Guest Author - Kristie Melkers
An accommodation is a change in the way an academic task is presented so that a student with a disability is able to process and respond to learning in a way that works for them. It is not an alteration of academic material to the extent that the actual content is changed. That level of change is referred to as modification of curriculum and is an appropriate support for some students who receive special education services and supports.
Students who require accommodations to their academic programming fall under the protections of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A parent or child must request an evaluation for determination of eligibility, but the school must also acknowledge that they suspect a disability in order to proceed.
Most accomodations to aid students in learning fall into one of the following categories:
• alterations in the way materials are presented
• alterations in the way a student can respond to testing
• alterations in the timing of activities
• alterations in the setting in which academics are presented
• alterations in how tests are scheduled
Although the protections extended to qualifying students to receive academic support through accommodations are not as robust as those available to students covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, they are still effective and make an enormous difference for some students. The key is the buy-in that school staff have in implementing the accommodations across the academic setting and the responsiveness of the student to the alterations in academics.
Here are some examples of accommodations that are made in the school environment to aid students maximize their learning potential:
• tasks that are broken down into chunks
• noise levels kept to acceptable levels
• seating at the front of the classroom and away from windows
• reducing the amount of homework
• taped lectures
• using a calculator for testing
• multisensory approaches to teaching
• using a timer to help gauge time management
• using a checklist
• color coding
• using large font
• open book exams
Accomodations are important aids to learning for some students. Please see the links on the home page to learn more.