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Accommodations and Modifications. What Teachers Need to Know. What is the difference?. Accommodations For general education and students with exceptional disabilities Students follow the ACOS on grade level Students are assessed on the same material as the rest of the

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Accommodations and Modifications

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accommodations and modifications

Accommodations and Modifications

What Teachers Need to Know

what is the difference
What is the difference?


  • For general education and students with exceptional disabilities
  • Students follow the ACOS on grade level
  • Students are assessed on the same material as the rest of the


  • Accommodations are an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) decision.

Good teaching interventions and strategies!

  • For students with significant disabilities within the general education classroom
  • Students follow off-grade level ACOS. Students use same/similar materials as the rest of the students to meet Individual Education Plan (IEP) objectives or other alternate learning outcomes.
getting started
Getting Started

Simply stated, accommodations, are changes to the way a student is expected to learn or how he or she is tested.

Modifications are changes to what the student is expected to learn.

what are accommodations and modifications
What are accommodations and modifications?
  • Accommodations and modifications are an important part of planning the educational program for students.
  • Many students with disabilities may only need small changes to the way they are taught and tested.
  • Accommodations involve many kinds of techniques and support systems.
  • Examples: students who are blind may need braille textbooks or books-on-tape
  • Students in wheelchairs may need a ramp , elevator or special desk

Accommodations are “whatever it takes” so a student with disabilities can have access to the general education and earn a regular diploma.

whatever it takes
Whatever It Takes!
  • Instructional methods and material
  • Assignments and assessments
  • Learning environment
  • Time demands and scheduling
  • Special communication systems
  • Accommodations are made to the WAY students learn and HOW they are tested.
whatever it takes1
Whatever it Takes!
  • Modifications are changes made to WHAT students are expected to learn
  • Not all students with a disability are able to meet all requirements of the regular school program. Some students may not be able to work on grade level or pass the required courses for graduation. Some students may need a different curriculum to meet their priority educational needs.
The IEP Team decides if curriculum modifications are needed for a student with disabilities. Modifications may include:
  • Completion of part of the program or some course requirements
  • Curriculum expectations below grade level
  • Alternate curriculum goals
  • Alternate assessments
more about accommodations
More about Accommodations
  • To decide which accommodation the student needs, think first about the learning problems the student has. The Special Education Teacher is the person to ask these questions to, this is a collaborative process.
  • Assistive technology encompasses a wide range of tools and techniques. Some low-tech tools are pencil grips, study guides, or highlighted materials. High tech tools include calculators, talking calculators, some students may need access to basic word processing technology such as classroom computers and/or computer labs.
suggestions for accommodations for reading
Suggestions for Accommodations for Reading
  • Learning problem-difficulty finding the main ideas or knowing what is important to remember


  • highlight important ideas and tell students to read first
  • Provide a study guide
  • Allow the use of a book written at a lower grade level
  • Provide tape-recorded version of the material
reading accommodations
Reading Accommodations
  • Learning problem- Students can understand information when they listen, but cannot read material required for class assignments. Example:
  • Provide tape-recorded version of the material
  • Use a videotape or movie that presents the same information
  • Have a learning buddy read aloud textbooks or printed material
  • Provide books-on-tape
accommodations for lectures and discussions
Accommodations for Lectures and Discussions
  • Learning Problem-Students have difficulty understanding what they are suppose to learn.


  • Use visual overheads, PowerPoint's
  • Provide an overview of the content at the beginning of the lesson
  • Give summary sheets of important information with a list of questions to be answered
discussion accommodations
Discussion Accommodations
  • Learning problem-Students have trouble following the ideas during the discussion.
  • Keep student involved by encouraging them to ask questions or by breaking up into small group activities
  • Identify the main steps or key components
  • Give student copies/outline of the Teacher’s lesson/discussion notes
  • Provide help for note taking
  • Use visuals as much as possible
math accommodations
Math Accommodations
  • Learning problem-students have difficulty understanding math concepts and solving problems


  • Let student use concrete materials and objects to learn about math
  • Color-code or highlight key words in math problem
  • Let student use a calculator or chart for basic facts for computation
math accommodations1
Math Accommodations
  • Learning problem-Student has difficulty solving math word problems
  • Make sure the student’s inability to read is not the cause of his/her difficulty
  • Provide word problems that require a one-step process
  • Teach the student to look for “clue” or “key” words in a word problem
  • Have student restate math word problems in their own words.
writing accommodations
Writing Accommodations
  • Learning problem- student has difficulty with fine motor control and handwriting
  • Let student write directly in the workbook or on a copy of the workbook page
  • Let student use word processor
  • Let student dictate their work to a classmate
  • Let student use adapted devices: pencil grips or special pens, erasable pens, special paper with raised lines, or color coded lines
following instructions accommodations
Following Instructions Accommodations
  • Learning problem-students have trouble remembering what to do
  • Have student say directions in their own words
  • Teach students how to use an assignment notebook or personal planner to keep track of assisignments and tests
  • Give step-by-step instructions. Outline the steps in writing or use pictures
  • Complete sample problems
  • Use diagrams
organization accommodations
Organization Accommodations
  • Learning problem-students are confused by complex instructions and materials
  • Use color-coding to help students identify different task or materials
  • Use uncluttered tests and worksheets. Arrange problems or work so that it is easy to know where to start and how to proceed
organization accommodations1
Organization Accommodations
  • Learning problem-student has difficulty keeping their material and belongings organized
  • Let student use a special folder or binder to keep material organized
  • Use dividers or folders to keep subjects organized and use a different color for each unit or subject
  • Give students a checklist of materials needed for each class. The checklist can be kept in the locker or binder
  • Remember if it is written in the IEP it better be implemented!
more about modifications
More about Modifications
  • Modifications to the expectations of the curriculum may be necessary if the student can’t work on grade level. Curriculum modifications should only be considered by the IEP Team only after documented attempts of accommodations have been exhausted.
  • When thinking about modifications, the IEP Team must consider LONG-RANGE IMPACTS of lowering the expectations. This decision will affect diploma options. Requirements for a standard diploma includes passing a set of regular courses with a “C” average and passing graduation exams.
alternate curriculum goals
Alternate Curriculum Goals
  • For some students the IEP Team may decide the student’s priority educational needs are different from the general curriculum and due to significant cognitive disability may require an alternate curriculum. In the state of Alabama this would be the Extended Standards Curriculum. The state assessment for the Extended Standards is the Alabama Alternate Assessment.
  • This is an IEP Team decision. The ALSDE has established guidelines to help the IEP Team determine whether or not the student should participate in the state or district assessments.
iep team membership
IEP Team Membership
  • All members of the IEP Team are very important!

Team Members:

1. Parents of the student with a disability

2. Not less than one Regular Education Teacher of the student

3. Not less than one Special Education Teacher of the student

4. Representative of the public agency (LEA)

5. Individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluations results

iep team membership1
IEP Team Membership

6. At the discretion of the parent or agency other individuals who have knowledge or expertise regarding the student

7. Whenever appropriate, the student with a disability

8. Secondary Transition Services Participants

9. Early Intervention Representatives

***All of the members listed must stay in the IEP meeting until it is completed!

top ten excuses for violating an iep
“TOP TEN” EXCUSES for Violating an IEP
  • “It’s not fair to my other students.”
  • “I don’t have time.”
  • “He doesn’t want my help.”
  • “I didn’t sign on for this.”
  • “I don’t get paid enough for this !”
  • “The parents are the REAL problem!”
top ten
  • He’s just lazy!”
  • “No one told me I supposed to do anything.”
  • “I’m ready to retire anyway.”
  • “I think this is stupid.”
important points
Important Points
  • An IEP is a legally binding contract
  • Any failure to provide a service, aide, or instruction provided in the IEP constitutes a violation of this contract, and may lead to liability for the school, district and/or teacher.

“ There is a 2-year statute of limitation for IEP’s.”

Melinda Baird, Esq.

  • Alabama State Department of Education

  • University of Florida:
  • Georgia Learning Connections:

  • Pre-Referral Intervention Manual (PRIM)
  • Melinda Baird, Esq.