Guest Author - Celestine A. Jones
Children receiving special education services often receive accommodations and modifications to be written in their IEP. Most parents lack the terminology used to identify key terms. There are major differences between the terms accommodations and modifications.
Each child learns differently. When planning the components of the IEP, it is important to consider the needs of the individual child. Each IEP will be different because the needs of each child vary. An IEP is identified as an Individual Education Program in the United States. In Canada, it is identified as an Individualized Education Plan. This plan lists components that will allow the child to be successful throughout the school year, as well as transition to the next step in life.
Accommodations and modifications are a very important part of the IEP. Accommodations are set into place in order for the disability to be worked around. Modifications are used to change the expectations of the student. It can also change what is being taught.
The learning style of the student is the key to identifying accommodations and modifications. It is best to determine the learning style before attempting to list accommodations and modifications. There are many learning style inventories that are simple to use. A quick internet search can you’re you many ideas.
Accommodations are any physical or environmental changes used to allow the child to overcome the limitations of the disability. A child that is having trouble with handwriting skills may be allowed to submit assignments typed using a word processor. A child that is unable to read may be allowed to receive read aloud from the teacher. In this instance, the teacher is allowed to read all classroom and district tests to the student without penalty. A child that is unable to process math problems may be allowed to use a calculator to complete his or her assignments or tests.
Modifications are totally different. They are connected to instruction or testing. A test can be modified by shortening the number of questions on the test. It can also be given in a different format, such as multiple choices instead of essay. The level of work can also be modified. If the child has a present level of performance of 3rd grade, but is in grade 9, the material used to teach and assess the child can be modified to a simpler form. The material covered would still be the same. Differentiated instruction can also be used to teach the child on his or her level. Pass/fail can be used when assessing the child without penalty.
Accommodations and modifications can mistakenly be used interchangeable, but are quite different. Accommodations are used to help the child overcome the limits suffered from the disability, whereas modifications allow adjustments to the way the child is taught and assessed. Both of these used together in the IEP will allow a student to conquer the limitations and succeed.