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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

List of Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications for Students with Learning Disabilities

Accommodations vs. Modifications?
The United States clumps accommodations and modifications under the term reasonable accommodations, but other countries, such as Canada make a distinction between the two. An accommodation describes an alteration of the environment, curriculum format, or equipment that allows an individual with a disability to gain access to content and/or complete assigned tasks. Since accommodations do not alter what is being taught, instructors should be able to implement the same grading scale.  Some examples of accommodations include: preferential seating, audiobooks, and speech to text technology. A modification describes a change in the curriculum. Modifications are made for students with disabilities who are unable to comprehend the content. For example, assignments might be simplified, or a student might receive a foreign language exemption. Some reasonable accommodations are difficult to discriminate and teeter between an accommodation and modification. For example, small group or individualized instruction could be an accommodation or a modification. It all depends on whether the expectations or curriculum is modified.

Who can Initiate Reasonable Accommodations?
Any student with a qualified disability or their legal guardian/parent can request a meeting that can result in reasonable accommodations. Please note that the disability must be documented by the school or an outside source and the results must be presented at the meeting.

What are Some Common Reasonable Accommodations?
Here is a list of general options. However, it will be your school's special education committee that decides which options will provide the necessary accommodations.


Difficulty
Accommodations/Modifications
Overall Teaching Techniques
  • Provide a consistent daily routine.
  • Make sure documents are well organized and are not too visually dense.
  • Preview new topics and review the vocabulary.
  • Review old topics to assure the retention of knowledge.
  • Use small group or one-to-one instruction.
  • Break projects into organized, activities with clear expectations and deadlines.
  • Offer reminders to write down and turn in assignments.
  • Offer modified in-class and homework assignments.
  • Provide extended time for homework assignments.
  • Provide a list of homework assignments that is accessible to the student as well as the parents.
  • Provide a foreign language substitution, waiver or exemption.
Reading/
Listening
  • Provide audiobooks through organizations such as RaziKids, Learning Alley or Bookshare.
  • Provide a picture of directions and schedules.
  • Provide extra time when reading.
  • Shorten reading assignments.
  • Simplify directions and highlight keywords.
  • Provide oral directions, check for understanding, and repeat directions - if needed.
  • Offer a larger font with less content on each page.
  • Provide text to speech and technology.
Spelling
  • Supply the use of a computer with a spell check or a hand-held spell check.
  • Offer no penalty for incorrect spelling on classroom writing and tests.
Writing
  • Supply a copy of the teacher’s or another student’s notes or provide notes with a few blanks for students to fill in.
  • Shorten writing assignments.
  • Offer a scribe for classroom writing assignments and testing situations.
  • Allow the use a tape recorder or a Smart Pen.
  • Provide a computer for written assignments and tests.
  • Provide assistive technology such as speech to text, word prediction, spell checkers and grammar checkers.
Math
  • Allow the use of graph paper for lining up math problems.
  • Read word problems aloud and assist with tricky wording.
Test-taking
  • Grant time and a half or double testing time.
  • Offer testing in a distraction-free location.
  • Avoid scantrons and allow the student to write directly on the test.
  • Allow the student to write directly on the test and avoid scantrons.
  • Simplify and reword questions on language loaded tests.
  • Provide short breaks when needed.
  • Permit the use of a calculator during testing.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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