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Section 504 Plan for Food Allergies

Section 504 Plan for Food Allergies

504 plan for food allergies

Why do you want to have a Section 504 plan for food allergies in place at school for your child’s food allergies and asthma? 

This article is the highlight reel from an interview about setting up a 504 plan for food allergies and asthma on The Itch Podcast with Kristin M. Osborne, a Trained Disability Advocate and founder of The Prioritized Group. Listen to the full interview on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Play.

At Zestfull, we believe a 504 plan for food allergies is one of the many important tools in your food allergy tool kit that will help your child thrive not just survive. Check out our other tips for teens. what we keep in our food allergy first aid kit and why we think you should teach your food allergy kids to cook!

What is a 504 plan for food allergies? 

The plan is from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is a law that says there can’t be any discrimination in schools based on disabilities such as food allergies, asthma, ADHD, or a child who may have a physical impairment.

The 504 plan for food allergies is tailored to make sure that the student has the ability to learn in the classroom without their disability, impacting them. The accommodations are set up to help protect the student and the school. 

It is suggested parents set up a 504 food allergies plan the moment their child enters the school system. Note that a 504 plan for allergies is for preschool, elementary school, or high school that is federally funded. If your child attends another form of schooling, ask what they have in place that is equivalent to a 504 Plan. 

What do you need to qualify for a 504 plan for allergies?

If you think your child would benefit from a 504 plan for allergies in school, make sure that you ask for an eligibility meeting with your school. Eligibility includes that your student has a physical, or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, such as but not limited to, breathing, walking, or speech. 

Meeting with a 504 coordinator to discuss food allergy accommodations

When outlining the 504 accommodations for food allergies you would like to see for your child, it is important to make sure that you put your accommodations in writing as opposed to giving a verbal request. The best is to always follow up in an email. Send it to the administrator and the 504 coordinator. In all public schools, there is a 504 coordinator for each individual school. There is also a 504 administrator or director that oversees the county or school system.

TIP: It is always good to leave a paper trail in the form of a 504 for food allergies

Even if you have a great relationship with a teacher or administrator, having a 504 for food allergies is important. The 504 plan lists all food allergy accommodations in a very detailed manner.

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It is also been helpful for parents to print out and distribute FARE’s Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan (formerly known as the Food Allergy Action Plan). Many schools will post this for your child in appropriate classrooms or in the school or nurse’s office.

What to include in a 504 plan for food allergies

  • A 504 food allergies plan includes no food in the classroom .
  • Your child sits at the free-from table in the cafeteria.
  • You are given advance notice whether it’s 48 hours or 72 hours, of food being included in an activity. In addition, you have access to reading ingredient labels on packaged foods.
  • There is a safe snack list all parents use for celebrations involving food.   
  • Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care plan (formerly known as the Food Allergy Action Plan) is posted and distributed to school staff with a picture of your child. This form by FARE outlines recommended treatment in case of an allergic reaction. It is signed by your child’s physician and includes emergency contact information.

Common examples of 504 plan for asthma:

  • For children who have difficulties during certain seasons and miss a lot of school, the 504 plan for asthma is essential. It states that when the student returns to school due to an asthma-related illness, they have 50 percent more time to turn in their work or complete a project. They can also ask for additional time to complete a test as soon as they return.
  • Your child can self-carry their rescue inhaler.
  • In physical education (P.E.), your child is exempt from certain activities.

What happens if the 504 for food allergies is violated?

Typically, if the 504 for food allergies is violated, first listen and ask, was it a miscommunication on the school’s part? Do they need to be reminded again? Does this continue to happen? Did they blatantly disregard the accommodation?

Next use Kristin’s honey and hot sauce method. First, you bring the honey by initially reiterating the accommodation. Do this via email. Suggest how things could be better next time. If you have done this multiple times, then it is time to bring out the hot sauce. This can look like taking the case to the district-wide 504 coordinator. A 504 coordinator is someone who understands the legal side of a 504 plan and how it should be executed. Typically most problems are resolved on that level.

But if that’s not the case, then talk to the office of civil rights. Again, most issues are resolved on a lower level.

A 504 food allergies plan need to be renewed every year. A pro tip is to bring your child with you to the meeting. This will help your child learn more about how to advocate for themselves. Also, it will help all the parties involved see the person who needs the accommodations. There is nothing more powerful than having your child explain to the staff why they need accommodations. And in turn, how they feel when they are not met. 


Listen to our food allergy podcast episode wherever you get your podcasts!


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