Understanding Section 504 is vital for teachers and other educators who provide services to students with disabilities. One federal statute that protects the rights of children with disabilities is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.


Student’s whose ability to access their education may be impeded by their disability should be evaluated under Section 504 . The evaluation process determines whether a student meets the criteria for disability when attending a public school; and, if so, what accommodations the student needs to have the same access to their education as their non-disabled peers.

Students with ADHD

Protections under Section 504 may include students with a learning disability or ADD/ADHD. These students may require special accommodations, but their needs may not rise to the level that an IEP under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is appropriate.  The accommodations a student needs must be evaluated for each qualifying student.  . Students may need additional resources and should be evaluated and tested by a professional to develop a learning plan. Other types of long-term disabilities are also included.

Section 504 Determinations

School districts are required to make Section 504 determinations based on the child’s disability, without the use of aids. These aids, called mitigating factors, include such things as hearing aids and prescription medications. The child must be evaluated without the use of these items. One of the exceptions to the rule is the use of eyeglasses, because they are considered an ordinary item.

Keeping Up on Section 504

Changes may occur from time to time in the legislation that applies to those with disabilities. For this reason, it is helpful to review the latest updates. It is essential to make sure that students with disabilities are not discriminated against.  A school’s failure to appropriately address a Student’s rights could be a cause for legal action. When there are any questions or concerns, administrators should consult with an experienced education attorney before making any decisions or providing any responses.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Understanding Section 504, or other Education Law matters, please feel free to contact Erin H. Walz at 480.461.5379, log on to www.udallshumway.com or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.