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IEP VS 504-with OHI which is better or needed?

Rebecca S

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My son has an IEP for speech, which he has mastered, and they have kept him on to get him approved for an OHI IEP. We are in TN, and I have had an increasingly difficult time in our school district with accommodations. He has ASD and was diagnosed with GAD also last year he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder in his colon. He is 7 and not potty trained, which has been a problem with the school. He is in Gen Ed, high functioning and they do not provide any kind of assistance. He is expected to go to the bathroom and take care of all his needs on his own, the problem is he won't. I was told due to the medical conditions he needs a 504 but the school is attempting to do an OHI IEP.  I guess my question is 3 parts, can I ask for accommodations or some kind of aid in this matter, which would be better for him to have a 504 or an IEP, or can he have both? I am not new to this, but I have received very little assistance in advocating for my son and his rights, even from local Special Education advocacy groups. All my knowledge has been self-research and what knowledge I have gleamed from others. Any direction would be helpful. His meeting is tomorrow so this may not even get answers until after, but it may help me later. 

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504s are quicker to put in place.  Using the nurse's bathroom & having assistance with cleaning up bowel movements makes sense at his age (and until around 12 or 13 when he can clean himself up - might be later w/ ASD and it being a developmental delay).  This is an accommodation.  Bathroom is not something an aide (unless they are a PCA) can help with - laws might be different where you are.

Most schools don't do both.  Any 504 type accommodations can go into an IEP.  See if he qualifies for the IEP.  This tends to take 100 days.  It he qualifies, put the accommodations with the bathroom into the IEP.

For a long time, I was following an incontinence group and kids really can't do an adequate job with cleaning up bowel movements w/o showering.  If there is poop on the skin & a pee accident, this is how diaper rash develops.  You might need documentation from his doctor to get the school do provide the help he needs.  (Schools are data driven.  You can ask if they have assessed how well he cleans himself so you can review their data on how he's able to do this himself.  If you don't think their data is accurate, you can ask for an IEE at school expense but this might not work with a 504.  Asking for their data is where to start.)

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I'm actually involved in a similar situation right now where the pursuance of both is happening at once. I recommend going ahead and pursuing the 504 now. It is generally better for medical-related issues if there isn't any real academic worries. 

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