The Burbank Unified School District, in compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 offers special meals and/or meal accommodations to students with special dietary needs. In order to accommodate any special dietary needs the form "Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations" must be filled out and returned to your child's school. This form, signed by a licensed physician, physician's assistant, or registered nurse must be filled out each school year and be on file in the Food Services office in order to accommodate your child.

 Download the PDF form: Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations


The following is an excerpt from United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service "Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Programs - Guidance for School Food Service Staff".




Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, a "person with a disability" means any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. The term "physical or mental impairment" includes many diseases and conditions, a few of which may be:

  • orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments;
  • cerebral palsy;
  • epilepsy;
  • muscular dystrophy;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • cancer;
  • heart disease;
  • metabolic diseases, such as diabetes or phenylketonuria (PKU);
  • food anaphylaxis (severe food allergy);
  • mental retardation;
  • emotional illness;
  • drug addiction and alcoholism;
  • specific learning disabilities;
  • HIV disease; and
  • Tuberculosis


Please refer to the Acts noted above for a more detailed explanation. Major life activities covered by this definition include caring for one's self, eating, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. The term child with a "disability" under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) means a child evaluated in accordance with IDEA as having one or more of the recognized thirteen disability categories and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services. IDEA recognizes thirteen disability categories which establish a child's need for special education and related services. These disabilities include:

  • autism;
  • deaf-blindness;
  • deafness or other hearing impairments;
  • mental retardation;
  • orthopedic impairments;
  • other health impairments due to chronic or acute health problems, such as asthma, diabetes, nephritis, sickle cell anemia, a heart condition, epilepsy, rheumatic fever, hemophilia, leukemia, lead poisoning, tuberculosis;
  • emotional disturbance;
  • specific learning disabilities;
  • speech or language impairment;
  • traumatic brain injury; and visual impairment; including blindness which adversely affects a child’s educational performance, and multiple disabilities.


Attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may fall under one of the thirteen categories. Classification depends upon the particular characteristics associated with the disorder and how the condition manifests itself in the student, which will determine the category.


The Individualized Education Program or IEP means a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the IDEA and its implementing regulations. The IEP is the cornerstone of the student’s educational program that contains the program of special education and related services to be provided to a child with a disability covered under the IDEA.

NOTE: Some states supplement the IEP with a written statement specifically designed to address a student’s nutritional needs. Other states employ a “Health Care Plan” to address the nutritional needs of their students. For ease of reference, the term “IEP” is used to reflect the IEP as well as any written statement designating the required nutrition services.


When nutrition services are required under a child's IEP, school officials need to make sure that school food service staff are involved early on in decisions regarding special meals.


Physician's Statement for Children with Disabilities
USDA regulations 7 CFR Part 15b require substitutions or modifications in school meals for children whose disabilities restrict their diets. A child with a disability must be provided substitutions in foods when that need is supported by a statement signed by a licensed physician. The physician's statement must identify:

The child's disability;

  • an explanation of why the disability restricts the child's diet;
  • the major life activity affected by the disability;
  • the food or foods to be omitted from the child's diet, and the food or choice of foods that must be substituted.

In Cases of Food Allergy
Generally, children with food allergies or intolerances do not have a disability as defined under either Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or Part B of IDEA, and the school food service may, but is not required to, make food substitutions for them.

However, when in the licensed physician's assessment, food allergies may result in severe, life-threatening (anaphylactic) reactions, the child's condition would meet the definition of "disability," and the substitutions prescribed by the licensed physician must be made.


The school food service may make food substitutions, at their discretion, for individual children who do not have a disability, but who are medically certified as having a special medical or dietary need. Such determinations are only made on a case-by-case basis. This provision covers those children who have food intolerances or allergies but do not have life-threatening reactions (anaphylactic reactions) when exposed to the food(s) to which they have problems.

Medical Statement for Children with Special Dietary Needs
Each special dietary request must be supported by a statement, which explains the food substitution that is requested. It must be signed by a recognized medical authority.

The medical statement must include:

  • an identification of the medical or other special dietary condition which restricts the child's diet;
  • the food or foods to be omitted from the child's diet; and
  • the food or choice of foods to be substituted.