504 Plans, School & Your Celiac Or Gluten Intolerant Child

Very few of us as parents know what a 504 Plan is and how it can benefit our child if they have celiac disease or any other auto-immune disorder. I certainly didn't know what it was, nor did I want to go through more paperwork if it wasn't necessary. In the beginning of my child's diagnosis, I think we all just wanted it to go away and not be a handicap or make her any different than she already felt.
Statistics quote that 1 in 10 children are anxious while dealing with school and all the stress that occurs when they are behind the 8 ball already. Between parents anxious over grades and under achieving, and the pressures of socially fitting in to the over worked staff, who wouldn't be a bit anxious?

But for those who still don't know what a 504 Plan is, here is the textbook version:
The "504" in "504 plan" refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and theAmericans with Disabilities Act, which specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary or postsecondary schooling. "Disability" in this context refers to a "physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities." This can include physical impairments; illnesses or injuries; communicable diseases; chronic conditions like asthma, allergies and diabetes; and learning problems. A 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that will be needed for these students to have an opportunity perform at the same level as their peers, and might include such things as wheelchair ramps, blood sugar monitoring, an extra set of textbooks, a peanut-free lunch environment, home instruction, or a tape recorder or keyboard for taking notes.

What no one tells you is that your success in achieving a 504 Plan will be largely dependent upon the County or State Government that governs where you live or what school system you are dealing with.
Hopefully you'll taking my adamant underlining as a sign of how truly frustrating this system can be. Because, if you can't get your school to even heat up your child's lunch, how easy will it be to get an approval which basically makes them accountable? Unfortunately, the majority have the same experience. The positive point we have learned is that at least smaller school systems can manage it better.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I sure hope the smaller school distr. is on the ball & once she sees the new physician, things go quickly. I am not on your side of the country. I just googled '504 plan for gluten intolerance' and picked yours. I need to get the ball rolling here in CA. I have not trusted the school nutrician employees here w/feeding our children. Heck, one woman in the cafeteria couldn't even get over the idea of letting our sons take a hot dog and NOT the bun, which doesn't come touching the dog; Intensely concerned over being 'audited.' I even pointed out the large trash can nearby into which she could simply toss the bun. I'd known I could force the school to provide gf food, but haven't felt I could trust beyond the teachers who evidently could think for themselves. Maybe it's time for a 504... Unfortunately, some kids @ new school already put him down & sometimes discuss his food issues--ignorantly & disdainfully, of course. He is trying to keep things secretive & now doesn't want any 'special' foods for him @ cafeteria. :P


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