You Do NOT Need a 504 Plan Before You Can Have an IEP

I want to make something very clear because there’s a lot of confusion out there in public schools, and some public school personnel are telling parents the wrong thing. You do not need a 504 Plan before you can have an IEP. I’ve heard from parents who have said that public school officials have told them that they first need a 504 Plan, that the 504 Plan has to be put in place first before a child can have an IEP.

That is not true, okay. That is a lie. A child can qualify for an IEP and never have a 504 Plan. If someone is telling you this, either they’re ignorant or they are trying to stall. They want to give you a 504 Plan, or give your child a 504 Plan, instead of an IEP.

A 504 Plan is very simple compared to an IEP. It’s simple to put into place. It does not obligate the school district to do as many things as an IEP does. There’s a whole list of reasons why school districts tend to, not all the time but often enough, tend to persuade parents to get a 504 Plan rather than an IEP. If you want your child to be evaluated for an IEP, the school district can absolutely do it even if your child does not have a 504 Plan.

The IEP Advocate is your best shot at helping your child succeed in school (and life). We help parents get the school to approve and follow individual education plans (IEPs) for their children who are struggling in school. Even if the school is saying “no” to you, we’ll get them to say “yes” to us!