Section 504: Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of learners with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled.
Evaluation: A Section 504 evaluation is the collecting, gathering, and interpreting of data from a variety of sources about the student's educational functioning.
Group of Knowledgeable People: The 504 committee consists of a group of knowledgeable people who have knowledge of the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the placement options.
Impairment: An impairment as used in Section 504 may include any disability, long-term illness, or various disorder that “substantially limits' a student’s ability to access learning in the educational setting.
Substantially Limits: "Substantially limits" is not defined in the federal regulations. However, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) states, “this is a determination to be made by each local school district and depends on the nature and severity of the person’s disabling condition.” In determining substantial limitations, the Section 504 committee will consider what is required to provide equal access to public school programs.
Mitigating Measures: When determining if a person has a disability, a school cannot consider the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures when determining how the impairment impacts the major life activities under consideration. The use of ordinary eyeglasses or contacts is the one exception to the mitigating measure rule.
Episodic/In Remission Impairments: If an impairment only occurs periodically or is in remission, it is a disability if, when in an active phase, it would substantially limit a major life activity.
Accommodations: Each learner’s needs are determined individually. Consideration of what is appropriate for each learner is based on the nature of the disabling condition and what that learner needs in order to have an equal opportunity to perform when compared to the non-disabled.
Equal access: Equal access gives equal opportunity to a qualified person with a disability to participate in or benefit from educational aid, benefits, or services.
Free appropriate public education (FAPE): This term is used in the elementary and secondary school context for purposes of Section 504. It refers to the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet individual educational needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities. FAPE is based upon adherence to procedures that satisfy the Section 504 requirements pertaining to educational setting, evaluation and placement, and procedural safeguards.