Accommodations, Modifications and Strategies to help students gain access to the general education curriculum

Accommodations refer to "an adjustment in what a student is expected to do relative to what most students are doing but that does not change the content or proficiency level of the content."(Lenz, Deshler 2004). Accommodations refer to teaching supports. Accommodations should not change the curriculum or grade level expectation.

Accommodations are practices and procedures in the areas of presentation, response, setting, and timing/scheduling that provide equitable access during instruction and assessments for students with disabilities.
Accommodations are intended to reduce or even eliminate the effects of a student’s disability; they do not reduce learning expectations.

Modifications- is an adjustment, variation, or difference in what a student is expected to do or learn, how a student is expected to demonstrate knowledge may or may not be the same content or conceptual level of other students in the class. (Lenz, Deshler 2004). Modifications are changes to the curriculum to meet the needs of the student. Modifications must be clearly stated in the IEP.

caution Caution! Sometimes accommodations and modifications are listed interchangably. In regards to a students Individual Education Plan-IEP they are different. Basically accommodations-provide equitable access during instruction and assessments for students with disabilities. Modifications change the curriculum in terms of instructional level, content and/or performance criteria.

Strategies- sometimes there is gray area between strategies and modifications and accommodations. I am going to identify strategies as skills, techniques, or methods of instruction used to assist in learning. A cognitive strategy serves to support the learner as he or she develops internal procedures that enable him/her to perform tasks that are complex (Rosenshine, 1997).

Here is another definition of Learning Strategies-– Techniques, principles, or rules that facilitate the acquisition, manipulation, integration, storage, and retrieval of information across situations and settings. (Alley, G.R., & Deshler, D.D. Teaching the learning disabled adolescent: Strategies and Methods. Denver: Love, 1979).

For effective planning for inclusive education and access to the general education curriculum let's identify educational strategies that are evidenced based. Cognitive strategy instruction (CSI) is an explicit instructional approach that teaches students specific and general cognitive strategies to improve learning and performance by facilitating information processing.

Some examples of Stratey Instruction from Current Practice Alerts, Teaching Strategy Instruction for details of the strategies listed below go to this website.

Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) is a research-based procedure for improving understanding of expository text by upper
elementary and middle school students in inclusive classrooms (Klingner et al., 2004; Vaughn et al., in press).

Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) in writing is a framework that combines the CSI model with evidence-based
recommendations for writing instruction to improve students’ planning, production, and revision of text (Harris & Graham,2009).

Solve It! (Montague, 2003) is a CSI intervention that teaches students the cognitive processes and self-regulation strategies that
are necessary to solve math word problems effectively and efficiently.

Graphic organizers (GOs) are visual devices that employ lines, circles, and boxes to depict four common ways to organize information: hierarchic, cause/effect, compare/contrast, and cyclic or linear sequences. These images serve as visual cues designed to facilitate communication and/or understanding of information by showing how essential information about a topic is organized.

CSI requires a commitment from the teacher as well as the students, who must see the value of the strategy in order for them to fully embrace it and invest the time and energy needed to apply it successfully across various academic domains and tasks.

Federal and state laws and regulations require schools to provide accommodations and modifications to make sure that students with a disability have access to an appropriate educational program
•The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 1997) requires that students with a disability have the opportunity to be involved and make progress in the general curriculum.
• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that accommodations be provided to students with a disability, even if they don’t have an IEP.

arrowRoutine procedures used with every student in a class are NOT accommodations.

Accommodations Modifications Instructional Strategies
preferential seating-study carrel alternate assessments Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR)
assistive technology (e.g., talking switches, communication devices, talking books software, textbooks on tape) alternate curriculum goals Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD)
provide visual supports-pictures, photos, charts, maps, films... curriculum expectations below grade
Solve It
provide class notes completion of part of the program or
some of the course requirements
Graphic organizers
provide opportunities for direct concrete hands on activities second language exemptions Cognitive Strategies-PowerPoint
allow student to audio tape answers revising assignments or assessments to make them easier RAFT
provided study guides

instructional level

Dump and Clump
allow extra time to complete work content Concept Mapping
allow extra time to respond performance criteria Venn Diagram
math charts   Semantic Features Analysis
Accommodations for Students with LD   Power Notes

amplified system- hearing impaired

  Say-Ask-Check’ Metacognitive Prompts-for Math
braille writer- visual impaired   Draw and Fast Draw- math
adaptive keyboard-physical impairment   Multiplication Attack Strategy
Eliminate excessive noise   Self-Monitoring Strategies in Arithmetic
Avoid "overloading" the student with too much verbiage   Slobs and Lamps- regrouping math
Provide an individualized written schedule   Subtraction Strategies
Provide a "kusch ball" or other squishy thing for the student to manipulate.   A Number Writing Strategy
Allow the student to chew gum to release energy and give the mouth something to do besides talk.   Rules to lower the amount of Memorization in Math
Provide a laptop computer   Strategy/Implicit Instruction and Mathematics
Progress charts   CSI Study Skills
Calculator   Work Behavior Training Strategies for students with disabilties
Pre-teach key concepts    
Highlighting – main ideas or specific words    

Addtional Resources on Accommodation, Modifications and Instructional Strategies

under construction- 4-13-2012

Paula Lombardi