How Are Students with TBI Eligible for a 504 Plan?
Because TBI is the only disability related to a specific event, accommodations on an IEP may not be immediately available. Often, it is appropriate to start with a 504 plan and then if the symptoms remain, move to an IEP.
There are three ways a student may be considered an individual with a disability under section 504. A student is considered to have a disability under 504 if the student:
- Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
- Has a record or history of such an impairment. The term includes children who have been misclassified (e.g. a non-English speaking student who was mistakenly classified as having mental retardation); or
- Is regarded as having such an impairment.
Reasons to Offer 504 Plans as Formalized Support for Students with TBI
TBI is the only disability specifically related to an event.
- Student abilities are often greatly impacted at least for a short time and possibly long term.
- Student adjustment to their new set of abilities is critical after the event.
- Without formal support, there may be issues that go unaddressed.
Medical issues related to TBI are likely to be ignore in the school setting without a formal plan.
- Fatigue, sleep issues, and headaches are common for students with TBI, but generally are not part of other disabilities.
- Often, there need to be accommodations at the school level to support students with these issues related to TBI.
- These medical issues are often "invisible," and without a formal plan, accommodations are less likely to happen.
Documentation is important.
- Students with TBI can have late onset of problems, or the problems can be quickly forgotten, as they are often "invisible."
- Documenting a TBI can assure that a student's TBI will not be overlooked and that the student will be able to get the help they need in the future.
Questions? Contact Melissa Nowatzke, TBI Teams Project Coordinator