Talk to teachers about a 504 plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

A 504 plan requires that a child with special healthcare needs (i.e., that limits one or more major life functions) be provided with ways to participate in general education programs. For example, in a 504 plan, students and families may develop a written request for access to an extra set of books for home, more frequent bathroom breaks, access to water throughout the school day, or the need for extra layers of clothing. A 504 plan is administered in schools that receive federal funds (i.e., public schools) and is a written document that outlines reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. The 504 plan ensures that a child with SCD has equal access and is able to participate fully in school activities; however it does not outline plans for remedial instruction. The IEP addresses remedial instruction. When health problems related to SCD negatively impact a student’s academic performance, special education services may be recommended. An IEP is a written document developed between school staff and families to assure specialized or remedial instruction. Additional federal funding is given to schools to provide a wide range of services, depending on the needs of the child. Both an IEP and 504 plan should be updated yearly to meet the student’s needs.

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