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Elementary School 504 Service Agreement


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#1 Jaresmom

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 11:19 AM

My son is 9yrs old and in the 4th grade. After about 9 months of testing he was diagnosed with Narc. He has EDS and difficulty wtih concentration and staying on task. The school hadn't previously been cooperative with suggestons or accomadations, even with a OSA diagnosis. My son has been on 2 months of homebound instruction, which academically was going very well. However my son is not benefitting from being socially isolated. His dr. recommended half day school at this point. I asked for a 504 Serivce agreement, which they were familar with and said they can definitely do this for him. The principal asked me to send in a list of accomadations requests. I have been researching what might have worked for some other elementary students. I feel at a loss of what to ask for exactly. It seems all of my requests, abreviated school day, flexibility with attendance/tardy, more time on tests ,excusal to the nurse are things taking away from his education. I cannot think of anything to ask for not knowing whats available in the way of additional to his learning. Wondered if anyone had any suggestions-Thanks

#2 tdmom

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:23 PM

To be honest with you these things need to be written into his plan even if it appears to "take away from his education". He won't survive without them. My son is junior in high school, diagnosed at the start of 10th grade even though we knew in 9th something was amiss. I wish I had time befor high school to figure out a better plan. I would look for ways, maybe through summer school that his school work could be spread out. My son takes a nap almost every day even as a junior in high school. He takes extra time for papers and projects but its difficult as then other work starts to be assigned. We dropped a language this year. What is he on for meds? Is he or are you considering Xyrem? My son is on it but the adjustment curve is longer then I had hoped, finding the right dosage etc, and if you are considering it I would start in the summer. We just had move his bedtime up to 9 from 10 as he just wasn't getting enough sleep.

Other things to put in the 504 - make sure his teachers provide him with notes or check with him that he has the content if he misses class. Firm up a way to ensure as time moves on that you/he get the assignments he may miss if he is not in class. Consider a tape recorder.
Good luck. Its a tough journey.

#3 Jaresmom

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:21 PM

Thanks for the information. He was prescribed Ritalin SR 20mg, he has not started it yet he needs an EKG and I was thinking about starting it in the summer. This way I can observe him and we can do any necessary dose adjustment. I am really nervous about the future with middle/high school. Elementary is such a controlled enviroment, but I'm sure not all the teachers in the future will be so understanding or accomadating. I want as much education for my son as possible as I am sure everyone else does. Have you ever explored home schooling or online schooling or spoken to any other parents that have.

#4 LauraL

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:53 PM

I'm sorry to hear your son has to cope with this at such a young age! I'm not a parent, but I am a former high school teacher, so I'm familiar with 504 plan accommodations. (We always called them IEPs--Individualized Education Plans.) I don't have any specific suggestions, but I just wanted to make a pitch for talking to a special education teacher at your son's school (if there is one?), or someone at the school district office, or even the principal--someone familiar with educational psychology, and who has been involved in working with other students with special needs. They may have some ideas for accommodations that you haven't thought of. Some schools have a pull-out program where staff work one-on-one with students--this might be an idea to help him cover things he may have missed in class. The special education teachers I worked with were fantastic--very professional, really knew their stuff--so I strongly encourage you to take advantage of those resources if available.

The students I had who had IEPs were mostly requesting written notes (I'd pick a good student note-taker, and have them write on carbon-paper, or just photocopy the notes), or extra time on tests (usually I'd just send the test to their special education teacher at the end of the class period, and they'd finish it during their study hall period). I did have one girl, though, who was waiting for a kidney transplant, and couldn't come to school at all. I went to her house once a week for a one-on-one tutoring session. I cried when her grandma called to cancel one of our appointments because she'd gotten a kidney and they were rushing her into surgery! :)

Anyway, good luck! There are lots of other students who deal with medical issues and most are very successful. In one of my classes, a wonderful girl who had a learning disability and was also new to the US (and therefore just starting to learn English) was consistently my top-scorer in exams and overall grades. :)

#5 hols8

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 10:53 AM

I was diagnosed with narcolepsy in the sixth grade. Up until that point I was a straight A student and extremely independent. My grades immediately began to drop. Thanks to my mom, I began receiving 504 accommodations from the time I was in the sixth grade. I will admit I didn't always use them when I needed them throughout middle school and high school because I was so determined to hide my disability from my peers. But towards the end of high school I realized that the other kids really didn't care and most importantly it wasn't about them. It was my education and it was either do bad on a test because I didn't want to have to take extra time on it or get a better grade on a test and use my accommodations.
I am now a senior at Belmont University and will graduate with two majors on time. I plan to go to law school.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I WANT TO SAY:
I am currently in the process of applying for accommodations for the LSAT. I went through the same process in high school with the ACT board. Establishing a 504 plan as early as possible not only helps get through school but it is the ONLY way to get help in the future.
As I mentioned I am extremely independent yet I have severe narcolepsy and cataplexy. Yet, I have learned to manage my life fairly well and even did a full time internship at the capitol last year. It does not matter how well you get by with Narcolepsy, testing is always going to pose difficulties.
When you apply for accommodations on testing such as the SAT, ACT, or LSAT, it is all about documentation.
I sent in 84 pages of documentation to the LSAT board a month ago. They granted me some accommodations but nothing that will help me, I am currently trying to fight their decision.
I am sorry I am getting to my point in a round-about way but the bottom line is that when I apply for these accommodations the guidelines for the application are extremely specific. They want to see that you have medical records proving your diagnoses, they want to see that you have received accommodations throughout school. MOST IMPORTANTLY they want proof of it.
The ACT board never quite granted me extended time, however they did allow me to take the test over four days. I took one subject each day within the standard time limit.
I ended up reapplying for ACT accommodations 4 times, and never got extended time, but the last two times I took it, I did get the option to stop the clock if I was getting tired and to take a short nap.
As I have mentioned I hate having to have accommodations, however, I realize it is necessary. Looking ahead to the LSAT, a standardized test that is at least 6 hours of sitting in one spot looking at question after question on the test, I am terrified.
Applying for accommodations on the LSAT a lot of documentation.
If you do not establish a 504 plan early, then you do not have the documentation you need later in life to get services that might help. I have been very careful throughout my educational career to never ask for anything that might come back and haunt me in the future. Disability counselors are good at helping with this too. Also your junior or senior year of high school you can get registered with your state's vocational rehabilitation services. This allows you to receive extra money for college, and services you might need in college and in your future career. After college voc rehab is required to help me with job placement.
I am sorry this was so long, but I think 504 plans are extremely important. A 504 plan doesn't penalize you at all but provides you with the protection you might need. If you need any suggestions to what kind of accommodations to list in the 504 plan let me know, I have examples of my 504 plans from 6th grade through 12th grade as well as the accommodations I have received through out college.

#6 hols8

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 11:12 AM

By the way a few examples of things you might ask for are:
- extra time on tests (this is extremely important)
- state that he might have to leave class every now and then to get a drink of water or to walk around if he gets sleepy
- when he gets older, a note taker can be important, this is sometimes more difficult in high school, so in high school you can ask to receive copies of the teachers notes
- might ask for extended time on reading assignments, or ask that teachers give him a heads up on when reading assignments will be assigned and when they will be due so that he can get a head start
- you will want to make sure that you set up relations with the nurse's office so that if he needs a quick nap he has somewhere to go, they are required by law to provide this kind of thing. when I was in middle school there was nowhere for me to go to rest, so the nurse set up a closet in the library for me to use. In high school we didn't have a nurses office until I got there and then they transformed an old janitors office into a nurses office, it was small but it had a place for me to rest.
- might want to state that he will agree to volunteer as much as possible in class as long as the teacher doesn't call on him randomly, I didn't think to ask for this until I got older but I did it with the intention of avoiding being called on when I am asleep but look awake. I become extremely embarrassed when a teacher calls on me when I have actually been asleep and I have no clue what she is talking about. therefore I always establish that I will try to volunteer as much as possible when I am awake if the teacher will agree to try and avoid calling on me.
- in addition to extra time on tests, you might request to take tests in a different room or at a different time of day, I only really used this when I got to my junior & senior year of high school and I use it most the time in college (it is easier to keep yourself awake by periodically standing up and walking around or stretching when you are not in a classroom full of kids)

these are a few of the things you might consider asking for, as I mentioned in my last reply let me know if you would like to see examples of some of my past 504 plans. Through out school my requests for accommodations changed with each grade, as I am sure they will with your son as well. Also, remember just because you have these things listed in the 504 plan does not mean he has to use them every day. There are times I take tests in the same environment, at the same time as all my classmates and do not need extra time. But this is a rare occasion, and it is nice to have these thing listed so that in the case that he does need extra time on a test he can use it.

One more thing, most teachers are more then willing to work with a student who needs accommodations. However, as in all careers, there are administrators and teachers who will try to ignore the 504 plan. It is important that you pay attention to this especially at such a young age. In high school such cases can be taken care of the student themselves. I didn't have very many problems. The ones that occurred when I was younger my mother took care of and I was unaware of them. But in high school I had an administrator who tried to punish me for my disability and the fact that sometimes I was 5-10 minutes late for my first class due to sickness from my xyrem. They tried to make me do morning school and saturday school and even considered in school suspension; however, as long as you know that your rights are reserved in the 504 plan you will be ok. I witnessed cases like this with other kids. And the most important thing I have realized is that people can only take advantage of you if you do not know your rights.

#7 Jaresmom

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:12 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone. hols8 I really appreciate the specific 504 accomadations. It is really helpful to receive suggestions from someone who knows first hand what works. I couldn't have come up with these on my own because I don't know exactly what a day at school with this disability is like. My son, only 10yrs old now can explain, but he is not old enough or experienced enough to know techniques to help himself. We are learning and the people on this networks are the experts. I have learned as a Nurse that text books, literature, and medical professionals are very knowledgable about diseases and disorders, however when you live with, and manage a disease you are truly an expert.