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A medical or outside diagnosis of Autism doesn't automatically qualify your child to receive school-based services, accommodations or modifications. The child must have a separate, school-based evaluation in order to determine what services and/or accommodations or modifications your child is eligible to receive. This evaluation process, as well as ensuring on-going, appropriate supports in the school system, can be a difficult process. Being familiar with the processes and your child's rights can help ensure they are getting appropriate supports and services.
In order to receive school-based services and/or accommodations, a child either needs to qualify for a 504 plan or an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). While both serve as a plan for what will help your child at school; an IEP is a part of Special Education, where as a 504 plan (or Individual Accommodation Plan/IAP) is not part of Special Education. An Individualized Education Plan dictates special education services and related services that are tailored to the child's unique needs. A 504 plan, or Individual Accommodation, is just how it sounds---accommodations that are tailored to your child's needs. The student's with IEP's rights are protected under Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), which is a federal law. A student with a 504 also has protection through federal law: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
For more information on the school evaluation process, visit https://www.autism-society.org/what-is/diagnosis/school-evaluation/
For more information about your child's rights at school, visit https://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/academic-success/
For more information about the differences between a 504 plan and an IEP, please visit https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/504-plan/the-difference-between-ieps-and-504-plans
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