Adrenal Insufficiency United has worked to enact legislation to ensure the safety of children in k-12 public schools. In the U.S., Oregon, Virginia, and Tennessee have all passed legislation requiring school staff to be trained in the signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency. The legislation also requires that some select staff be trained in the administration of Solu-Cortef®.
Children with adrenal insufficiency must have a health plan in place. School staff need training on the signs and symptoms of adrenal crisis and how to give the injection. Although many schools are happy to accommodate their AI students, some are reluctant to train staff in the injection. If your child is attending a public school in the U.S., his or her needs must be accommodated.
The first section of this page explains Health plans, Individual Education Plans (IEP), and 504 plans. Following it you’ll find free resources, including our school training PowerPoint and sample health plan.
Understanding Health Plans, 504s and IEPs
- Students with chronic and complex healthcare needs often require specialized care at school to help ensure their health and safety. An Individual Health Plan may be developed by the school nurse as part of the IEP or 504 plan to specifically address your child’s medical needs in the school setting. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Rest breaks
- Carrying electrolyte replacement drinks
- Checking in with the school nurse or health aide
- Plans to take medication while at school
- Emergency plans for staff to inject Solu-Cortef®
- A 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Extended time for assignments
- Help in taking notes
- Special seating
- Behavior plans
- An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services. Adrenal Insufficiency is a chronic condition so children may qualify for an IEP under the OHI (other health impairment) disability category. Here is a bit more information about qualification for an IEP using the OHI (other health impairment) An IEP will include specific learning goals. Children will be tested to determine their strengths and weaknesses in a variety of academic and developmental areas. IEP qualification is based on the testing and your child’s need for specialized instruction. It’s important to understand that your child’s adrenal insufficiency alone is not enough to qualify them for an IEP. The threshold for qualifying differs from state to state and even from district to district. This is an example of an IEP for a child with a chronic medical condition. An IEP may include provisions for:
- One on one assistance
- Instruction in a resource or special education room
- Assisted technology
- Speech and Language services
- Occupational therapy
It can be confusing to figure out which of these your child may need. We have several resources here, but first will try to help explain some of the similarities and differences between these plans.
Q: What’s the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan? Is one better or more appropriate for my child?
A: In order to help make that decision with your child’s school, you need to know about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):
IDEA requires schools to provide all educationally disabled students ages 3-21 with a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). To be eligible for special education under IDEA, a child must have a disability and must need special education and related services. To “need” special education, the child’s disability must affect his or her ability to perform in school so that the child needs specially designed instruction to benefit from his or her education. The school then provides an individualized education program (IEP) that is designed to meet the child’s unique needs and prepare him or her for further education, employment and independent living.
IEP: An individualized education program, including special instruction and related services, designed to meet the child’s unique needs.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504):
If a child has a disability but does not need special education services (specially designed instruction), the child is not eligible for an IEP but may be eligible for a Section 504 plan. A “504 plan” is a plan developed in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, a civil rights law (not an education law) that protects people with disabilities from discrimination in programs and activities, such as public schools, that receive federal funding. A 504 plan provides a student with accommodations, modifications and support services to ensure equal access to education.
Section 504 Plan: Accommodations, modifications, support services to ensure equal access to education.
Susan Coleman, AIU Special Education Consultant, based on information from:
Disabilities Rights Center
(603) 228-0432 or (800)834-1721
Fax: (603) 225-2077
This is not meant to be legal advice. For specific legal advice, please speak to an attorney.
Ten Common Mistakes Parents Make During IEP Meetings An article written by Matt Foley, M.Ed., L.P.C. & DeAnn Hyatt-Foley, M.Ed.
Is your child too young for Kindergarten? Take a look at these resources.
Head Start offers programs for children birth to 5: “A minimum of 10 percent of a program’s total enrollment must be children with disabilities.” Look up the Head Start program in your area.
Early Intervention Wright’s Law “Part C of IDEA requires “to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the child, early intervention services must be provided in natural environments, including the home and community settings in which children without disabilities participate.” (34 CFR §303.12(b)) – See more from Wright’s Law and/or Find contact information for your State.
DOWNLOADS (includes our school training) All of our school information can be found in this file. You may also access some of the more popular downloads listed below.
As a result of legislation the Oregon Public Health Website now includes information about adrenal insufficiency, including AI training videos.
AIU letter for schools: This is a one page letter you may give to your child’s school to help them understand some of the risks associated with adrenal insufficiency.
Sample evaluation request: As a parent/guardian you may request an evaluation for special education. This is a sample letter to use as a template only. Always make sure communication about your child’s health plan, 504 and/or IEPs are in writing.
Sample release: A release you would sign to give permission to the school to administer Solu-Cortef®. Again you would modify this to suit your needs.
A letter from pediatric endocrinologists: Although this letter was written to help pass a law in the state of Oregon the facts contained in it can help school personnel understand the need to train staff in the use of Solu-Cortef®. Our thanks to the Pediatric Endocrinology Department of Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon.
BC Children’s Hospital has some amazing free downloads for Cortisol-Dependent children.
Thank you to our Page Sponsor(s)