504 Evaluations of Students on IHCP

Students who have IHCPs cannot be categorically excluded from consideration under Section 504 just because they are receiving health services via an IHCP. Given the scope of the definition of disability under Section 504 after the passage of the ADAAA, districts should reconsider whether students previously not considered disabled or in need of services under Section 504, because the needs were met though an IHCP, are disabled under the expanded definition and whether the student may also be in need of Section 504 services or procedural protections under Section 504.

When determining whether to refer a student with an IHCP for a Section 504 disability determination, the school should consider whether the student needs Section 504 special education and related services because of a health-related impairment.

When evaluating a student with an IHCP, the Section 504 team must determine whether the student would be substantially limited by his or her impairment without the provision of services listed in the student's IHCP or any other mitigating measure utilized by or for the student. This analysis must be conducted to satisfy the mitigating measures rule contained in the ADAAA. The Section 504 team should carefully review and consider all available medical and nursing information, as well as other relevant data gathered from a variety of sources. The Section 504 team should consider all relevant educational factors for each student individually, as well as, the following factors:
  • Frequency of IHCP services
  • Intensity of the required IHCP services
  • Complexity of the required IHCP services
  • Health and safety risk to the student if IHCP services are not provided or are provided incorrectly

If the student is disabled under Section 504 because the student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, the Section 504 team must then determine whether the student needs a Section 504 plan. Once a district determines that a student has a Section 504 disability, the use of mitigating measures (e.g., IHCP) may be relevant in determining whether the student needs a plan to have his or her educational needs met as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students. While the ameliorative effects of the IHCP cannot be considered in determining whether a particular student has a disability under Section 504, the IHCP can be considered in determining whether the student is in additional need of a Section 504 plan. The extent of a school district's obligation to make reasonable modifications or to provide educational accommodations is fact dependent and requires a case-by-case analysis. Not every student with an IHCP that is determined to be disabled will need a Section 504 plan.

If the team determines that the disabled student with an IHCP requires, in addition to an IHCP, educational accommodations or services to address academic, social, emotional, physical or behavioral needs in order to meet the student's educational needs as adequately as those of nondisabled students are met, the student would be entitled to a Section 504 plan. Even if the student does not need a plan, the student will receive the procedural protections afforded to students who have a qualifying disability under Section 504 and cannot be discriminated against solely on the basis of his or her disability.

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