How to Prep Students with GI Problems and Their Teachers for the New School Year


Families across the nation are preparing to get their kids back in school, whether in the traditional classroom or via e-learning. When school-aged kids suffer from chronic gastrointestinal (GI) issues, it's vital to carry out the necessary arrangements to help ensure they are safe and comfortable throughout the school day. Advanced preparation consists of meeting with your child's school administrative staff to confirm they recognize the GI conditions experienced by your student. Preparing before the school year begins also creates the opportunity for a 504 plan for your child.

What is a Section 504 plan?

Section 504 is a federal law enacted to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities who take part in activities and programs that receive federal financial help from the U.S. Department of Education. According to Section 504, a school district must ensure a FAPE ("free appropriate public education") to each qualified student having an impairment within the school district's domain, irrespective of the kind or severity of the handicap.

The Section 504 regulation only affects public educational establishments and additional entities that qualify for federal financial support; the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) extends Section 504 coverage to all state and local entities, which includes private educational establishments, regardless of whether or not they get financial support from the federal government. Furthermore, this law includes nonacademic-based (recess, lunch, and assemblies), after-school, and academic forms of activities. Thus, a 504 plan makes certain every child has the same opportunities for activities and education, even with any qualifying impairment.

Tips on completing a 504 plan on behalf of your child

In the instance of kids with chronic digestive concerns, the supervisory team at the school should be made aware of such a medical diagnosis. Creating a 504 plan allow teachers to be alert and adequately prepared in the instance that your student stays home from school for several days or adjusts when they arrive at or leave school on account of their digestive health-related concerns.

  • The first step is to compile the appropriate documentation about your child’s disability and needs. This typically includes written documentation or information that describes your student's handicap and necessary accommodations, including health records, assessments, evaluations, and any additional health-related information. Furthermore, it's a good idea to gather any progress reports or other types of academic-related assessments of paperwork.

  • Once you've assembled the necessary particulars detailing your child's impairment and accommodations, you should write and provide an official letter or request for the 504 plan to the administrative staff at the school, including the Section 504 plan coordinator. Oftentimes, this is also the staff member who manages Individual Education Plans (IEPs). IEPs are detailed educational plans established specifically for a student who has a disability. Such a request should describe the type of medical diagnosis and any related arrangements your child may have in relation to the GI issue being requested. It should also contain examples of the types of situations they could experience during the school day and the ideal actions for when such a scenario occurs.

  • When you have submitted this information to the school administrative staff, the 504 plan evaluation process will get underway. During this process, the school administrators will go over the documentation you offered, such as medical files, previous classwork, evaluations, and other forms of information. The school administrative staff may also wish to conduct meetings with you, your child, your student's teacher, or further administrative team members during the 504 plan assessment process.

  • Upon completion of the 504 plan evaluation process, the school administration team will likely ask for a meeting with you and your student to further determine their eligibility. You may also ask for a meeting at this stage as well. Should your child not qualify for a Section 504 plan or you cannot come to terms on the content of the plan, you could consider a dispute resolution approach. In the event your child does qualify for a Section 504 plan, you and the administrative team at the school will then move forward with working out the details of your student's personal plan.

Digestive conditions can carry a challenge for children while at school. However, a Section 504 plan can help make certain their needs are accommodated and met. At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, our caring gastrointestinal doctors are dedicated to helping families increase the health and well-being of their little ones. For assistance with digestive problems, please contact our Tulsa, OK gastrointestinal specialists.