Federal and state laws and regulations require schools to provide accommodations and modifications to make sure that students with a disability have access to an appropriate educational program. Students who have been evaluated and qualify for exceptional student education (ESE) are eligible for accommodations and modifications. The IEP team, of which you as a parent are an important part of, decides what kinds of accommodations and modifications are needed for the student.
Accommodations are changes to the way your child is expected to learn or how he is tested. Accommodations help student overcome or work around the limitations related to their disability. Students who receive accommodations are expected to learn the same material. The accommodations act as tools or supports so that children with disabilities can participate as fully as possible in the general curriculum.
Accommodations can be provided for:
- instructional methods and materials
- assignments and assessments
- learning environment
- time demands and scheduling
- special communication systems
Since accommodations do not alter what is being taught, instructors should be able to implement the same grading scale for students with disabilities as they do for students without disabilities.
Examples of accommodations include:
▪ sign language interpreters for students who are deaf
▪ computer text-to-speech computer-based systems for students with visual impairments or dyslexia
▪ extended time for students with fine motor limitations, visual impairments, or learning disabilities
▪ large-print books and worksheets for students with visual impairments
▪ trackballs and alternative keyboards for students for children with fine motor limitations
▪ allowing a student with fine motor skill limitations or who is visually impaired to give his answers orally
▪ braille textbooks or books on tape for visually impaired students
▪ a ramp or elevator for a student who uses a wheelchair
The need for certain kinds of accommodations should lessen over time. Many accommodations will be temporary and you can help your child become less dependent on accommodations and more reliant on his or her own abilities.
Modifications are changes made in the curriculum or changes to what the student is expected to learn. This means what is being taught or expected from the student is different. Not all students with disabilities are able to meet all of the requirements of the regular school program Some students may need a different curriculum to meet their priority educational needs. Modifications can be made to what a child is taught, and/or how a child works at school.
Modifications may include:
- completion of part of the program or some of the course requirements
- curriculum expectations below grade level
- alternate curriculum goals
- alternate assessments
- making assignments easier
- reducing the difficulty of assignments
- reducing the reading level
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