Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs or by entities receiving federal funds. In addition to barring discrimination against individuals who have disabilities, Section 504 also forbids discrimination or retaliation against people who advocate for them. People are considered to be disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities. For everyone, but especially for children, learning is a major life activity. Other major life activities include caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, and working.
Students who have a disability that needs to be addressed by accommodations or modifications in school, but not by specially designed instruction, may be well-served by a Section 504 Plan.