Childhood Cancer

Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Some children, whether on or off treatment, may be eligible for services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This civil rights law applies when a child has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. The Section 504 team at the school determines whether a child is eligible based on the findings and recommendations of the treatment team about how the illness and treatment affects functions required for school participation. For example, a child in treatment might need a Section 504 Accommodation Plan that provides:

  • Exemption from regular attendance/tardy policies
  • A school-based health plan
  • Reduced homework when ill or hospitalized
  • Occupational, physical, or speech therapy

The list above describes accommodations made during treatment. However, Section 504 is also frequently used when a child who is off treatment has disabilities that do not meet the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (described below) but who do have impairments that limit one or more major life activity. For example, a child with processing problems might need a Section 504 Plan to obtain necessary accommodations, such as elimination of timed tests, more time to finish written assignments, and less homework. A written 504 Plan should specifically lay out all of the accommodations and educational services that will be provided to your child.