Helping Struggling Students through Accommodations – Part Two

Accommodations in the classroom can help students who are struggling. Students who have a documented learning disability; ADHD; and/or emotional, behavioral or psychological challenges may be entitled to accommodations that are meant to help level the educational playing field. (Check back soon for posts related to establishing documentation of academic challenges).

Many parents and students are often unaware of the types of accommodations that may be available. The overall goal of any accommodation is to support learning and every student’s realize their potential.

According to National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, “there are many ways in which accommodations can be used to support students with disabilities in the classroom and when they are taking a mandated state or district assessment.”

Types of Accommodations outlined by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities:

“Accommodations in Presentation: affect the way directions and content are delivered to students. Students with visual, hearing, and learning disabilities are much more able to engage in the content when it is presented in a form they can understand. Some examples of accommodations in presentation include:”

  • Oral reading (either by an adult or a tape)
  • Large print
  • Magnification devices
  • Sign language
  • Braille and Nemeth Code (a specific type of Braille used for math and science notations)
  • Tactile graphics (e.g.; 3-D topographical maps, 2-D raised line drawings)
  • Manipulatives (e.g.; geometric solids, real coins & currency, abacus)
  • Audio amplification devices (e.g., hearing aids)
  • Screen reader  (Adapted from Special Connections, 2005b)

“Accommodations in Response offer different ways for students to respond to assessment questions. They help students with visual and hearing impairments, physical disabilities, and organizational problems to structure, monitor, or directly put words to paper. Examples of these accommodations include:”

  • Using a computer/typewriter or a scribe to record answers (directly or through tape recorder)
  • Using an augmentative communication device or other assistive technology (AT)
  • Using a brailler
  • Responding directly in the test booklet rather than on an answer sheet
  • Using organizational devices, including calculation devices, spelling and grammar assistive devices, visual organizers, or graphic organizers (Adapted from Special Connections, 2005c)

“Accommodations in Setting affect either where a test is taken or the way in which the environment is set up. Changing the environment is especially helpful to students who are easily distracted. Some examples include:”

  • Administering the test individually (e.g., to the student alone)
  • Testing in a separate room
  • Testing in a small group
  • Adjusting the lighting
  • Providing noise buffers such as headphones, earphones, or earplugs (Adapted from Special Connections, 2005d)

“Accommodations in Timing/Scheduling allow flexibility in the timing of an assessment. Generally, these are chosen for students who may need more time to process information or need breaks throughout the testing process to regroup and refocus. Timing/scheduling accommodations include:”

  • Extended time
  • Multiple or frequent breaks
  • Change in testing schedule or order of subjects
  • Testing over multiple days (Adapted from Special Connections, 2005e)

To learn more about accommodations in the classroom, visit National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

Check out Part One: Helping Struggling Students through Accommodations:


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