High school can be one of the most interesting times of your life. It’s fast-paced and you are faced with new challenges, experiences, subjects and adventures! High school is a challenge on its own and having IBD makes it even more difficult, especially because of its unpredictability. Going through one of the worst flares of my life during high school, I missed tons of school, and sometimes even when I was present, my body was so tired that I could not pay attention well. It was around this time that my school nurse told me it would be a good idea to get a 504 plan.

A 504 plan helps teachers and school administrative staff understand how they can support you in getting the best education possible. The plan outlines specific and reasonable accommodations, that you can utilize as you need them - to make it easier to fight IBD and successfully reach your academic goals.

Helpful accommodations for someone with IBD might include “stop-the-clock testing” where you can use the bathroom during a test and not lose any time; unlimited bathroom access/permission to use a private bathroom; permission to eat snacks and/or drink water in classes; no participation penalties for days when you are absent; and the list goes on. All of these accommodations were crucial in allowing me to balance rigorous academics and also take care of my health!

Each 504 plan is individualized, meaning you choose which accommodations you believe will best suit your needs! It’s important to include not only the accommodations you know you’ll use, but also those you might need, even if you don’t end up using them. It’s better to list them in your plan, so you can easily access them if you need to use them. It is important to remember that a 504 plan is just that; it’s a plan. In order to make the plan work for you, you will need to communicate with your teachers and share the 504 plan with them, and you will need to continue to communicate with them about your needs so they can support you!

I graduated from high school this year, and I truly believe my 504 plan is part of the reason I was able to do that.


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