What is an IEP or 504 Plan? A Guide for Parents and Students

IEP or 504 plan

What is an IEP or 504 Plan?

If you are the parent of a child who has been recently diagnosed with a disability including ADHD, you may be wondering what an IEP or 504 plan is. Or, if your child is already in school, you may be wondering if they have an IEP or 504 plan and what that means for them. This guide will explain the basics of IEPs and 504 plans and will help parents and students understand their rights and responsibilities under these plans.

What is an IEP?

An IEP, or Individualized Education Program, is a plan that is developed for students with disabilities who require specialized instruction. The IEP outlines the specific goals and accommodations that will be provided to help the student reach their educational potential. An IEP must be developed by a team of professionals including the student’s parents, teachers, school administrators, and, if appropriate, specialists such as a speech therapist or occupational therapist.

What is a 504 plan?

A 504 plan, also known as a Section 504 Plan, is a plan designed to help students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but still need accommodations in order to access the general education curriculum. Like an IEP, a 504 plan must be developed by a team of professionals including the student’s parents, teachers, and school administrators.

The benefits of an IEP vs 504 plan for ADHD?

An IEP is typically more beneficial for students with ADHD than a 504 plan. An IEP can provide specialized instruction and accommodations that are tailored to the student’s individual needs, while a 504 plan may only include general accommodations such as extra time on tests or allowing the student to sit in a designated area in the classroom. Additionally, an IEP is legally binding, which means that the school must provide all of the accommodations listed in the plan. A 504 plan is not legally binding and schools are not required to follow it if they deem it inappropriate or too costly.

How can I get an IEP for my child?

If you feel that your child would benefit from an IEP, the first step is to request a meeting with your child’s school administration. The team responsible for developing IEPs will meet with you and your child to assess their needs and create a plan tailored specifically for them.

What if my child does not have an IEP or 504 plan?

If your child does not have an IEP or 504 plan, you may still be able to get accommodations for them through the school’s disability services department. The best way to find out is to speak with the school administrator or contact the disability services department directly.


There are pros and cons to both IEPs and 504 plans, so it is important for parents to carefully weigh the options and choose the plan that is best for their child. If you have any questions, be sure to talk to your school district or an education lawyer.