Sir Einstein, Pierre Curie, and Galileo Galilei are a few among many examples of persons with dyslexia who have broken the glass ceiling created by learning disabilities and carved their names in history. However, far greater is the number of the unknown talents and potentials that were marginalized and not allowed to shine because of the same.
However, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is game-changing legislation that opened many a door for people with dyslexia and other learning disabilities in both the education and employment sectors. It is a holistic set of accommodations that comprises waivers and assistive measures. It is aimed at providing people with learning disabilities a chance at a life with the same level of opportunities and challenges that are enjoyed by a normal person.
Since then, the fight that started in 1973 with the passing of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act has now taken a more aware form. Parents no longer deny their special children with gifted challenges the right to education thinking their difficulty to read as a pretext for not studying. They stand by the kids to ensure that the schools do come up with suitable accommodations so that the special students, too, accomplish the requisite academic objectives.
If you have a dyslexic child or a child with conditions like ADHD, anxiety, depression, etc. to manage, we suggest you read this post till the end. We have accumulated the list of 504 accommodations in this post among a few important must-knows in our post. The main points covered are:
- What are 504 accommodations?
- Conditions that qualify for 504 plans
- Accommodations for Dyslexia
- Does Dyslexia qualify to be a special need condition?
What are 504 accommodations?
Section 504 and IEPs are not the same, let me start with this point first. In fact, 504 has broader coverage than IEPs. While IEPs are designed to help special children at the school level only, the 504 accommodations are extended to the needy in the colleges too. Further, the 504 accommodations are implemented at workplaces also. At the workplace, people with special needs are given correct conditions to ensure that they become self-dependent and take up jobs of responsibility like others.
Here is the list of 504 accommodations that are included to make studying and qualifying exams easier for dyslexics:
- Waiving verbal tests
- Giving extra time to students or competitors in exams
- Limited homework or project work; alternative teaching for classwork
- Providing digital, visual and other tools of assistive nature; simple example can be – a calculator
- Support for behavior management
- Modified teaching interventions such as use of manipulatives and games
- Modified seating arrangements
- Relaxation in rules like non-adherence to time-table or class timings, etc.
- Providing assistants to carry out work procedures
All such accommodations are designed while keeping people with special needs in mind. The idea is to extract the best from the strengths of the dyslexics by giving them assisted working environment. Now that we have understood what 504 accommodations are, let’s find out who is qualified to avail of these plans.
Conditions that qualify for 504 plans
504 plans are available for those people who qualify for these accommodations. This section encompasses those disabilities of physical and mental nature, which are hindrances to learning and working objectives. The people with the following conditions are entitled to avail cover of Section 504:
- Visual, or auditory impairment
- Drug addiction
- And various other limitations of physical or mental nature that interfere with normal living.
It is worth understanding that the students may not have only a single disability. And accordingly, they are included in different types of sections. For example, those suffering from ADD (attention deficit disorder) or Asthma or AIDS may get sanctions under IDEA. But, those having ADD and Asthama or AIDS will be eligible for 504 accommodations. It is, therefore, necessary to understand the legal rights based on the disabilities one is suffering from.
Best Possible 504 Accommodations List for dyslexia
504 accommodations for dyslexia primarily comprise those assistive features that substitute conventional reading and writing activities. Dyslexics with reading difficulties may get accommodations like assistive tools like text-to-voice software. Similarly, those with writing difficulties may be given the support of a voice-to-text tool. Other accommodations that are included in section 504 to give dyslexics their rightful dues are:
1. Dictation To Scribe
The 504 accommodations allow for the students to be assigned a scribe in the classroom to complete their assignments. Apart from this, they may also avail the use of computers for their assignments and may also use a tape recorder or smartpen.
2. Spell-check Tools
The students are also allowed to use spell check tools for their assignments. They may also be offered a spelling bank or spelling list to assist them. The accommodations also ask the teacher to not deduct marks for spelling mistakes for children with dyslexia.
3. Read Aloud Supports
The students are required to be provided with read-aloud supports which can also include audiobooks and text-to-speech software. They should also be offered Orton-Gillingham instructions for reading if they so require. It is also preferred that they are granted pre-exposure to reading assignments.
4. Extended Time
The 504 accommodations essentially call for extended time limits to be granted to the students, along with pre-exposure to all time-bound assignments. Apart from this homework given to the students should also be granted additional submission time.
5. Time management waivers
The teacher should also ensure that the assignments given to the students should be properly organized and compartmentalized into smaller and manageable topics. Constant reminders should be given and one-on-one instructions should be preferred for these students.
6 Time-table Followup Waivers
The 504 accommodations call for waivers from strict, time table bound assignments for such students. Extensions for assignments and homework may be regularly provided. Also, it may be checked individually for each student if they have fully comprehended the assignment and the amount of additional time that may be required according to individual capacity.
As a parent of a dyslexic child, you must be aware of this list of accommodations. The list does make sense to all parents, teachers, and supervisors of dyslexic individuals. This list helps them understand the core capabilities of a person.
Does Dyslexia qualify to be a special need condition?
Dyslexia is a special need condition; experts and authorities have identified and confirmed this notion. They propose that dyslexics need assistance. Since their neurological make-up is unique and interferes with their reading and writing abilities, they should be given ample alternatives to express themselves. In no way they are intellectually inferior to others. As a result of the recognition of the condition to be included in the IDEA Act, the documents formulated under IEP can be labeled with the term DYSLEXIA.
Putting Dyslexia under special need conditions is not a result of whims and fancies. The statistical data shows that about 40% of the students have some form of learning disability. And about 16% of the world population has confirmed facing the issue of dyslexia. Hence, this condition deserves to be in the category of special needs.
Dyslexics dropping out of school percentage amounts to about 35%. Many parent associations have worked aggressively to ensure that their dyslexic children get equal opportunities in schools, and then later in life. Due to their persistent efforts, Dyslexia is now classified as a special need condition both technically and legally.
Assistance or accommodations are not luxuries but the right of the people with special needs or dyslexia. Section 504 introduced in the year 1973 under the Rehabilitation Act provides a legal framework to dictate schools and workplaces to assist special people with accommodations. Have a thorough knowledge of the list of section 504 accommodations so that you can provide your extraordinary child or worker all the help they legally deserve.
- Extracted from FAQs of Protecting Students with Disabilities, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
- Successful Implementation of 504 plans, (Eugenia Damron, 2005)
- Dyslexia- Its impact on people, parents, society (Lamk-Al-lamki, 2012)
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