504 Plan Roadmap for the Accommodation of a
Student with Celiac Disease

A resource created by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)

This roadmap is not meant to be legal advice nor definitive resource. Rather, it is insight into this process and should be adjusted for individual circumstances.

Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and applies to all institutions receiving federal financial assistance, such as public schools. Under this law, public schools must provide a free appropriate public education and not discriminate against disabled students.

This law acknowledges that the disability may not require special education services but a plan is needed to ensure the student receives an appropriate education accommodating the disability within the classroom. This law must accommodate a special diet, including a gluten-free diet, the only known treatment for celiac disease.





What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a hereditary autoimmune disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. What does this mean? Put simply, the body is attacking itself! Celiac disease is triggered by consumption of the protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the fingerlike villi of the small intestine. When the villi become damaged, the body is unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream.

What is the treatment?

The only treatment for celiac disease is a 100%, life-long gluten-free diet, which means avoiding all forms of wheat, barley and rye. A special caution must be given to oats, which in their natural form do not contain the gluten protein. However, most fields where oats are grown and mills that produce and store oats also manufacture wheat, barley or rye, resulting in crosscontamination. Current research shows that the majority of patients with celiac disease can tolerate oats in their pure, uncontaminated form. It is important that oat consumption be limited to oats with one of the following labels: “pure, uncontaminated oats, ” “gluten-free, ” or “certified gluten-free oats.” It is recommended that oats be introduced under medical supervision and slowly.

Despite these restrictions, people with celiac disease can eat a well-balanced diet that consists of healthy and delicious foods. Even though it may seem impossible to maintain the diet at school, these simple guidelines will ensure that your child has the best possible experience throughout their school years.


GOALS OF THE 504 PLAN -examples

1. Adhering to all aspects of the 504 Plan to avoid gluten.

2. Assisting the child to maintain a stable physiological state void of gluten reactions through preventative measures.

3. Recognizing the signs of a reaction and treating it promptly in all school contexts.

4. Striking a balance between safety and social normalcy, providing the same opportunities and conditions as the child’s peers, and offering encouragement to the child.

5. Encouraging open and on-going communication among adults about food intolerance issues and doing so discretely and in the appropriate forum.


The basic question to be answered and discussed in this section: What kind of training needs to take place to promote education, awareness and reaction prevention in the school context? Types of Education, Awareness and Reaction Prevention:


A plan should be made for communication amongst those on the team and possibly include a provision for parents to be included in all communication about this subject. The most important conduits in the communication management plan will between the parents and the school cafeteria or food provider and the parents and the homeroom or primary teacher. A communication plan should be available in the event a substitute is covering a class.


Nurse or Medical Department

Art Room

Food Services

Field Trips

Teachers will communicate to parent if food will be provided as part of field trip. Parent will determine whether food is gluten-free and/or provide student with a safe alternative. Parents will have the option of keeping a child home if no provisions can be made without penalty to the student.

Some other topics to be considered in this section:

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness P.O. Box 544, Ambler, PA 19002
215‐325‐1306 www.CeliacCentral.org info@celiaccentral.org