Over the next few weeks, Andy was evaluated in several areas, including speech, writing, physical strength/agility and stamina. He also underwent psychological testing. The results only became available the night before we met with school officials to discuss eligibility. Thus mistake number four: I should have insisted on more time to review the evaluations, much of which was written in medical terms we didn’t fully understand.

In the end, Andy didn’t qualify for an IEP, but did for a 504 plan. All of our requested accommodations were accepted and some added, including:

  • Pencil grippers for writing assignments when his hands don’t hurt. A tape recorder, parent dictation or computer assistance when they do.
  • Inside recess on very cold days.
  • The option to use a pillow or a chair when the class meets on the carpet.
  • Alternative gym activities, such as stretching or modifications, when his symptoms are active.
  • An extra set of textbooks for home to decrease the weight carried to and from school.
  • Additional time for written tests
  • Less in-class work and homework when he’s mastered a specific concept (example: 10 math problems instead of 50).

As we wrapped up the meeting, thanking everyone, the speech therapist said, “And thank you for being such a great advocate for your son.”

Setting Up a 504 Plan: An Update

Andy Moy, now almost 14, will start high school in the fall.  Thankfully, his 504 plan has made dealing with his disease a little easier in school, but it hasn’t always worked as smoothly as his mother, Jaime, had hoped.

“In the spring of fifth grade, we had a ‘move-up’ 504 plan meeting with his current teacher, principal, and social worker paired with the middle school principal and counselor,” she says.

“The meeting couldn’t have gone better. However, a few days before the start of sixth grade during orientation, we received Andy’s schedule and there were already red flags going up,” she says. “His first hour was on one side of the building while his locker was on the other side. For the first part of the day, Andy would be criss-crossing the school, which would make it difficult for him to get to class on time if he was moving slowly due to pain or stiffness.”