Aug 032013

Accommodations For Students with Learning Disabilities

Almost any academic content can be presented with accommodations. Accommodations For Students with Learning Disabilities give your child an ‘equal’ learning experience. If you are looking for options as Accommodations For Students with Learning Disabilities, check out the Learning Abled Kids’ assistive technology site too.

For example, if your child can’t read yet, he/she can learn the same social studies, science, grammar, vocabulary words, math and other subject content as typical children. Your child is capable of comprehending the material, but content must be presented in a format that doesn’t involve reading.

A reading disability itself does not limit your child’s ability to learn. Having all content presented via videos, read aloud text, play acting, or books on tape is a means of providing accommodations for students with learning disabilities. These accommodations provide equal educational learning opportunity for your child.

If your child has a reading disability, it would be unfair to present everything in written form. If your school dismisses your child’s inability to read, you need to advocate for your child to have appropriate accommodations.

For learning to read, modifications would be required until your child has been taught to read. While classmates may be reading chapter books, or involved stories, your child may be learning to read three letter syllables. This is an instructional “modification” and should only be used while your child is learning to read.

Exposure to great literature CAN still be provided to your child through books on tape, read alouds, etc. Since the knowledge of great literature builds a foundation for future educational activities, making sure your child has access to the same literature as classmates will keep your child on track for advanced studies in high school.

Remember: The inability to read does not limit your child’s ability to comprehend great literature.

When developing accommodations or modifications, you should always be mindful of your child’s ability to comprehend content. The goal is “equal learning through *any* path“.

When deciding what your child needs, your question should be “Can my child learn this? If so, how can we teach it to him so that he can learn the same content as all of the other students?”

special education placement and iep advocacy
Look at what your child’s IEP team has written.
Is the content the same content taught to the whole class?
Is the content a “watered-down” version of what’s being presented to other children? Is this necessary?
Is the information the same, but just in a different form?
When considering accommodations, think of your child’s “learning style”.
Do changes take advantage of your child’s learning strengths?
Can visual, auditory, or tactile presentation help your child learn?
Does moving around help your child learn?
Is there a different, more active or hands-on way to present learning content to your child?

To find accommodations that might suit your child, you may want to visit PACER’s parent training and information or look at their list of “Accommodation Ideas For Students with Learning Disabilities“.

List seven Accommodations For Students with Learning Disabilities which will help your child. Reference the Learning Abled Kids’ assistive technology site for more ideas about helping your child learn better.

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Aug 032013

Student Accommodations and Modifications

If your child has an IEP, then your IEP team must consider the need for student accommodations. This page is specifically about the legal requirements, but you’ll more about specific accommodations as you go through the “NEXT” pages in this tutorial (links at bottom of this page).

IDEA §300.324 says IEPs should include the —
(i) Appropriate positive behavioral interventions and supports and other strategies for the child; and
(ii) Supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and support for school personnel” —

IDEA also says in section 300.320 (6)(i) that an IEP must include “A statement of any individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on State and district-wide assessments.”

Additionally, IDEA specifies in Sec. 300.105 Assistive technology.
“(a) Each public agency must ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services, or both, as those terms are defined in Sec. Sec. 300.5 and 300.6, respectively, are made available to a child with a disability if required as a part of the child’s–
(1) Special education under Sec. 300.36;
(2) Related services under Sec. 300.34; or
(3) Supplementary aids and services under Sec. Sec. 300.38 and 300.114(a)(2)(ii).
(b) On a case-by-case basis, the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child’s home or in other settings is required if the child’s IEP Team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE.”

The IDEA Appendix A says, “The Act requires the IEP team to determine, and the public agency to provide, the accommodations, modifications, supports, and supplementary aids and services, needed by each child with a disability to successfully be involved in and progress in the general curriculum achieve the goals of the IEP, and successfully demonstrate his or her competencies in State and district-wide assessments.”

“Public agencies often require all children, including children with disabilities, to demonstrate mastery in a given area of the general curriculum before allowing them to progress to the next level or grade in that area. Thus, in order to ensure that each child with a disability can effectively demonstrate competencies in an applicable area of the general curriculum, it is important for the IEP team to consider the accommodations and modifications that the child needs to assist him or her in demonstrating progress in that area.”

§300.342 (b)(3) Each teacher and provider must be informed of—(ii) The specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the child in accordance with the IEP. The teacher must know what provisions have been decided upon in order to utilize them effectively.

special education placement and iep advocacy

Student Accommodations Quiz Question

A district’s list of specific accommodations and modifications places limits on what a school can provide the child.

Answer: False. The list of student Accommodations is a starting point, but does not limit your school’s options for helping your child.

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Aug 032013

IEP Accommodations and Modifications –
Help your child access general curriculum:

iep accommodationsiep accommodations

One required section in your child’s IEP is the accommodations and modifications section. IEP accommodations provide your child equal access to the curriculum.

For example, if your child can’t yet read, having audiobooks for all textbooks is a great IEP accommodation. The audio books let your child listen to the textbooks, so he has equal access to the information.

Other accommodations can include help with note-taking, extended-time for testing, the ability to provide answers orally, etc. The accommodations your child gets depends on your child’s disability and educational needs.

This section of the tutorial will help you understand the IEP accommodations and modifications section of your child’s IEP. The Objectives for this unit include the following:

By the end of this “IEP Accommodations and Modifications” unit, you will be able to:

– Explain the difference between accommodations and modifications.

– List five examples of IEP accommodations that don’t help your child progress in the general curriculum.

– Provide five examples of IEP modifications.

– Explain why modifications should be avoided when possible.

IEP accommodations are one of the easiest ways to support your child in the general classroom. Accommodations give your child full participation and access in school. They allow that without affecting the quality of your child’s education.

Additionally, accommodations are a key for insuring your child is included in the regular classroom as much as possible.

IDEA wants to be sure that children with disabilities are educated in the regular classroom as much as possible. The kids are supposed to be taught with their typical peers.

Sometimes a child’s disabilities do not permit him to learn the same content, on grade-level, with typical peers. In those cases, modifications to the general curriculum may be necessary.

You’ll need to stay involved in your child’s education to insure modifications are not used if IEP accommodations would work.

To begin with, list your child’s areas of disability. Use the resource sites listed later in this unit to research IEP accommodations that might help your child learn better.

iep accommodations

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Aug 022013

Return to Questions

Q: My child’s teacher says if they provide *any* modifications for my child, she won’t be able to graduate with a regular diploma. Is this true?


There is a fine distinction between modifications and accommodations. Modifications DO affect graduation outcomes. Accommodations should not affect the type of diploma your child receives. Therefore, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

High School Diploma with Modifications

Modifications are changes to the actual content your child is required to learn. In other words, she doesn’t have to learn the same things as the other children. If your child does not learn the same things as other students, he may only receive a certificate of attendance or a special education diploma.

If your child is receiving proper remedial instruction for Learning Disabilities such as ADHD, Aspergers, dyslexia, or another learning disability, any modifications made to instruction SHOULD only be temporary.  Modifications are used only until the child can work on grade level.

If your child’s remediation is properly provided and intense enough, he’ll make good educational progress. Your child should eventually have no need for modifications. The receipt of modifications in elementary or middle school should have no affect on your child’s high school diploma.

The BIG trick here is getting your child SUCCESSFULLY remediated in a timely manner. Your child has to have intense services so that modifications are not needed during high school.

Staying on Track for A High School Diploma with Accommodations

Accommodations do not change the level of instruction your child is receiving. They do not provide a reduction in assignments. Accommodations are changes to ways of presenting the SAME information in a viable way for your child. Accommodations also provide alternative methods for a child to convey her knowledge.

Examples of accommodations include untimed tests, having a test given orally, having a scribe for taking notes, having extended time for assignments, allowing assignments to be typed rather than written by hand, and having content read to your child.

Accommodations use the SAME curriculum that other children are given and makes that same instruction accessible to a child with a disability.  Your child still has to learn the same content as other children and will be eligible for a regular high school diploma even if she uses accommodations throughout high school.

Accommodations for spelling on a vocabulary tests should be made because your child KNOWS the word.. The true point of vocabulary words is for the child to know the word and what it means.. Not necessarily spelling.  Not counting off for spelling is a COMMON accommodation for children with dyslexia. Your child may even be permitted to use a Franklin SpellerHigh School Diploma with Accommodations to find the correct spelling of words.

Making Sure Your Child Receives A High School Diploma with Accommodations

What your child needs, and you SHOULD advocate for is “Accommodations.”  Accommodations make instruction and expression accessible to a child with learning disabilities. They help your child perform at her level of cognitive ability.

Modifications can result in your child receiving less than a regular diploma.. usually a “Certificate of Attendance” or a “Special Education Diploma,” so you really don’t want your child to have modifications.  For additional information, take a look at the Accomodations and Modifications section of our Free Online IEP training.

To find specific accommodations that might help your child, you may want to visit the PACER Center parent training and information center at or look at their PDF list of “School Accommodations and Modifications“.

Best Wishes,

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