School and Pedi IBD
It is important for parents
of children with Pedi IBD to know that their child is in a
safe and comfortable environment when at school.
of Pedi IBD allows a child to receive accommodations at school
that can help to make his or her day easier, more comfortable
and less stressful.
Legal protections for children with Pedi IBD
of children with Pedi IBD often consider whether or not requesting
accommodations for health related issues at school is right
for their family. Knowing what laws are in place to protect
and help students with special health needs, such as Pedi IBD,
can be useful when making this decision.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 ensures that no child can be denied access to
education because of a physical disability at any institution
that receives federal funds.
This Act gives parents the legal
right to set up a 504 Plan with their child’s school that will
accommodate any special physical or health related needs a
child with Pedi IBD may have.
This means that your child with Pedi IBD cannot be excluded
from taking part in any school activity including
- classes, field trips, school sponsored clubs and athletics
A 504 Plan helps to make sure that your child is able to participate
in all of these activities with the least amount of disease
A 504 Plan is a formal agreement between parents and school
personnel that outlines any necessary accommodations or ways
to make your child’s life at school as easy to manage as possible.
A 504 Plan lists all accommodations related to your child’s
special health needs, in this case a diagnosis of Pedi IBD.
A 504 Plan is used by a general education student who is not
eligible for or does not need special education services.
Individuals With Disabilities Act or IDEA (enacted
IDEA also requires that all children have the same access
to public education regardless of disability. This Act gives
parents the legal right to set up
- an Individualized Education Program or IEP
An IEP allows parents and school administration to create
a plan that outlines any and all accommodations a child may
need in order
- to reach his or her educational goals
An IEP is used primarily to address the needs of a child with learning
disabilities who, for example, may need more time to
take tests or finish assignments.
The Americans With Disabilities Act or ADA (enacted
The ADA sets out very similar regulations to Section
504 and IDEA regarding equal access to education regardless
of disability. The ADA further extends legal access to education
by requiring institutions that do not receive federal funds
to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities.
If your child attends a school run by a religious organization,
the above Acts may not apply and the school may not be legally
bound to provide a 504 Plan.
It is important to remember that
even when a school is not legally required, most schools are
willing to work out a written plan to accommodate any special
health needs your child may have related to their diagnosis
of Pedi IBD.
Developing a 504 Plan
for Your Child
If you decide to develop a 504 Plan
to accommodate your child’s health needs, it can be helpful
- meet with your child’s school team before the beginning
of every school year
It can also be helpful to begin the process by contacting
your child’s school principal
- 4-5 weeks before school starts to request a meeting
By having a 504 Plan in place from the beginning, you and
your child can be better prepared to deal with any problems
relating to Pedi IBD that might come up later in the school
When a diagnosis of Pedi IBD happens after the school year
has started, it is possible to set up a meeting as soon as
you know that your child may need special health accommodations.
Having a 504 Plan can help to make sure your child is able
to fully participate in all school activities with as little
disease related anxiety as possible.
Developing a 504 Plan for your child requires that you and
your child’s school staff work as a team.
school staff members may participate in developing a 504 Plan
and may participate in a 504 Plan meeting.
- Section 504 Coordinator (required in every public school
- teacher(s) for all subjects including physical education
- school nurse or Health Administrator
- school administration (principal, assistant principal)
- food service director
- athletic director
- your child’s primary care provider (PCP)
- your child’s gastroenterologist (GI)
Documents to bring to 504 Plan meeting
- Letter from your child’s PCP or GI outlining
- what Pedi IBD is
- what problems may arise in school because of the disease
- all medications or treatments your child is currently
- 504 Plan template with Pedi IBD language written in
- Emergency Information Form for Children With Special Health
Find a 504 Plan template with Pedi IBD language written in here
Accommodations for a child with Pedi IBD
For a child
with Pedi IBD, accommodations in the 504 Plan can include:
- emergency access to bathroom / any time bathroom pass
- access to private bathroom facilities if available
- storing emergency items in nurse or other staff office
- eating small snacks/ drinks throughout the day
- no penalty for tardiness or absence because of medical
appointments or illness
- rescheduling project/exam deadlines
- assistance making up for missed classroom time/assignments
- home-tutoring for extended periods of absence
Find a complete list of accommodations here
Taking Medications at School
Guidelines regulating the administration of medications in
schools have been developed by both
- state health departments
- local school administrations
It is important to know exactly what guidelines your child’s
school follows when giving medications to students.
You may request a copy of the school’s district or state-level
- Department of Health in your state
Contact info available through the CDC
- School Administrative Offices (city/town/county)
The school’s medication administration plan outlines:
- school staff members allowed to administer medications
(licensed/unlicensed – school nurse, health aid, secretary)
- where prescription medications taken at school can be stored
- where prescription medications can be given
- if the guidelines allow students to take medications on
- policy regarding non-prescription medications
- what documentation is required
The following documentation is usually required before your
child will be allowed to take medication at school:
- medication order from student’s licensed healthcare provider
- consent, in writing, from parent(s)
It is important to find out directly from your child’s school
what, if any, additional documentation is needed.
Parents can request that the school keep an updated
- medication log listing date/time/dose of all medications
given at school
- medication error log listing date/reason for any missed
Schools may require that you submit a new medication order
and parent consent form if your child’s medications change
during the school year.
Who to Contact for Help with
To find assistance by state
To contact the United States Department of Education directly
- US Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Advocacy for Patients With Chronic Illnesses Blog