Helping disabled students when individualized plans fail

  • Published
  • By Maj. Kevin Normile
  • 445th Airlift Wing Deputy Staff Judge Advocate

Many people know public schools are required to support students with special needs that impact their learning by providing them with an Individualized Education Plan or IEP.

But did you know that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in educational programs that receive federal financial assistance?

This means every, or virtually every, public school in the country is governed by legal requirements regarding the support they provide to students with disabilities.
If you have a child with disabilities not covered by an IEP, you have the ability to put in place a 504 Assessment and Educational Plan which will lay out the medical diagnosis facing your child and outline the challenges and discuss education impacts created by that diagnosis.

It will also allow for the identification of reasonable accommodations to make changes to the physical environment for the student and help reduce the barriers to education.

The Air Force Legal Assistance Program maintains a website for Special Education topics at

The website is a great source for information on these topics and contains links to a number of great resources.

If there is any way that we can assist you with these topics, please feel free to reach out to our office during walk-in hours for legal assistance on Scarlet unit training assembly weekends.

The 88th Air Base Wing Legal Office also provides legal assistance services for service members. You can reach out to them at (937) 257-6142 to ask about eligibility and to schedule your appointment.