Section 504 is the section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that applies to persons with disabilities. It is a civil rights act that protects the civil rights of persons with disabilities including Asperger’s Disorder. It also protects students with disabilities from harassment. For practical purposes, what Section
504 means to you is that public schools cannot discriminate against your child and must make “reasonable accommodations and modifications” for his disability. It is designed to level the playing field for individuals with disabilities and to ensure that they have the same access to learning that individuals without disabilities have.
For most students with Asperger’s Disorder, the reason to obtain Section 504 is that the child does not need a special education setting but is in need of accommodations and modifications in order to be successful in school. Section 504 makes allowances, modifications, and/or accommodations to help the child with Asperger’s Disorder compensate in areas where their disorder causes a significant negative impact on their educational performance.
Children who have Asperger’s Disorder but do not meet criteria under IDEA are often eligible for assistance under Section 504. If a child is qualified under IDEA, he is automatically qualified under Section 504; however, the reverse is not true.