When Jamie questioned the schedule’s hardships, the counselor dismissed her, telling her that it was too difficult to change every schedule to accommodate every student who wasn’t happy, and that Andy would just have to “live with it.”

Later, after trying to get his scheduled changed with no luck, Jaime approached his elementary school principal to see if she could help. As it turned out, the 504 Plan was misfiled when getting transferred from the elementary school to the middle school and the middle school had no record of Andy’s plan.

Once his plan was found, Andy got back on track, but there were still issues that crept up throughout the year:

  • Andy’s music teacher would not allow him long enough breaks when learning to play the keyboard, even though his fingers were swollen and painful. Once Jamie alerted the teacher and counselor to the situation, the teacher did allow Andy longer breaks.
  • Andy had to climb the stairs a few times daily to attend the computer lab with the rest of the class. Specifically in his 504 was not using the stairs. After falling down the stairs, he was able to use the counseling office to complete his computer assignments and Internet research.
  • Andy missed school lunch more than once when he got in line to purchase a drink, but couldn’t make it to the lunch entrée line before it closed because he was in too much pain to get there quickly. After Jaime contacted the school about this, Andy got a pass to leave class five minutes early to get to lunch before the lines and crowded hallways. This was in his 504 from the start, but just not followed.

“Sixth grade definitely had a learning curve for the school with regards to Andy’s 504,” says Jaime. “In seventh grade, Andy was reassigned to a different counselor. This made a world of difference and we had no issues for his remaining two years of middle school.”

Jaime recently met informally with Andy’s middle school counselor and upcoming high school counselor to explore the high school and address issues like the distance between classes and lockers, where Tylenol would be stored and other 504 issues.

“I feel confident that all of us are working together to make the transition of middle school to high school smoother than elementary to middle school,” she says.

 

Excerpted from the Arthritis Foundation’s Raising a Child With Arthritis: A Parent’s Guide. To order a copy, click here.

(Updated 2012)