Going Back to School With a 504 Plan on Standby
School is about to start — at least that’s the plan as of this week. With such havoc in our world, plans for students to return to school are ever-changing.
My 14-year-old son, Caeleb, will enter high school this fall. His school has a plan for three groups of students to attend two days in a row on an alternating schedule. Their in-person class day ends at 11:30 a.m. It sounds like the best possible way to start school given the current circumstances.
Caeleb has a 504 plan in place that serves him well. A 504 plan is a set of accommodations that helps students with medical needs. The plan is tailored to each individual to provide the help they need to be successful in the classroom despite their medical condition.
Caeleb benefitted from a 504 plan when he was wheelchair-bound for over a year. It allowed him to sit in a certain area of the classroom that had more space, and he had extra time to move between classes.
Absences were an issue, as Caeleb spent a great deal of time in the hospital. Having a 504 plan in place protected him, as he had more absences than were allowed for students without medical disabilities. As Caeleb prepares to start high school during this challenging time, I am thinking about how a 504 plan will continue to benefit him.
Although Caeleb will physically attend school for only a half day, it is extremely important to keep his 504 plan in place. If he has an accident and endures prolonged bleeding in a joint, he may miss several days of school. A 504 plan, with the appropriate accommodations for extended time to turn in makeup work, gives him the opportunity to keep his grades up while he deals with the repercussions of his bleeding disorder. The truth is that at any moment, Caeleb could need to use a wheelchair again.
I do everything possible to ensure that both of my sons do not live in fear of hemophilia. I am not overprotective or fearful, but it is my duty as a mom to think ahead about all possibilities and to be prepared. I hope that Caeleb doesn’t need to rely on his 504 plan to keep up with his class, but if hemophilia takes control of his life, he will be prepared with every opportunity.
For more information about requesting a 504 plan, contact your school guidance counselor. Your local hemophilia treatment center also is a great resource for back-to-school issues.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.