Setting up special accommodations for my daughter’s education

As I have mentioned numerous times on my blog, Lexie has a variety of medical issues. The only ones affecting her daily life right now are her eczema and allergies.

At six, her eczema has really gotten under control. Her skin is looking better, and we haven’t been doing anything different. She puts Vaseline on before baths, and that is about it. It still mainly affects her legs with her ankles being the worst.

As for her allergies, they still cause her to scratch some, but we just deal with it and dutifully give her antihistamines daily. Actually all summer, I gave her no medications, and she did fine. It wasn’t until middle August that something made her start itching again. It is always worst August and September, for some reason. (For those of you who don’t know Lexie’s history, she was diagnosed at age 2 with being allergic to a long list of things, so there is little chance we will pinpoint what causes the flare up during these months.)

I am not sure what triggered the school to flag Lexie as someone who needs extra attention. But last year, I received a Section 504 notice. This was in reference to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under Section 504, schools must provide individuals with disabilities accommodations to help them receive an education equal to that of the other students.

I had no clue that her allergies would qualify her for that, but it does. I guess they consider allergies – especially a possible life-threatening one (Lexie received an epi pen 18 months ago) to be a physical issue that they needed to make a plan for even though I don’t think they limit her life activities in a way that garners special attention.

For whatever reason, last year we had a meeting with the counselor, principal, her teacher, and the nurse to discuss what the school needed to do to accommodate Lexie. I told them of her medical history, and that she had been to preschool without any problems. There really wasn’t much that needed to be done besides watch for allergic reactions and try to curb her desire to scratch.

Earlier this month, I had our annual review on her 504 plan. Now this came three days after meeting with Lexie’s teacher to discuss her involvement in RAP – a reading program that Jase did last year. It is designed to help those students who need extra help with reading.

On Lexie’s reading test in September, she was assessed at a reading level of D. This level is an end of kindergarten/beginning of first-grade level. I would think this is an appropriate level but guess not. Her teacher thinks she would benefit from the extra reading help. And as I did with Jase, I gave my approval. How could I not want them to read better?

So now her enrollment in RAP is part of her 504 accommodations even though it has no correlation to her physical “disability.” They are also offering to tutor her during school hours if she needs it. But these are all things that would have been offered even if she didn’t have allergies. Now it is just written down in the records- in case someone wanted to complain that she wasn’t being treated fairly.