Migraine Accommodations: The 504 Plan
When I first heard about a 504 plan, I thought Oh that’s just for sick kids. Then it became clear that my child was “one of those kids.” Migraine can be debilitating, and I realized 504 accommodations were needed for her to thrive. Every journey is different, but one common thread is our drive to ensure our child succeeds despite a migraine diagnosis.
Some may believe a 504 plan is unnecessary. The school and teachers have been accommodating without the plan in place. That is wonderful! BUT the day they waver, your child’s health is at risk. My daughter’s school was amazing, until the day they were not. After requesting to go to the nurse, one teacher decided my daughter did not look sick and refused to let her leave the class. By the next period, her migraine had progressed to the point where she vomited in front of her class. After spending the night in the Emergency Room, we realized we needed formal protection.
I cannot understate the huge sense of relief having this plan brought us.
Following these steps, your child could have the plan within about 30 days. Before beginning the process, your child must be diagnosed with a disability, such as a migraine or other headache disorder.
If you do not have a diagnosis, Migraine at School has an easy to use document you can take to your child’s healthcare visit to get the diagnosis you need.
Migraine Accommodations: Steps to get a 504 plan
- Work with your child’s doctor or neurologist to obtain a letter to request the 504 plan, such as this example from Migraine at School: Physician Letter.
- The parent or educator may submit a written request for evaluation.
- Find your contact at your child’s school to begin the evaluation process:
- Check the school website for contacts
- Contact the principal directly
- The school has 30 days to hold the 504 meeting and develop the plan
- In the accommodation setting meeting, bring specific accommodations which your child would benefit from, such as:
- No penalty for absences or tardiness due to migraine
- Flexible due dates and no grade penalty for late work
- Alternate testing (quiet room, verbal instead of written, etc.)
- Being excused from pep rallies, indoor recess, or assemblies that may trigger attacks
- Migraine at School Parent Infographic with Accommodation list
- Once the school team and parents have approved the plan, annual review and updates are necessary to best support your child as they progress through each grade.
- Please note, the 504 may follow your child into college, and they need to advocate for themselves.
Hopefully these steps will remove some of the stress that can be a part of the migraine journey. You can find more resources and information at Migraine at School.
Mary Lou Viola is a Migraine at School Ambassador. Learn more about Migraine at School. If you are interested in becoming a Migraine at School Ambassador, you can sign up here.