Modifcations, Classroom Supports and Accommodations
These are two big buzz words used in special education and are often used interchangeably. However, these two terms do NOT mean the same thing and have very important implications for your child’s learning. It is important to KNOW the difference.
Accommodations are supports and services provided to help a student access the general education curriculum and validly demonstrate learning (see examples below):
- Time: extend the time allotted to take a test, finish an assignment, learn a concept, or complete an activity
- Setting: students can take tests in a distraction free space – potentially a resource room so it is easier for the child to focus. This accommodation may be as easy as preferential seating (does the student need to be close to the board to see or next to the teacher to hear?)
- Level of support: paraprofessional or peer assistant
- Reduce Response effort: The use of a calculator, scribe, or word processor to assist the student when an answer is expected. The student still must understand the concept of what is asked in order to accurately manipulate any of these tools.
**If a student knows their basic math facts, a calculator is an accommodation. If the student does not know their facts, it may be considered a modification.
- Sensory items: fidgets to help students focus
- Visual schedules
Modifcations are individualized changes made to the content and performance expectations for students (see examples below):
- Quantity: Modify the number of items that the child is expected to learn or complete. (Depending on how it is written in the IEP, this could include entire sections of the curriculum. I.E: Only completing the addition portion of a math assignment that also includes subtraction, multiplication and division)
- Output: How a student responds to instruction
For Example: Instead of writing an essay, they may be given multiple choice questions. Instead of open-ended questions, they may be given a yes/no strategy option
- Alternate Goals: Use the general education curriculum while adapting the goal or outcome expectation. For example: Instead of taking the MEAP test, the student takes the MI-Access
So what does this mean for your child?
- Modifications will affect a student’s grade.
- Actual changes are made to the materials passed out by the general education teachers
- Must consider what you want your child to get from their education. What is the MOST important? Is that different (in some way) than what everyone else is learning?
Find more information at Friendship Circle.
Universal Design for Learning helps ALL students have full access to curriculum. In today’s dynamic, diverse classrooms, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) offers all educators and students an exciting opportunity to use strategies and technologies that bridge the gap in learner skills, interests, and needs. By accommodating students’ diff erent learning styles, UDL is able to transform instruction into a more engaging, meaningful experience.
Accommodations Checklist for Students with Down Syndrome (new version)
ereadingpro offers online books and materials to help students wtih Down syndrome read.
Special Offspring Educational Tools offers education programs and materials for students with Down syndrome and other developmental delays.
- Curriculum adaptations created for students with developmental disablities to use in regular education classes
- A blog by parent and teacher with FREE resources for elementary grade levels.
- Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten Resources
- Homeschooling Resources
- Choosing and Using Effective Accomodations for Students with Disability
- Differentiation Station Creations - Primary resources for every child.
- IEP Goal Bank
- Tasks Galore - a resource shared by Kelly Nelson in our Adapting and Modifying Curriculum for Exceptional Learners
- Interactive Reading Books
Develop a Differentiation Plan
Differentiation is a BIG word, but where should educators start when it comes to planning? Consider the term Retro-Fitting. Is it easier to go back and make changes to something or is it better to plan from the beginning? Richard Villa provides a template to help identify "mis-matches" between the child and the classroom to help educators plan for inclusion rather than retro-fitting lessons to make inclusion work. Download a template HERE.