Section 504 Plan

The 504 Plan sets out an agreement to make sure the student with diabetes has the same access to education as other children. It is a tool that can be used to make sure that the student, the parents/guardians, and school personnel understand their responsibilities and work through challenges or misunderstandings to avoid problems in the future.

The term "504 Plan" refers to a plan developed to meet the requirements of a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (commonly referred to as "Section 504"). 

Section 504 applies to all public schools and to private schools that receive federal funds. The same plan would also be appropriate under another law that protects students with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA covers all public schools and all private schools except those run by religious institutions. (If the religious institution receives federal funds it is also covered.)

Take a look at the Model 504 Plan available below. Some school districts will have their own 504 plan that they prefer to use. This Model 504 Plan lists a broad range of accommodations that might be needed by a child with diabetes in school. However, each plan should be adapted to the specific needs, abilities, and medical condition of the individual student.

This Model 504 Plan envisions a child with type 1 diabetes who takes insulin by injection. Therefore, the plan would have to be modified for a child with type 2 diabetes and especially for a child who does not take insulin, or for a child who uses an insulin pump. 

All 504 plans should include assurance that there are staff members trained to recognize hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and to respond in accordance with the directions in the child's Diabetes Medical Management Plan.

Other accommodations might include:

  • Assuring that there is staff trained to check blood glucose levels and administer insulin and glucagon.
  • Assuring that any staff member with immediate custodial care of the child is trained to recognize high and low blood sugar levels and knows what he or she is supposed to do in response. This would include staff members such as teachers, coaches, and bus drivers.
  • Allowing the child to test his/her blood sugar level and take necessary actions in response such as administering insulin, or, if the child is not yet able to do so, provisions for who will perform this task.
  • Provisions for where blood sugar levels will be tested and insulin administered.
  • Insuring full participation in all sports, extracurricular activities, and field trips, with the necessary assistance and/or supervision provided.
  • Eating whenever and wherever necessary, including eating lunch at an appropriate time with enough time to finish eating.
  • Taking extra trips to the bathroom or water fountain.
  • Permitting extra absences for medical appointments and sick days when necessary.
  • Making academic adjustments for classroom time missed for medical appointments, testing, or because of periods of high or low blood sugar.
  • Last Reviewed: September 20, 2013
  • Last Edited: November 1, 2013

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast