Accommodating children with special
[Note: The preceding three sentences are no longer valid.Per USDA SP 26-2017, dated 4-25-17, if the child’s IEP or 504 Plan includes the same information required in the medical statement, or if the required information is obtained by the school during the development or review of the IEP or 504 Plan, it is not necessary for the SFA to obtain a separate medical statement.] For instance, the IEP may require breakfast to be served in a school that does not participate in the SBP.As a teacher, you know how important it is to plan teaching strategies and activities that match young children's developmental needs and characteristics.
Section 504, the ADA, and 7 , Section 15b, define a person with a disability as any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment.
Major life activities are broadly defined and include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
SFAs and local educational agencies (LEA) should not be involved in analyzing documentation to determine whether a particular physical or mental impairment is severe enough to qualify as a disability.
The ADA Amendments Act amended the definition of disability, broadening it to cover most physical and mental impairments, and the goal is to ensure equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from the SNPs.
For more information on the federal laws which dictate program guidance, refer to USDA SP 59-2016: Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the School Meal Programs on the USDA FNS School Meals Policy Web page at
One federal act that affects the modifications required to accommodate disabilities in the School Nutrition Programs (SNP) is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 (IDEA).It is sufficient that the impairment limits a major life activity.For instance: A physical or mental impairment that constitutes a disability must be on a case-by-case basis.These regulations require SFAs to ensure that breakfast, lunch, snacks, or milk (meals) offered through the SNPs meet the respective meal pattern requirements established in the program regulations.The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act has simplified what determines a disability and it should no longer require extensive analysis.It is important that SFAs continue to have the option to accommodate children with special dietary needs that are not considered a disability.