Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) are covered under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and are designed to ensure that children who are eligible for special education services have individualized and well-defined objectives for meeting educational and functional goals.
Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 plans are designed for students who have disabilities but may not qualify to receive special education services. These plans include accommodations or modifications to support student access to the educational curriculum.
This page seeks to highlight the requirements of each program.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B requires that an Individual Education Plan (IEP) be developed for every student who receives special education services. The IEP is a legal and binding document and must be followed as written. By law, IEPs must include:
An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a written plan for providing early intervention services to an infant or toddler (age 0–3), with a disability and to the family. The early intervention/IFSP process includes identification and referral, intake and family assessment, child evaluation and assessment, IFSP development, and service delivery and transition. The IFSP must include:
According to the U.S. Department of Education, Section 504 covers qualified students with disabilities who attend schools receiving federal financial assistance. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to:
A 504 plan is not special education. It is designed to outline accommodations that a student needs to access the educational curriculum. Accommodations are grouped into four categories:
While there is no specific template for a 504 plan, it should include
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced its intent to strengthen and protect rights for students with disabilities by amending regulations implementing Section 504.