Aug 032013

Accommodations for students and Modifications

Accommodations for students help your child access general curriculum by changing the way general classroom content is presented. These changes maintain the same general curriculum material taught to typical students in a class. However, accommodations make information more accessible to your child based upon special education needs.

Accommodations are provided to allow your child to participate in typical learning activities while going around your child’s weaknesses. For example, if your child can’t yet read, having an audiobook version of each textbook can allow your child to access the SAME content as other students.

Accommodations provide your child with an equal education. Since IDEA’s goal is for every child to learn the general curriculum as much as possible, accommodations for students should be considered for your child.

If your child is unable to understand general curriculum content, then your child should be taught at the highest level possible.

Teaching that does not cover the general curriculum is “modified content.” When changes to learning standards are made for your child, they are modifications. Having your child’s curriculum modified can have long-term knowledge consequences.

If your child’s education is being changed, the education is no longer equal to other students. Your child may never regain the lost knowledge. Modifications should only be made when absolutely necessary since they can keep your child from receiving a regular high school diploma.

Accommodations and Modifications vary widely. Here are some examples to give you a clear idea of the difference between the two:

Accommodations for Students:

iep advocacy and Accommodations for Students
  • Knowledge of addition is demonstrated by manipulating blocks instead of through writing.
  • Books on tape are provided for all content reading in the general classroom.
  • Extra textbooks are provided for the home when your child has organization skills difficulties.
  • Unlimited time is provided on tests.
  • A scribe is provided to take notes for your child.
  • The teacher copies and sends home study notes for your child.
  • Your child is tested orally in a one-on-one setting.
  • A multiple choice test on identical facts is provided while other children “fill in the blank”.

Note: Accommodations do not change knowledge content. With accommodations for students, your child is receiving the SAME education as other children, but your child can access content or express knowledge in different ways.

Modifications DO change educational content and can PREVENT your child from earning a general high school diploma.


  • Your child is given addition flashcards to use while classmates work on understanding word problems.
  • Your child is given a picture book to look at while classmates read literature books.
  • Your child uses blocks to build structures while other children do science experiments.
  • Your child is given a test on labeling the seven continents while classmates are tested on European countries.

You can read the brief IDEA 300.324 code regarding inclusion of modifications in a child’s IEP.

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