If you are the parent of a child with learning challenges, you have probably heard of two terms commonly recommended in special education as alternatives to traditional public schooling: 504 Plans and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Both involve custom curriculums and provide assistance for students facing significant obstacles to learning in a traditional classroom environment.

They have been proven to be effective at enhancing literacy development and strengthening skills in school and in life. However, even with personalized education plans, students with learning disabilities such as ADHD and dyslexia may still find it challenging to keep up.

Key Differences

 It is a common misconception that 504 Plans and IEPs are exactly the same. Though they have the same basic function, they work differently in practice. It is important to be aware of the key differences between the programs before you choose to implement one of them into your child’s academic life since the change can be drastic and potentially stressful.

Both 504 Plans and IEPs are blueprints for a specific student’s success in accordance with their disability. However, while an IEP is quite individual, a 504 Plan intends to remove more barriers for the student to enable him or her to learn alongside their peers. Individualized education provides additional services. In the state of Michigan, both programs are offered at no cost to the family.

Alternatives to Traditional Education

504 Plans and IEPs are most commonly integrated into public K-12 classrooms, but only independent day schools like Lake Michigan Academy can provide multisensory learning and one-on-one tutoring by educational staff with specialized knowledge in common learning differences.

Reorienting your son or daughter’s academic future may require more than a simple adjustment in the classroom. There is no harm in taking a tour of a local day school and inquiring about how an environment like Lake Michigan Academy can help your child succeed academically.