What is the Difference Between a PPT and 504 Meeting?
A breakdown of two types of school meetings that can significantly impact their school success.
What is the difference be†ween an IEP and 504 plan?
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of how a child who qualifies for special education services is going to be supported by their educational program. It is designed to meet a child's individual needs and is broken down into various goals and objectives.A child must meet narrow and specific criteria to qualify for an IEP.
A 504 plan is similar to an IEP as it also aims to assist a child with a disability however it is implemented and monitored by classroom teachers and only requires modification to a child's existing curriculum and often does not require differential special services. A broader range of disorders are used to qualify for a 504 where an IEP has a narrower range of disorders.
Why Do We Request IEPs and 504s?
You are concerned the child has a disability that is impacting their education and may require special assistance and accommodations to aid them.
Who Requests Them
They can be requested by anyone who works with the child. This includes a parent, teacher, mentor, coach, doctor, or therapist. Parents are allowed to invite whomever they feel would be helpful during the meeting.
The first step to requesting a PPT meeting would be to submit the request in writing to the principal or school psychologist. The principal is responsible for authorizing the referral. Once this is requested in writing the school is legally obligated to hold a meeting. There is no specific time frame for when the meeting has to be held if it is a review meeting or revised meeting it is only required to be "within a reasonable amount of time". If this is a request for a first time meeting called an initial referral to special education then the school has a 45 school day timeline from the time of request to hold the eligibility meeting, complete the testing, and determine eligibility and then implement the IEP or 504 if qualified.
The Initial Eligibility Meeting
Its important that parents are active participants and can be their own advocates. It is important that parents have come prepared with testing you would like to review and make sure that you have advocated for any special requests and ideas you have to the school beforehand. This gives the school time to be prepared to accommodate these requests and ensures they are prepared to discuss the ability to respond to these requests. Make sure that you have been in communication with teachers, doctors and therapists prior to the meeting so that you as the parent are fully aware of the exact issues. The meeting should actually not be focused on just the problems the child is having. Rather the meeting should focus on the solutions to those problems and how the child can best be supported. The meetings can be overwhelming for any parent therefore preparedness in these areas can greatly improve the effectiveness of this meeting.
If after this meeting it is determined by the school that your child does not need testing, there may be a second meeting set up to explore the possibility of creating a 504 plan for your child.
The parent has a right to request an evaluation by the school. This can be determined before hand by the electability meeting or a parent can request it themselves. An evaluation is psychoeducational testing administered by a combination of a school psychologist, school social worker, special education teacher, speech and language pathologist, or occupational therapist. This could take anywhere from 1.5 hours to multiple school days over a period of weeks. It is important to know that this is done during school hours and your child will be missing classroom time for this testing. The length of time for testing is dependent on the child, their ability to focus, and other factors. This testing addresses issues related to intellectual ability, social emotional functioning, academic functioning, speech and language skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills and more.
After the testing is completed the school should be sending home the results of the test within 5 days (if requested by the parent). Parents should also request a time for the evaluator(s) to go over the testing. This discussion is an important step as the testing results can be confusing. This will greatly assist you as the parent in understanding what the testing means. Also if you go into the eligibility meeting with the testing results already understood, this will give you more time in the meeting to focus on solutions to the testing. If the parent disagrees with the results of the testing the parent has a right to request testing by an independent evaluator. The school however may not be required to pay for this testing and it can be expensive.
Second PPT Meeting
If you child is qualified you may have a second meeting called an eligibility meeting.
Qualified means that the child meets criteria for special education services per the results of the testing. There are certain categories in which a child could fall under in order to qualify. This is when the team determines if the child qualifies for special education. If your child is qualified the team will discuss the services that the child may benefit from in their IEP and will develop specific goals and objectives with any accommodations needed to assist in the child's education.
What If My Child Does Not Qualify
Parents have the right to an Independent Educational Evaluation know as an IEE. The school can offer to provide the IEE at their own costs unless the school believes that a due process meeting (court hearing) is necessary. This would be a case where the school would stand by their evaluation. A hearing officer would review the school's evaluation. If they decide the schools testing was inadequate they would have the school pay for this evaluation. If not the parents would be responsible for paying for the IEE.
Once an IEP has been put in place it will be implemented in 10 days ofter the second PPT meeting. After the child is qualified the child would have an annual review PPT meeting. This meeting would be held a year from the initial eligibility meeting. Every 3 years the child will be reevaluated for additional eligibility for special education services.