Go to Pro Answering Your Questions: What is the difference between a 504 Plan and an IEP and what can I do to help my child?

Go to Pro Answering Your Questions: What is the difference between a 504 Plan and an IEP and what can I do to help my child?

504 Plans vs the  IEP

Simply stated, a 504 Plan is a plan that ‘levels the playing field’ so to speak for your child. It is the plan of accommodations that is tailored specifically to your child's needs that reduces or eliminates challenges that may impede learning. Eligibility for a 504 plan states that the student has a disability such as ADHD that adversely impacts them at school.

An IEP on the other hand is an individualized education plan for your child. The IEP student has one or more of the 13 specific disabilities listed in IDEA and the disability must impact their educational performance or ability to learn and benefit from the general education curriculum. Special education services may be include placement in a special day class, a resource class, speech and language services, occupational therapy, or physical therapy.

504 Plan and IEP

Accommodations can be written into both a 504 and an IEP.

Here is a small list of possible accommodations:

Environmental Strategies

  • Provide a structured learning environment
  • Make separate "space" or "study places" for different types of tasks
  • Preferential seating - change student seating

Organizational Strategies

  • Model and reinforce organizational systems (i.e. color‐coding, graphic organizers)
  • Write out homework assignments, check student's recording of assignments
  • Tailor homework assignments toward student strengths

Behavioral Strategies

  • Establish a home/school communication system for behavior monitoring
  • Post rules and consequences for classroom behavior
  • Put student on daily/weekly progress report/contract

Classroom Strategies

  • Using behavioral management techniques
  • Modifying test delivery
  • Computer aided instructions OR assistive devices


  • Limit material that is presented on a page
  • Reduce paper and pencil assignments (i.e. 5 problems instead of 10)
  • Adjust time for completion of assignments

Additional Strategies to Help Your 504 or IEP Student

504 Plan and IEP

As a parent you may want to give your child some additional help or support. Strategies vary from playing specialized games with your child to reading fluency practice, to step-by-step support from a learning specialist. There are programs such as the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs that teach you step-by-step how to help your child in just 20 minutes a day. The Awaken the Scholar Within Programs are specifically designed for those with dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADHD, ASD, APD, and other learning challenged students.

Check out the Programs here…

504 Plan, IEP

Have a question? Get answers here!

Be sure to email, call, or schedule a complimentary consultation if you have further questions on how we can help you.

Email: [email protected]  Phone: 530-888-7160 Schedule a consultation: Bonnie’s calendar

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Written by: Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET See other articles by Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET
About the Author:

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4 year learning advantage in just 20 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

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