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A 504 Plan outlines accommodations and modifications that will help a student progress in the general education classroom and progress within the standard curriculum. Accommodations are often small changes that can make a big difference in accessibility. Examples of common accommodations include sitting up front near the teacher, taking frequent breaks, shortened assignments or extra time on tests. There are hundreds of accommodations to consider, beyond the above. Again, accommodations do not change the curriculum that the student receives. A modification on the other hand DOES change the content of the curriculum and thus alters grade level expectations by either providing the student with alternate skills to master (foundational skills, lower level content) or by shortening the skills the student is required to master in a given timeframe.
It is a misconception to believe that a 504 Plan can only offer minimal support. In reality, the scope of what a 504 Plan can offer is quite substantial. A child with a 504 Plan might receive assistive technology in the general education classroom, a paraprofessional or nurse, special area accommodations/modifications and classroom accommodations/modifications. Children with 504 Plans that have medical needs might have an Emergency Care Plan in place. Students with behavioral struggles who qualify for a 504 Plan, can also have a comprehensive Behavioral Intervention Plan.