How to Prepare Children with GI Issues and Their Teachers for Back to School


Parents across the nation are preparing to ready their kids for the upcoming school year, either in a classroom setting or an e-learning platform. It's vital to make the necessary arrangements for kids who are affected by gastrointestinal (GI) diseases or conditions. Preparation efforts entail scheduling a meeting with your child's school administrative officials to make sure they are familiar with the digestive problems experienced by your little one. Making preparations before the school year begins also creates an opportunity for a 504 plan for your student.

What is a 504 plan?

Section 504 is a federal law that was created to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial help from the U.S. Department of Education. Under this regulation, a school district is under obligation to allow for a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each eligible student who has a disability in the school district's domain, regardless of the form or severity of the handicap.

Section 504 only affects public schools and additional organizations that receive federal financial support; the ADA (American with Disabilities Act) extends Section 504 coverage to all state and local entities, including non-public educational establishments, regardless of whether or not they receive financial aid from the federal government. In addition, this regulation encompasses academic, nonacademic-based (lunch, assemblies, and recess), and after-school activities. Therefore, a 504 plan guarantees every child has the same access to activities and learning, even in the presence of any qualifying disability.

Tips for filing a Section 504 plan for your child

When it comes to students experiencing chronic GI conditions, the school supervisory staff must be aware of your child's medical issue. Initiating a 504 plan lets faculty be aware and appropriately prepared if your student is out of school several times or modifies when they arrive at/leave school due to their gastrointestinal-related condition.

  • The first step is to compile the necessary documentation that pertains to the child’s disability and needs. This may include written information or documentation surrounding your child's handicap and associated accommodations, such as medical assessments, records, evaluations, and further health-related details. Additionally, you could put together any academic-related documents or assessments, such as progress reports.

  • Next, you should write and submit an official letter or request regarding the 504 plan to the school's administration or 504 coordinator. Oftentimes, this is also the person who manages IEPs (Individual Education Plans). IEPs are detailed educational plans created especially for a child who has a disability. Such a letter should detail your child's medical diagnosis and any associated arrangements you are requesting for your student as it relates to their digestive condition. This documentation should also include the types of situations they might encounter throughout the school day and the ideal action plan.

  • When you have submitted this letter to your student's school administrators, the 504 plan evaluation proceedings will commence. Throughout this evaluation, the school administrators will study the information you submitted, including health files, previous schoolwork, previous evaluations, and other forms of information. The school administrators might also request to meet with you, your student, your child's instructor, or further administrative staff members to complete this evaluation process.

  • When the 504 plan evaluation proceedings are over, the school will most likely set up a meeting with you and your child to determine their eligibility. Guardians can also ask to schedule a meeting at this stage as well. If your student doesn't qualify for a Section 504 plan or you cannot come to terms with the content of the plan, you may wish to contemplate dispute resolution proceedings. In the event your child is approved for a 504 plan, you and the administrative team at the school will develop your child's custom plan.

Digestive concerns can cause a variety of challenges for school-aged children. But a 504 plan can help make certain their needs are met. For help with diagnosing gastrointestinal conditions in children, please contact a GI Alliance location near you today.