Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by Editorial Team
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provided a series of measures to ensure inclusive and equitable education and employment for students with disabilities.
It is a part of one of the first US Civil laws that offered protection to Children with learning disabilities and has inspired many more legislations.
The Section requires school districts to provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to children with disabilities identify their educational needs and consequently come up with a plan for the same.
The 504 plan even offers to cover accommodation services and also encourages extracurricular activities for the overall development of the child beyond the school walls.
Violation of Section 504 by a school can be reported to the Office of Civil Rights and can lead to a substantial loss of federal funding for the school.
Thus, Section 504 forms a part of highly comprehensive legislation to better the lives of students with learning disabilities. Similar carefully thought strategies can go a long way in turning a child’s disabilities into merely differential abilities.
Following is a list of 504 accommodations that can be provided to high school students with learning disabilities to help them explore their potential to the fullest and attain all possible support for their educational endeavors:
504 Accommodations for high school students
1. Accommodations In The Workplace
Physical arrangements of the classroom can be modified to assist students with learning disabilities. The space between the desks can be increased and the students with learning disabilities should be asked to sit right in front of the teacher or any other positive role model.
While seating the child, a point should be made to avoid distractions in the surroundings like the noise of the air conditioner or sitting near open windows with distractions from nearby traffic.
2. Accommodations In Lesson Presentations
While presenting a lecture in a class that includes students with learning disabilities, a point should be made to break a long presentation into short segments and the accompanying instructions should also be simple to comprehend. The student is also encouraged to review the points orally after each lesson to gauge their level of understanding.
All the key points should be written on the board by the teacher if possible and the use of multisensory models is advised. Including a variety of activities may also help in making the lesson more accessible to high school students with learning disabilities.
Also, students with learning disabilities in high school are allowed to record their lessons and are also allowed the use of smartphones. They can also be provided a peer note taker on request. In fact, pairing children to review work and peer-to-peer tutoring can form an important part of the 504 accommodation for high school students.
3. Accommodations Allowed In Work Assignments
Accommodation in work assignments for high school students includes shortening the assignment and providing a structured format as much as possible. The students are also provided time extensions for the completion of assignments on request and can be allowed to submit computer-printed assignments.
The students can also make use of self-monitoring devices and the teachers may reduce the reading and complexity level of the assignment depending on the learning requirements of the student. Also, homework for such students is usually reduced and frequent short quizzes are encouraged rather than long tests.
4. Accommodations In Testing
Testing the student’s knowledge is also an important step in overall learning. However, it is imperative under the 504 accommodation to ensure that the students are able to display his or her best performance. To this end, they are granted certain means like preferential seating arrangements and the use of technology selectively.
The teachers are advised to keep the tests more objective than essays and the test can be taken over multiple sessions if possible. Oral reading of the test questions and their repetition can be requested by the student as well. Also use of color overlays, templates, or place markers should be done by the teacher to make the test more comprehensible for the students.
The tests for high school students with learning disabilities should also ideally be administered in small groups.
5. Accommodations In Helping With Organization
The 504 accommodation for high school students includes providing peer assistance with organizational skills and assigning a volunteer homework buddy. Also, students can also be provided with an extra set of books to be kept at home. The teachers can also send daily or weekly assessment reports home to monitor and evaluate the student’s progress.
6. Accommodations In Behavior Management
Students will learning disabilities often require assistance in behavior management as well. The teachers are instructed under the 504 accommodation to praise specific behavior of the students and give nonverbal cues on displaying negative behavior.
Also, short breaks between assignments and implementing time-out procedures can also help in the same. The teachers may also be encouraged to mark the student’s correct answers and not their mistakes.
The classrooms should also be kept simple and any deviant behavior within the decorum of classroom behavior rules can be ignored. Along with this, special considerations like behavioral counseling and providing social skills group experiences can also be encouraged.
The 504 Accommodations have gone a long way in ensuring inclusive education for students with learning disabilities to open the gate of empowerment and self-sufficiency for them. They are also backed by legal sanctions.
However, much work is still left for the true empowerment of students with learning disabilities. A case in point is the accommodation for college students, which is merely suggestive in nature and not backed by law. Read more about Helpful accommodations for college students.
The path has been illuminated, but there are many more steps to be taken before we cross the tunnel.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,