What is the 504 Plan?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities act of 1990 protect those with disabilities. Celiac disease and gluten sensitives are considered the “Invisible Disability” the ADA classifies Celiac disease, food allergies and other intolerances as an Invisible Disability. This law requires schools to remove barriers to learning which includes accommodating a child’s gluten free diet
Who Qualifies for the 504 Plan?
Any student that is diagnosed with Celiac or gluten sesentity who attends any Public and private schools that receives federal funding is required to follow the 504 guidelines.
How will the school implementing the 504 Plan?
Under these ADA guidelines those with disabilities must provide equal access to the federally funded National School Lunch Program.
- The school will customize accommodations for the student such as meals, snacks, special events and field trips.
- In-service meeting for teachers, foodservice workers, school nurse and principal to learn how to deal with gluten exposure in the classroom, safe and alternative snacks.
How do I get started?
- Have a written statement from your doctor that states you child have been diagnose with Celiac or gluten sensitive and having a gluten free diet is essential for their health.
- Contact your local school district for any additional information is needed. Some state may require some additional documentation.
The 504 Plan is a great tool and may give you some legal leverage. Don’t be surprised that you might encounter some resistance because people who never have dealt this disease do not understand the importance of a gluten free diet. One thing I can’t stress enough is that you are your child’s advocate. I know that is it a lot or responsibility but your child is depending on you. You have to be their voice and there are times you have to fight for your child.