May '09 Monthly Bulletin
Meeting held: 5/20/09

Guest Speaker: Paul Stellino
504 Plan Coordinator
Sachem School District (NY)

Informal Question & Answer Session
Tip: click on the green links

1)  What is a 504 Plan?
Only students with a disability or "record" of a disability or who are "regarded as" having a disability are protected under Section 504.  Only children who currently suffer from an impairment substantially limiting learning or another major life activity (like breathing- i.e. Anaphylaxis) are eligible for referral for Section 504 services.   It's purpose is intended to 'level the playing field'. 

2) Have there been any updates to Section 504?
Yes, in January of this year, Section 504 has been expanded to include body functions/systems.  It is still not funded.  Read more at

3)  Have there been any changes about designees for Field Trips?
Yes.  Only the parents are allowed to go on field trips.  They cannot give permission for another caretaker to administer the emergency medications off school grounds.

4)  Does the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001 apply to children with severe food allergies or Eosiniphilic Disorders?
No.  The Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools.

5)  Can I file a grievance with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR)?
Yes.   If the school receives federal funding and does not comply, call 1-800-368-1019 or email or visit to file a complaint online.  The Department's Office of Civil Rights enforces two Federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities receiving financial assistance from the Department.  Title II of the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act (Title II) prohibits discrimination  on the basis of disability by public entities, including public elementary and secondary education systems and local governments, whether or not they receive Federal funds. 

6)  What is "Other Health Impaired" (OHI) classification, and does it apply to a child with severe food allergies or Eosiniphilic Disorders?
Other Health Impaired includes children with Prader Willi , Epilepsy, Williams Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis,  CP, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and more.  These children's rights are protected under the IDEA (PL-94-142) - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  It states that each child should be given a free appropriate public education.  If your child falls under this umbrella, his/her medical needs such as an aide on the bus/at school trained by the school nurse, can be provided with the instructions from the child's physician.

7)  What are some of the accommodations FA children are given?
Some of these children require air purifiers in the classroom.  Students (once age appropriate) are taught to clean table surfaces using gloves and cleaners approved by the Department of Health.  School nurse has a two way walkies to improve communication in an emergency situation.

8)  What if my child's 504 Plan is denied?
If not approved at the meeting, you have due process rights.  Retain a civil rights or educational attorney.  Have all documentation.  If you want your 504 or IEP meeting tape recorded, ask for it in advance.  A 504 Notice is the same as an annual review.  Continue to provide documentation.  You need to demonstrate via medical records that your child still has a life threatening disability.

9)  Does my child need an Individual Health Plan (IHP)?
Yes.  The school nurse should have a meeting with the parents to write it up and include the medical instructions from the allergist, etc.

10)  If my child's private school accepts any federal funding, can I get a 504 Plan?
Yes.  You still have to go to the school district to process it.  Contact your district clerk to find out the contact information of your 504 plan coordinator.

11)  Is my child protected under Section 504 for extra curricular activities before/after school?
If it is sponsored or run by the school, then the answer is Yes.  Your child's medical needs must be accommodated. 

To read more Q & A with Mr. Stellino please read our March '08 Monthly Bulletin and September '07 Monthly Bulletin.  We are truly grateful to Mr. Stellino for taking the time to share his expertise with our organization.


PAK is not a professional or medical organization.  It is a group of parents sharing information and supporting each other.  The discussions, meeting minutes, handouts, guest speakers, agendas, and other products of our support group do not constitute medical/legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.  Always discuss individual health questions and medical issues with a qualified personal physician.
In regard to Guest Speakers, the purpose of the presentations is to provide a variety of opinions on the spectrum on allergy issues. By no means is PAK adopting the views of its speakers, or endorsing them as medically accepted in the community. It is up to the guests to weigh the persuasiveness and acceptability of the presentations, based on their own knowledge and research.

Does your child have severe food allergies?
You've come to the right place.
Photo: Kelli Fuscaldo (PAK's Treasurer), Cristina Stainkamp (PAK's President) &
Paul Stellino (Sachem School District's 504 Plan Coordinator)