Schools Back in Session – Lets Talk Accommodations


Accommodations are changes that make it easier for your child to learn. They don’t change what your child is learning accommodations are designed to give students different ways to learn and demonstrate knowledge of the same material as other students their age. For example, my daughter, Chloe is a slow processor and was failing written tests but when given the same test verbally, she knew everything. Modifying the presentation of the material doesn’t change the test it changes the way he/she demonstrates what he/she knows. Accommodations don’t lower the expectations for what kids learn. They don’t change what he/she is taught or tested on. Instead, they support students ability to learn well in the classroom and show their knowledge on tests by removing obstacles.


Public schools are not going to be forth coming with what students are entitled too. In fact they are not going to help you at all. They are going to protect themselves legally and try to spend the least amount of money. At my first accommodation meeting, I thought the meeting was for the benefit of my daughter. I quickly found out it was to protect them. You and your child have legal rights through the Disabilities, Education Act,…. Accommodations vary from state to state, country to country and school to school. Schools vary with the recourses they have and may not be able to supply students with all needed accommodations.


Your child does not have to use all of their accommodations but having them available can bring relief of anxiety in itself. It was amazing how quickly both Lillian and Chloe’s grades improved once the accommodations were in place.

Once the appropriate accommodations are in place and your son/daughter is succeeding, don’t be surprised when the school suggests maybe he/she doesn’t need all the accommodations anymore. I do not recommend removing any accommodations that are already in place! Keep accommodations available they are not mandatory to use. Your child is successful because he/she is getting the support he/she needs.


Let him/her know what their accommodations are and how to ask for them when they are not received. Isn’t the goal for our kids to be more and more self-sufficient? Being self-sufficient may happen on very different timelines for everyone. When Lillian and Chloe started to do advocate for themselves I knew they would be ok.


Large print textbooks
Textbooks for at-home use
A locker with adapted lock
Review of directions
Review sessions
Use of Mnemonics
Provision of notes or outlines
Concrete examples
Adaptive writing utensils
Support Auditory presentations with visuals
Use of Study Carrel
Assistance in maintaining uncluttered spaces
Weekly home-school communication tools(notebook, daily log, phone calls or email messages)
Peer or scribe note-taking
Space for movement or breaks
Study sheets and teacher outlines
Extra visual and verbal cues and prompts
Lab and math sheets with highlighted instructions
Graph paper to assist in organizing or lining up math problems
Use of Tape recorder for lectures
Use of computers and calculators
Books on tape
Graphic organizers
Quite corner or room to calm down and relax when anxious
Preferential seating
Alteration of the class room arrangement
Reduction of distractions
Answers to be dictated
Hands-on activities
No penalty for spelling errors or sloppy handwriting
Follow a routine/schedule
Alternative quiet and active time
Teach management skills
Rest Breaks
Verbal and visual cues regarding directions and staying in on task
Agenda book and checklists
Daily check-in with case manager or special education teacher.
Adjust assignment timelines
Visual daily schedule
Varied reinforcement procedures
Immediate feedback
Work-in-progress check
Personalized examples


Answers to be dictated
Frequent rest breaks
Additional time
Oral testing
Untimed Tests
Choice of test format (multiple-choice, essay, true-false)
Alternative ways to evaluate (projects or oral presentations instead of written tests)
Highlight key directions
Test in alternative site
Use of calculator or word processor
Extra credit option
Pace long term projects
Preview test procedures
Simplified test wording; rephrased test questions and/or directions


Allow outlining, instead of writing for an essay or major project
Use of alternative books or materials on the topic being studied
Computerized spell-check support
Word bank of choices for answers to test questions
Provision of calculator and/or number line for math tests
Film or video supplements in place of reading text
Reworded questions in simpler language
Projects instead of written reports
Highlighting important words or phrases in reading assignments
Modified workload or length of assignments/test
Modified time demands
Pas/No pass option
Modified grades based on IEP


Breaks between tasks
Cue expected behavior
Daily feedback to student
Have contingency plans
Use de-escalating strategies
Use positive reinforcement
Use proximity/touch control
Use peer supports and mentoring
Model expected behavior by adults
Have parent sign homework
Have Parent sign behavior chart
Set and post class rules
Chart progress and maintain data

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