Accommodations in the classroom
What are accommodations?
Accommodations are changes made in the classroom that remove barriers and provide the student with equal access to learning.
Accommodations don’t change what the student is learning. Rather, they change how the student is learning.
An example is if a student has to read a book for an English class they are able to watch the video or listen to an audio book rather than do the reading.
Accommodations don’t change what the student is expected to know or learn. They don’t lower expectations. The accommodation simply helps them work around their challenges. This is what makes accommodations different from modifications. A modification changes what your child is expected to know or learn.
In the classroom
Students with specific learning difficulties will be in a better position to take in learning in the classroom that has a teacher who:
- understands their frustration. If they could read they would, if they could spell they would etc.
- understands that their difficulties are due to an inherited brain difference
- will not give up on them
- will not make them look stupid in front of their friends
- understands they are intelligent
- understands they are working as hard as they can even if they aren’t finishing their classroom work
Types of Accommodations
Accommodations work best when they target a specific barrier or challenge. For instance, for the child who can’t sit still to do math, an accommodation may be frequent breaks. For the child who struggles to write out answers on tests, an accommodation may be to have her give answers orally. The accommodation matches the need.
Presentation, Response, Setting, and Timing/Scheduling are the four basic types of accommodations used during instruction and assessment.
Presentation accommodations allow students to access instructional materials in different ways.
It can relate to instructions:
- verbal instructions backed up with visual prompts
- clear and concise instructions
- leave instructions up for easy referral
- fewer items on a page , for example, maths sheets with less problems on them
- written work/worksheets on pastel coloured paper
- has a buddy they can ask to clarify instructions
- teacher provides photocopies of their notes and whatever is on the board
Presentational accommodations in assessments:
- use of calculator
- use of assistive technology, such as, speech to text software
- spell checker/use of smartphone
Response accommodations allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in alternate ways, or to solve or organize their work using an electronic device or organizer.
- Can use computer software to show info visually eg Powerpoint
- Dictate answers to a person/phone/recorder
- Create mindmaps, mural, class presentations
Setting accommodations change the location in which a test or assignment is given or the conditions of the assessment setting.
- Individual or small group
- Reduce visual and/or auditory distractions (e.g., separate desk or location within classroom—“private office”)
- Distraction-free setting (separate room)
- Alternative furniture arrangement (e.g., facing front/teacher for whole group lessons vs block of tables for small group work).
These change the length of time allowed for completion of a test, project, or assignment and may also change the way the time is organized (e.g., breaks):
- Flexible scheduling (e.g., several sessions vs one)
- Extended time
- Allowing for more frequent breaks (as appropriate)
- Changing order of tasks or subtest