Best of #ANC17 1 of 3: Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities

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2:00 pm ET on Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Program regulations require School Food Authorities (SFAs) to ensure that breakfast, lunch, snack, or milk (meals) offered through the School Meal Programs meet the respective meal pattern requirements established in the Program regulations. Federal law and USDA regulations further require SFAs to make reasonable modifications to accommodate children with disabilities. This includes providing special meals, at no extra charge, to children with a disability when the disability restricts the child’s diet. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008 made important changes to the meaning and interpretation of the term “disability.” The changes broadened the scope of individuals who are now covered under the ADA, as most physical and mental impairments, including food allergies, will constitute a disability.

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issued a new Policy Memorandum (signed September 27, 2016), replacing FNS Instruction 783-2, Rev. 2, Meal Substitutions for Medical or other Special Dietary Reasons, that clarifies changes made by the ADA Amendments Act and reflects the position FNS will take in compliance reviews and enforcement actions.

The presentation addresses the Policy Memorandum’s retention of previous requirements regarding the submission of a note from a State licensed healthcare professional documenting the disability. The training clarifies that any person who is authorized to write medical prescriptions under State law qualifies as a State licensed healthcare professional. For example, in many States, this will include licensed nurse practitioners as well as licensed physicians.

The presentation also explains procedural safeguard that are required to ensure parents and children have notice of the procedure for requesting meal modifications and the process for resolving disputes.

Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss the updated requirements for accommodating students with disabilities.
  2. Identify how to work collaboratively with parents to reach an agreed-upon reasonable modification to ensure an equal opportunity to participate in the School Meal Programs and receive program benefits.
  3. Identify medical documentation requirements.
  4. Examine the procedural safeguards that must be in place to ensure that parents and students receive proper notices and have an avenue to resolve grievances.


Gail Hoffman
Regional Civil Rights Director
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service

Teresa W. Murray Esq.
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service

Earning CEUs

SNA CEUs: 1.00 
Key Area 3: Administration
Key Topic: 3420

CPEUs: 1.00 RDs, RDNs, and DTRs
SNA CEUs and CPEUs are awarded after the successful completion of the post-webinar quiz.

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