Helping your children reach their goals in school with an IEP or 504 plan

School provides a chance for children to learn about the world around them and make friends. CGD shouldn’t stand in their way. However, long hospitalizations or absences from school due to infections may require special accommodations. Schools use 2 programs to support your child. These are called an individualized education program (IEP) or a 504 plan. This table can help you decide which program is right for your child. You can also download a copy of the table for yourself by clicking Download below.

IEP/504 Plan Guide

A side-by-side comparison of the 2 support programs available for school children


504 plan and IEP icon

Support plans for your child

IEP 504

What is it?

A written plan customized to support students aged 3 to 22 years

A written document for any student in public school who has a disability

Who is eligible?

Student must fit 1 of 13 disability categories

Student can have any disability, including physical or mental impairment 

What’s in the plan?

Document outlines goals that include:

  • Current school performance
  • Goals for the year
  • Outline of special help the student will receive, including more time to complete tests

Doesn’t have to be written or list specific goals, but includes:

  • Specific accommodations for the student to participate in the classroom
  • Who will provide services and support
  • Who is responsible for making sure the plan is carried out

Who creates the plan?

By law, a multiperson team including:

  • The parent
  • The student’s teacher
  • A special education teacher
  • A school psychologist
  • A special education services representative
  • Sometimes the child

No legal standard regarding who is involved, but typically includes:

  • The parent
  • The general classroom teacher
  • A special education teacher
  • The school principal

How often is progress reviewed?

Required at least once a year

Not required, but usually once a year 

How much does it cost?

No cost to families

No cost to families

Learn more to do more

You can get more information about IEPs at the US Department of Education website. The Department of Education also offers helpful information about 504 plans to get you started.

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