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Expert Q&A

Is a child due compensatory services if his general education teacher was given his 504 plan late in the school year?

A general educator was given a 504 plan for a student three days before the end of the school year, which stated that the student is allowed extra time on assignments. Are 504 plans retroactive? Does the teacher need to go back to give the student extra time on past assignments?

Dear Kathleen:

Neither Section 504 plans nor IEPs are automatically retroactive. The 504 or IEP team can build in procedures that allow for some degree of retroactive activity to address a child’s needs. However, if the school should have identified the child as being eligible for an IEP or Section 504 plan earlier, and failed to do so to the detriment of the child’s performance or progress, the parents may argue that the child is entitled to some form of compensatory services to make up for the lost time.

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