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mygfworld

Pros And Cons Of 504 For Elementary School Needed

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I have a 5 yr old and I think I need to institute a 504. I've been researching the 504 information on the web. Can anyone help me understand the schools reaction to a possible 504? Why do schools and teachers always seem against a 504 for celiacs or allegies? Where does the negative conotation come from?

From what I understand a 504 would address problem areas up front in a document that the teachers and school can reference for the rest of the year.

What is the negative aspect of my child haivng a 504? I know no one wants to "Label" their child with a handicap. Do kids have a bad experience because they have a 504 at school?

Does haivng a 504 have a negative impact on the school or teachers?

Does anyone have a 504 for celiacs and regret it?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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I can answer this question probably from a different angle then some here. My husband is the celiac here but I work in the school system where 504's, IEPs, ect are part of my job.

I'm all for having a 504 plan for Celiac children, though we have yet to have one in my tiny district. But this may be because I understand what Celiac really is. It isn't an allergy it's an auto-immune just like diabetes. That's where the issue lies with a lot of school districts, teachers, ect. They don't understand the difference. We wouldn't write a 504 for someone with an allergy to something, but would be all for writing one for the diabetic kid. The first step would be to educate your school about celiac and how it can and will impact your child's learning.

With a 504 plan in place, not only will it be documentation of what the student must be kept away from, but it also adds a safety net if a problem arises. If, God forbid, your child would get into some gluten and suffer an attack that kept him/her out of school for days there could/should be extensions built into his plan to allow extra time for making up the work. It also guarantees the child certain rights he may not always get. Some teachers are very strict about bathroom time and there are penalties if you go outside of those times. With the 504 in place it could/should be written in that he can leave to use the restroom at any time he needs to without penalties.

Once the plan is in place and on paper we are required by federal law to follow it to a T. Like excuses a child from something that they are not able to do because of their health issue. I.E. Many elementary schools use the Hand Writing without tears program. One of it's main things is to make the letters with their playdough. Of course a Celiac child shouldn't be doing that because of the wheat in the play dough. The plan would excuse the child from doing that.

Now with all of that said.... :-) There are going to be classroom teachers that will have issues with a 504 plan but they will be the same ones that would have issues if you walked in with a list of all the stuff your child can't have and what they must stay away from. There are just some people in the profession who don't want to deal with anything outside of the norm or what they consider to be the norm. With a 504 though, they don't have a choice, it's against the law. Without a 504 it would be harder to fight but still worth fighting in my opinion.

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We do not have a 504 plan, mainly because my son's teachers have always been understanding and supportive. I was asked to write a letter about his diagnosis, and it is on file in the nurse's office. By the time my son was diagnosed at 7, he was cautious and a good self advocate as well. If my son was younger and if the teachers less supportive, I would not hesitate to go through the 504 process. As far as any negative connotations with the school, that would not bother me in the least. It is work for everyone involved, but important work. If I felt any negativity I would schedule a meeting with the principal and possibly the school superintendent to discuss it.

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I can't think of a negative side to the 504 plan from a teacher's perspective. I'm not allowed to feed students, so cross-contamination and such wouldn't be an issue (I teach at the high school level), but it would help me be sympathetic about what I might otherwise perceive as too frequent requests to go to the restroom during class. I know after a glutening I've had trouble making it through an entire class period.

Of course, the student or parent could tell me the issue and I would be understanding, but having the paperwork means I would know from the first day the student entered my room. I get information about my students with diabetes and other health issues, so I wouldn't think this odd in the least.

At the elementary level it can alert teachers to alternatives to pastes, play-doh, and other items in the classroom that could pose a problem.

I'm not sure what the negative would be, really.

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This is a little off topic, but I had a thought. When I was in elementary school, my mother would talk to the school counselor every year to pick the best teacher for me for the next year. We had three teachers per grade, and she wanted someone who would keep me interested in learning (I was one of those kids already reading chapter books in first grade so I got bored easily). I bet you could also talk to the school counselor or nurse or someone and select the teacher that would be best at dealing with celiac.

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This is a little off topic, but I had a thought. When I was in elementary school, my mother would talk to the school counselor every year to pick the best teacher for me for the next year. We had three teachers per grade, and she wanted someone who would keep me interested in learning (I was one of those kids already reading chapter books in first grade so I got bored easily). I bet you could also talk to the school counselor or nurse or someone and select the teacher that would be best at dealing with celiac.

In larger schools it would work I am sure. I work in a district with one teacher per grade level usually. The majority of teachers have no issues with 504s or any other paperwork for the kids. We have had a couple that just don't want to sway or change anything for anyone. "This is the way I've done it for twenty years and that's the way I'm going to do it for the next 20"

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We have a 504 plan in place for my daughter. She is 8 and in 2nd grade. She was diagnosed in 1st grade and we didn't feel there was a need for the 504. This year, her teacher was great about it and allowed me to educate her so that she could help us as much as possible. That was great, until the teacher started having health issues. 2-3 times a week there was a sub in the class and it wasn't always the same sub. Eventually the teacher had to leave for surgery and there was a long term sub in place before the new teacher took over.

At one point one of the subs thought she was being nice and brought soft pretzels for the class and put one on Katie's desk. Luckily she is old enough to know not to eat it and had the teacher remove it, but when she told me, I realized that we needed to have something in place that makes it so that every teacher, every day, knows about Katie's celiac.

Our school never seemed to have an negative outlook on the 504 plan and they were very quick to help get it in place. They took every suggestion I offered as to what to put in it. We have everything from non-restricted bathroom priveledges to extra testing time being allowed in subjects were she struggles.

Our school even had the janitor contact the soap manufacturer to make sure the hand soaps they were using are gluten free.

Maybe I just got lucky, but I can't imagine why a school would be against this plan.

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We have a 504 plan in place for my daughter. She is 8 and in 2nd grade. She was diagnosed in 1st grade and we didn't feel there was a need for the 504. This year, her teacher was great about it and allowed me to educate her so that she could help us as much as possible. That was great, until the teacher started having health issues. 2-3 times a week there was a sub in the class and it wasn't always the same sub. Eventually the teacher had to leave for surgery and there was a long term sub in place before the new teacher took over.

At one point one of the subs thought she was being nice and brought soft pretzels for the class and put one on Katie's desk. Luckily she is old enough to know not to eat it and had the teacher remove it, but when she told me, I realized that we needed to have something in place that makes it so that every teacher, every day, knows about Katie's celiac.

Our school never seemed to have an negative outlook on the 504 plan and they were very quick to help get it in place. They took every suggestion I offered as to what to put in it. We have everything from non-restricted bathroom priveledges to extra testing time being allowed in subjects were she struggles.

Our school even had the janitor contact the soap manufacturer to make sure the hand soaps they were using are gluten free.

Maybe I just got lucky, but I can't imagine why a school would be against this plan.

I must be going about this the wrong way or something. The school is great in all other areas. I have been told very clearly that a 504 is not an option - by the school. But the teaching with food is just too much. The kids are rewarded for anything and everything with candy, except my child who gets a sticker and is not happy. She has a safe food box which contains candies and treats for her, but they don't always use it. They learn math with food. WHY!!! Count and measure with candy, cereal, etc. Read a book with food mentioned? Then the next activity involves eating that food from the book! WHY!!! Classroom projects like the arts and crafts type of stuff involve food. The one hundredth day of school events are all about food for over a week. Yes she got sick from that great event!

Does no one else have these issues at school?

The subs terrify me for the exact reasons Mom2Katry stated above.

I can deal with the two holiday parties per year. I can deal with the kids birthday cupcakes in class. Really I just wanted the 504 so learning with foods would be eliminated from the classroom, lunchroom would be controlled better, rewards would be gluten-free/CF for class or not at all, and nurse, teachers and subs would be well informed of what issues are in the classroom. Didn't seem like that much to ask for to me. Am I asking for too much?

thanks!

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Did you make a formal request in writing for a 504 plan, and was a meeting held that determined your child is ineligible? According to federal law, an eligibility meeting must be held, and you must be notified when it is held, in response to any request for a 504 plan. Since celiac disease is not specifically listed under section 504, you may have to make your own case, but I think it would be very hard for any group of educators to deny that celiac disease has an impact on learning. All school systems interpret things differently, but they aren't allowed by law to say "we won't do a 504" without following the process.

That being said, it is my understanding that the plan will impact the individual student's learning environment, and not that of the whole class. So I do not think you will be able to develop a plan which says that none of the children can use food for learning activities. You can have precautions and alternatives in your child's plan, however. (But I am with you - teaching with food is bad on so many levels - my son's class only stopped when they got mice in the room.)

Here is a link I found helpful: http://americanceliac.org/for-families/at-school/, and for more general info: http://www.greatschools.org/LD/school-learning/section-504.gs?content=868.

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mygfworld, obxmom is right. Celiac Disease affects a child's ability to learn and qualifies for a 504. You may have to push a little bit, but it's absolutely do-able. ESPECIALLY since they use gluten foods to learn their academics. Put your request in writing with a thorough note stating that your child is diagnosed with celiac disease which affects their ability to learn, touch on what foods/non-foods contain gluten, how you have witnessed this in your child's classroom and how your child is excluded from learning activities with his typical peers. Go from the principal, to the school board (who should have a nurse that helps schools with these things), to your state's dept of education. Attach a doctor's note to all correspondence. Make sure you call it an autoimmune disorder rather than an allergy as schools do not have to accomodate allergies unless they are life-threatening.

We have a 504 for our daughter (2nd grade, 8 yrs old). This allows the cafeteria to provide her a gluten-free meal every day. I have to say the lunchroom manager is phenomenal. She shops for my daughter's food at a local grocery store and if my daughter dislikes something, she makes a note and knows not to buy that item again. I do feel guilty sometimes because her lunches are so much better than everyone else's. Depending on sales, she will occasionally get things like kiwi for her fruit or a side of avocado with her taco salad. The classroom keeps a 'safe food' box for her (that I provided) so that if a parent shows up with cupcakes, she gets a treat as well. She has unlimited bathroom visits and is allowed to leave the classroom without checking with the teacher in an emergency (she hasn't had to do that and knows that she absolutely cannot take advantage of these privileges). This summer, she ate a piece of candy that had gluten in it and became sick. She missed four days of school but we knew it would take several days after the first symptoms appeared. The school sent her classwork home the next day and she didn't miss a step with her academics. That was a huge benefit for us. Our pediatrician faxed over a note so that the absences were doctor excused.

I think a 504 is a great step so that teachers know exactly what they are dealing with on the first day of school. If she becomes ill, I want a teacher to know that she had a medical condition so they call me immediately if she complains of a stomach ache. I want the substitute teachers to know that she may have to use the bathroom at odd times of the day and it's okay. I want people looking after her. In return, I support the school as much as I possibly can. I remember them at holidays and I send tissue and hand sanitizer in year-round. It's a great relationship.

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I must be going about this the wrong way or something. The school is great in all other areas. I have been told very clearly that a 504 is not an option - by the school. But the teaching with food is just too much. The kids are rewarded for anything and everything with candy, except my child who gets a sticker and is not happy. She has a safe food box which contains candies and treats for her, but they don't always use it. They learn math with food. WHY!!! Count and measure with candy, cereal, etc. Read a book with food mentioned? Then the next activity involves eating that food from the book! WHY!!! Classroom projects like the arts and crafts type of stuff involve food. The one hundredth day of school events are all about food for over a week. Yes she got sick from that great event!

Does no one else have these issues at school?

I have the same problem with my son and his school. He's in the first grade this year and everything is about food. If I hadn't have shown up at his Christmas party when I did, he would have been given all sorts of gluteny foods. Even after several lengthy talks with his teacher!

We have a 504 for our daughter (2nd grade, 8 yrs old). This allows the cafeteria to provide her a gluten-free meal every day. I have to say the lunchroom manager is phenomenal. She shops for my daughter's food at a local grocery store and if my daughter dislikes something, she makes a note and knows not to buy that item again.

I think a 504 is a great step so that teachers know exactly what they are dealing with on the first day of school. If she becomes ill, I want a teacher to know that she had a medical condition so they call me immediately if she complains of a stomach ache. I want the substitute teachers to know that she may have to use the bathroom at odd times of the day and it's okay. I want people looking after her. In return, I support the school as much as I possibly can. I remember them at holidays and I send tissue and hand sanitizer in year-round. It's a great relationship.

I wish we had the option of getting a 504 for my son. I was told that it wasn't necessary and that if there was a problem, I would be called. They don't call. I was also told that they can't be bothered with serving a child with "such a severe food allergy" and that I needed to make his lunches and breakfasts to send with him. I don't mind that so much since I've been doing it for my daughter for several years now. The teacher and the classroom candy jar I do have a problem with.

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What wonderful posts about the experiences of a Section 504 for a child with celiac disease. Thank-you for posting.

I have a question - What is the timeline for a Section 504? After a meeting to obtain parental consent for an evaluation, how much time (number of days) does the school have to do the evaluation before a meeting is held to determine eligibility for a Section 504 plan?

For those of you with Section 504 plans for your children, please email me privately. We would love to know what you included in the Section 504 plan.

Thank-you!

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I think if your child is in school or may be in school in the future, a formal diagnosis and a 504 plan when they enter the system is important.

Just dealing with our own private options (homeschool resource center FULL of people with special diets, and other camps and classes) we have had a hard enough time making sure accommodations are appropriate. I can't imagine how much worse it would be in a public school setting with far more students and rules about what they can and can not do without a plan. (I have several public school teacher friends, and my partner has worked as a public school tutor and about to start her student teaching, btw)

Also, as good as the teacher you get now may be, you will be dealing with years and years of other teachers, as well as different schools and administrators. Get a plan in place as soon as possible and get used to working with it so that if you do encounter someone who isn't interested in being helpful you will have the experience you need making it work behind you.

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We wouldn't write a 504 for someone with an allergy to something, but would be all for writing one for the diabetic kid. The first step would be to educate your school about celiac and how it can and will impact your child's learning.

I know this is an old post but I wanted to point out that food allergies are 504"able". If it's a condition that causes issues with learning (ie and ana reaction causing something like oh, death?) that IS something a 504 plan covers.

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