IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Presenter: Staci J. Greenwald, Esq.

View the webinar’s corresponding slides here        Download the Webinar
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You will learn the origins and intent of the IDEA, what free and appropriate public eduction in the lease restrictive envirnment should look like. Placement in the appropriate learning environment will be discussed and what an IEP should contain, including short term objectives and annual goals. 504 plans and accomodations will also be covered.

Staci Greenwald has 27 years experience as a lawyer in this field and has a personal connection to making things right. Staci J. Greenwald is a partner in Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler, Esquires, in Cranbury, New Jersey, where she handles special education matters and offers advocacy in cases involving the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), guardianship, and estate planning for families of special needs students.

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Related Links:

Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler


  1. SFerreria says

    Is the district required to provide Dyslexia screening for a 3rd grader if parents request it?

    • SGreenwald says

      NJ requires screenings for Dyslexia in Kindergarten, First and Second grades. If a student is struggling in 3rd grade a referral to either I & RS or to the Child Study Team should probably be made as the student should have previously been screened.

  2. CGruenfelder says

    Is an occupational therapist (for a child receiving OT) considered a member of the CST? Can that person be required to attend the IEP meeting?

    • SGreenwald, Esq. says

      IEP Team is defined in section NJAC 6A:14-1.3 as the group of individuals who are responsible for the development, review and revision of the student’s IEP. The members are listed at NJAC 6A: 14-2.3(k)2. The law permits under section vii- at the discretion of the parent or school district, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student, including related services personnel where appropriate. If you want to OT at the meeting you should put the request in writing.

  3. LIshen says

    I know that NJ just passed the NJ Deaf bill of Rights but i wanted to see if you think one plan (504 or IEP) is more accommodating than another. I have always had an IEP for my students but many schools seem to be moving to 504’s.

    • SGreenwald, Esq. says

      Both IEP’s and 504 plans can provide for the needs of students. If a child requires special education services then an IEP is required. However if the District can or wants to provide all the services needed for the child under a 504 plan it provides the same level of protection.

  4. MK says

    What if 504 isn’t followed? Is there legal recourse?

    • SGreenwald, Esq. says

      If a 504 plan is not followed a Parent can file a Complaint Investigation through the Department of Education. The same procedure you would follow for non-compliance with an IEP is available for non-compliance with a 504 plan.

  5. JL says

    Who determines how many and which tests will be provided to determine eligibility?

    • S.Greenwald, Esq. says

      The Evaluation Team should collaboratively decide what areas of suspected disability need to be assessed. The evaluators should then administered the tests necessary to assess these areas. Usually during the evaluation plan meeting the evaluators discuss what tests they believe are necessary. If a parent wants a specific area assessed they should bring it to the attention of the Team during the meeting.

  6. JLippart says

    Is the school legally obligated to perform any tests a parent requests?

    • SGreenwald, Esq. says

      No. A parent can ask for specific tests. If the Team decides they are not needed they do not have to perform them. The Parent would then have the right to request an independent evaluation and indicate that they do not believe the student was assessed in all areas of suspected disability. If the Team still disagrees then the District must take the parent to Due Process and convince a Judge that the testing is not needed.

  7. SBonaheim says

    If we cannot get through all the IEP discussion during the IEP meeting are we as parents entitled to request the IEP team to reconvene and continue the creation of the IEP?

    • S.Greenwald, Esq. says


  8. AOna says

    Is there a right to school based evaluation for a related service under a 504? does a parent have a right to request an independent evaluation for 504?

    • S.Greenwald, Esq. says


  9. BYellek says

    What is considered a “reasonable” modification or accommodation?

    • SGreenwald, Esq says

      This is a very broad question and really depends of the needs of the student. One reasonable accommodation might be extra time for tests, advance notice of upcoming quizzes, extra time to complete assignments.

  10. CXanadu says

    I have been told that the only teachers who are permitted to see a student’s 504/IEP are the principal classroom teachers – not art, or gym or music etc. Is that correct? If so, what’s the point of having the classification if everyone involved with my child is not on the same page?

    • SGreenwald, Esq. says

      ABSOLUTELY NOT. NJAC 6A:14-3.7 (a)2 states: Every student’s IEP shall be accessible to each regular education teacher, special education teacher, related services provider, and other service provider who is responsible for its implementation.

  11. DWebster says

    My child is in private school. Is he still entitled to an iep? (This question does not stipulate whether it’s a parochial school or a private boarding/day school. Is there a distinction?)

    • SGreenwald, Esq. says

      If the student is in a private school paid for by the parent then No. A student enrolled in private school funded solely by his or her parent(s) would be entitled to an Individual Service Plan.

  12. EVostro says

    How does all this apply to charter schools? Can they refuse to take my 4th grade son who is diagnosed with TS?

    • SGreenwald, Esq. says

      Charter Schools must follow IEP’s.

  13. FUnistrom says

    If my child is in a charter or private school do I have to pay for all testing and have it done outside of the school?

    • SGreenwald, Esq. says

      A student in a Charter School is entitled to testing just like a student enrolled in a public school. If a student is in a private school paid for solely by their parents then testing is available through Chapter 192/193 and is done every three years however the services available to the student are not the same as those available under an IEP.

  14. GCantaneda says

    At what age would you recommend that the student be part of the iep/504 process?

    • SGreenwald, Esq. says

      It really depends on the individual student.

  15. HHildebrandt says

    If I don’t know what’s possible for my child, how do I know what to ask for in a meeting?

    • SGreenwald, Esq. says

      Having your child evaluated by an outside professional who can help determine what might be needed for your child to make progress is always helpful and will provide you with insight as to what might be required.

  16. SAsh says

    Would it be correct to say that a 504 is less expensive for school districts to implement than an IEP and that can become a factor?

    • S.Greenwald Esq. says

      In some cases a 504 is less expensive. Under the law cost should not be a factor.

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