Aug 032013

Accommodations and Modifications – Help your child access general curriculum:

Accommodations are required to give your child an equal opportunity to learn. The equality targeted by IDEA is in giving your child access to the same knowledge as other typical students. Providing access by whatever means necessary can make the difference between your child’s educational success or failure.

I stress this point because the biggest argument from people who are unfamiliar with the intent of IDEA is that providing “extra help” is “unfair.” However, those naysayers fail to see the bigger picture of access to knowledge. They are only focusing on fairness as everything being exactly equal, rather than the RIGHT each child has to access or demonstrate knowledge.

Education is not about being “fair” in the sense of providing exactly the same thing to every child. Accommodations provide equal educational opportunity, even if special assistance is needed to create that opportunity.

Equal access to the course content is provided when children who cannot read are provided audiobook versions.

Equal access is provided when children who cannot write are given options for giving answers that do not involve writing.

Equal access is given when children who cannot recall math facts are given calculators for working math problems.

It is necessary to make sure your child has an equal opportunity to learn by providing content in a way your child can learn or demonstrate learning (hence the INDIVIDUAL Education Plan).

Understanding the difference between accommodations and modifications can make the difference between your child earning a high school diploma or not. Therefore, you’ll want to keep reading to the bottom of this page to understand the difference between accommodations and modifications.

You may want to research appropriate accommodations and modifications further at these sites:

iep advocacy and accommodations and modifications

LD Online

Parents United Together – Classroom Accommodations
University California Berkeley – Great Info

Learning Disabilities Association of Texas

Academic Accommodations for Students with Learning Disabilities

Accommodations and modifications are often mistakenly thought to be the SAME thing. Accommodations and modifications are entirely different matters when it comes to your child’s IEP.

Modifications occur when a teacher changes what your child is learning in a way that lessens your child’s level of education. If your child is not being taught the general curriculum, it is likely the education is being modified. As an example, if your child is placed in a special education classroom with remedial work in every subject, and no exposure to the general curriculum, it’s highly likely your child’s education is “modified.”

Modifications can mean your child will not receive a high school diploma. Whenever possible, you’ll want to be sure your child is receiving accommodations rather than modifications.

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