4 Simple Ways to Accommodate Students

Written by Dan McCool

Dan is a Speech-Language Pathologist and owner of Second Mile School Therapy. He has been working with school districts for 20 years in Southwest Missouri.

January 25, 2023

Accommodations are a method of leveling the playing field for students with special needs.  The accommodations don’t change what students learn, but they change how people learn and how they accomplish their work.   

According to Eve Kessler and Michele Schneider, the founders of Spednet.org, accommodations can be divided into four categories:

  • Variations in time: adapting the time allotted for learning, task completion, or testing
  • Variation of input: adapting the way instruction is delivered
  • Variation of output: adapting how a student can respond to instruction
  • Variation of size: adapting the number of items the student is expected to complete

Here are some common examples of how accommodations can be implemented:

Adapt the Time:
  • Allow tests to be taken in sections and without time limits
  • Additional time for the completion of assignments
  • Allow personal time-outs for students that need to regroup or have trouble transitioning from one activity to another
  • Allow extra time to process when a request is made

Accommodations don’t change what students learn, but they change how people learn and how they accomplish their work.  

Change the Way Instruction is Delivered:
  • Provide notes, outlines, or organizers with key concepts or terms highlighted
  • Provide audio recordings of lessons for students to review
  • Utilize mnemonics to help students recall information

Change the Way a Student Can Respond:
  • Allow students to take tests verbally.
  • Provide multiple choice or an answer key on tests and assignments
  • Allow the use of a scribe or voice-to-text

Change the Number of Items a Student is Expected to Complete
  • Have the child complete every other problem on a math page
  • Reduce the volume of writing and copying (especially if it is not a critical component of instruction)
  • Break large assignments down into manageable tasks.

Bonus Resource:

Adayinourshoes.com has developed the Ultimate List of IEP Accommodations, Modifications & Strategies. This pdf has hundreds of ideas on accommodations and modifications teachers can implement for their students.

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