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Academic Accommodations

There are several different ways to provide some academic assistance to students with disabilities. One way you can help students with disabilities in your classroom is by making accommodations. Accommodations are reasonable modifications (alterations, changes, etc.) that can be made to an environment, materials, assessments, assignments, or teaching practices. They are made to help students with disabilities access the environment, instruction, curriculum, or assessment.

Some common accommodations include:

  • providing additional time
  • shortening assignments/assessments
  • allowing the use of a calculator
  • allowing oral answers
  • allowing assignments/assessments to be read to the student
  • allowing notes or books to be used on assessments
  • allowing a student to take an assessment in a different environment
  • reproducing homework so the student can write on it
  • allowing the use of a calculator
  • providing textbooks on tape
  • allowing peers to read textbooks to others
  • making text larger
  • bolding or highlighting key information
  • providing verbal and visual instructions simultaneously
  • using study guides or other organizers
  • providing students a copy of the notes or outline
  • using manipulatives
  • providing preferential seating in the classroom and other school areas
  • providing an extra set of books for home

For some students with disabilities, you may need to make your classroom environment more accessible. Accessibility refers to how easy it is for people to get to, use, and understand things, such as curriculum and instruction. Creating an accessible environment means that you design your classroom, instruction, and assignments to ensure that the greatest number of students can succeed, thus reducing your need to accommodate for individuals.

There are many ways to help make the classroom and educational content more accessible, such as:

  • using manipulatives
  • changing the context of instruction or assignments to make them more relevant to students
  • using multiple representations
  • using templates or organizers
  • preparing hints or questions
  • allowing students to work with partners or in groups
  • providing a checklist
  • frequently checking on student understanding
  • offering assignments with varying levels of difficulty

Assistive technology offers many accommodations for students who experience difficulty in the classroom. Assistive technology refers to any device, equipment, system, instruction or strategy that can maintain or improve a student's functional capabilities. Assistive technology can range from "low tech" options (e.g. pencil grips, paper stabilizers, seat cushions) to more "high tech" options (e.g. computers, Braille readers). Assistive technology can include instructional equipment or systems, such as particular software (i.e. Inspiration) or developed programs that help students with disabilities succeed in the general or special education classroom.

Assistive technology for the classroom can include:

  • text-to-speech functions on computers (i.e. screen readers)
  • speech-to-text options
  • enlargement of text size
  • talking calculators
  • switches and buttons
  • word prediction software
  • adapted keyboards, and adapted mice

For more ideas about accommodations, see:

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