Special Needs

Intro ? IEP vs 504

Hi ladies! I'm not totally new here as I lurked quite a bit when my son was a toddler then took a break from the boards.

Our story: DS is 4 1/2 and was in EI starting at 10mths for mainly hypotonia gross motor delays. He eventually transitioned to an integrated special needs preschool. He is currently in his 2nd yr there.

His issues have always been mainly physical with some attention issues now presenting as he grows. He was late on almost every physical milestone: rolling, crawling,walking but with pt/ot met each one. His speech has always age appropriate with no delays and socially he is appropriate and we have no concerns there.

We've seen a few specialists but mainly neuro. We have no dx. Our neuro believes we will probably not ever get a firm dx, that there is most likely some sort of "glitch" in his brain that is causing his phyiscal delays. He continues to improve with therapy.We have come to terms with the fact that while we may never know the "why" we can adapt to help him succeed.

Fast forward to now...we just had an IEP meeting. His teacher says he is on track cognitively. He is bright,funny,eager to participate and hitting all the pre k academic goals. Gross motor is delayed but much improved. His big issue is fine motor, he is "significantly delayed". They do not think he will close the gap enough before K. He is "not even close" per his OT. He still has attention issues but these are slowly improving from last year.

Now finally my question! The school does not think he will get an IEP b/c he has no formal dx. Right now he is developmental delay only. The school will be testing him in Dec to see if they can come up with something. His OT thinks he absolutely needs support but thinks he will probably end up with a 504. She thinks he most likely has dyspraxia. His head teacher agrees but both stressed they are not doctors and this is just an opinion. We also think this may be his issue. Without making this post any longer it's like his mind knows exactly what to do but his body doesn't follow through. Almost like the signal gets lost from his brain to his muscles. This is most clear when he trys to write. He gets so mad at himself and says things like "that's not where I wanted my line to go!" Hard to hear as his mom :

Who can dx dyspraxia? We want our own eval to bring to the table in the spring when he transitions to K.

What is the difference between an IEP and a 504?

Thanks so much for anyone who made it through this and can answer my questions! I truly appreciate it.

Re: Intro ? IEP vs 504

  • I hope I am answering all of your questions.  First of all, you don't need a formal dx to have an IEP.  Legally they don't require formal dx to get an IEP.  They do require a formal dx for somethings but not for everything.  You would need a doctor to write something if your child was visually impaired, hearing impaired, on the autistic spectrum, etc but you don't HAVE to have a formal diagnosis to have an IEP.  My twins didn't have anything formal but we knew they had educational needs.  You also might have a kid with a formal diagnosis but it doesn't impact their educational day.  That kid wouldn't have an IEP.  

    Technically, a neurologist can diagnose dyspraxia but most around here will not touch developmental issues.  Most around where I am will formally diagnose a seizure disorder or neurological issue similar but will tell you to see a developmental pediatrician for anything developmental.  

     IMO, an IEP has more teeth to it.  It is going to hold more weight as far as upkeep, etc.  If a child has an educational impact due to a delay, etc an IEP would be in order.  They should do educational testing to determine where his levels are and what the impact to his educational day would be.  They can not exit a kid without formal testing.  A 504 is set up more for a kid that has a medical issue, such as ADHD, asthma, etc where they might need some accommodations and modifications to their day to be more successful but don't need specially designed instruction (an IEP) to have that success.

  • Thanks so much to you both for your replies! This board continues to be such a great resource for me and I hope to be more active as I gain more knowledge. Right now I'm pretty confused as to what our next step is. At the very least we will work at a dev pedi referral and go from there.

    I feel like he will fail in a large K class 22 kids is the avg class size in our district without support. The fine motor is our main issue but his attention is not great; slowly improving but not where it should be. Right now there are 8 kids in his class, one teacher 2 paras. I'm worried that a 504 won't get him what he needs.

    Basically I think he will definitely need OT and a para for some of the desk work. Will a 504 get him this? I'm so confused!!!!

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