Prepping Children with GI Conditions and Their Teachers for the New School Year


Parents everywhere are getting their kids ready for back in school. Whether children are attending school in a classroom setting or e-learning environment, it is crucial to craft an appropriate plan for students impacted by gastrointestinal (GI) concerns. The preparation process encompasses arranging a meeting with your child's school administration to make certain they know the digestive problems affecting your child. Taking preparatory steps in advance also offers the opportunity to create a 504 plan for your child.

About 504 plans

Section 504 is a federal law enacted to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in activities and programs that get federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. According to Section 504, a school district is under obligation to allow for a FAPE ("free appropriate public education") to all qualified students having an impairment in the school district's jurisdiction, whatever the kind or severity of the impairment.

The Section 504 regulation only affects public schools and other organizations that qualify for federal funding. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) grants coverage of Section 504 to all entities at the state and local levels, including non-public schools, irrespective of whether they obtain financial help from the federal government or not. Additionally, this law applies to academic, after-school, and nonacademic (lunch, recess, and assemblies) programs. Overall, a 504 plan makes certain that all students have equal opportunities for activities and learning, despite any qualifying disability.

Follow these tips for filing a Section 504 plan for your student

When it comes to kids who have ongoing digestive problems, the supervisory staff at the school must be informed of such health issues. Initiating a 504 plan enables instructors to be aware and well equipped if a student stays home from school for multiple days or alters their school arrival and departure times because of their GI health-related problem.

  • You can begin the process by collecting paperwork about your student's needs. This often includes written documentation or information that outlines your student's impairment and associated requirements, including medical assessments, evaluations, records, and any further health-related details. Additionally, you may wish to gather any progress reports or other types of school-related documents or assessments.

  • After you have gathered the necessary documentation detailing your student's handicap and accommodations, it is time to draft and provide an official request or correspondence in writing regarding the 504 plan to the person who coordinates 504 plans at your child's school. Generally, this is also the staff member who manages IEPs (Individual Education Plans), which are specific educational plans designed especially for a student with a disability. This information should discuss your child's health diagnosis and any relevant accommodations he/she may need in relation to their digestive problem. It should also provide examples of the types of circumstances they could face throughout the school day and the recommended considerations or accommodations.

  • After you have presented this letter to your student's school administrative team, the 504 plan evaluation proceedings will begin. Throughout this process, the administrative staff will examine the information you provided, like health records, classwork, previous assessments, and additional forms of information. The school administrative team might also want to carry out meetings with you, your child, your child's instructor, or additional administrative team members in accordance with the 504 plan assessment process.

  • Once the Section 504 plan evaluation proceedings are finished, the school administration team will likely request to meet with you and your student to decide their qualification. Parents may also ask for a meeting at this stage as well. In the event your student doesn't qualify for a 504 plan or you cannot come to terms on the content of the plan, you may wish to consider dispute resolution options. If your student does qualify for a Section 504 plan, you will work closely with the administrative officials at your child's school to curate your student's specific plan.

Gastrointestinal conditions can present a variety of challenges for school-aged kids. However, a 504 plan can help ensure their needs are accommodated. At Arizona Digestive Health, our caring GI specialists are passionate about helping parents improve the health and well-being of their little ones. For help with GI issues, please get in touch with our Phoenix, AZ staff today.