary.
Mary had different kinds of academic accommodations such as a computer that could read text to her and other accommodations. Mary received extra help to learn how to cope with the demands of junior high, and in high school she began vocational training. Mary had friends at school and vocational goals for herself. The result is that while Marie needs to be taken care of and her parents worry about what will happen to her when they die, Mary has been prepared for life from the time she was a toddler. She has always been around children without handicaps and has had a chance to develop the verbal and social skills she needs to get along in the world.

2. IEP’s, or Individualized Educational Plans, and 504 Plans have some similarities. They are both formal plans to help an individual child overcome learning differences so that child can be more successful in school. This IEP shoulc include statements about the child’s strengths and weaknesses, and should describe exactly how the school will provide for the child’s educational needs. an IEP includes specific goals and clearly state the services the child will receive, including the amount of time and the type of specialists who will provide them.
IEP’s have to be written according to a specific body of laws and regulations. Some of those laws and regulations are specified by the federal government under the I.D.E.A. law, but in addition, each individual state has its own set of guidelines and rules. The state’s rules must be compatible with the federal ones but the rules can differ quite a bit from state to state. If a school does not follow the child’s IEP, the parents have a number of legal remedies.
A 504 Plan is also a written plan to provide instructional or other school services to a child, but 504’s are covered by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Because of this, rules and regulations that apply to IEP’s may not apply to 504 Plans. 504 Plans typically help children who do not receive special education services and who do not have an IEP. One use of a 504 Plan is to provide services after a child’s IEP has been ended. 504 Plans do not have as many legal protections as IEP’s do.

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