Our journey to get a 504 plan completed quickly has been accomplished. Last Friday, I received the final document for signature. This process has been completed in 2 weeks!
Here is how it worked:
Step #1:I met with the 504 Plan Coordinator at the school (I believe every school has one, unless you live in a small town and then maybe one person covers all of the schools) and the nurse on September 22nd. At that time, I helped the coordinator by answering questions about why this might be considered a disability (by the Americans with Disabilities Act standards) and what accommodations we need made.
During this part I also provided them with a letter from her gastroenterologist. This is something I have a copy of at the house and use when needed.
Step #2: the draft plan goes back and forth between parents and the coordinator for fine tuning to make sure all areas are covered.
Step #3: sign the final plan to make it official.
Why can celiac be considered a disability?
Both the nurse and I discussed why Emma needs a 504 Plan with the coordinator: Because her concentration (ability to learn) and other faculties can be affected by gluten ingestion in any form, the school must take precautions to ensure a safe place for her to be. At the same time, they cannot purposely exclude her because of her “disability”. Example: in Home Ec, the teacher can’t decide Emma won’t be doing something based on her celiac disease.
What’s the content of the 504 Plan?
The other purpose of the 504 plan is for her to be engaged in the class, which is why we got it done so quickly and didn’t miss out on too many cooking projects in her class.
A lot of the content in Emma’s plan has to do with her FaCS (Family and Consumer Science) class. It requires the teacher keeping me in-the-know on recipes and upcoming projects, as well as having non-contaminated ingredients and clean kitchen utensils and space available to her. The nurse will also speak to the class about celiac disease and Emma may also write something up.
We also added that she needs accommodations for a gluten free lunch (which she’s already getting) and that her teachers must inform me to any parties or food that will be in class so I can come up with a suitable alternative or help the teacher pick something that everyone can eat.
So what’s next? I am hoping to get this thing legalized quickly enough so Emma can bring in her own pancake mix for when they make pancakes on Tuesday. I will let you know how the communication goes on this part of the plan.