comparison of section 504 & idea

Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004

Federal Anti-Discrimination law (enacted in 1973)

The IDEA is a federal public education law (first enacted in 1975)

Civil rights law: Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability

Entitlement: Entitles eligible children with disabilities to be offered special education and related services

Provides for accommodation and some modification to meet disability-related needs

Provides specialized instruction and related services to eligible students

Applies to all ages and to areas other than education, but contains special provisions applicable only to elementary and secondary education; other rules apply only to post-secondary education

Applies to children from birth to age 21; no provisions for post-secondary education

Requires the provision of FAPE, a “free and appropriate public education”

Requires the provision of FAPE, a “free and appropriate public education”

Requires eligibility determination that the child (1) has a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities, and (2) needs accommodation to prevent discriminatory treatment

Requires eligibility determination that the child (1) has a disability fitting the IDEA definition, and (2) requires specialized instruction to benefit from education

Evaluation is needed to determine eligibility and appropriate accommodation

Evaluation is needed to determine eligibility and appropriate supports and services

Eligibility process can be accessed by a request from parent (a formal written request is strongly recommended)

Eligibility process can be accessed by a request from parent (a formal written request is strongly recommended)

Parental involvement important and encouraged; less emphasis on procedural safeguards than IDEA

Procedural protections to insure strong parental involvement; parent consent required

Needs and accommodation determined by multi-disciplinary team including parents and student, if appropriate

Needs and services determined by Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team including parents and student, if appropriate

Documented in a written plan called a 504 or Accommodation Plan

Documented in a written IEP

Each school or AEA is responsible for adopting its own due process procedures that meet the non-discrimination standard

Uniform system of procedural and substantive safeguards and due process rights mandated by federal law

Services usually delivered in a general education classroom

Services can be delivered in a wide variety of settings from a general education classroom to a home, hospital or residential setting